Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Next month

I did indeed get awarded a regular reserve line next month. Nice. What was surprising was my buddy who was holding a hard line in another base also got a reserve line.

He was junior to me when he was based with me here in Fargo (My "base" for discussions on this blog"). He was displaced and chose to commute to a new base versus change equipment in Fargo. He held a decent hard line in March and an even better line in April. In May though he got a reserve line.

I think he got a reserve line due to the impending furloughs and displacements. In March and April there was enough staffing that senior First Officers could bid reserve and take a chance on never being called to fly. Some pilots do this to get work done around the house, work a second job (lots of pilots have second jobs!), or just do something other than flying while getting full pay. With the reductions of pilots there will be fewer pilots to cover the same amount of flying. There is a higher chance that all reserve pilots will be called next month. For this reason I think the more senior First Officers bid hard lines.

This was one of my worries on transferring out of Fargo. I could have displaced out of Fargo to the same base as my buddy a few months ago and avoided the last two months of airport standby. The benefits of having a hard line were not great enough to out weigh the possibility of being on reserve.

Next month I am still the most junior First Officer in Fargo in my status. I will be the first to be called each day to cover flying and/or airport standby. There is also a good chance I will be deadheaded out of Fargo to cover flying at another base. My buddy will now have to commute to reserve.

Commuting to reserve is just plain crap. Being on reserve you have no idea what your assignment will be for the first day of a reserve sequence until 5PM the day prior. Each day at 5PM (unless assigned a multi-day trip!) reserve pilots log into the scheduling system to see their assignment. They are assigned a period to be available for a 2 hour call out (called a RAP), a flight assignment or good old airport standby. Most reserve pilots are on reserve for 4-5 days at a time. So if my buddy checks in at 5PM and is assigned a 7AM flight, he will have to quickly drive to the Fargo airport and commute to his base the night before to make the 7AM flight. On the same token if he is a assigned the morning RAP (that starts at 4AM) he will also have to commute in the night before. Once the RAP is over, if he isn't assigned a flight he can either commute back home, pay for a hotel, go to a crash pad (that he will have to have arranged ahead of time) or sleep in the crew room (some pilots do this). No matter what his choice he is likely on reserve for several days in a row. The same process will happen until the last day of reserve. It could get ugly and expensive.

I'm thinking if my displacement sticks and there is not another vacancy bid soon, I will likely enter training sometime in June and finish in August. Till then....I have 5 days of airport standby starting tomorrow followed by a reserve day. Yep....6 days of work ahead. Hopefully I get to fly.

1 comment:

  1. Fargo huh? That's great!

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. I like how positive an attitude you are able to keep considering you are so low on the seniority list. I suppose that living close to base really helps.


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