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Faces of PSA: Meet Demetrius Ingram

Faces of PSA: Meet Demetrius Ingram

Name: Demetrius Ingram

Title: Captain

How long have you worked for PSA? I have been a pilot at PSA for approximately two years.

How long have you been in the airline industry? Where did you work before PSA? I’ve been in the commercial aviation industry for two years. I’m proud to say I started my career with PSA. I am a former Alaska bush pilot, where I operated aircraft in Alaska’s interior villages delivering government subsidized mail, freight, food, medical supplies and passenger transportations - often to villages and rural areas of the state where air travel is the only option. After that amazing experience, I moved back to my home city, Los Angeles, where I flew Lear jets and worked in the private jet transportation business.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: My primary and ultimate responsibility for being an airline captain here at PSA is to ensure that every flight is operated in the safest manner possible. With well-trained first officers, our amazing flight attendants, air traffic controllers and company support staff, we work in a collaborative effort to ensure our common goal for safety is always achieved.

What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? One of the biggest challenges of the job is the decision-making aspect. Every day, we operate high-technology, advanced aircraft in some of the busiest airspace within the nation. And sometimes that includes the added complications of flying in some of the most complex and volatile weather. Working in this dynamic and constantly changing environment requires us to analyze every situation carefully and make precise decisions swiftly. Some of the decisions we are faced with aren’t easy ones. Thankfully, with our exceptional flight training program here at PSA, and years of flying experience, I’ve collected the tools needed to make those complex decisions. 

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? One of my top picks has to be Lima, Peru. Filled with genuine people, rich culture, amazing food and amazing landscapes, such as “Machu Picchu,” it has become one of my favorites.

What does it mean to you to be an African American in the aviation industry? Having the opportunity to be an African American in this industry means the world to me. Understanding how small of a percentage African Americans, and minorities in general, there are in aviation, it’s genuinely fulfilling to know that I am helping to make a difference. Whether it’s walking through terminals and having parents ask me to take a photo with their children, being able to bring kids into the flight deck and watch their awe, or going back home to the inner-city and showing the people I grew up with and kids who are living there, what I’ve become. Being a minority in this industry has allowed me to inspire so many more people than I could ever imagine. It paints a new reality for people who once thought was unattainable. It gives so many people encouragement and the motivation to pursue a career in this industry as a minority. I am happy to be an African American in this industry and wear my uniform with pride.

Tell us about being the youngest captain at PSA: It’s really awesome. I’m very honored and privileged to be able to be in this position. I’ve dedicated the last 13 years of my life to aviation and flying, so it means a lot to be able to see all the hard work, dedication and commitment pay off.

What are some of your hobbies? Outside of flying, filming and photography are two of my biggest hobbies. Whether it’s renting a small airplane with friends to go on a fun flying/camping trip or a spontaneous road trip, I love bringing my camera with me everywhere I go to capture and document all the fun.

What do you love about working for PSA? I absolutely love the people here. Being able to fly airplanes for a living is definitely enjoyable, but I honestly believe it’s the people you work with that make or break any job. Some of my most memorable and exciting moments working in this industry have been right here at PSA.

Would you recommend PSA and why? I would definitely recommend PSA. Being from Los Angeles, many people ask me why I chose PSA and not another airline closer to home. There are many reasons why. When looking at it from both a quality-of-life and career-progression standpoint, PSA was the perfect fit for me. This airline is growing so fast and that works in favor of a pilot who’s looking to enhance his/her quality of life. Within eight months of being hired here, I was able to hold a line and have full control of all the days I needed and wanted off. The upgrade time here is lightning-fast as well, which is great for people who are looking to take that next step in their career. Also, being a wholly-owned regional of American Airlines with our flow-through agreement gives us a guaranteed future at a major airline.

What you do like about your base? I love being based in Washington, D.C. Being on reserve, there are parts of the week where I find myself sitting around waiting to be called in to fly if needed. Because of this, it gives me a lot of free time. Having the ability to be based in D.C. is perfect because it’s a great place for adventuring and exploring while I sit on-call for potential trips. The city’s public transportation system is efficient and allows me to tour and explore the city on foot. It’s also very diverse in culture, so there are many food options, great places for running and tons of museums to visit.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: As a Captain, we tend to consider ourselves more as “managers” than “pilots.” While we do operate and fly the aircraft, our job responsibilities and duties are much more complex and greater than that. Every flight, we make sure our first officers, flight attendants and customers are taken care of, monitor the systems of the aircraft, ensure the aircraft remains in an airworthy condition, are prepared to handle any abnormality or emergency, react to the changes of weather and constantly calculate fuel, all while doing our best to keep every flight on schedule for on-time performance and ensure every outcome of each flight is a safe one.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? My favorite part about being an airline pilot is the people - knowing we are transporting hundreds of people on a daily basis; allowing our customers to get to their family, friends, work, vacations and any other special events. Hearing the “Thank You’s” from the customers as they disembark the aircraft and being able to bring kids into the flight deck and watch their faces light up as they’re overwhelmed by all the displays, buttons and switches, is incredibly enjoyable. All of that while having the satisfaction of knowing I played a large role in getting them to where they wanted to be safely, is unmatchable.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I am a first-generation airline pilot.