UND Today

University of North Dakota's Official News Source

The view from the jump seat: UND student interns at Delta Air Lines HQ

UND Aerospace senior Eikoh Hayashi finds his semester-long internship to be all he’d hoped for, and more 

UND senior Eikoh Hayashi, a Flight Operations intern at Delta Air Lines, stands in front of an Airbus A-350 Full Motion Simulator. Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

Editor’s note: Eikoh Hayashi is a UND senior pursuing Commercial Aviation. He is a transfer student from a public university in New York, where he had been studying neuroscience before coming to UND.

And today, he is a Flight Operations intern at the Atlanta headquarters of Delta Air Lines, having secured one of commercial aviation’s most sought-after internships. (Out of 441 applicants for the spring 2022 semester-long internship, only four were selected, Hayashi notes below.) 

In this Q&A, Hayashi answers questions from UND Today about his internship and time at UND. 

More about Hayashi: He transferred to UND in the fall of 2019 after realizing his passion for aviation, an event that took place when a pilot friend took him up on a fun flight.

He is originally from Japan and moved to New York about six years ago.

On campus, he is a member of the UND Honors Program, a resident assistant, the president/founder of the Japanese Cultural Association at UND, a Student Aerospace Advisory Council member, a UND Alumni Mentor Program member and a member of the Professional Asian Pilots Association.

From left, the spring 2022 Flight Operations interns at Delta Air Lines are Ethan Tidwell (Auburn University), Will Dodds (Auburn University), Ann Marie Petrone (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) and Eikoh Hayashi (UND). Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

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Q. How did you settle on UND, and on the Aerospace School?

A. I decided upon UND because UND is certified by the FAA to award the 1,000-hour Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (P-ATP) certificate. That certificate lets students start flying as a first officer for a commercial air carrier with just 1,000 hours, as opposed to 1,500 via another flight school, all while earning a B.S. degree.

UND has a reputable collegiate aviation program with great affordability and amazing training standards.

Q. Has your training lived up to your expectations? Any surprises (or exciting and relevant experiences) that you’ve encountered?

A. As all out-of-state students realize upon arrival, Grand Forks is a small city. The cold weather during the winter season is not something one can truly understand unless one experiences it. We get to fly in some of the harshest conditions that the United States has to offer, and I can say that my skills improved and that I have become comfortable flying at the edges of aircraft performance limits.

An exciting surprise I experienced was getting to view the Northern Lights while flying during the night. Not a lot of college students in the U.S. get to view these lights, much less in the air while flying a plane!

From his perch in the jump seat — an auxiliary seat on the aircraft’s flight deck — Eikoh Hayashi was able to watch Delta Air Lines flight deck procedures. Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

Q. What is the nature of the internship you’re currently involved in?

A. Delta Air Lines hires interns each semester in the Flight Operations department at the World Headquarters in Atlanta. This is a paid internship with added privileges such as standby travel anywhere in the Delta system.

Each intern gets assigned individual duties within the Flight Operations department.

Delta Flight Operations interns each will be assigned roles such as:

• Conducting simulator tours for various charities and high-value customers.
• Assisting Atlanta Chief Pilot’s Office.
• Auditing Charter Flight Operations.
• Processing Management Pilot applications.
• Assisting with the organization of training classes for Pilot Recruitment.
• Researching and publishing articles for the Chief Technical Pilot.

I am currently in charge of auditing charter flight operations. The charter department at Delta operates charter flights for different professional and college sports teams, VIPS/corporations and the military. I mainly work with teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, and I deal with the details of the charter flights from the minute they touch down until the passengers depart down the air stairs.

Something I am proud of accomplishing here at my time at Delta is successfully verifying and working on specific taxi and parking instructions given to the pilots and bringing the Team USA Olympic teams safely to and back from the Olympic Winter Games of Beijing 2022.

Karen Ruth, a UND graduate, Delta Air Lines A330 captain and a 2018 inductee into the UND Aerospace Hall of Fame, posed with Eikoh Hayashi for this picture. Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

Q. How did you learn about the internship?

A. I first became interested in Delta Air Lines after several UND alumni who fly for Delta visited our university and hosted a presentation about a pathway program that Delta offers to the students of UND. The level of professionalism that the presenters embodied immediately became my drive to work hard and research the company.

I learned about this particular internship program through the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences’  Jobs, Internships & Scholarships webpage. I did my research online and found out just how competitive this application is and asked my professor, student organization leaders and academic advisor for guidance on applying.

Q. Was the application a challenge?

A. Yes! The initial process called for submitting an application via Delta’s website and also turning in a current resume. I spent a long time working on my resume, and I did my best to make it perfect.

After an initial review of the application by Delta, I was selected to move forward to a quick interview and then onward to a final virtual interview session.  I spent a long time preparing for the interview and even asked for my friend’s help to conduct mock interviews at Roadhouse Cafe, a 24-hour diner loved by generations of UND students as well as the community.

When I was accepted into the program in November 2021, I found out that I was one of four interns selected out of the 441 applicants for the spring 2022 term.

Delta’s Flight Operations interns get a tour of the Detroit Chief Pilot’s Office. Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

Q. What are some of the amazing things you experienced during your internship program?

A. I have been blessed with the chance to be surrounded by successful pilots who are currently flying in the aviation industry. I get to see how pilots conduct their everyday duties, while I’m also learning how the airline industry operates from the inside.

Here are some of the things I got to experience at this internship that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise:

• Jump-seat on an aircraft and observe Delta Air Lines flight deck procedures (thank you, Delta!).
• Operate current Boeing and Airbus full-motion simulators.
• Learn about other departments, including Flight Safety, Operations and Customer Center, Technical Operations, In-Flight Service and Airport Customer Service.
• Make meaningful and valuable connections with people.
• Standby travel worldwide within Delta’s route network while off duty (Travel to Hawaii, Greece, England, France, Italy, Netherlands, etc.)

Standing with Eikoh Hayashi is his manager, Mike Galusha, general manager of Line Operations for Delta Air Lines. Photo courtesy of Eikoh Hayashi.

Q. Suppose you were talking to a roomful of UND Aerospace freshmen. What should they do to maximize their odds of winning a great internship?

A. To the current Aerospace students at UND, I’d say that an aviation internship is a life-changing experience. I highly recommend they do their own research, reach out to their academic advisors and professors for guidance and keep an open mind to taking a semester out of their college years to gain real-world experience.

Q. Is there anything that the UND Aerospace program could do to help ambitious students along?

A. The UND Aerospace program most definitely can help ambitious students by promoting internship experiences that current students have gone through.

I believe that the UND Aerospace program also could start an interview prep and aviation resume-building session. Most students never have had expert advice on how to draft a resume, and knowing the do’s and don’ts can make an application stand out from the rest.

If UND could provide a mock airline interview practice session, I think that also would highly benefit students. That way, students would be prepared when going into their first airline interviews, and stage fright would not be an issue.