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.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I was looking under my stats page and I ran across a link to this site: http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies1001.htm. This is pretty sad to think that someone has listed my Dad as a "phonie" without doing any background check into his military history. His POW ribbon was awarded to him in 2003 by the Little Rock Air Force Base Commander. His DD214 also includes that information about his POW time (Edit: I will have to ask him about that as I'm not sure what is on his DD form 214 -I know they later showed how his job first job was listed as medic and his second job was listed as a series of 9's - the number of which I don't remember, but it indicates - Other, Classified information). Not to mention the public records that are available - They were in St. Louis, He knows where they are at now, but they moved his public records after the fire. It just makes me irate to see someone pegging people as "phonies" when they don't have any military records in front of them. Just look at that page - It just lists peoples name with no proof of how they came to that conclusion. I guess physical scars, military records, and being listed as a POW within the Air Force's list of POW's count for that website. Who runs that site? They did have one thing right... my Dad was past president of the Hot Springs VVO... I'm sure Ret. Col. Marc Summers would love to get his hands on that website. Col. Marc Summers is the one who verifies information about members of the VVO, and he also does the same thing for the VFW for the State.

Hey, I'm not a pilot either, I never flew the SAAB although I claim to have flown the SAAB, but somebody knows better cause they have proof that they can't show me.Odd how the Air Force will Award Dad a POW ribbon, after their records search but some website makes a claim based off of what, again?

EDIT: I just happened to remember... This was the website that the VVO used to verify member's past. For reasons I can't remember they proved dad's status as a POW, however because the records were classified still they only had Dad's DD214 to use and they said that wasn't enough proof for them. The good news is that the PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL SPECIAL FORCES ASSOCIATION was a member of the VVO, and he is the one who got Dad's records to prove his POW status and his status as an Air Commando. His name was Colonel Wayne Lowley - He passed away about a month ago. I bet a quick check with the NSFA would be in order. It is a disgrace that a website would list my dad for that. I sure as hell plan on telling him about it to make sure that is the website I'm thinking of. If not, I doubt it takes long before a libel suit comes out.



It is interesting to talk to pilots, both private and professional pilots. Sometimes the private pilots come across as being more knowledgeable then the professional pilots. The same is true about the reverse, but in any case there is always something that gets overlooked. There are those who are book smart and there are those who are street smart. Is one particular group better then the other? Before addressing that, let's also consider if there are pilots out there who are natural pilots or are there also pilots out there who are simply number fliers?

When you board an airline flight, what do you expect from the Captain? Like a great Doctor, the expectations of a Captain are very high. The Captain is viewed as the person who has proven knowledge of the aircraft systems, capabilities, and the person who can make the timely decisions necessary to ensure every flight comes to a safe end. Are they all that way?

As I fly with more and more Capatains, and as I meet more airline pilots I have come to realize that there are many more pilots that fall into either category (street smart/book smart) then there are those who fall in between each one. The obvious answer to the earlier questions would be... You want someone who is equally street smart and book smart. The other question was very similar to the last one, however it was dealing primarily with pilot skill. Is there a correlation between being street smart and a natural pilot, or a combination of the various types? Every pilot is quick to judge another. It probably has more to do with competitive human nature then anything else. As an airline pilot I have learned that the best combination is divided amongst two pilots.

So, how does one gain skill? I usually hear people answer with... To be a good Captain you need to be very experienced. Odd that they say that, isn't it. What they are really saying is that to be a good Captain you need to know how to make decisions. These decisions can range from how to handle an irate passenger, to decision to divert, and every quick or important decision that needs to be made. Wouldn't it stand to reason that when you look at the big picture you will have Captains that fall all of the same categories I was talking about above? Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but I think passengers have a false sense of perfection when it comes to the Captain. Just Drs. who make mistakes, we all do the same... the difference is that in the airline world our mistakes rarely greatly affect anyone other then when the ultimate mistakes are made which lead to an accident.

When it comes to making Captain, I've often asked myself... do I have the experience to become a good Captain. Today, the Captain I have been flying with said something to me that made me think about it for a minute. He told me that I would be a natural at being a Captain. I thanked him for the compliment, but that started my wheels turning.... Which is better a Natural Captain or a Book Smart Captain?

That is the great challenge for me, now. I think the best Captains in the industry have a nice balance between god given talents and they have learned enough about their plane, their office (weather), their world that every flight they make passengers all get off the plane going... wow what a boring flight. You can put the books down, and you'll plateau.... keep the books open and I think that the study efforts with everyday flying will pay off great dividends for everyone.... Airline Captain or Captain of the family trip in the Mooney.

Part of my ongoing experience of new things.... It will be fun to go to upgrade school. The fun will come from knowing that I have come this far and failure is not an option. I've made it this far without ever failing a checkride or PC, and I am determined to get that extra stripe when the time comes.

Good news... We agreed to a TA between all three pilot groups. We, guys flying the SAAB-O-MATIC, will be getting pretty nice raises. The Q400 guys will only be on the same pay scale as the CRJ200 pilots from Pinnacle. Some of our insurance options, scheduling long Call lines, and our 401K really were not that great, but it definitely is worth voting in. I hope all the pilot groups agree to it.... Tis far easier to adopt the contract in then go back and change one thing here and there at a later time then it is to wipe the slate clear and start again for the sake of getting some minor tweaks.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Fun Times

The past few weeks have been a lot of fun. I'm flying with a Captain who was originally from England, but now he lives here in the states and goes back to England to visit family a few times a year. It has been a lot of fun to fly with him so far. On a similar note, I have been enjoying flying for an airline so much. I honestly thought that I would have more times where I questioned my decision, but I have never looked back once since I started this journey. I think a lot of it has to do with careful decision making. I didn't just jump into this industry with the shiny jet syndrome - For those who don't know, that is basically the unrealistic idea of a glamorous life flying things that people always look up to you for doing. I was fortunate to have several friends who were retired airline Captains, in addition to asking several pilots I met online, about the world of commercial aviation.

You know how a lot of people will say they never envisioned themselves doing the job that they do now as their career? Well, I can say that I not only did want to become a commercial pilot since I was a little guy, but I never envisioned myself as a pilot on passenger carrying flights. My goal was to join the Air Force, then after the required 11 years (your commission starts at the end of your first year and you have a 10 year commitment) I wanted to fly for FedEx and stay in the National Guard so I could draw a military retirement and a retirement from FedEx. Well, a recruiter screwed me over - and it wasn't until it was too late that I discovered I could have got a waiver for his failure to turn my paperwork in on time. A quick sidebar on that - You can only take the AFOQT twice. The first time I took it he didn't tell me you couldn't use a calculator on the test. The math isn't too hard, but it is time limited and without practicing I almost passed it the first time. I passed all other sections but I missed the math by one point and there was no way the review board would take me with a math score that was any amount under passing. So the second time I passed it, and I scored well in all of the subjects. He sat on his hands, apparently, and didn't turn my packet in on time... Then the review board sent me a letter saying that I would have been accepted if my paperwork had been received on time, and in that letter they asked me to hold the paperwork and resubmit for the next review board. Well, the test results are only valid for a 6 month period, and the next review board was going to be a few days after that 6 month limit. The letter also told me about the 2 attempts they allow. So, that was it for me.... I was stupid and didn't say anything to my parents until later, and then Dad told me he could have helped me get a waiver by contacting a friend of his. Oh well.... Everything happens for a reason.

Flying with my Captain this month has already been a great experience for me. I mean experience as in learning, LOL. He likes to hand fly the plane a lot more than the others I have flown with. I decided to do it also, and it has been great for quickly developing a feel. Just like with any family of aircraft, each SAAB has a different feel to it. Some will land soft even if you plant it on the runway, and some will feel like a hell of a hard landing even if you are super soft on touchdown. It has to do with the wear of the main gear struts. The differences between the aircraft can be enough that it takes a flight or two before you have all the little nuances worked out. At the same time, hand flying these planes has really helped me to go from that in-between stage where you still make one or two errors in a month to that point where you feel very comfortable with the plane. Comfort levels really help you fly a plane well.... at least in my experience people who are a little nervous during landing have more difficulty with landings. It is almost like squinting when you are at bat when playing baseball. If you are afraid of the ball hitting you, you won't get that home run you want. You'll end up striking out more times than not. On that day when you realize that getting hit is very unlikely and you feel confident standing in the batters box then your batting average and home run total start to skyrocket up.

For the pilots out there.... The SAAB's we currently fly are /A equipped aircraft. To save you some time in case you don't have the entire equipment suffix table memorized... that means we have a mode c transponder and DME capability. Having DME is required for us since we do occasionally fly above FL240. Often we will bracket our courses instead of allowing the autopilot to track them. The VOR signals are often weak, even within their standard service volumes - No, we really don't have the time to look up and see if each VOR we use has an extended service volume, LOL. The weak signals cause a lot of scalloping, or in autopilot layman terms - it can't find the center of the course and keeps going from side to side to try and find that center. So if you are ever aboard a SAAB 340 and notice the plane keeps making shallow turns every 20 mins or so then that is the reason why.

Going back to the subject of feeling very fortunate... I say this for many reasons, but for the short term reasons here is why! I have not had a month of reserve yet. I have been fortunate enough to be a line holder since my first month off IOE. The other, most recent and most exciting reason is that I saw that I will be able to upgrade to Captain within a few more months. I was awarded an upgrade with our last vacancy bid, however they forgot to account for those who were currently in training to upgrade to Captain. I was near the bottom of the list, but that does mean I am close enough to making the list that I should be able to upgrade in February or March.

How about a little tour of Houston?

Here are a few pictures of the ramp, note that we currently use buses to bring the passengers to the planes, but you can see the extension to the terminal they are currently finishing. Hopefully in the next month they will finish the extension and we will be able to board in a more convenient and modern way at IAH:

Here are a few pictures of our crew lounge:

Have a great day and safe flights