Real Answers from Real Pilots

A little fun Q&A

So I was thinking since the Mentors have been getting bogged down with the same topics of Age and DPE shortage (ATP length change) questions (not to sway people from asking questions) I figured let’s have some fun questions in this thread. I think this would give the mentors some fun to answer while answering the other questions pertaining to different aspects.

I’ll start with 1) What was your lowest cruising Flight Level for a flight you’ve flown, and 2) If you had to choose 1 route to fly every work day for the next 3 months what would it be? (I have a feeling Chris’ will involve SAN).

Everyone else is encouraged to join in. This site started as what I interpret as a “Look into the Life” but why not make it grow to a great forum for that, students giving their experience at different locations and maybe one day into progress pages.

Tom

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Sounds like a good idea. I start at Nashville on Monday and plan on posting one or two times a week (or quick entries daily if able) on how I’m progressing and “what to expect”.

James

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Tom,

A change in questions is nice :slight_smile:

  1. 3,000 feet on a flight from IAH to BPT. The whole flight took less than 15 minutes. I have also flown at 4,000 from BWI to EWR. Normally we would go higher on that route, but there is a procedure called “tower enroute” that we sometimes use when there are delays in the upper altitude airspace. By staying with the Terminal Radar Centers and not going higher into “center” airspace we can sometimes avoid those delays.

  2. You must be paying attention :slight_smile: I love flying to San Diego, it is such a nice town with great weather, good places to get out and exercise and excellent food choices. I also am especially fond of PHX (not in the summer and SLC. The trip that I am on this week had overnights in both SLC and PHX. I got some great hiking in at City Creek Canyon in SLC and then climbed Camelback in PHX yesterday. If I had to chose though it would be SAN, in fact my next two trips are to there.

I love the idea of growing this forum into a more robust forum. Our hope is that as people progress through both the program and their careers that they will come back to check in with us from time to time.

Chris

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I’ll chime in!

What is the oddest/funniest thing you have heard over the radios?

What is one of your favorite moments from your career as an airline pilot?

What is the one piece of advice you would give to an FO at his first day flying with an airline / what is the most useful thing another pilot has told you regaurding flying?

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Tom,

You don’t think age and DPE shortage questions are fun? Don’t forget do I need a degree? :slight_smile:

  1. Like Chris, when I was in EWR and the weather was bad we’d occasionally be able to request LAADR (Low Alt Alternate Departure Routes) which were usually below 10,000’ for shorter flights or just to get out of the NY airspace. As soon as we’d get out of NYs airspace we would start asking for higher which often resulted in VERY irritated controllers but hey, never hurts to ask? When I was flying Interisland for Hawaiian except for the LONG flts (HNL-ITO/KOA) we generally never get above 14,000’ which is nice.

  2. My preferences change but lately I’ve been on a NRT kick. I love the overnight (great food and more rural/traditional Japan) but I also like the length of the flight. It’s barely 8hrs going out but since it is over 8 it requires a 3rd pilot so you get a nice break (but not too long a break) so the time goes pretty fast going out and coming back is even shorter. Check with me in a few months and I’m sure I’ll have a different answer.

Adam

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Tucker,

I can’t really think of anything too funny that I have heard on the radio. Most of us stay pretty darn professional at all times. Remember, everything is recorded.

As to a favorite moment, I was flying SFO to ORD in the 757 a few years ago. We had a newly married couple onboard, neither of them had ever been on an airplane before. We brought them up to the cockpit and took pictures, then flew something called the “Bay Tour” out of SFO, which is a low level departure that gives a great view of downtown San Francisco. They were both very pleased.

The best advice that I have heard was when I was in CFI school. My instructor said “We are not here simply to log flight time for the airlines. We are here to provide the best instruction possible to our students. If we do that the flight time will come before we know it”.

I always have fun listening to some of the ATC recordings on YouTube. A lot of controls seems to know how to keep it professional while still having fun at times.

Tucker,

  1. That’s a tough one, gotta think but let me say I’ve flown many places and NY controllers definitely have the best sense of humor but also the least patience. You can Google and YouTube has tons of funny exchanges but the one that comes to mind that I heard personally was between EWR Approach and SpeedBird (British Airways):
    EWR: SpeedBird XXX Heavy, reduce speed to 210kts
    SB: Roger, reduce speed to 210kts (in a VERY proper English accent)
    minute goes by…
    EWR: SpeedBirdXXX Heavy we need that speed now!
    SB: Sir, this is a very large aircraft with a tremendous amount of momentum and as such requires time for a speed reduction
    EWR: SpeedBird if I gave you a turn to the West and sent you to say Ohio do you think you could slow down then?
    SB: SpeedBirdXXX Heavy IMMEDIATELY slowing now sir, sorry… :slight_smile:

There was also a FedEx holding short of Rwy 22R in EWR being cleared for takeoff by tower but they were still on ground freq. After a good 2 min ground finally called and told them to switch. When they finally came up on tower they were instructed to cross the rwy, make a left and hold short on the other side. FedEx asked if there was a problem? The tower said no problem but you guys can now wait there 15min and think about what you did. I miss EWR :slight_smile:

  1. That’s another tough one because there’s so many. One was definitely the time I flew the RJ into TTN where I had instructed for ATP. Just a very cool “coming home” moment. The things that stick with me are all the “firsts”. First time in the jet. First international flight. First in the next bigger plane and then the next BIGGER one. First flight to Asia, Australia, etc. First time in the Capts seat. Tucker honestly they’re ALL awesome :slight_smile:

  2. I’d say my best advice is simply this. Right now you guys are all starting out and you’re nervous, excited and looking forward to fulfilling a dream which many of you claim to have had your whole lives. For many new pilots this may be your first job (flight instructing doesn’t count) and may not have any other job to compare it to. There will be long days, delays etc and it’s easy to get jaded. What I’m saying is NEVER forget the dream and the fact you are part of a VERY small group of people who not only are living their dream, but getting paid for it. NOTHING makes me as crazy as some peckerhead who’s been at the airline for a month and is complaining about how bad this job is! The guy throwing bags in the heat, cold, rain and snow, he can complain and he would also give his left arm to be sitting where you are. I often say I think every pilot should have to work some other REAL job before they get hired just to give them some perspective. There are many really lousy jobs out there that people find themselves trapped in. Airline pilot isn’t one of them.

Adam

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Tucker,

JFK is always a good one. When they get in their groove they tend to have a little more fun. My buddy had it on a few years ago and you could tell that they were in their groove and then someone would mess it up.

Although I do not have a ton of work experiance, working in retail for the last 4 years has defiantly put some things into perspective. I’ve had my 16+ hour shifts on Black Friday, worked Christmas Eve, and all the other holidays in between and I think I can safely say I would much rather do all of that in the aviation environment rather than inside a store. People always amaze me with how rude and entightled they may act while talking down to you. I’m definitely ready for a change and will make sure to always think back to the days of playing with small toy planes and having my family take trips to the park by the airport for picnics so I could watch planes!
I think the nervousness comes from the unknown, but having this forum and reaching out to other pilots and former ATP students has really helped with a lot of that.
So thank all of you mentors!

Tucker,

I should also point out that I met my girlfriend while deadheading. She was a passenger and had the seat next to me.

Chris

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Just another perk of the job haha.

Chris,

I’m pretty sure there are rules against that? I’ll be contacting HR in the am! :slight_smile:

Adam

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Adam Adam Adam,

It can’t be against the rules because I saw it in the movie Catch me if you can and haven’t you heard if it’s on the Internet/TV/Movies IT HAS TO BE TRUE!!

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Haha. At United we do call it “The Friendly Skies” :slight_smile:

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Now when you put it that way Chris…yeah, it sounds bad. :fearful:

I’ll play.

Lowest enroute altitude. 2000’ between KOGD and KMSS in upstate NY. Beech 1900D at 200kts on the “St. Lawrence Visual” approved by Center. Just basically following the St. Lawrence River north until you get to Messena.

Adam’s right about the controllers in the NE

Funniest radio call I heard was back in '06 when USAir pilots were upset with their management, their planes seemed to be moving more slowly while on concrete. My captain asked to “taxi around the disabled 737 in front of us”. It even got a chuckle from the ground controller.

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That is one time I felt sorry for the controllers and the pilots… Sounded like a “Parade of pain just getting to the runway”. God bless them all.

Here is another! What is your worst commuting story and what is your airlines commuting policy. For Adam, what was expressjets commuting policy?

Tucker,

I never commuted so no stories. When I was at ExpressJet the commuter policy was you needed to show proof that you tried at least 2 flights prior to your show and were unable. Since then they have a new contract so that may have changed?

Adam

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