Worth the read?

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JCFindley
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Worth the read?

Postby JCFindley » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:54 am

It is an interesting event, but is it a good PS?


I acknowledged our departure clearance from Newark Liberty Tower as the Captain set the MD80 jetliner’s throttles for takeoff. The jet rolled down Runway 09 Left on its takeoff roll transporting the New Jersey Devils to an away game in Toronto. We accelerated to rotation speed and I made the procedural callout V1/rotate. The V1 part of the call indicated to the pilot operating the controls that the aircraft is past the point where we are assured we can stop in the remaining runway if the takeoff were aborted. The rotate part of the call is the queue to pull back on the controls lifting the aircraft into flight. The Captain pulled back on the controls but the nose of the aircraft did not rise. He reached full control deflection as the plane was moving 160 miles per hour and accelerating down the runway. Something was very wrong.

The Captain had the controls positioned correctly but they weren’t working. He slammed the throttles to idle and yelled abort abort abort. This meant he was going to try and stop the aircraft in the remaining runway instead of taking off. My life became very busy. I immediately called Newark Tower on the radio and told them we had an emergency and were aborting. This would keep another aircraft from landing on us and get the rescue teams rolling in case we went off the end of the runway. I then looked outside and started calling out remaining distance and our speed. “6000-150, 5000-140, 4000-130.” Newark Tower is radioing for more information but I don’t have time to respond. “3000-110., 2000-80” The aircraft stopped a thousand feet from the end of the runway.

Over the PA, I told the passengers and flight attendants to remain seated. I checked the temperature of the brakes. They were at 300 degrees and rising. I informed the Captain of the rising brake temperature. He stated that we would evacuate if they rose above 400 degrees. Above that temperature the danger of the plane catching on fire is greater than the dangers of evacuating passengers from an aircraft in the dark.

I then called the control tower and informed them that we had stopped and wanted the firefighters to continue their response and informed them of the possibility of the brakes causing a fire and that we may have to evacuate. I informed the passengers that we had a mechanical issue on takeoff and we would give them more information as it became available. The Captain informed the flight attendants what had happened using our direct communications line with them.

After fifteen minutes the brakes began to cool and the danger had passed. I contacted the control tower. I informed them that we no longer needed the firefighters and that we would like to move the aircraft back to the hangar. As the captain taxied the plane I called the airlines operation center and informed them of what happened and that they would need to make alternate plans to get the Devils to Toronto.

During the event there was no time to reflect on what had happened. After we had taken care of our passengers and signed the aircraft over to maintenance there was nothing but time. We spent much of that time explaining what had happened to our airlines operations and our union safety representatives and legal department. After hours of explaining every detail and satiating everyone’s curiosity I tried to sleep. I was exhausted but sleep would not come. My thoughts hung on how close we had come to death. The other runways at Newark Liberty are all shorter and we would have gone off the end had we been on any of them. Had we been taking off from LaGuardia we would have wound up in Flushing Bay. I thought about why I even flew for an airline. I had planned on going to law school after my undergraduate education but serving my country and the allure of flying Air Force jets had pulled me away from that goal. Flying military aircraft had been a dream of mine since I was very young but I had certainly never fantasized about flying for the airlines. Was the money worth the time away from my family? I questioned my career path and if I was too old to pursue another.

The next day the mechanics showed us a small screw that had caused our flight controls to jam. The aircraft had been incapable of flying. We received the Airline Pilot Association’s highest award for our handling of the emergency. I was at the top of my career but the doubts remained.

Over the following years I continued to question my career path. In 2008 the pilots employed by my airline were furloughed and replaced with less expensive labor. I decided that I no longer wanted to fly commercially. I took a job with a military contractor that would pay my bills. I considered going back to school but couldn’t fund it at the time. Earlier this year that changed; I was informed the Post 911 GI Bill had changed and my time activated with the Air National Guard would now qualify me for the benefit. While it has been a circuitous route, I believe I am exactly where I have always wanted to be.

Breezin
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby Breezin » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:54 pm

.
Last edited by Breezin on Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JCFindley
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby JCFindley » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:13 pm

Thanks breezin....

SaphirWhorf
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby SaphirWhorf » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:15 pm

I am by no means an expert but since I went through a lot of grief writing my personal statement and would not have completed it without a lot of help from many different people, I'll chip in so I can spread some of the love I've received.

1) I agree with Breezin: you need (to write) an introduction that is succinct and gives the reader an idea of why you're writing this statement. It will also, as Breezy says, guide your writing. As it stands, you don't really have an introduction.

2) Again, as Breezin says, military jargon is not that interesting. (Disclaimer: This is going to be brutally honest but my first readers weren't honest enough and I wasted a lot of time labouring through many drafts with the mistaken belief that the framework of my PS was ok, so I'm dishing advice to you as I would have liked it to have been dispensed to me.) In fact, contrary to your claim that it was an interesting event, I didn't think it was all that ; my eyes started to glaze over after reading the first few sentences in your PS. What may appear to be interesting to you may not be interesting to others. Of course, I may be an anomaly but who's to say that the admissions officer you meet won't think like me? I kept reading because I wanted to give you advice but if I were an admissions officer and your hard stats weren't good enough, I wouldn't try as hard.

Story-telling is not a bad thing if done right since it captures people's attention but do it in layman's terms: remember, you're not talking to a pilot buddy but to people who have probably never flown a plane. You need to think about your audience. Like MD080? I dunno what that is and don't really care. Still, you may have a geeky reader who may find this tidbit interesting so it's not a terrible thing to have. But things like "runway 09", "procedural callout V1/rotate", even "6000-150" are superfluous. Also, TMI. instead of explaining the whole V1 deal, just say something like "after clearing take-off with the control tower, we attempted take-off but the plane did not rise as it was supposed to."

3) Following this point, the PS is too long and complicated. It wouldn't be a bad idea to try and cut down the details. Again, this is brutal but you could probably cut out 70% of it and still be ok. I know, it sounds impossible. That's what I thought when I was writing my PS too. But it did work in the end. You really need to cut things out as well. You're at 888 words, which is about 3 pages double-spaced; many schools have a strict limit of 2 pages double-spaced.

If I were you, after the introduction, I would start out with being awarded the prize, then the problem that arose, how I was actively engaged in trying to solve the problem so I appear like a leader with good problem-solving skills (show, don't just state that you are XYZ), got me thinking about my career, then why law. Why law is not a requirement but it seems like you're a non-traditional applicant who has been out of school for some time and so it would be good to explain why law school and why now.

4) The thesaurus is your friend. "Information" and "informed" appear 10 times in your essay. If there isn't another replacement, then rephrase.

5) I feel like the last paragraph gives your statement a passive tone that is detrimental to your statement. It feels like law school is your fallback. Like everything else wasn't as you wanted it to be and then just because the bill was passed so hey, there's money now so I can go! It's all valid but maybe talk about trying different avenues to fund law school but failing at it (so you look pro-active) and then FINALLY the bill!

Again, I'm not an authority. If I've offended you in any way, I do apologise. These are just my thoughts and while I may be blunt, if this was my PS, these are the things that I would like someone to tell me. I hope my feedback has been useful and if you need more help, please PM me (as I may not check the forum again). Good luck!

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WannaGo
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby WannaGo » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:39 am

Hi JC,

I think we are going to be seeing a lot of each other! I think you have the makings of a great PS but it needs a little framework and polish.

For those of us who are able to understand what you're talking about, your story is facinating. For everyone else, they're lost. And if they're lost, they're bored. You're a pilot - by nature you're technical. The technical information you're sharing is taking valuable space for you to explain how this experience makes you the best law school candidate the ADCOMs have ever seen. Tell the story like you would to a 10 year old kid, something simple like -

"I acknowledged our departure clearance from Newark Liberty Tower and the Captain set the MD80 jetliner’s throttles for takeoff. As we ascended at 160 miles per hour, something was very wrong.

The Captain pulled back on the controls but the nose of the aircraft did not rise. He slammed the throttles to idle and yelled, “Abort! Abort! Abort!” My heart raced. I immediately radioed Newark Tower, who was requesting more information but I didn’t have time to respond. We immediately proceeded into emergency response.... The aircraft stopped a thousand feet from the end of the runway."

There's elements I've taken out that you may want to work back in, but do you see how it's much more simple? You have a really interesting story, if you don't mind me saying. Make sure you don't sell yourself short.

That said, by only focusing on this one story and not highlighting how your experience has prepared you for success in law school, I think you're missing an opportunity. I think you can tie in your Newark story, highlight skills not necessarily noted on your resume and add a line about why X university but it will take a little bit of work. Remember, the end result isn't just an interesting story - it's selling who you are to get to where you want to go.


Just my thoughts, for what they're worth.

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JCFindley
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby JCFindley » Thu May 03, 2012 10:52 pm

Thank yall for the input.....

For what its worth, I decided to send it in as written for the most part.

I was accepted at all the schools that got this PS. Two were within my numbers and the third I WAY outperformed my LSAT and GPA. I am sure my resume and other softs had far more to do with it than the PS so take that FWIW....

JC

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piccolittle
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby piccolittle » Tue May 15, 2012 3:53 pm

JCFindley wrote:Thank yall for the input.....

For what its worth, I decided to send it in as written for the most part.

I was accepted at all the schools that got this PS. Two were within my numbers and the third I WAY outperformed my LSAT and GPA. I am sure my resume and other softs had far more to do with it than the PS so take that FWIW....

JC

Glad it worked out for you, but what I'm wondering is why this post is dated earlier than the OP?

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stillwater
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby stillwater » Tue May 15, 2012 3:54 pm

piccolittle wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Thank yall for the input.....

For what its worth, I decided to send it in as written for the most part.

I was accepted at all the schools that got this PS. Two were within my numbers and the third I WAY outperformed my LSAT and GPA. I am sure my resume and other softs had far more to do with it than the PS so take that FWIW....

JC

Glad it worked out for you, but what I'm wondering is why this post is dated earlier than the OP?


There is this month called March and it comes before May.

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JCFindley
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby JCFindley » Tue May 15, 2012 7:25 pm

stillwater wrote:
piccolittle wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Thank yall for the input.....

For what its worth, I decided to send it in as written for the most part.

I was accepted at all the schools that got this PS. Two were within my numbers and the third I WAY outperformed my LSAT and GPA. I am sure my resume and other softs had far more to do with it than the PS so take that FWIW....

JC

Glad it worked out for you, but what I'm wondering is why this post is dated earlier than the OP?


There is this month called March and it comes before May.


LOL, thanks......

As an update the last of the schools I applied to got back to me with a waitlist... So, 3/4 schools that got this PS liked it I guess. I will be attending Fordham in the fall and withdrew from the waitlist at St Johns.....

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piccolittle
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Re: Worth the read?

Postby piccolittle » Tue May 15, 2012 7:54 pm

stillwater wrote:
piccolittle wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Thank yall for the input.....

For what its worth, I decided to send it in as written for the most part.

I was accepted at all the schools that got this PS. Two were within my numbers and the third I WAY outperformed my LSAT and GPA. I am sure my resume and other softs had far more to do with it than the PS so take that FWIW....

JC

Glad it worked out for you, but what I'm wondering is why this post is dated earlier than the OP?


There is this month called March and it comes before May.

Oops, wow, complete brain fail. I seriously looked back and forth at the dates a hundred times. :oops:




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