We’ve all been searching for fun things to do during the pandemic, especially this winter. If you haven’t checked out virtual tours, it’s time. You can virtually visit The Louvre, The Great Wall, zoos, aquariums, rain forests, and countless places. Forbes put together their list of the 15 best virtual tours HERE. Of course, if your heart is set on aviation and aerospace, look no further.
There are many free aviation virtual tours out there and even some paid ones. Here are some of the free options options we enjoyed.
You can take a virtual tour of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Hover your mouse over the screen, and white arrows will appear on the ground telling you where you can go. You’ll see many different types of aircraft and spacecraft in the hangar.
You can also tour the National Mall Building, but unfortunately, this experience doesn’t include detailed information on the exhibits, and the displays are difficult to read.
It’s also worth noting that the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum frequently hosts events on Facebook and goes live to show off artifacts or discuss various topics.
As you would expect, EAA has many, many virtual tours featuring historic aircraft including a replica of the Wright Brothers 1911 Flyer Model B. You can enjoy the scenic trip through the Eagle Hangar or jump to popular aircraft. Scroll down the landing page to see your options.
Take a self-guided 360-degree tour of the museum. Blue arrows let you know which directions you can go. You’ll also see suggested areas of the museum across the bottom of the screen, allowing you to jump to a certain section. You can also zoom in and get a better look at displays or read the text. We wish all virtual museum experiences had this capability!
2020 continues to be a surprising and difficult year, and 2021 won’t be without challenges. With so much out of our control, it feels good to be able to take action and make a positive impact. There are many ways you can give back to others and your community this holiday season and throughout the pandemic. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Air Wisconsin Airlines is not associated with any of the organizations listed below, and we recommend that you research any organization yourself before getting involved.
Check in with the people you care about.
Traditionally, the holidays mean large indoor gatherings, something the CDC suggests we avoid for the foreseeable future. Following CDC guidance is important to protect yourself and your loved ones, but unfortunately, it can be lonely. Maintaining vital connections creates a support system, which is especially beneficial when things get rocky, like during a pandemic. Talk and share a laugh with family and friends, just do it virtually or while social distancing. If you don’t have FaceTime, anyone can sign up for Zoom and use it for free; just know that the free version limits meetings to 40 minutes.
Donate items to nonprofit organizations.
If you discover that you have clothes your kids grew out of last year or household items you don’t use anymore, consider donating them. Remember that the needs of nonprofits may continue to change during the pandemic. Be sure to check their website to see what items they are accepting and what they really need right now.
Volunteer while following CDC preventive guidance.
Many nonprofits need volunteers year-round, like local food banks or Meals on Wheels. Contact nonprofits in your area and ask how you can help. Also, during the pandemic, it’s best to avoid unexpectedly showing up to volunteer as new guidelines or capacity limits may be in place.
Another idea is to volunteer virtually. For example, you could help blind and low vision people complete tasks through BeMyEyes.com. This service is free to blind and low vision people and relies on volunteers. All you need is a mobile device to sign up.
Help community members in need.
Want to help someone, but not sure who needs it? Check Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center to see who needs help in your area or outright offer help. Picking up groceries for a housebound neighbor and leaving them at the front door is an easy way to make a difference.
You can also check out the Nextdoor app to stay connected to what is going on in your area.
Thank health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers.
No one has seen how ugly and devastating this virus can be more than health care workers and first responders. These and other groups of essential workers keep our communities functioning despite the pandemic. Express your gratitude by:
Recording a video with an uplifting message for someone who deserves it on your cell phone and uploading it to www.6ftcloser.com, a site encouraging recognition of everyday heroes.
Visiting your local hospital’s Facebook page and website. See if they are requesting certain items to help support frontline workers or if they have a program in place for the public to send messages.
Reaching out to essential workers you know and offering to drop off a meal, pick up groceries, or ask how to help them.
Making a yard sign or sign for your window. Turn this into a fun activity for the kids.
Being kind. Tensions can run high during times of stress. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can. Common courtesy goes a long way.
The biggest way you can help essential workers and the general public is by properly wearing a mask, social distancing, and following CDC COVID-19 preventive guidance. In doing so, you can alleviate the burden on hospitals by not unknowingly spreading the virus and not getting sick yourself. If fewer people became ill with the COVID-19 virus, health care professionals could better care for patients.
Helping COVID-19 patients.
As pointed out by the CDC, most people who become ill with COVID-19 can recover at home. Picking up medications or groceries and leaving them at the door are easy ways to help someone recovering at home. You could offer to watch a pet, allowing the person to focus more on themselves. Or, depending on where you live, winter weather means there are walkways to be shoveled.
You’ll also find many worthy charities on the web who help cover hospital costs for COVID-19 patients or help them in another way, but there are some scams too. Before donating money to any organization, read the FTC’s guide on how to verify a charity is legitimate at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity#.
Think about how you can use your passion for good.
Do you love reading? Start a virtual book club. Are you a yoga fan? Host a weekly yoga session on Zoom for friends who want to participate. Miss talking with your neighbors or colleagues? Start a weekly social hour and connect on Zoom or FaceTime.
How will you give back?
Every holiday season Air Wisconsin participates in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program in Appleton, Wisconsin, where our headquarters is based. Throughout the year, we match employee charitable donations, allowing us to positively impact many of the different communities we serve across the country and support the causes that matter most to our employees. We host blood drives and encourage employees to get involved in their communities. During a normal year, our company also participates in charity runs and events as a team.
Giving back can be done on a larger scale, but it can also be done within your social circle or your community. It’s all about connecting and making a difference. Right now, we could all use more positivity and support. If you choose to give of yourself, you’ll create moments of joy for yourself and others.
Break out the crayons or markers and bring all of the warm, inviting colors of fall to life on our new coloring pages. Print each design separately, or print the page featuring all four of our fall-themed designs.
Reinforcing our focus on safety, Air Wisconsin Airlines created a new position at all of our maintenance bases—the Quality Control Manager—reporting to the Chief Inspector. This role focuses on the proper implementation of the processes outlined in the General Maintenance Manual as well as DOT, FAA, and other Company policies and procedures. Establishing this position in each base provides more support to Aircraft Inspectors and the Tech Ops team as a whole.
Having another person on the floor with extensive experience allows for more mentorship opportunities. Quality Control Managers use their years of experience inspecting aircraft in FAR Part 121 Air Carrier environments to coach Aircraft Inspectors. By passing on their knowledge, Quality Control Managers help sharpen their co-workers’ skills, making sure that expertise stays within the Air Wisconsin family.
Additionally, these managers contribute to their base in many other ways. Quality Control Managers help oversee work on the hangar floor, assist in building efficient schedules, and ensure the aircraft maintenance records at their base are processed timely and accurately. Additionally, they act as the department liaison with the DOT and FAA in local matters relating to airworthiness and regulatory compliance. Quality Control Managers also assist with internal and FAA audits, among other things.
We’re excited to add this new, impactful role to our Tech Ops team and look forward to finding the best candidates for the job. Learn more about qualifications HERE.
Last month we created aviation inspired coloring pages with you in mind. We’re happy to help keep your little future pilot or mechanic busy for a while, so you can finish that conference call. They were a hit!
Now, we invite you relax and indulge in some coloring of your own.
Spending more time at home can be challenging during the pandemic, especially if you have younger children. We wanted to help! If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids (or for yourself), check out our coloring pages.
We have four different designs below and a one page .pdf that combines all of the art to conserve paper. These were designed to fill an entire 8.5” x 11” page. You can select “fit to page” or “fill page” when printing for optimum results.
Be sure to share the masterpieces on social media and tag us @AirWisconsin or #AirWisconsin.
Technology Makes the Airline World Go Round: Celebrating the People Behind-the-Scenes
Imagine an airline employee. You are probably picturing a Captain sporting some aviators or a friendly Flight Attendant. Typically, you don’t think of all the people behind-the-scenes in various departments who contribute to a smooth operation like Information Technology. This team plays an important role at Air Wisconsin. There’s no question that technology has immeasurably changed our daily lives and enhances the way we work by solving problems and making tasks more efficient.
Some tasks seem simple, but have a far reaching impact. Air Wisconsin’s Network team blocks about 33,000 spams emails from reaching employees every single day. In 2019, our Help Desk created over 2,300 tickets to help solve over 2,300 problems.
Whether it be for Finance, Human Resources, Benefits, or another department, I.T. supports applications and programs employees use daily—that’s over 100 different products company-wide. Plus, you’ve got all the hardware like computers, fax machines, phones, etc. Technology also specifically impacts our crewmembers in numerous ways.
If you ever think about flying for Air Wisconsin, H.A.W.K. will likely be the first piece of software you see. H.A.W.K. or Hiring Aviators With Knowledge is a custom application created by members of our software development team to help make the pilot recruiting process better. This iPad friendly app makes it easy to gather information about interested candidates at events and follow their progress through the entire recruiting process. Our recruiters don’t miss the days of having to keep track of hundreds of tiny paper forms.
Every Air Wisconsin pilot is given an iPad during training that they continue to use on the line instead of carrying around bulky paper charts. I.T. offers around the clock support 365 days a year to ensure the Flight team has the tools they need to keep our operation running smoothly and safely.
Flight Operations and I.T. created and support custom ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) functions. Pilots use ACARS to send short messages between the aircraft and SOC or ground stations. The addition of these custom functions let Air Wisconsin automatically capture and report data to help make smarter, more efficient choices. Plus, I.T. oversees a suite of products to manage crew planning and flight tracking as well as the integration process with United’s I.T. systems.
Our crewmembers also regularly use an application called Crew Self Service or CSS. Flight Attendants and pilots can easily check their schedule, get flight details and hotel information using our mobile friendly app. Plus, CSS allows messages to be sent to all crewmembers at once.
Beyond that, some members of our Information Technology team are focused on process improvements, strategic planning, or helping other departments find the technology solutions that best meet their needs. I.T. professionals may not immediately come to mind when you think of airline employees, but they contribute to our airline’s success every day.
Explore all of our career opportunities or learn more about us at www.airwis.com.
Our team at Air Wisconsin is as invested in your pilot career as you are. We want to set you up for success as a Part 121 pilot. Our thorough training program gives you the foundational tools you will use throughout your professional career. Instructors take you step by step through the training process as they tailor their teaching method to you as an individual. Our team will go out of their way to help you, but you also have to do the work and meet us half way. Here are some tips from our lead instructors on things you can do to help yourself be successful in training.
Use Your Apps
Every new pilot is given an iPad with apps to help you practice important tasks. Many of our applications are developed in-house at Air Wisconsin. The “Button Trainer” is a digital replica of our aircraft cockpit that is available to pilots. This app allows you to explore the cockpit and learn the functionality of all the buttons. This a great tool to use to prepare for your check ride!
The ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) Simulator lets you familiarize yourself while navigating through the system, sending and receiving messages, and pushing buttons that respond to your touch and request.
You also have access to all of Air Wisconsin’s applicable navigation and approach tools on your iPad.
The importance of communication and team work cannot be overstated. Crew Resource Management (CRM) is a technique where authority can be respectfully questioned when a First Officer disagrees with a Captain. Practice this technique in small group study sessions in person or even on the phone.
Prepare for the Day
Taking some time to look over the lesson before you walk into the classroom puts you at an advantage. You’ll be ready to ask questions to help you better understand the material.
If you’re unclear about something, ask a question. If you’re still not sure, ask a follow up. The lead instructors agree, you cannot ask too many questions.
Create a Study Aid
Flashcards can be a very useful tool to help you during initial training and even during continuing qualification events. You can practice by yourself or with a classmate.
Our training footprint is designed with little lag time in between classes to keep information fresh in your mind and your skills sharp. Take time to study every day, especially if you have time off at home.
We have also seen time and time again that classes who study together have a higher success rate overall. Take advantage of the conference room your hotel gives to Air Wisconsin pilots in training. Whether your study group is made up of a few people or your entire class, this space is available to you.
As a new hire pilot, you can seize the opportunity to jumpseat and see Air Wisconsin pilots in action. Ask your instructor for more information.
Listen to Live ATC
Anyone can listen to live Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications online at www.liveatc.net. This website is run by volunteers, so you may not be able to find a feed for every airport, but you likely will for hubs. You can learn a lot by listening.
We want every pilot to thrive at Air Wisconsin. We think of your journey through training as a ladder. Our instructors are right there with you for each step.
Becoming a commercial pilot is a fun, exciting journey and a long one that will require you to make some decisions fairly early on in the process. Ultimately, your goal is to meet minimum qualifications before you can fly for a commercial airline, but some pilots need more hours and some need less. A handful of factors will determine which path you are on.
Do You Want a Degree?
Whether or not you graduate with a degree from an approved, collegiate-based aviation program, you can be a commercial pilot. Pilots who do not have a degree need to have 1,500 hours total time before flying for a commercial airline and must be at least 23 years old. These requirements are for an unrestricted Airline Pilot Transport (ATP) certificate.
Several factors may allow a pilot to start flying sooner and qualify for a Restricted Airline Pilot Transport certificate (R-ATP). Pilots who have their associate’s degree from an approved program with an aviation major can get their R-ATP with 1,250 hours, and those with their bachelor’s need 1,000 hours total time.
Military pilots qualify for an R-ATP with 750 hours at 21 years old.
What is Your Ultimate Goal?
20% of our pilot workforce will call Air Wisconsin home for the rest of their career. While we do not
require our pilots to have degrees, some U.S. mainline carriers prefer or require pilots to have four year degrees. If you dream of operating large aircraft one day, it’s a good idea to research the requirements for your mainline carrier of choice. It may influence your decision to get or not get a degree.
Air Wisconsin pilots have the opportunity to apply to United’s new pilot career program Aviate. While United prefers a bachelor’s degree, they will and have hired pilots who have other types of experience that they deem comparable.
How Do You Want to Build Hours?
Even if you graduate with a four-year degree and after you get your various required ratings, you will likely still have hours left to fly before you can meet minimums. This obviously isn’t a decision you need to make immediately, but as you progress along your journey talk to your instructors and peers to see what you can learn from their experiences.
Some pilots decide to become Certificated Flight Instructors (CFIs) and may even relocate to an area with more favorable weather to fly more and meet minimums faster. Many schools are looking for instructors and often hire students after graduation to come back and teach.
Others may begin flying for a Part 135 carrier. You might be operating a private charter or transporting cargo. There’s a good chance that you will fly in many different types of weather conditions in this role, which is great experience to have.
Since many other countries have lower total time requirements, sometimes pilots will fly overseas and build up the hours they need to work for an airline in the US.
To Sum It Up
No one size fits all path exists for a person who wants to become a commercial pilot. You get to decide which path is right for you based on your career goals.
You can find more detailed information on ATP/R-ATP requirements on the bottom of our Pilot page at www.airwis.com/pilots.
Find a list of FAA approved R-ATP eligible schools on the FAA’s website HERE.
Air Wisconsin has roots all over the country thanks to our employees. It’s part of our mission to give back to the communities where our team members live and work through various programs. During the holiday season, our company adopts a family or two every year through the Salvation Army at our headquarters, but it doesn’t stop there. Charitable giving occurs year round.
We want to help support the causes that matter to our employees. Air Wisconsin will match monetary donations to 501(c) (3) charities. This allows us to positively impact many different causes, both at the national level and ones that are local to our team members.
Teams Giving Back
When people volunteer their time to better their community, everyone wins. Air Wisconsin gives groups of employees the opportunity to spend the work day volunteering instead of in the office, hangar or airplane. Employees who have participated say it’s a rewarding way to spend the day.
Charity Golf Outing
This annual summer event is held near our headquarters to support the local The Boys and Girls Brigade youth center. Employees system-wide are invited to attend if they are able.
Our bases often take it upon themselves to put together drives or events that give back to the local communities throughout the year. In Milwaukee, our team held a school supply drive and collected items over the summer for children in lower income areas. Our team in Chicago adopted a stretch of highway near one of our crew hotels, and groups volunteer for clean up duty when the weather is nice. Our management team in Washington Dulles and some wonderful crewmembers worked with United to make a flight extra special for a Make-A-Wish child who was on the way to having her wish come true.
Thank you to all of our employees for helping us make a difference! If you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities available at Air Wisconsin, go to www.airwis.com/careers.