If there is another thread on this already, folks, please let me know about it.
Anybody else remember the days when FBOs prided themselves on a "quick turn" as the normal order of business ? I worked line service for Duncan at KLNK back in the sixties, we mobbed an incoming with the appropriate fuel truck, red carpet, free ice, clean the canopy (and leading edges in the bug season), free booze if over 100 gallons, payment by cash or check or credit card right at the aircraft, ready for engine start in ten minutes or less - or we were standing tall in the line boss's office to explain what went wrong.
Today I fly EMS helicopters. Refueling away from home is a pain in the rear. They always park me as far from the terminal as possible and insist I go inside to pay. The counter pro won't process the payment slip until the truck driver calls (or WALKS) the ticket inside. "Somebody just took the last cookie, no we don't have any more dough, and sorry the bagels are stale. Hold on, I'll get security to open the door so you can walk back to your aircraft. What? You want a RIDE? I'll see if the fuel truck guy can run you back out after he fuels that Gulfstream."
Anything less than 30 minutes seems to qualify as a quick turn now. Meanwhile my crew is waiting for pickup, and the emergency services aircraft is - out of service. I pumped jet fuel for seventeen cents a gallon "back in the day", last night it was SIX EIGHTY-SEVEN. And the guy pumping it wasn't even wearing a tuxedo. But it ain't the price, I don't pay it, the customer does. They got me ready for start in 24 minutes and were PROUD of it! What happened to customer service? Or am I just an old fart out of touch with the new standard of American excellence?
I don't have anything to add other than to tell you to fly safe. As an aeromedical crewmember myself, I've lost too many friends in HEMS crashes (which is one major reason I got involved with aviation safety and crash survivability research in the first place) and don't want to lose anymore.
Thanks, steveinindy. I fly by Ruberg's Rules for helicopter emergency response:
rule #1 Never take more victims to the scene.
rule #2 It may be YOUR emergency, but it's not MY emergency.
I use those (despite being on a fixed wing) and:
3. If you have a reason to stay on the ground, do so.
4. If one member of the crew feels uneasy, then we don't go.
5. Any member of the crew who is pilot rated (even if we're in the back) can call for a go-around.
Just out of curiousity, who do you fly for? Feel free to PM me if you don't want to state it publicly.
Many pilots and planes like corporate jets may want only fuel and to leave as quickly as possible, but that's not always the case.
I hate to be met by fuel truck and line guy demanding to know how much fuel I want before I have even gotten out of my Bonanza. And I need to run the engine for 4 min cool down and it seems impolite to do it with the lineman standing right there waiting. After I shut down, my first prioroity is to close my flight plan, unless I did it in the air. Then I want to consider fuel.
I want the FBO to be clean and friendly, and get to the fuel promptly when I ask, but not to rush me. I hate to go into a restaurant and just as I sit down, before I've even seen the menu , to have a waiter demanding to know what my drink order is.
If the FBO has some extras, restaurant or good sandwich bar, or if not at least good vending machines and a courtesy car. A big plus is if they have the very convenient and through WSI brand of weather computer. Much better than DUAT or the cheap stuff. It is nice to have an attractive lady at the desk, and a real plus if she actually has heard of a gen av airplane,and doesn't think they are all airliners.
One of the best FBO's I have been at lately is the one at Santa Fe, N. M. (there's only one). High gas prices, but very good service on all counts. Falcon Executive at Phoenix Mesa is good too, a little less service but friendly.
I'm not technologically savvy enough to know how to PM, that's why i used my email as my username.
Originally Posted by steveinindy
ANYbody can call a waveoff where I work. NO repercussions, we just talk it over do it over. Or quit trying. No sweat. As to go/no go, I consider myself in the customer service business, not HEMS. The poor folks laid flat aren't even self-loading baggage (ssshhh, don't tell them that). My customers sit upright. If it's safe, we go where they want to go when they want to go there. It's usually safe for a lot longer than they want to keep going - maybe because they're not stupid!
Bill, I agree wholeheartedly that fun flying is a completely different endeavor. When on my own dime I share your points. But when I call ahead and still get a slow turn, that's when my slow burn starts. I've got a water bottle, pack of crackers, nexrad etc on my panel, heck my flight suit even zips up from the bottom I can piddle on the fuel truck tire if I have to. But I'm not serving my customers while orderin' from Flo at the snack bar or swilling "free" coffee or checking WSI or hitt'n on the cutie behind the counter. I'm at work. Not at play. I'd like them to do what I do, find out what the customer needs (heck, I told them that) and deliver it safely, legally, and ON TIME.
My passengers are my friends, they want to enjoy the trip just as I do. If I need the restroom or lunch they probably do also. And they trust me to get the weather briefings and updates and be safe.
I don't usually fly people to whom an airplane is like a taxi, to be used and gotten out of as quickly and cheaply as possible, and getting there fast is the whole game, not enjoying the trip.
I wouldn't want to be one of the pilots flying charter like the jet that crashed on the approach into Aspen about 5 years ago, where all that mattered was how big a hurry to man paying for the trip was in.
Of course the pilot can and should have said no, but then the client takes his Amex card and puts the $25,000 in some other companies account.
The really sad thing is that flight could have landed at Rifle and taken an hour and a half limo ride and been in Aspen and alive.
I think I am a better than average pilot, but one thing that has made me so is not to get in such a hurry that I cut corners are use poor judgement. I see that error on many accidents. Others may be able to do things as hurry up, that is not the way I prefer to.