Welcome to my Blog

I am starting this blog just as I am starting my airline career. Feel free to ask any questions, or if you are in need of any help related to seeking employment with an airline then just let me know. I really enjoy helping others in any way that I can.

This is my blog with a name that stems from a long standing joke. Damnit Bobby was a term thrown out during a fun family sports match. Damnit Bobby Airlines was destined to be a loving name given to any flight I conduct which has passengers on board

I was a flight instructor and a part 91 (private carriage) pilot prior to becoming employed with an airline. Please enjoy the blog, and feel free to comment about anything and everything.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life on the Line

Ever got on board an airline flight and wondered what goes on before the plane gets into the air? Well, one of the common questions I hear is "why are we just sitting here". That is a frustrating issue to the frequent flier who is also in a constant state of rushing around. Typically, passengers can not see into the flight deck and that makes things frustrating... We all want to get on and go, and if we can't see a reason why we are not moving then we all tend to get frustrated. I can't speak of larger planes or aircraft with more advanced avionics and FMS's on board. I can tell you that on our flights with the SAAB 340B we have to do our own weight and balance manually, and we must get our performance numbers from our data sheets (part of our release papers). Sometimes this can take a few minutes as ground service personnel add last minute bags or a late passenger finally arrives just in time to make the flight.

Typically, we try and keep everyone informed of any delays. That is not always possible as we try to resolve problems and just don't have enough time to make a quick update. We try and resolve issues as quickly as we can, but often times it is out of our hands as we have to wait on other service providers to come to us. For example, the longest delay I have seen occurred because the fuel truck did not have enough fuel to refuel us for our flight. The truck had to go back to the fuel farm and get the fuel. Anytime refuelers add gas to their trucks they have to ensure the quality of the fuel (i.e. devoid of any contaminants). This takes several minutes to do. All-in-all the delay was 15 minutes before we started taking on fuel. The total time of the delay was 25 minutes. Thankfully, we were trying to get an early start so by the time all was said and done we actually departed at our scheduled time. The passengers might not have been as polite if we were 25 minutes after our scheduled departure time.

Have you ever wondered what some of the lingo line pilots use means? Well, here are some things that may help with that:

In Range: A required call to company operations to inform them we are within 15 minutes of landing. This is required per the regulations for flight following purposes. Company Dispatchers must maintain flight following on every aircraft they dispatch until all aircraft have completed their flights or until they are relieved. Since our SAABs are not equipped with an FMS with ACARS we have to make this radio call ourselves. For other aircraft, ACARS automatically updates company operations personnel.

Out-Off-On-In times: If you fly with us, you may hear one of the pilots calling ops on the radio after the flight deck door is opened after arriving at the gate. Since we do not have ACARS, we have to report these times to operations. Our pay depends on it, LOL. Just like the terms imply, Out is the time we pushed back from the "Blocks", Off is the time we our wheels were off the ground, on is the time our wheels were back on terra firma, and in is the time we "blocked in" at the gate.

Blocks: This term is in reference to tire chocks. When you here a pilot talking about the time he/she blocked out they are talking about the time that the main cabin door was closed and the plane was pushed back from the "blocks".

Another question I have been asked before is can a passenger ever get to just poke their head in the flight deck and look around? Don't be shy, if you would like to do that just ask the flight attendant at some point during the flight. Don't ask during boarding as that would delay others. Ultimately, each airline varies with this policy, but at our company it can be done on a time permitting basis. The Captain obviously has the final say in the matter.

What is a "line"? Each month pilots and flight attendants get to bid on several choices for the schedule they would like to have for the next month. The likely hood that you get your first, second, third, ect... choice is based on seniority. When you bid on a particular schedule it is called a line. The name comes from the fact that the schedules are displayed vertically showing the flying you do on each day and the days off you have. If you want a particular schedule, you are going to bid on that vertical line... hence the name.

I will continue to update this on a more regular basis now. I hope you have enjoyed reading it, and as always feel free to ask questions or leave comments. Have a wonderful and safe flight weather you are flying on an airline or flying yourself to your destination. Keep the blue side up.


1 comment:

  1. It's been very enjoyable so far. Looking forward to the inevitable passenger, ATC, and aircraft horror stories as you move forward! :)