The aviation students of The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) were given a unique opportunity to learn more about Envoy Air on November 11. Serving as a regional carrier for American Airlines, Envoy Air invited UNO Aviation Institute students to spend a day in Dallas/Ft.Worth, Texas visiting the American Airlines Ramp Tower at DFW, the American Airlines Integrated Operations Center (IOC), the American Airlines Flight Training Academy, the C.R. Smith Museum, and finally, Envoy Headquarters.
Time To Travel
The collegiate field trip started fairly early in the morning with a call time of 6:30am at Eppley Airfield. After acquiring our boarding passes, we proceeded to TSA, and to Gate 10. Just past 8 o’clock, our charter aircraft arrived, an American Eagle Embraer 145, operated by Envoy Air. The flight was operated by Captain Ken Orr and First Officer Justin Ingersoll who acted as our tour guides throughout the trip.
After arriving in Dallas-Fort Worth, Mathew Eggers took us to the American Airlines Ramp Control Tower. We were escorted up to the 10th floor where American Airlines aircraft are controlled while inside the ramp area. Supervisors, maintenance personnel, fuel representatives are also housed on this floor. From the viewing deck, you can get an incredible view of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport along with the Dallas skyline in the background.
The Newest Addition to American Airlines’ Campus
After viewing the tower, we were taken by charter bus to the American Airlines IOC. The American Airlines Integrated Operations Center is a new facility that houses dispatch, social media teams, the incident command center, staff offices and massive server rooms, just to name a few of the buildings functions. While at the IOC, we were told about the functions of the 500 plus employees who work on the floor, along with the functions of the incident command room and the actions that are taken place in the room.
After visiting the Integrated Operations Center, we had lunch in the American Flight Training Academy café. Following a short meal, we headed to the C.R. Smith Museum to view a documentary of American Airlines, as well as to spend some free time exploring the museum on our own.
The next stop was the Flight Training Academy, next door to the museum. The American Airlines Flight Training Academy houses flight attendant and pilot training. The massive building holds multiple full motion flight simulators and aircraft cabins and pools used for flight attendant training. American Airlines has at least one simulator for every aircraft the carrier operates.
Time to Visit Headquarters
Our final stop before heading back to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was the Envoy Headquarters. After what felt like an hour drive due to lovely Dallas-Fort Worth traffic, we arrived at the headquarters building. We were given a tour of the facility and had the opportunity to see a partial simulator in action and ask the recruitment staff questions. At the end of the tour, we were handed goodie bags filled with various items, all stamped with Envoy’s logo.
After we arrived back to DFW’s D terminal and cleared TSA, Envoy staff escorted us to our gate and sent us back on our way to Omaha, Nebraska in the hands of another great crew. We had another great flight apart from some light turbulence. After arriving at the gate, we said goodbye to the crew and called it a night.
Throughout this event, I learned a lot about how much man power it takes to keep an airline functioning on a daily basis, and just how large and concerning the pilot shortage is. If you ever encounter an opportunity similar to this event, I highly recommend doing so. Tours like these give you a different perspective on airlines. Now when I see an airliner, I will be reminded of all the hard work and effort provided by a countless number of people that are required to keep these great aircraft in the sky.
I would like to say a special thank you to Ken Orr and Justin Ingersoll, along with everybody from Envoy Air for giving the students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank Scott Vlasek and all of the UNO Aviation Institute for helping organize the event.