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Suprise!! Line check!

March 12th, 2005 · 2 Comments

Today I was given a surprise line check by one of our company check-airmen. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as they’re supposed to occur yearly. This one was, however. I was originally supposed to have the line check a few weeks ago, but I ended up missing the first part of the trip due to the family emergency we had.

The training department normally gives you a couple of days advanced-notice with this sort of thing, but today during our forty-minute turn in Denver before our trip to Minneapolis and back, I was greeted by the checkairman.

“I’ll be giving you your line-check today.” he said.


Typically, a line-check isn’t a big issue. Today wasn’t all that different from the last five I’ve had. I had some small issues, like operating into and out of an airport that I was very unfamiliar with, I found out that I didn’t have a 10-9 chart (a diagram of taxiways and runways) for MSP airport, and an unfamiliar and quite unconventional de-icing process. We got run out of there by an impatient tower controller during our takeoff run. At about 100′, we almost had an “encounter” with several Canada geese.

I guess I passed, as there was very little he seemed ready to critique me on. In fact, he critiqued my first officer more than he did me. At any rate, I get to keep my job for another few months.


Last Friday, I finally got the call from our training department asking me to become a line check-airman.


I’ve been working my rear-end off for four-and-a-half years trying to get into that program. I’ve made more phone-calls, written more letters-of-intent, and submitted more resumes than I care to remember. I’ve asked chief pilots, sim instructors, and line-check airmen to recommend me. I’ve studied hard before every proficiency-check, ground-school, written and oral exam so that I might be able to impress upon someone my level of knowledge and professionalism. I’ve also watched many less-experienced and less-senior (though not necessarily less-capable) individuals advance into the ranks of the training department.

I wanted to say, “Sure! I’d be glad to become a check-airman!”

I chose, however, to be very honest. I told them that, though I’d love to do the job and that I think I’d be good at it, I do have a ground school coming up at Southwest Airlines within the next six months.

The nice lady didn’t seem very pleased.

“Well, I suppose you think you’re leaving for bigger and better things,” she said.

As a matter of fact…


After writing the above, I realized that I don’t sound quite as grateful as I should sound. SkyWest has given me lots of opportunity to advance my career and I’m definitely glad I made the choice to leave the airline I was with prior to SkyWest. The last five-and-a-half years with SkyWest have been most excellent. But yeah. It is time for me to move on to bigger and better things.

It just can’t come fast enough.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 garf12 // Mar 14, 2005 at 5:08 am

    Great blog man. Just found it and read all your posts. I’m just a recreational private pilot with my IFR, but I love reading about all the “big boys” :) Good Luck at SWA.

  • 2 Vijay Belur // Jul 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Nice Blog – Ive been hunting for some semblence of syllabii for Checkairman school and instructor school – Im sure you have it at SWA – im trying to get myself more aquainted so i qualify for the checkairman by my own standards than that passed to me by the company on seniority!! Thanks appreciate if you can pass some sources for info and/or info

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