Monday, April 29

first flight, first aid, and fighting bob

Week three. Almost halfway there. Thank God. This week was a little bit of a break compared to Emergency Management week. Our report times were a little later and we left a little earlier. We covered medical for two days, security for two days, an aircraft type, and then on Saturday, I had my first training flight!

My class after a session in customer service.

The medical section ranged from nausea/vomiting to life threatening medical conditions. If you know me, you know I love all.things.medical. I began on the track to nursing school last summer but due to a long series of events, God was clearly redirecting my path. So, it was nice to study medicine again, even if for a short time.

Ol' Stanley needed some serious resuscitation.

Next was security. Those two days were pretty intense. As you might expect, we discussed 9/11 and how that changed air travel in it's entirety. Reflecting on that day from the perspective of a flight attendant adds a whole new vantage point and is just truly heartbreaking. As I said last week, I pray that my class and I will never encounter any type of security related situation. On a lighter note, we briefly covered self defense. Enter: Bob. Bob is an angry passenger who has attempted to physically assault a flight attendant. Hint: don't try that. We have tricks up our freshly ironed sleeves to take you down.

My roommate with an unhappy Bob.

Friday, we covered three aircraft types. It was a long, stressful, 12 hour day. By the time I got home, I only had a few hours to study and prepare for my flight the following day. I was scheduled for a quick turn from Atlanta to St. Louis and back. This training flight is referred to as the OE flight. Essentially, it is required for all flight attendants to have an OE before the FAA approves you to become a flight attentant. It's huge. If you didn't pass Saturday, you were given a second attempt on Monday. If you failed again, you're sent home. On the flight, you sit with an instructor and go through a list of questions concerning door operation, emergency equipment, preflight checks, emergency situations, etc. You're really just proving to them that you know your stuff. After you finish, you're able to go and help out the crew with beverage service or whatever they needed. I was the first to sit with the instructor out of the two other girls in training with me and I'm happy to say, I passed!! It honestly wasn't as bad as I was anticipating, the stress of it all though was just incredibly overwhelming.

My OE instructor and the girls.

Being that our class flew on Saturday at different times throughout the day, we didn't have class afterwards. And my flight arrived back in ATL at 12:30pm! So I had the rest of the day to relax!! Woo hoo! They also gave us Monday off to prepare for our midterm on Tuesday. Not looking forward to that.

Overall, I'm grateful to have the flight done and can now move forward to the last half of training. 25 days to go!

*Sorry that my pictures have terrible quality! I used my phone for most of them and let's face it, my Droid has a crummy camera. 

Friday, April 26

emergency management

Afraid of flying? Yeah, well so am I after a good dose of Emergency Management week. Kidding, kidding. I still love flying, but I am now capable of evacuating an aircraft in under 90 seconds. (Can I have my wings now??) Emergency Management week is the hardest of all 7 weeks of training. It consisted of 5 tests and 2 practical exams. 6 days of at least 11 hours a day spent at the training center. Think you can rest when you get home? Think again. It's study time. And if you fail to maintain a 90% average, it's termination boulevard for you friend. Praise God, I can say I passed and am still here studying my little heart away.

We began the week going over the emergency equipment on each flight. Be not afraid of crashing in the Arctic...we have polar gear. Next, we covered water evacuations and different types of flotation we have available for passengers. Then turbulence—don't play. Smoke and fire emergencies—no smoking in the lavatories. Decompression—don your masks. Land evacuations—jump and slide. Emergency exits—arm those exits. Sea survival—uhh...good luck.

The fun stuff? We got to evacuate out of a training aircraft, down the slide! The slide is huge, and it looks higher from the aircraft door. Jump and slide, jump and slide. We also experienced a 'decompression' (there was no loss of cabin pressure thankfully) in the motion simulator. And we experienced smoke and fire emergencies in our mock ups. Saturday, we had our pool day. We evacuated into the water and deployed our rafts, climbed in, practiced drills, among other water sports (not really. I wish).

We also talked through different airline disasters such as the Tenerife airport disaster and the Miracle on the Hudson...and how to respond to and/or prevent these types of disasters in the future.

U.S. Airways Flight 1549

Disaster at Tenerife

These discussions really brought to life the seriousness and potential dangers of our job. I've heard of flight attendants being called 'waitresses in the sky' but when that plane is going down, you're going to be glad we were there. Our commands and evacuation plans are drilled into our heads so there's no question as to what to do in that situation. We got this. My prayer is that my class and I will never have to utilize the things we learned in Emergency Management week. to end a post filled with pictures of plane crashes? your flight attendants. Listen to your flight attendants. And remember that smoking is not allowed on any aircraft. Federal law prohibits tampering with, disabling, or destroying a lavatory smoke detector. Trust me, just say no.

Wednesday, April 24

delayed arrival

The airline industry can easily be a place filled with stress and chocked-full of confusion. This seems to be a good depiction of my life these past two and a half weeks. Flight attendant training is no joke people. I fully intended to publish blogs weekly (hence the reason for this blog) but there has been absolutely no time. So, to catch you up, here's an overview of the first week of training.

Arrival: Sunday, April 7th
My wonderful dad drove me to Atlanta on Sunday after a cherished time of worship at church. It was a teary goodbye between Kelly and I, but I quickly became distracted by the reality of what was to come. We arrived at my new, temporary home sooner than I expected, hauled my luggage in, and headed to Target. There, we grabbed some essentials and then sadly, he headed home. Later in the evening, I met my amazing roommate Ashley and we prepared for our first day of training! Here are some shots of the hotel :)

The first week was our Indoctrination week. Essentially, we covered Federal Aviation Regulations and what goes into a day in the life of a flight attendant. Training is 6 days a week ranging from 8-11 hours a day. The first week was intense but gave me a good idea of how to approach the coming weeks. Week two was Emergency Management week. The hardest week of training. Stay tuned for details on that ;)

Sorry again for the lack of posting. Hopefully with Emergency Management week over, I'll be able to post more frequently. Sending love from the ATL.

Tuesday, April 2

the profoundest of problems

As flight attendant training rapidly approaches, I'm reminded of all the ways in which the Lord has provided for me this past year. The blessing of this job is just overwhelming to me. The past year and a half has probably been one of the most difficult years of my life. With trials ranging from long-term illness to heartbreak, God was certainly refining me.

"And I will put this third into the fire,
   and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
(Zechariah 13:9)

In years past, facing these trials, I very well may have turned from the Lord. Chosen rather to trust in myself and my friends to get me through the difficulties. I praise God for this year, He has used the hardships to establish a firm foundation in Him. And I could not be more grateful...

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4) 

Friends, nothing will fully satisfy you aside from Christ. Not your career, family, friends, school, success, money, health, etc. All of these things are guaranteed to pass away, but the love of Christ is everlasting. Hear this beloved, through our sin, we have been separated from God.

"One sin unatoned for is as sufficient to damn the soul as one leak is to sink a ship." -Olaudah Equiano

We are corrupted by sin and have rebelled against a holy God. We are a self-indulgent, self-righteous people. We have turned away from the only One who can truly satisfy our souls. "God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, 'You go there,' and He says to the seas, 'You stop here,' and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator...until we get to you and I. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, 'no'."

David Platt, the pastor of the church I attend, says it best with his exposition on the justice of God. "Therein lies the problem, how can we be made right before an infinitely just God? ... God himself says that if you justify the guilty, if you say the guilty are innocent, then you are an abomination to the Lord. That's not good for us. Because that begs the question, if we are guilty sinners then how can God, who is just, say we are innocent? He would be an abomination to Himself in doing that! This is where we realize, God's forgiveness of our sins is a threat to His character. To His justice and His holiness. John Stott said "forgiveness for God is the profoundest of problems". You think about it, we have got to feel this tension. If there were a judge in a courtroom in our culture today and every guilty criminal who was brought before him, he said 'innocent' over and over and over again. Kept telling guilty criminals 'you're innocent, go free'. We would have that judge off the bench in a heartbeat. Why? Because he's not a good judge. That's not a just judge. And so then, how can God, a just judge, holy, perfect, pure, say to those who are guilty 'you are innocent'? This is setting up the tension that is in the center of the Bible. How can God justify guilty sinners?"

The answer? God is gracious. He shows the guilty free and unmerited favor. 

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
(Titus 3:4-7)

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people"
(Titus 2:11)

He not only spares the guilty what they do deserve, but God gives the guilty what they could never deserve. God does not require anything for you to earn His favor. Praise God that the grace of God has appeared and brought salvation for all people. There is restoration in God through faith in Jesus. We can be restored to God!! Turn from your sin and yourself, confess your sinfulness, and trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
(Romans 10:9-10)

I write this post because this is the overflow of my heart. While I may write blogs about being a flight attendant or friends or traveling, that is not what makes me who I am. If all of those things were to pass away, I would still be identified with Christ. I urge you to take seriously the state of your soul. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have concerning what I have written. The gospel is life changing beloved. It is life giving. Give yourselves to it and I promise you, you will lack nothing.