Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life of a charter pilot.

So, last evening, around 6:30, in comes a call. Quick as I can, get to the airport, launch down to Fort Worth, pick up two passengers and fly them to Madison WI. Then, the info sort of tapered off. The crew scheduler sort of faded off at that point. Now, nothing is more annoying than not being given all the information for a given trip. And when the schedulers fade out like that you know they're hiding something. So, at this point you either run out the door unprepared for what's about to happen or you are forced to harangue the scheduler for the information. I chose the latter. Turns out, the requesting agent was a charter outfit notorious for hanging airplanes and crews on the road with no end. This definitely affects how much I pack and plan the trip. Turns out the charter broker released us and we get to be home for the Memorial weekend. I got back around 6 pm today.

My particular whine today as to do with the schedulers. I've had to pull the trip info out of them more often than not. Listen, fine, I understand if it's not a nice trip. They can't all be little day trips back by beer o'clock. I get that. But they have to, have to, have to, get us crew all the pertinent information up front. Giving it to us in drips and drabs does nothing but slow us down and ultimately costing time and money in this business. I'm at the point that if I'm not told something and it delays the trip, I'm fully prepared to stop, call the boss and loudly tell him that the reason we're late is wholly due to the scheduler. I'm not one to normally get others in trouble. But, I've taken the blame for their screw-ups enough, no more. The standard response is to blame the crew for anything that goes wrong with the trip. Hell, we're the ones the customer see, we're the ones who take the heat. And facing the customer, we claim the fault. That's just the nature of the business. Unfortunately our boss accepts that as the truth as well. And that's rarely the truth. I've been sent to wrong airports, diverted to unusual places, not had passenger ground transportation available, catering snafu's, sent to airports that can not handle jet aircraft, exceeded duty time limits, exceeded flight time limits, and a host of other things that if the FAA found out, I'd possibly lose my license and I can tell you that I can honestly point to someone else making me do it.

Rant off.

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