Friday, April 21, 2006

Things Goin' On

The last month has been truly crazy. I spent a decent bit of time looking for a job. The back story is a bit complex, but here is the abbreviated version: The flight schools were merging, and we had discussed my becoming the chief flight instructor. I was somewhat interested, but not convinced. For my part, I was not ready to commit, unless they wewre prepared to show me a commensurate pay. I never got an offer, which was fine with me, because they were low-balling it anyway, and I was becoming convinced that I needed to move on to something else.

All that led me to start looking for a new job, preferably one that would give me multi-engine turbine experience, and ideally one that would put me where I really want to be in the longer term. After an unusually short time sending out resumes, the good-old-boy network did its job.

I had previously met one of the managers at a company near here, and started the interview process, to become a pilot/ mechanic assistant in their fleet of King Air's. Oddly, at the same time, that manager became one of my flight students. He had plenty of experience in King Air's and C-130's, but had no single-engine license. So while I trained him, we were through the interview process.

My in-person interview came up, and if he had not already been convinced of hiring me, the simulator ride did the job. I aced that, and instead of having to wait a week to find out, they gave me a verbal job offer before the interview was over. A week later, just 4 days ago, I started work.

The job is officially part-time, because thtey only give full-time positions to people with mechanic licenses. However, part-time can easily become full-time hours, and pays well enough that it isn't even an issue. Case in point, in my first three days there, I got 36 hours of work done. Being part-time also gives me extreme flexibility. Thursday, two hours into the day, I had completed most of what I needed to do for the week, and merely had to wait until my first flight asssignment. So I simply told them I would take off, and be back in Friday afternoon to check on the flight status.

The job is ultimately about flexibility. I have to be extremely flexible with my availability, but I have flexibility for my time while not on specific assignment. The vast majority of asignments will take me away from the area, which means I will spend 75% of my time living in hotel rooms, and traveling around the country, and sometimes in other countries.

My first flight was truly a trial by fire. It was somewhat unexpected. Wednesday I showed up and performed whatever maintenance work I could get my hands on. I was still very much the deer-in-the-headlights, with all the new information my brain was trying to process. All of a sudden, I was told they would like me to fly as first officer, down to Alabama and back, and I would be leaving that afternoon, getting back later in the evening. I hand-flew, shunning the autopilot, in order to get a feeling for the plane. Along the way I had to skirt barely around level 5 thunderstorms, getting to the destination shortly after their hailstorms, and landing while enjoying the impressive show of lightning. We were largely convinced we would experience a lightning strike, but thankfully that didnt happen. The return trip, we still dealt with some storms on departure, but the rest was largely uneventful. Flying that plane is rather easy. The systems will be the hardest part, but I'm studying. Landings are interesting, partly because I'm finding them rather easy, but largely because the final approach speeds are suddenly almost double what I've been accustomed to. Instead of 60 knots, suddenly it is 120 knots.

Flexibility will be the key. The other pilots told me that the best thing would be simply to keep a packed travel bag in the car at all times, because you just never know. And I'm already learning that. Either today, tomorrow or Monday, I fly out on my first asssignment. But I won't know until shortly beforehand. We fly to Toronto, spend two days there, then off to Florida for a week, then up to the Chicago area for two weeks, then back home.

It sounds like a crazy job, but this is very much the type of job I want. I don't know what will happen in the long term, but I could see myself staying at least 5 years, if not a lot longer. So, my life is taking a significant turn. All of a sudden I am getting to fly nice, fast equipment, being paid to train toward the mechanic certificates, getting a world of flexibility built into my schedule, building important experience, and still have the opportunity to instruct on the side.

Life is good.


At 12:34 AM, Blogger Gina said...

But do you have running water?

At 11:02 AM, Blogger also-known-as said...

That's the beauty of it. Not at the house, but I won't be spending much time there.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous suzieq8916 said...

It sounds like you have quite an interesting job. I don't know exactly how I came upon your "blog", but I must say kudos to you for all your hard work. Compared to my banking job, your job seems pretty amazing. I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors, whatever they may be, and wherever they may take you.


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