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JeremiahWeed last won the day on January 14

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About JeremiahWeed

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    Flight Lead
  • Birthday 07/04/1965

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  1. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    FedEx doesn’t use strict calendar months for their monthly schedules. We have 8 four week months (exactly 28 days) and 4 five week months (35 days) each year. They all start on a Monday and end on a Sunday. Our latest contract allows for a 6-week month but they’ve never used one in the three years it’s been a option. This Feb is a good example: it’s a five week month and goes from 28 Jan to 3 Mar. Now I can answer the question. Captains get their schedules at noon central time, 20 days prior to the start of the next month. FOs get theirs exactly one day later. This 24 hour delay is used in lieu of a “no-fly list”, “negative pilot” list or whatever other airlines call it. That allows FOs the option to avoid a particular Captain without FedEx having to accept whatever legal baggage comes with actually having a percentage of their pilots create a written record of their problem children every month. 😁
  2. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    Whatever airline you're talking about that is using line bidding, builds all the individual trips first. Who participates in building the trips and then building the subsequent schedules with those trips may vary from airline to airline. At FedEx, the company builds the trips. A scheduling committee made up of pilots from each fleet, "scrubs" all the trips first looking for contract compliance, fatigue issues and problems in general. Once those issues have been addressed, those same pilots takes that giant "pot" of trips and assemble them into individual monthly schedules for each seat and aircraft (i.e. lines). Those are then published for the pilot group who submit bids for each individual schedule they want in the particular order they desire. The bid is processed according to seniority and that's that. #1 in each seat/aircraft gets the line he wants, then #2, #3... and so on.
  3. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    Yeah - no one's ever accused me of saving trons on the interweb - sorry for getting long winded. Let me know if I can clarify anything.
  4. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    There's probably not a specific seniority level in each seat that equates to being able to consistently hold those. I looked at the FOs in the 757 (i.e. the most junior position) for this month. There are pilots in that seat who have been here less than a year who got DDHs (May 2018 hire). The ones who are a little further up the list and actually had a choice of several different DDHs, i.e. it wasn't just a lucky fluke, have been here right around one year. 767 FOs are at about the 3 year point. That will likely improve with that fleet scheduled to double from 60 a/c to 120 a/c, all brand new off the assembly line, over the next 2 years. The other two domestic fleets (MD-11/A300) are in transition, slowly, toward being retired. That's happening at a glacial pace at the moment and will likely last well into the 2020s, but it makes predicting monthly schedule bids difficult. 777 doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of DDHs as the domestic fleets, but if the deadheads are domestic, they're not difficult to get after just a few years. A typical sequence would be DH to Indianapolis, work to Paris and around the world from there, end up in OAK at the end or even back in IND after flying from Asia and DH home from there. Domestically, when a pilot is flying a series of single-day hub turn trips, they can have the equivalent of a DDH week long trip. The line builders or just a pilot using aggressive trip trading can create a DDH week by trading for a front end DH on Monday (or Sunday) and back-end DH on Friday or Saturday. The end result is the same as a week long DDH trip. So, just because you may not be able to hold a true DDH outright doesn't mean you can't create one for yourself if you hawk open time looking to trade. One note of caution: On any fleet, but especially the 777, putting a deadhead on the front and back of an otherwise shitty trip is the scheduler's version of putting lipstick on a pig. Guys will jump all over those without even a cursory glance at what they'll be doing once they get to their first revenue city and end up finishing the trip with a 1000-yard stare saying their "never agains". DDHs are nice in theory and frequently in practice as well. But, unless we're talking about a small number of "unicorn scenarios", they probably aren't going to make or break your QOL. Holding DDHs to and from one's home airport being the ultimate unicorn. The actual nuts and bolts of a particular DDH trip are going to determine if it's even something you want to fly. For example - unless you live in a hub city for one of the major US carriers or are deadheading TO one of those same cities, your deadhead is most likely going to be a two-leg event domestically. You live in Nashville or Phoenix and have a DDH in and out of Greensboro, NC. You have to be there on Monday by 1330L. If you're coming from Nashville that's probably doable if you're on the o-dark-thirty, first flight out to Charlotte, DC or ATL to connect to each major airline's GSO flight. Depending on Wx, if you're on probation, etc. you may not feel comfy with that since you probably don't have any back-up options based on the timing, so you decide to leave Sunday and get in position early. FedEx will cover the extra hotel in that situation (if you have extra travel $$) but you're not getting paid until Mon morning when your actual deadhead would have left MEM. Coming from PHX or some other west-ish coast location, you're definitely leaving Sunday. Maybe in either situation, you'd rather be commuting in Monday night on our jump seat to start your first trip out of MEM since you'll have a guaranteed seat on the flight in, commuter protection and less time off the clock commuting. DDHs or even just front end or back-end DHs can be great enhancements to a commuters QOL, no doubt. But that's going to be highly dependent on each pilot's situation.
  5. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    ^^^^ This ^^^^ There are way too many variables to have a discussion across airline borders. I can tell you why I don't want it and why it would diminish QOL and QO-Schedules for the mid-level to junior pilots at FedEx if we accepted PBS. But that doesn't mean most pilots at Delta or AA aren't happy and getting schedules they like using it. Where it really matters is if you're working somewhere and the powers that be are considering going from line bidding to PBS (it never, ever will go the other way.... so that tells you a little something 😉). In that case and if you have a vote in the decision, it would be important for you to understand what the ramifications of that change would truly mean to your scheduling process, manning, etc. Lots of moving parts, different labor contracts, different PBS software, different programming and the end result may be very, very different at Airline X even though all the guys from Airline Y are here on baseops singing the praises of PBS. Most of the bigs have already made the move, so it's probably not a high threat scenario, generally speaking.
  6. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    Those are methods for getting a monthly airline schedule. A "line" is a month's (typically) worth of trips. When someone talks about a "line" they are usually referring to actual trips all month. There are also "lines" of reserve "on call" days but those usually aren't referred to in the same context as "holding a line" - which means you can avoid reserve and actually go fly regularly for the month. So - line bidding means that someone (union pilots, company workers, a combination) builds schedules using a series of individual trips that have already been constructed before they get put into lines. They do the same thing with schedules of reserve days. This is done for every aircraft type and each seat in that aircraft. Enough schedules (of both flying and reserve) are built so that there are enough for almost every pilot in whatever aircraft and seat they fly. So, the 767 Captains in a particular base can look at their February bid pack and see each individual flying line and reserve line available to them. The #1 seniority pilot picks first and so on. Once the schedules are awarded in seniority order, everyone has their schedule except for maybe 5-20% of the pilots in each fleet/seat (depending on airline). Those who don't are the ones who couldn't hold one of the pre-set schedules or chose not to. Their schedules (typically called secondary lines) will be determined later once the line holders and reserve pilot's schedules have dealt with known conflicts between trips or reserve days and other events like mil leave, recurrent training, vacation and conflicts with trips from the current month carrying over into the new month for which they just bid. The unassigned trips and reserve days that results from those conflicts will be built into new schedules for those 5-20% of the pilots still waiting for their schedules using inputs for what they want (again in seniority order) that they give to the planners. PBS is essentially the secondary process I just described for the 5-20% applied to the entire pilot group. The flying and reserve days are not built into pre-determined lines (schedules). As a result, the schedules are built to avoid conflicts from the start and there is no need for the secondary process I described above. This is obviously more efficient and requires fewer pilots overall. Instead, everyone inputs their desires for types of trips, days on, days off, reserve if they want it, etc. The schedules are then built using a program that considers seniority, pilot's inputs, FAR legality, contractual rules such as minimum days off, etc. The key driver, as always, is seniority. The number one guy gets pretty much what he asks for as long as it's legal with the FARs and contract. The guys at the bottom get what's left. You've probably read the pros/cons of each system and the various opinions of each, so I won't go into that again.
  7. JeremiahWeed

    What's wrong with the Air Force?

    I'm certainly not a "strike" expert, never mind "deep strike". But, doesn't deep strike generally mean penetration into contested, probably highly defended airspace in a non-permissive environment? Also, depending on how "deep" we're talking, the striker may not have other support assets like A/A, EA/EP, etc. Talking about "lingering" in such an environment doesn't seem to mesh with the classic "deep strike" scenario, especially if the striker has brought along some support assets. Isn't the idea to employ weapons and GTFO ASAP?
  8. To piggy back on the well written post above........ In my opinion, there is a lot more to pilot retention than bumping up the pay check, QOL or additional duties. Those have always been issues and have forced a percentage of pilots out. Those basics need to happen and are actually pretty easy fixes if someone in senior leadership would grow a pair, acknowledge the obvious and fix it. 365s shouldn’t be a requirement like PME. But another important but possibly intangible issue is the struggle to maintain a culture of warriors in the USAF. What seems to be a new, added problem is the attempt to move USAF away from a force lead by the actual war fighters towards what looks more like a peacetime corporation. It’s been a slow leak over the last couple of decades. I have a lot to say about this but I'm finding it tough to put some of it into a sensible message. When I entered the ranks of USAF fighter pilots, it was 1989 and although we didn't know it yet, we had reached the pinnacle of a long journey toward an extremely lethal combat air force. As a Lt, I had no part in that. I simply benefited from being exposed to some of the most hard-charging, capable fighter pilots created during the post-Carter, Cold War, Reagan years of huge military expansion, boo-coo dollars and total focus on enhancing our capability to wage war from the air. As a result, we brought serious game to the first protracted combat ops in almost 2 decades when Desert Storm kicked off. It was a truly amazing thing to be a part of. Here's where I begin to struggle to put some concepts into words: I'll do my best. I had the honor of meeting and hearing a few hours of wisdom from George "Bud" Day during ROTC field training. Five years later, he presented me (and everyone in my UPT class) with our wings, drank whiskey with us and told us amazing stories at the O-club standing among us in his mess dress and Medal of Honor. I heard similar stories from F-4, B-52 and Thud Drivers, guys with gold stars on their flight suit sleeves (anyone remember those?), read books by Broughton, Basel, Risner, Drury and many more. I and my contemporaries soaked in every bit of warrior lore and attitude we could find and experience. It was evident that it was all important. None of us needed that explained to us. We came to realize that the traditions, attitudes and perpetuation of the fighting spirit that was born out of past air wars were absolutely necessary to becoming an effective Air Force combat pilot. The simple fact is that pilots who woke up every day to begin preparations for missions like daylight bomber or fighter raids on Germany, attacking the Paul Doumer bridge, going "downtown" to Hanoi or any number of other daily tests of testicular fortitude knew there was a high chance they wouldn't see the next sunrise or if they did it would be through prison bars. If it wasn't them, then it likely was someone else in their unit with whom they shared the experience of air combat. While I don't claim anything close to that, my small exposure to what it must have been like for them came on my third combat mission. I had "that feeling" based on experiences on my first two missions and strapped on my jet with a solid, tangible feeling that I wasn't coming back. I couldn't shake it, of course I went anyway and thankfully, I was wrong. You don't do that every day, strap on a fighter or bomber, lose friends, fly RESCAP over their smoking holes, come up initial in a 3-ship that left as four without coping mechanisms. Drinking in a readily accessible squadron bar might be the most obvious, sharing stories only another warrior could understand or appreciate, raunchy fighter pilot songs, running the gauntlet of hurled whiskey glasses in a wake to mourn a fallen comrade, burning pianos, and the list goes on. To outsiders they may seem strange, stupid or unnecessary, offensive antics by fraternity brothers who are still waiting to mature into adults. We didn't have to explain ourselves in the past, but that no longer appears to be the case. But those same PC, judgmental, clueless outsiders, politicians or leaders with a lower-case "L" have no idea what it takes to willingly take on a mission like that during sustained combat operations where we potentially lose people and aircraft daily. The pilots who do are long since retired and far more have left this world. My war in 1991 lasted about 6-weeks and losses in the air were in the double digits at most. Since then, we've had a few surges but nothing that rivals the experiences of our predecessors. But that doesn't mean their combat tested traditions should be forgotten or set aside as relics of the past. The fraternal bonds of combat are indescribable and something no one can appreciate second hand. They are also absolutely necessary for a fighting force to gain the required trust in each other and be truly effective in their mission. They also don't just happen out of thin air when a squadron suddenly finds themselves launching their first combat mission. As I alluded to at the start, it's difficult to put this into a cogent message. I don't know if I have but I have no doubt many of you fellow warriors, past and present, have a general idea of what I'm trying to say. Being an effective combat pilot isn't something you just start doing the day the balloon goes up and shit gets real. Combat pilots from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's showed us how it was done, gave us traditions to perpetuate and those were carried by the next generation of pilots into the final two decades of the 20th century. I have no doubt that today's combat pilots are doing their best to follow in the footsteps of the warriors who came before them. However, doing so is not supposed to be a struggle with the very leadership you're charged with following. We should be embracing and continuing these traditions, not throwing them aside because of someone's BS sensibilities. I guess the bottom line is this: Being a warrior, an aggressive, professional, lethal killer is not a politically correct, peacetime, 9 to 5 job. It's highly specialized and the skill set necessary to excel at it requires an extraordinary amount of resources and effort, probably more so today than ever before. Pilots attempting to attain and maintain this excellence need to be able to focus the majority of their working hours on this task. We have been fighting this battle for at least 50 years and probably will continue to do so. What is new, however, is the fact that pilots now have to prove that they and their mission are, in fact, actually different from other officers and support personnel. That they are not interchangeable and in spite of how "unfair" it might be to some, not everyone in the USAF is an actual war-fighter. No excuses are necessary for this - it's simply reality. If that offends someone - too fucking bad. You want in on it, go to UPT or shut the F.U. and support the mission. We need warriors. They don't come about using an HR department, worrying about a PC culture or who is going to be offended by the process of creating highly trained, lethal killers. Rant over - 🤬
  9. JeremiahWeed

    F-15X on the Air Force's Budget Request

    Or a farmer....😬 .......wheat.....chaff...ya know.
  10. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    Found the reason..... This is another example of why it's difficult to have a generic PBS vs Line discussion across airlines and the industry in general. There are way too many nuances associated with a particular airline's schedule structure, trips, fly window and contract. At FedEx, the pilots build the lines. The company builds the trips, gives the scheduling committee the opportunity to ID problem trips, get them changed and then the build begins. Who better to understand what is going to work best than the pilots in each fleet who will fly those lines. I'd probably have the same complaints as that AS Captain if I relied on people who've never flown an airline schedule to build them for me. There's a very simple solution to his woes but it will have to get by the "we've always done it this way" crowd.
  11. JeremiahWeed

    What's wrong with the Air Force?

    "Countless hours" and this is what you came up with. Please tell me you're not in a position to affect AF retention policy going forward. 😉 The reason for the pilot crisis isn't the mystery you make it out to be. Read the "Dear Boss" letter from whatever decade you prefer and you'll find your answer. Really? They leave because of added responsibility? A 4-ship FL or Mission Commander leading a Flag mission or doing the real J.O.B. in the AOR has accepted a pretty significant level of responsibility. If you think that individual is reluctant to accept an ADO, DO or CC job because of the leadership responsibilities, you truly don't understand the problem. How do you know they're "excellent officers"? There's no guarantee of that any more than there is that every pilot can be one either. One thing's for sure: "Leading men" 🙄 in the true sense (i.e. on the pointy end into actual combat) isn't going to happen in Intel or the Maintenance squadron. Taking an 8-ship into true combat isn't the same as showing up for the morning Intel PPT slide show or generating tail numbers for a 12 turn 8. The leaders required to do those jobs are not interchangeable. Until the USAF is willing to acknowledge that lost piece of very important information, it will continue to lose its best pilots and leaders. I have yet to meet a pilot who was truly a "leader of men" and can bring game to an actual combat mission, inspire his pilots to put their lives on the line and do what is require to accomplish the mission who didn't care or have a passion for flying and all that goes along with it. Tactical competence doesn't just happen save for the occasional gifted savant. Without caring or passion, a so called "officer who happens to be a pilot" will never attain that level and more importantly, understand and appreciate the mentality of those under him who are striving to achieve it. They will continue to try to deny it takes a very different officer AND pilot to fly daylight attacks on Germany, tangled with MiGs in the alley, go downtown in Pak-6 and take the fight to our enemies of the last 30 years. You don't magically create those pilots from the PC, no squadron bar, no nametag, no o-club, peacetime, make everyone feel like equal war fighters USAF. Being willing to bring game, put your life out there daily in training and combat requires a special officer and pilot. If the USAF finds a way to keep those guys around, that will be a huge step in the right direction. In the meantime, we have the ones that do dumbass things like take "Home of the Fighter Pilot" off the main gate at Nellis.
  12. JeremiahWeed

    Herk Down

    Me either - but air and centrifugal loads acting on an operating prop/engine assembly that suddenly been thrown off axis violently can reasonably explain its liberation. While it's comforting for family to cling to, if the crew was strapped in, unfortunately, I think it's very possible they weren't incapacitated by the break up.
  13. JeremiahWeed

    Herk Down

    I remember that fire drop video. That was quick and instant, for the most part. Unfortunately, not the case with this break-up starting at FL200. Quick and instant to a point of unrecoverable failure, yes - but 2-3 final minutes I wouldn't wish on anyone.
  14. JeremiahWeed

    The new airline thread

    There's really not much point in having a big debate over PBS. If I managed to make a compelling enough argument that you threw up your hands and said, "JW, you're right - I wish we had line bidding back at AA", you're still going to have PBS at the end of the day. I just feel the need to point out that you really should caveat your positive comments about PBS and limit them to what you guys have successfully negotiated at AA. PBS in the industry is just as widely varied as all the other aspects of individual airline contracts. It's not accurate to say "PBS is great" without putting some qualifiers with that statement. According to you (maybe you can help to quantify your opinion with a seniority hack), AA pilots have done a bang-up job creating an awesome PBS. If the majority of pilots there share your viewpoint, good on you guys. Not every airline with PBS can make that claim. So, I continue not to try to sway your opinion, but to add some balance to the discussion and possibly offer new guys who are or eventually find themselves at a line bidding airline a differing perspective. I disagree that most arguments against it are based on misunderstanding or contractual issues. Maybe that's true at AA. But, you can't evaluate it across the industry in a vacuum simply based on it's own merits. Your only experience with it is at AA and according to you it's good. If you wanted to refute arguments against it at another airline, you would need to evaluate it's impact on the complete system in place at that airline - not just what schedules pilots end up with each month. One thing that kind of makes this an apples to oranges discussion is the significant variation in trip constructions at FedEx and UPS when compared to pax carriers. I would say that PBS is more suited to a pax airline. The concept of a "dream schedule" is probably only limited by one's imagination at AA. At FedEx, everyone's dreams (on a particular) aircraft fall into very similar patterns. So, it's very easy to build lines people want. Domestically, we basically work Mon-Fri, sometimes Sat. No one wants to work nights in a shotgun fashion, so we work week-on/week-off and so on. With a huge population of commuters (70%-ish), that works great - less commutes each month. Same for international. We have huge trips. Lots of them. Most pilots either work one 12-14 day trip or two smaller trips each month. There are a smaller number of lines for locals who prefer a higher number of shorter trips in a month. My point is, PBS generated lines according to individual pilot's desires would most likely look like they do now being built by our own pilots on the scheduling group. So, with all the negatives that come with PBS, we really have no reason to accept it. I don't know about AA, but here, no contractual changes are going to generate the same level of QOL improvement that we can by conflict bidding. Our contract already exceeds the FARs in every area. The "shortcomings" (as you call them) of line bidding create opportunities for more pilots across a larger seniority range to be able to manipulate their schedules - BEFORE trip trading, dropping, picking up trips is an option. As I emphasized by bolding your statements above, PBS is strictly seniority based which you accurately acknowledged and is a HUGE factor when evaluating the reality of PBS. There's something to be said for the "So, you're saying I've got a chance!" potential even if it's occasional as opposed to knowing, without a doubt, you're only going to get what your 93% seniority can hold. A final point - Airline management wants PBS.....badly. That should tell you something in and of itself. Many airlines that use PBS had it forced on them via bankruptcy contracts they had little to no choice in voting for. At FedEx, we continue to counter management's efforts to introduce PBS into our contract negotiations. We do that, not because we don't understand PBS - but because we do. In our case, it's not worth the cost in: pilots on our seniority list, time off during our vacation months, schedule flexibility for all especially junior pilots and having to waste negotiating capital to fend off attempts to enhance efficiency on the PBS scheduling algorithm every contract cycle just to get schedules similar to the ones we already get now.
  15. JeremiahWeed

    Flight Evaluation Board (FEB)

    Maybe whatever occurred immediately after he said “Watch this”? 😁