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Craig Ritchie
Name: Craig Ritchie
Company: American Airlines
Position: Instructor
Current Aircraft: B737-800
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:
I started flying in 1986 at Norwood Mass just outside of Boston. After a medical problem I earned my private certificate. I purchased a Cessna 172 and earned my Instrument, Commercial and Instructor ratings. At the same time I worked at a local FBO and a Pilot Shop and made many connections including a great mentor that is now a retired Delta Captain and had the opportunity to fly many different types of singles and twins. After I earned my ratings I sold my airplane and finished my degree in Aviation Management. After college I got hired with Delta Airlines and worked in Airport Customer Service in Boston. I had the opportunity to meet with the Boston Chief Pilot and made many trips to Atlanta to visit the flight training department and fly some simulators. After 2 years I decided to try airlines dispatching. I earned the dispatcher certificate in Florida and shortly thereafter I was hired with a large regional airline. I liked dispatching but it was very stressful so I needed a break in Aviation. A year later Embry Riddle sent a flyer seeking Instructors. I applied and got hired there in Oct 98. I served as a ground and flight instructor, flight supervisor and re-wrote their checklists and standard operating procedures which they currently use. In May 2000 I interviewed and was hired with American Airlines as a 737 ground school instructor in Dallas TX and did that until I got furloughed in December 2001. I got hired with Higher Power Aviation a training center in Dallas TX that offers 737 and MD80 type ratings as well as jet transition courses. I started as a 737-200 ground school instructor then helped them seek FAA approval for the 737-800 course. I got typed in the 737 and now teach both ground school and simulator. During my career I collected airline operating manuals and studied them as well as had the opportunity to fly many different simulators including the Boeing 707 through 777, MD80/90, DC-10, L-1011, ERJ145 and BE1900. Over the years I have seen many changes in the training requirements and what it takes to get trough training in the airlines.

Favorite thing about flying:
The People. flying is just a frosting on the cake. I really enjoy flying above the clouds where the air is clear and clean.
Disadvatages of being a pilot:
Sometimes the schedule. Working on Holidays and from 12 to 4AM can get tedious.

What you would have done different:
Advice to aspiring pilots:
Learn as much as you can and make as many connections. Don't learn something just to pass a test. There is much more to know to be safe and competent. When I ride the jumpseat I learn something from each and every pilot. Take advantage of every resource and ask many questions. That's how I built my knowledge.
Problems encounterd along the way:
Some people may get into your way and discourage you. Don't let that get in your way. Have a secondary plan i.e instructing for an airline or dispatch. Anyone can lose their medical and have to make a sudden career change or face furlough.

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