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Eric Rehm
Name: Eric Rehm
Company: American Eagle
Position: First Officer
Current Aircraft: EMB 145
Age N/A
Country USA

Airline experience: yes
Corporate or fractional experience: no
Cargo experience: no
Military, government, or law enforcement experience: no

Mentor profile:
My name is Eric Rehm and am currently a First Officer on an Embraer 145 for American Eagle Airlines based in Chicago O'Hare. I started flying when I was sixteen years old, taking lessons at Bowman Field in Louisville Ky. I earned my Private Pilot license during High School and then went on to college at the University of Illinois. I graduated with a BA in history and the rest of my aviation ratings at the university's Institute of Aviation. As most civilian pilots do, I then went on to instructing to build hours and gain some experience. I moved to Dallas Texas and went to work at Addison Airport, the busiest single runway airport in the United States at the time. For fourteen months I taught private, instrument, commercial, CFI and CFII students in a variety of single engine airplanes at a Part 61 school. Although the pay was not great and the hours were long, it was an extremely rewarding experience and I enjoyed every minute of it. After I had accumulated 1500 total hours, 200 multi hours and a ATP certificate, I was hired by a freight company called Central Air Southwest based at Downtown Kansas City Airport. I flew cancelled checks in an Aero Commander 500B out of Grand Rapids Michigan five days a week. Although this job did not offer any longevity, it did provide me with invaluable experience flying Part 135 in all kinds of weather in a complex airplane and single pilot. I stayed with Central Air for seven months when the next opportunity came knocking. I was hired by Business Express Airlines, a Part 121 air carrier that had a fleet of Saab 340s based in the Northeast. I persevered through a difficult six week training course and emerged as a SF34 first officer. I held that position for about a year and a half and then upgraded to captain on the SF34. In 2000, AMR, the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines, bought out Business Express Airlines and merged its pilot group into American Eagle. My seniority date was not high enough to hold a Captain slot so I moved into the EMB 145 regional jet as a first officer, which is where I am today.

Favorite thing about flying:
It is hard to say. Just being up in the air is a joy. After a few days off or even after a hard day of work, I always look forward to going back up in the air. I can't imagine my life without some form of flying.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
There are many disadvantages to being in the aviation field but there are many advantages as well. One of the biggest problems pilots face today is the lack of growth and opportunity for advancement for all pilots. There is no guarantee that you will get that dream job even if you do all the right things. It is easy to get discouraged and I think you need a real love of aviation to help you get through the frustrating times.

What you would have done different:
I am not sure I would do anything differently. If I had a choice, I would prefer to be at a major airline right now but then again, if I were, I would probably be furloughed. No one has a crystal ball so I think the best advice is to work hard, do your best, keep your record clean and always be alert for that next opportunity.
Advice to aspiring pilots:
As I said in the question above, work hard, do your best, keep your record clean and always be alert for that next opportunity. Cultivating personal relationships helps too and this web site is a great start.
Problems encounterd along the way:
Financial problems are probably the worst and the least avoidable. Low pay is the name of the game until you make it to the majors or to a lesser extent build a lot of seniority at a regional airline or corporate entity. If your schedule allows you, and if you are starting out it probably does not, take up a part time job. I know a lot of people in real estate, carpentry, web designers etc. This provides you with some supplemental income as well as something to fall back on in case things don't work out. The airline life can be tough on relationships. Have you ever heard of AIDS (Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome)? Being away from home three or more days a week can be difficult at best for a family. I would avoid getting involved with someone who is also in the industry as it makes for an even more difficult relationship. Make sure your potential mate knows as much about the lifestyle as possible because an unhappy wife or husband can make your career miserable or even impossible. Personally, I have a wonderful wife of seven years who has been nothing but supportive. I think it helps that she is a Private Pilot and thus understands my love of flying.

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