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My Swift Adventure- Columbus Academy

Topic 20224 | Page 1

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Roadpilot's Comment
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Well since I think because I'm the first one on TT to go through the Academy in Columbus, OH I'll go ahead a do a training diary.

Day 1 7/17 The day starts pretty early, 5am wakeup for a 630 shuttle over to the terminal. The Super 8 they have the students stay at is pretty decent, they have a continental breakfast that starts at 6 so that's pretty convenient.

Class starts at 7, there are only 6 of us starting this weeks , so its pretty laid back. Today was paperwork, death by PowerPoint and the drug test. I was told it would be a follicle test but it ended up being the standard urine.....I'm not worried either way.

After lunch we did log exercises, which for me are pretty easy since I've been driving coaches for the last 10 years. We have one guy who doesn't understand English that well, I think he's gonna be the one that gets dropped, he fell behind in each exercise we had today. After the a short break we pretty much just BS'd with the instructor about life at Swift and out on the road. One of the student's who is out with a mentor also stopped by and was able to give some insights into the program.

Overall it was a pretty chill first day, everybody made us feel at home and I feel confident that with some hard work they'll get us though and get our "A" s.

I'll try to update this everyday and if anybody has any questions I'll be glad to answer or get an answer for you

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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What's the name of the academy? I'm just west of Columbus, down 70 and I'm interested in having as many schooling options to consider as I can.

Lucky Life's Comment
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Swift 4141 Parkwest Dr, Columbus, OH 43228

Roadpilot's Comment
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Han Solo Cup, Lucky Life basically answered for me, Swift's Academy is at the Columbus terminal. If they accept you into the program then that's where you'll go

Day 2 7/18

Again another early start, one student missed the shuttle and walked in literally at 7am. If you get in late and don't call and let them know they can and will send you home. So you need to be very aware of the time, do not depend on your roommate to wake you up, as this guy's roommate waited until 625 to wake him up for a 630 shuttle. ****ish, yes but we're all adults so you have to be responsible. Another word on the shuttle, make sure you get on the right one, both Swift and Knight drivers stay at the same hotel and have similar pick up times....don't be like the guy that got on our shuttle when he needed to go to the Knight yard.

Moving along, today was trip planning and reviewing the pretrip.

My advice is to take time to study a road atlas, for the most part everybody got thru the exercise and testing ok (except for the one guy that has been struggling since yesterday). Personally I found it easy as they give you the formulas to use to figure out the time and distance calculations......Swift plans the loads at 50mph so with a 62mph truck you do have a bit of a cushion which I find comforting as a newbie.

After Lunch we went through the details of doing a pretrip. Tip about lunch, it's only 30mins so you don't have much time to go off campus to buy stuff so unless you brown bag it there is a pretty decent roach coach run by one of the instructor's wife. Prices are fair and the food is decent.

Like I said the afternoon was devoted to the review of the pretrip. Our instructor broke it down into sections and went into detail about what we are required to know and do. Study the airbrake test and have it down cold! Any mistake on that and it's an automatic fail so it's super important. We also did a review of the maneuvers we will be testing on and we had a short talk about shifting as there are a couple of us (me included) that are worried about that. We got dismissed at 530pm.....days at the school are 11hrs long 630am-530pm so its important to get good rest.

Tomorrow it's more pretrip review then out to the yard to start practicing on actual trucks.

See ya tomorrow!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Michael B.'s Comment
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Hi roadpilot, kind of a newbie in short worked factory 20 years in october will be going to swift school in columbus in january kind of glad to see someone posting about what to expect, look forward to reading them, will this also be your home terminal or is that somewhere else? thanks for any info you post.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Roadpilot's Comment
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Hi roadpilot, kind of a newbie in short worked factory 20 years in october will be going to swift school in columbus in january kind of glad to see someone posting about what to expect, look forward to reading them, will this also be your home terminal or is that somewhere else? thanks for any info you post.

Hey Mike, yes my home terminal will be Columbus.

Well onto Day 3 7/19 Today started in the classroom work. We took two more tests and unfortunately after the second test we lost the guy that was struggling. You have to maintain at least a 80% average and from what we heard his average was only in the 40s. He was a nice guy but there was a definite language barrier but he was also very passive. If you struggle here you have to be proactive to ask for help from the instructors. They are willing to help if you put in the effort but they aren't gonna hold hands either.

After the second test we watched a video on human trafficking. That definitely was eye opening and it's something I recommended every OTR driver to get educated on. Making a phone call can literally mean life and death for some of these folks.

After lunch we went out for the yard for our intro to pretrip. The instructor took us around and show us the pre trip and then we all went to our own trucks to practice. The trucks being used for training are 2013 Volvo's and they are well used but they get the job done. I actually like the setup in the Volvo's.....I kinda hope I can get one when I go solo. Overall I have the pre trip and air brake test down, I just need to work on the verbiage, my roommate and I quizzing each other so that will help.

That was day 3 in a nutshell. It was nice to finally get to work with the equipment. We still have 4 more tests to do but considering we'll be in the classroom all day tomorrow I'm assuming we'll get them out of the way then as we'll be back in the yard Friday for more pre trip work and straight backing

See ya tomorrow

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Roadpilot's Comment
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Kinda late doing the diary for yesterday, I crashed hard when I got back to the hotel so I'll just do two today

Day 4 7/20

Today was our last day in the classroom. The AM section was mainly bookwork and finishing the last 4 tests. To move to the range you have to pass the 10 tests with a 80% average, I got a 93.5% so I had a nice cushion.

The afternoon was mostly more PowerPoint presentations. We saw slides on the DriveCam, Life of the Road and some Hazmat info. We reviewed the backing manuvers that we'll be doing tomorrow and we got dismissed a little bit early.

Kinda glad the classroom stuff it done, the fun part starts tomorrow

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Roadpilot's Comment
member avatar

Day 5 7/21

First day on the range!

Today was VERY humbling. We got out there pretty early and started off doing pretrips and then we got to do the straight line backs. The first couple of times I had a very tough time with the clutch and rocked the cab pretty bad. I got so fustrated that I almost walked away right then and there but I stopped and cooled down and figured it out. After doing that for a half an hour we stopped and the instructor demostrated the 90 degrees (or alley dock) back and we all got to try. I was able to get into the "box" however it wasn't pretty between my sloppy clutch work and the amount of pullups I needed. Our instructor also demostrated the other backs, the parallel (driver side and blindside) and the offset. I spent the majority of my range time on the driver's side parallel, which I was doing reasonable well, getting into the box 4 times with minimal help and then everything kinda went to hell. I couldn't get lined up to save my life, I started getting aggravated so I decided to try the offset which I was ok doing to one side but not the other.

The instructor said our performance was typical of students on our first day on the range however we all left the range feeling pretty discouraged. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.....one can only hope.

See ya tomorrow

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

It takes a few to get the feel for the clutch pedal. After about a week you'll get the hang of it. On some maneuvers, just think about what you've done wrong and you should be able to correct. It's always good to sit and watch other people do the maneuvers then you can get a feel of how the trailer reacts to wheel movements. =)

Day 5 7/21

First day on the range!

Today was VERY humbling. We got out there pretty early and started off doing pretrips and then we got to do the straight line backs. The first couple of times I had a very tough time with the clutch and rocked the cab pretty bad. I got so fustrated that I almost walked away right then and there but I stopped and cooled down and figured it out. After doing that for a half an hour we stopped and the instructor demostrated the 90 degrees (or alley dock) back and we all got to try. I was able to get into the "box" however it wasn't pretty between my sloppy clutch work and the amount of pullups I needed. Our instructor also demostrated the other backs, the parallel (driver side and blindside) and the offset. I spent the majority of my range time on the driver's side parallel, which I was doing reasonable well, getting into the box 4 times with minimal help and then everything kinda went to hell. I couldn't get lined up to save my life, I started getting aggravated so I decided to try the offset which I was ok doing to one side but not the other.

The instructor said our performance was typical of students on our first day on the range however we all left the range feeling pretty discouraged. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.....one can only hope.

See ya tomorrow

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