03 December 2008

Dispatches From the Line Mk.VI

Work Work Work.

When I say I work at the airport, the next question, without fail, is "What do you do at the airport?"

I attempt to explain to them that my job is basically fueling our airplanes when they come in, and making sure that the airplanes are ready to go for their next trip.

This really doesn't cover it, but if I were to tell people exactly what I do, they wouldn't follow me for long. Or, if I tell them that my job is anything not covered by someone else's job description, they still would have no idea what I get paid to do.

So when I punched in today at 1430 (2:30pm), I tried to keep track of everything I did at work.

When I got in, there was an airplane out on the ramp that was renting hangar space from us. The mechanics were putting it in the hangar, and finished up just as I punched in. I talked with our director of maintenance and he briefed me on what was going on that evening. There was going to be another jet renting hangar space from us that was going to be over shortly, so I had to keep my eye out for that.

After that, I filed some paperwork left over from the weekend, and organized my office a bit. Then I went up to the front office to check in with scheduling to see if there were any schedule changes. There wasn't any. On my way back, I got stopped by Jody, our receptionist, who introduced me to her replacement, since she is leaving for Norway in two weeks.

As I walked back into my office, I was stopped by our facilities maintenance man, who was telling me about the Christmas tree plans and that I might have to help.

When I finally got back into my office, I checked my email and double checked the schedule on the computer. As I was doing that, the jet taxied up for hangar space.

One of the girls at our other facility across the airport had called the hotel shuttle for the pilots, and so I informed them of that, and let them into the front office when they were done shutting down the airplane.

I then waited with them for the hotel shuttle, which drove by once and disappeared. After a half-hour of waiting, I told the crew that I would take them to the hotel. So I dug our crew car out from the snow and ice and drove them to the Airport Hilton on the corner of 28th and Patterson.

When I got back to the airport, I was cornered by one of the office girls, who wanted me to help set up the Christmas Tree. So I helped her do that. As we were working on that, the pilot for my departing airplane was ready to go, so I pulled the jet out of the hangar and got it all set up out on the ramp. The weather was pretty nasty, so I called my supervisor to have the deice truck standing by when they were ready to go.

As I was fueling the departing aircraft, the pilot informed me that they would need a deice, and I confirmed that the truck was on it's way.

The deicing truck arrived, and my jet started up and taxied across the ramp to the deice pad. I climbed into the deicer and drove it while my co-worker, Jerry, sprayed from the bucket.

A deice truck, by the way, looks kinda like those telephone work trucks, with a big boom and bucket on it, enabling whomever is in the bucket to spray the deice fluid even on the tops of the big airliners. I think the bucket can get up to 60 feet high.

When we were done deicing the jet, I signaled to the pilots with a thumbs up, and they left. I finished up the paperwork for the deicing and then went to start stacking my hangar.

Now when we move our airplanes around, we have to use wing walkers, who act as extra spotters to watch and help the tug driver not smash hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of airplane parts together. I usually coordinate with the airplane detail crew. We talk about what airplane we're going to move where, and what all has to be done first.

Today, I had to get a different tow bar attachment to move one of the airplanes who had rented hangar space from us. That meant that I had to drive over to the other side of the field to get it at our other facility.

So back in the crew car I go, over to the other facility. When I got over there, the other line guys were using the attachment that I needed, so I helped them move the airplane they needed to move. They were pretty busy over there, so I helped them fuel the airplane before it left, and then I helped them stack their hangar before I was able to get back to my hangar.

When I got back, the detail crew was waiting for me, so we stacked the hangar. It was an easy stack, we only had to move two airplanes, so it didn't take long.

So far, it's been a fairly typical day at the airport.

I still have one more airplane to fuel and then put in the hangar. I need to update my schedule to the most current version, and I have to make sure all my airplanes are in the right spot for the mornings departures. Then I have to service the potty on one of our airplanes.

Then I still have to top off my fuel truck, and make sure it's ready to go for tomorrow. After that, I have to enter today's fuelings into the computer and make sure our fuel meter numbers match up.

Then I have to update my big status board in the office for the next shift, so that they know what's going on.

It seems like chaos, but it's a controlled chaos!


1 comment:

Catie said...

my brother - the "all around" airplane guy!! haha how's that one? just say 'you're the man' for it all! lol