Q&A with Audrey Scully: Challenger 300 Fan & Flyer
In honor of the 24th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference later this week, the XOJET Blog is re-posting some popular profiles from last year’s series celebrating the great women who work at XOJET. Today, we’re excited to bring you an interview with Audrey Scully, co-pilot on the XOJET Challenger 300 super-mid-size private jet.
XOJET Blog: Audrey, tell us a little bit about you and your role at XOJET.
Audrey: I’m a co-pilot on the XOJET Challenger 300. I share the flight responsibilities with the Captain, but I also use it as a chance to learn, because he or she has many more hours of flight experience than I do. I joined XOJET in June of 2011 from Great Lakes Airlines, where I was a turbo-prop Captain.
XOJET Blog: How did you get started flying?
Audrey: My dad is a pilot. He’s a POI or Principle Operations Inspector for United, but he works for the FAA. He taught me to fly when I was 20. From there it was a pretty logical career path. I attended Metropolitan State College of Denver, where I became a part-time instructor. My last year there, we won the Loening Trophy for the best aviation program in the country.
XOJET Blog:What do you like the most about working for XOJET?
Audrey:It’s very family oriented here. XOJET really takes care of its people. If you’re having a challenge or something comes up, they really help you. They want you to succeed, because once you’re here, you’re part of the family. You’re not just a number.
However, the thing that impresses me most about the company is the overall customer service. They take care of every detail. We even have a duty officer, another pilot who isn’t flying that day, whom we can consult.
I think another impressive thing is how all the pilots are really hands-on here. We load the bags, plan the flight, and take care of the passengers. We have to be very personable because the passengers almost always want to talk to us.
XOJET Blog:What’s your favorite part of working for XOJET?
Audrey:That’s easy. I get to work on and fly a gorgeous piece of equipment. The Challenger 300 is so fast and it’s so smart. It has much better weather technology than anything I’ve ever flown. And it’s so technically advanced that it adjusts to the performance constraints.
I have to admit, I do still like flying a Cessna 152 because I can do spins and speed maneuvers that you just can’t do in a Challenger 300. Still, there’s nothing like arriving at work and seeing that gorgeous Challenger 300 waiting for you. Even if I had a bad commute, when I see that jet, I have to smile.
I also love the Electronic Flight Bag, or EFB, which is an iPad that XOJET gives you when you first start as a pilot. It has everything you need on it, including all of your route charts and manuals. The answer to any question you might have is right at your fingertips, and you don’t need to spread route charts across the cockpit. I like doing the calculations, and I can do them all on the EFB.
XOJET Blog:What’s the training like?
Audrey:It’s fire-hose training. You’re memorizing numbers as fast as you can. Pilots tend to be super-competitive, so everybody wants to be the best. A 90% just isn’t good enough. We did our simulator training in New Jersey. The simulator is actually harder than the real plane because the controls are more sensitive, which means you have to be more precise in your moves. But when you’re done, your reactions are much faster.
The most interesting part is that you’re certified to fly the jet when you leave the simulator. But XOJET adds an extra day of in-plane training so that you get the feel for the real plane before you start flying passengers.
XOJET Blog:Where is your favorite place to fly?
Audrey:Aspen. The scenery is stunning. You have to do a lot of visual flying there with your hands on the controls. You come out of the clouds much higher there, so you really have to be on your game to land there. Plus there are a lot of calculations to do with the weather. It’s also fun flying into the Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, and Anguilla. I did that trip seven times in one week.
XOJET Blog:So what do you do when you’re not flying for XOJET?
Audrey:I run a lot. If I can’t run outside, I run on the treadmill. Being a Colorado girl, I also love to get outside. Recently, I ran the Snow Dash at Echo Mountain. Basically you run up a ski slope that starts at 10,000 feet. This year, we ran it in a snowstorm, which was a little crazy, but a lot of fun at the same time.