Compass Sponsors 2017 Air Race Classic

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Image courtesy of Air Race Classic

Each summer, women pilots from around the country take to the skies for the annual Air Race Classic flying competition.  This four-day, cross-country race is considered the premier women’s air race event, and attracts an incredible caliber of pilots from a wide range of background and professions.

This year’s race, which ran from June 20-23, started in Frederick, Maryland and ended in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with 8 checkpoints in between. Teams must make flybys at each checkpoint en route to the final destination.

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Teams consist of a pilot and co-pilot, as well as up to two additional optional teammates to help distribute the flying.  A total of 46 teams competed in this year’s event, including 15 collegiate teams.  Teams may fly a wide variety of single or twin engine aircraft, with this year’s entrants flying planes ranging from Piper Cherokees and Cessna Skylanes, to Beechcraft Bonanzas and Cirrus SR20s.

The Air Race Classic is unique in that the winner isn’t the team that crosses the finish line first – in fact, the team crossing the finish last could be the winner.

Rather than racing against each other, teams race against a handicap speed assigned to their specific aircraft.  The object of the race is to have the actual ground speed (the horizontal speed of an aircraft relative to the ground) be as far over the handicap speed as possible.  The winning team is the one who beats their handicap speed by the largest margin, meaning that teams are essentially competing to see who can get the best performance out of their aircraft.  Since crossing the finish line first isn’t the objective, teams can fly around unfavorable weather conditions or even wait for weather to pass.

Compass has proudly played a role in this incredible event for the past two years.  In 2016, Compass sponsored a four-person team from the University of Minnesota Mankato.  Dubbed “The Wright Women,” the team was the school’s first ever Air Race Classic entry.

 

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This year, Compass was an overall sponsor of the race itself, as well as the post-race hiring fair for all racers.  “These women are hardworking, ambitious, and incredibly talented pilots,” explained Compass pilot recruiter Captain Lane Dulon.  “Pilots of this quality are exactly the type of individuals our recruiting team is looking for, which is why sponsoring an event like the Air Race Classic is such a great opportunity for Compass.”

If you’re ready to fly with the industry’s top talent, click here to connect with our pilot recruiters.

Hero Flight Attendant Puts Training in Action to Save a Life

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Hero Flight Attendant Keairra Moore

Compass flight attendant Keairra Moore was in the baggage claim area at LAX recently when she heard someone screaming for help.  A man in his early 60s was laying on the ground, his face and fingertips blue.  He had stopped breathing.  In the moments that followed, Keairra’s flight attendant training saved the man’s life.

Compass flight attendants must be prepared to deal with any type of emergency that they may encounter during a flight.  Before a Compass Flight Attendant is released from training, they must first undergo weeks of preparation that includes emergency equipment operation, self-defense, and life-saving techniques, including CPR.

While other passengers in the vicinity pulled out their cell phones to call 911, Keairra says that her instincts and training took over.  She asked another employee to find a defibrillator to re-start the man’s heart, while she started CPR chest compressions and rescue breaths.  She did CPR for around five minutes, until the other employee arrived with a defibrillator.

After the defibrillator was connected, the passenger regained consciousness.  Keairra kept him calm until the paramedics arrived, and even had the presence of mind to check and see if the passenger had any medications so she could have them ready for the paramedics.

“Keairra did a great job of calmly taking command of a stressful situation,” said Compass Inflight Supervisor Nicole Miller.  “The entire Compass family is so proud of her actions, which undoubtedly saved this man’s life.”

Compass Flight Attendants Prepare for Medical Emergencies at 40,000 Feet

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Compass Inflight Instructor Shelle Gustafson had the opportunity to listen in on MedAire calls from around the world at MedAire’s global response service center in Phoenix.

To the average passenger, it may seem like a flight attendant’s main responsibilities are serving drinks and demonstrating how to use the seatbelt properly.  However, there’s a lot more to it than that – flight attendants must also be prepared to deal with any emergency they may encounter during a flight.  Before a Compass flight attendant is released from training, they must first undergo weeks of preparation that includes emergency equipment operation, self-defense, and life-saving techniques, including CPR.

One of the most stressful situations that a flight attendant can face in the air is a passenger experiencing a medical emergency.  Flight attendants must stay calm and administer emergency medical treatment until the passenger stabilizes or until the flight is able to land.  If a passenger takes ill in the air, flight crews contact MedAire, an emergency response service that provides medical guidance remotely.  MedAire gauges the severity of the situation and advises the crew how to react – some passengers may only need fluids or oxygen administered, while more serious emergencies may justify diverting the flight.  Should a diversion be warranted, MedAire works with Compass pilots to determine where the flight should divert to, based on the passenger’s medical needs and the aircraft’s location at the time.

Compass Inflight Instructors like Elizabeth Blair are responsible for preparing student flight attendants for medical emergencies that they may face on the job.  Recently, Elizabeth and other Inflight Instructors traveled to Phoenix, where they spent two days receiving advanced training, as well as studying CPR and first aid, with MedAire emergency response experts.  While in Phoenix, the team also had the opportunity to observe MedAire’s global response service center, where communication specialists, emergency physicians, and nurses respond to inflight calls from around the world, ranging from minor to major medical emergencies.

The training highlighted just how important it is for Inflight Instructors to stay current on the most up-to-date emergency medical procedures – even an experienced Instructor like Elizabeth learned something new.  “I learned that there is a specific CPR position called airplane CPR,” she said, “which should be used when CPR is being given in the aisle of an airplane.”  Elizabeth found the training to be immensely valuable, and went on to remark

“As flight attendants, we must be empowered to make the best possible decisions when it comes to our passengers’ safety.  This training has enhanced our ability to do just that.  We are looking forward to incorporating what we learned into our flight attendant training program.”

If you love to travel, have exemplary customer service skills and stay cool under pressure, becoming a flight attendant could be a great fit for you.  Visit our website to learn more and apply online.

Compass Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of First Revenue Flight

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Compass’s original “fleet”

On this date in 2007, Compass’s first revenue flight took off from Washington-Dulles, bound for Minneapolis.  At that time, our fleet and route map looked quite a bit different than they do now.  From April through August of 2007, our “fleet” consisted of just one CRJ200 that flew two daily round trips between IAD and MSP.

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The original Compass route map

That lone CRJ200 was our entire fleet, until the E175, the aircraft that would become synonymous with the Compass name, came online in August of 2007.

In a message to employees to mark the 10-year anniversary, President and CEO Rick Leach outlined the remarkable growth that the company has seen in just 10 short years.

“That sole CRJ200 with just two daily round trips has grown into a fleet of 56 Embraer 175s operating over 280 daily departures to over 40 destinations.  We’ve transitioned from flying exclusively as Northwest Airlink/Delta Connection to serving two codeshare partners.  Our 2015 partnership with American Airlines to operate 20 new Embraer 175s increased our fleet size by 47% in less than a year, and resulted in a 36% increase in passenger traffic between 2015 and 2016.  We’re 2,000+ employees strong, and on track to carry over 6.5 million passengers in 2017.  Not bad for one of the youngest regionals out there!”

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The Compass route map today

To commemorate the big anniversary, special employee events, including cookouts and luncheons have been held system-wide over the past month.  The anniversary events will conclude with a gala event in Minneapolis at the end of May.  There are 43 founding members of the Compass family still working with us, and Rick Leach is looking forward to thanking each of them for their contributions to our airline.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

Compass Flight Attendants Spend Vacation Giving Back

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Compass flight attendants Judy Champa and Sarah Perdue

This spring, two Compass flight attendants spent their vacation time doing something decidedly different than relaxing on a beach or catching up on sleep.  Judy Champa and Sarah Perdue used their vacation time to travel to Guatemala and help build a house for a family in need.

Judy and Sarah traveled to Guatemala as part of the God’s Child Project, a non-denominational initiative dedicated to fighting poverty around the globe.  God’s Child’s work in Guatemala includes the Dreamer Center in the city of Antigua, which provides health care, education, and crisis intervention services to the local population, as well as Casa Jackson, a hospital that cares for severely malnourished infants and children.   God’s Child also operates a homeless shelter, an orphanage, a drug treatment center, and numerous other educational programs for impoverished children across Guatemala.  Volunteers from all over the world travel to Guatemala to help God’s Child provide services ranging from feeding and rocking babies, to teaching orphans and building homes.

Judy and Sarah were part of a team of God’s Child volunteers tasked with building a home for a family, who was at the time, living in a hut made of sugarcane stalks with a dirt floor.  It took a lot of hard work, but the team was able to finish the family’s new home in just three days.

On day one, the volunteers dug a trench for the house’s foundation, which was made of three layers of brick and mortar.

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On day two, wood was cut to frame the house, and volunteers mixed and poured concrete for the floor.  “All tools were powered by pure muscle,” Judy said.  “Mixing concrete by hand is an arduous job but well worth it – a concrete floor versus a dirt floor can cut disease by up to 70%,” she added.

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On day three, the volunteers put the finishing touches on the house, including the signature blue paint that identifies houses built by the God’s Child organization.  A door and window were installed, as well as gutters to guide the rain away from the new home.

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“Turning over the house was quite emotional for the family, as well as for volunteers,” Judy said.  “The family presented each volunteer with a handmade card expressing their gratitude for their hard work.”

In addition to building the home, the volunteers took advantage of their time in Guatemala to tour the local God’s Child facilities, including the Dreamer Center and Casa Jackson.  They also distributed clothing to about 200 families (clothing for donation is brought by the many volunteers in their checked bags), and served dinner to the homeless at the project’s Santa Madre Homeless Shelter.

Both Judy and Sarah plan to return to Guatemala next March, and encourage anyone interested in volunteering to join them.  International volunteer work is a great fit for airline employees, as most organizations require volunteers to pay for their own airfare.  Sarah and Judy used their flight benefits to fly to Guatemala, and each paid just over $50 each way.  Judy flew on American (RNO/LAX/MIA/GUA), while Sarah flew American on the way there (DFW/GUA), and Delta on the way back (GUA/ATL).

To learn more about how you can get involved with this worthy organization, please visit godschild.org.

Meet Tech Ops Superstar and Aspiring Commercial Pilot, Tatyana Gogova

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Tatyana Gogova, superstar employee and future commercial pilot.

Our Tech Ops team works tirelessly to ensure that our operation is safe, efficient, and on-time.  An invaluable member of that team is Los Angeles (LAX) Maintenance Base Administrator, Tatyana Gogova.  Recently Tatyana was the recipient of a Compass Airlines “Above and Beyond” award for going beyond what her job requires of her to provide outstanding service to her co-workers.

“Tatyana is pivotal to the functionality of the LAX Tech Ops team,” remarked Bo Curtis, the Director of Quality at Compass.  “She works tirelessly to ensure that our mechanics are shielded from distractions so they can focus on providing the best possible product to our passengers.”  In addition to ordering mechanic uniforms and handling payroll for the Compass LAX maintenance group, Tatyana also helps recruit new mechanics and assists with interviews.  Additionally, Tatyana has voluntarily undertaken the monumental task of coordinating Los Angeles Airport SIDA badges for Compass employees that need them.

A Security Identification Display Area badge, or SIDA badge, gives employees access to the secure side of the airport, as well as the ramp area.  SIDA badges are very tightly controlled, and each SIDA badge that is issued requires multiple appointments with LAX airport authorities, as well as extensive paperwork, training and a background check.  If a Compass employee needs a LAX SIDA badge, Tatyana walks them through the process, start to finish.

“It’s complicated,” Tatyana admits.  “I make an appointment for each applicant to go to LAX to and have their fingerprints taken, and then they must wait for clearance.  Once an employee is approved, I train them on what their SIDA badge allows them to do.  I then set up another appointment for them to actually receive their badge.”  Tatyana does all this not only for Compass LAX maintenance employees, but for all Compass employees who need a LAX SIDA badge.

Given the extent of her efforts, it’s no surprise that Tatyana was nominated for an Above & Beyond award.  When she found out that she had won in the Tech Ops category, she was surprised and excited, remarking,

“It was amazing, and I was super surprised!  But it’s easy to work with people when you’re friends. Our work is very critical, but no matter how much we have to do, it always goes smoothly if we all get along and understand each other.”

Originally from Bulgaria, Tatyana speaks four languages, including English, Bulgarian, Russian, and Arabic.  In her free time, Totyana loves to travel, which is what led her to pursue a career in aviation.  An airline employee to her core, she loves to use to use her travel benefits, and in her free time, she’s usually on a plane.  In fact, she loves being in the air so much that she recently started working on her private pilot’s license, and hopes to fly commercially in the future.

With her incredible work ethic and genuine love of flying, Tatyana represents the values that drive us as a company.  We have no doubt that she’ll achieve anything that she puts her mind to!

Compass Pilots Witness Start of Historic Iditarod

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Compass pilots Chad Rabinowitz and John Burris

With a route map stretching from coast to coast and into Canada and Mexico, working for Compass can equate to some pretty incredible sightseeing opportunities for our crew members.  This month, two of our pilots, Chad Rabinowitz and John Burris, took advantage of an overnight layover in Fairbanks, Alaska to catch the start of the iconic Iditarod dog sled race.  The famed event usually starts in the town of Willow, Alaska, after a ceremonial start in Anchorage, but poor track conditions required organizers to move the start to Fairbanks for only the third time in the race’s history.

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The 1,000 mile race commemorates the 1925 “Great Race of Mercy,” when sled dogs brought desperately needed diphtheria medication to the Alaska town of Nome.  A diphtheria outbreak  had exhausted the town’s supply of anti-toxins, and the closest medication was over 500 miles away in Anchorage.  As blizzard conditions and frozen harbors made it impossible to deliver the serum by plane or ship, sled dogs were used to transport the life saving medication to Nome.

“We couldn’t believe our luck when we found out that our layover in Fairbanks would coincide with the start of the most famous dog sled race in the world,” Chad remarked.  “The number of people who braved sub-zero temperatures to watch the 60+ teams start their 1,000 mile journey was a pretty incredible sight.”

As it turns out, Chad and John were on hand for the start of what would become an historic one-two finish.  Father and son duo Mitch and Dallas Seavey came in first and second, with Mitch coming in two and a half hours ahead of his son, Dallas.  In addition to becoming the only father and son duo to claim the two top spots in the same year, Mitch and Dallas are both the oldest and youngest winners in the event’s history.  At 57, Mitch is the oldest ever winning Iditarod driver.  Dallas holds the record as the youngest driver to win the Iditarod, having won it in 2012 at the age of 25.

Compass Hosts Delta “Kings Class” Fan Experience

 

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Delta Kings Class winners celebrate on a Delta Air Lines flight operated by Compass. Photo credit: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, and its “Kings Class” fan experience gives Kings devotees the opportunity to engage with the team and players in a whole new way. Kings Class elevates the game experience beyond the stands, giving pre-registered fans the chance to win behind-the-scenes access to games and special events.

Last week, over 100 enthusiastic Kings fans participated in the first Kings Class event of the season, a discussion and Q & A featuring two-time LA Kings Stanley Cup Champion Jarret Stoll and LA Kings alumni Daryl Evans, Derek Armstrong and Jaroslav Modry.  The hockey legends chatted with fans, shared stories about their playing days and discussed the current season.

Four fans at the event were randomly selected for the event’s ultimate prize – a trip to Denver the very next day to watch the Kings take on the Colorado Avalanche.  The total prize package included round-trip, First Class air travel to Denver for each winner and a guest, as well as overnight hotel accommodations and limited edition, Kings-branded Tumi luggage.

The lucky fans, accompanied by Jarret Stoll and Daryl Evans, headed to Denver bright and early the next morning, on a Delta Connection flight operated by Compass. The entire First Class cabin was reserved for the group, and special Kings swag was waiting on each of their seats.

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The fans were greeted by an excited Compass crew, all sporting Kings lanyards for the occasion.

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After an on-time departure, the group flew to Denver in style, where they cheered on the Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche.

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The next Kings Class event will be on March 30, and the next Kings Class trip will be to a Vancouver Canucks game on March 31.  Click here to register for your chance to be a part of it.

Compass First Officer Defies the Odds

Becoming a commercial airline pilot requires a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication.  No one knows that better than First Officer Marlon Dayes, whose journey to the Compass flight deck was fraught with challenges.  “Whenever I tell other pilots about how I got here, a lot of them get emotional and express how proud they are of me,” Marlon says.

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Compass Airlines First Officer Marlon Dayes

Marlon was born in Jamaica, where he was raised by a single mother.  “We didn’t have much, but my mother always told me to believe, because we would find a way.”  When Marlon was five, he took his first airplane ride to the United States.  The pilots showed him the cockpit, and he was hooked.  He was going to be a pilot.  He would find a way.

Six years ago, Marlon moved to the United States, where he hoped to find a better life and study aviation.  Eventually, all of the pieces fell into place, and he was given the opportunity to study aviation at Florida Institute of Technology.

“At first, I struggled to find the finances for school, but many miracles and blessings fell upon me, allowing me to receive world class aviation training.”

After finishing his degree in Aviation Management with an airline pilot focus, Marlon reached ATP minimums by working as a flight instructor at FIT Aviation, LLC, a flight school affiliated with his alma mater.

When the time came to apply for a commercial airline job, Marlon knew that he wanted to fly the Embraer 175, which made his decision to interview with Compass an easy one.  Now he’s a Los Angeles-based First Officer, flying the Embraer 175 in some of the world’s busiest air space.  As a new commercial pilot, one of his biggest challenges was learning to follow Air Traffic Control’s speed assignments, then slowing down quickly and configuring for landing.  “Flying commercially has taught me to plan way ahead, as well as to think and react faster,” he remarked.

One of the things about Compass that impresses Marlon the most is its commitment to safety.”It’s in my DNA now to always make safety my number one priority.  The safety culture at Compass is amazing.”

While Marlon admits that it was challenging to adjust to the Embraer 175 after flight instructing in a light twin engine aircraft, his fellow pilots have mentored him every step of the way and are committed to his success.

I’ve had very good mentors. Compass is my first real crew environment, and I’ve been blessed to fly with good Captains that value teamwork, as well as my input.  Starting my flying career here at Compass has been nothing short of a dream come true.”

Passenger Blown Away by Kindness of Compass Flight Crew

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Kind-hearted Compass Captain Seth Dunmyer.

We received the below note from one of our passengers, who was blown away the kindness she was shown by a Compass crew on a recent flight.  The passenger had received the worst possible news – her mother had suffered a stroke, and had only hours to live.  She desperately wanted to get from Los Angeles to the hospital in Houston in time to say good by.  However, her flight to Houston was delayed because another passenger was experiencing a medical emergency.  She told a flight attendant about her situation and hoped for the best.  As she relays below, the personal response that she received from our flight crew during the delay was beyond anything that she had ever experienced.

On December 3 of 2016, I received a phone call letting me know that my mother had less that 24 hours to live.  She had suffered a severe stroke and it was imperative that I go to Houston immediately.  I made my way to LAX and boarded the first flight I could get. We had left the gate and were taxiing toward the runway when a passenger took ill.  It was decided that they should be taken off the plane.

I wrote a note which I gave to the flight attendant explaining that I understood about the emergency, but if there was any way to expedite the process, I would appreciate it as every minute counted.  What happened next was so kind, touching, and heartfelt, that it has brought endless tears to my eyes … and those same tears to the eyes of everyone with whom I’ve shared this story.

A pilot came and spoke with me directly, introducing himself as Captain Seth Dunmyer. He thanked me for my patience and told me that they were doing everything they could.  Shortly after that, a flight attendant asked me to come with her.  She wanted me closer to the exit door. She took down my bag and I followed her to my new seat in First Class.  I was given a box of tissues and made to feel comfortable.  Once safely in the air, I was given a handwritten note. I would like to share with you the contents of that note:

Carol,

My name is Seth Dunmyer. I am your Captain on your flight this evening to Houston. First off, I want to thank you for your understanding and patience during the delay we experienced on the ground in Los Angeles. The passenger was in need of medical care according to an on board physician, and was unable to continue to Houston. Thank you again!

I also want to express my condolences to you and your family as you are all rushing to be by her side in the hospital. I promise you we are going to get you there as safely and quickly as possible.

I am not sure if you are a person who believes in God or not, but in these times … I wanted you to know that I have already said a prayer for your mother, and I do believe he will be looking over her. I believe I can speak for the entire crew in wishing the best for you, your mother, and your family as you all deal with this difficult situation.

With Deepest Sympathy,
Captain Seth Dunmyer

If we’re living in a world where acts of kindness will have increased value, Captain Dunmyer and his crew have taken that to heart.  No amount of advertising, PR, well-placed articles, or high-end videos can begin to compare to the profound heart and soul of the words and actions of Captain Dunmyer and his American Eagle crew.

Congratulations to you, and all the men and women at American Airlines, for the magnificent company you’ve created.

By the way, Mom is still with us. We are calling her Miracle Mary. Thank you for your prayers, Captain Dunmyer.

When asked what compelled the crew to show such compassion to this passenger, Captain Dumnyer replied,

“Carol was a person in need of support in such a tragic moment. We wanted Carol to know that her entire family was in our thoughts and prayers, and that we were going to make sure we got her to Houston to see her mother.”

We couldn’t be prouder of the kindness and humanity shown by these Compass employees.