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On call

Photoflight

AIR rAMBO
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Jun 9, 2005
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Just wondering how some of you guys deal with being on call.

Does your company give you any hard days off or do you get a release time during the day after which your free to go/do whatever.

I'm kinda worried about accepting a job that forces me to be within an hour or so of the airport all the time and well........not be able to go have beer.
 

English

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Nov 26, 2001
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Being on call is not that big of a deal.

With time, you'll begin to figure out when you'll be called and when you won't.

For example, I know that if I don't get a call by 3 pm, I'm good for the night. Worse case scenario for me will be a 6 a.m. show (but not likely).

Usually you'll know a few days in advance when you'll be flying. Charter isn't all last-minute callouts like some would have you believe.

I live 1 hour and 30 minutes from my airport (on average). When I leave the area I take a uniform with me, just in case. I've never had to use it.
 

Photoflight

AIR rAMBO
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I'm doin contract right now and have a suitcase in the back of the jeep just in case. I figured with time you would begin to learn the "schedule" so to speak but wasn't sure.
 

EatSleepFly

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May 18, 2003
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648
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Some
It depends on the company.

At my (soon to be former, I hope) company, it's on call 24 hrs. a day, 6 days a week (sometimes 7). Extremely rare to know about a trip more than an hour in advance, normally 45 min. Must live within 20 min. of the airport, to be wheels off within 45 min. of the page and never a clue as to how long you'll be gone. Many times it's over 14 hours, sometimes even 18 or more. There is no such thing as "a life." They'll switch you back and forth between day trips and all-nighters multiple times in a week.

It is a positively miserable existance. I wouldn't trade the experience gained through this job for anything, but I am looking forward to turning in that wretched pager as soon as humanly possible and finding some sort of scheduled flying.

Not trying to be negative, but "on call" to some companies means you are nothing above a slave. Be careful.
 

Wang Chung

Everybody have fun tonite
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Feb 20, 2003
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English said:
With time, you'll begin to figure out when you'll be called and when you won't.

For example, I know that if I don't get a call by 3 pm, I'm good for the night. Worse case scenario for me will be a 6 a.m. show (but not likely).

This seems to be our routine - if I haven't been called by late afternoon, I'm usually good (with the occasional evening call to brief me on an early show). We are expected to be at the airport within one hour of the call, but short-notice calls aren't the norm although they do happen at times. We get hard days off with no call, of course. My friends who fly at similar 135 pax operations seem to have the same general routine.

When I flew ad-hoc FREIGHT it was a different story; short-notice callouts at all hours (mostly evening/night, although anything was possible) with a much more unpredictable and turbulent lifestyle then what I'm doing now.

Like Eatsleepfly said, it depends on the company and the type of operation.
 

AZ Typed

Hobby's Flyin
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Apr 7, 2005
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On Call - it's all about your attitude towards it. Imagine yourself in the position of being called: perhaps during a BBQ, movie, or something else. How does it feel? If you don't mind it - go for it. If that feeling twists your somach, don't take the gig. Just ask yourself what's important to you and the rest will be easy.

I've joined the "on call" ranks after a consistent schedule for 5 years. Sure I get the occasional last minute pop-up. Big Deal. Typically I'm able to do anything I want just by keeping the schedulers informed. If I'm hitting the golf course, I just give them a call to see what's up. In the past 5 months I can think of 1 time I was thankful I had the suitcase packed. I keep the attitude that I may be called - I've accepted that. So - it's no big deal to me. Hope that helps...

AZT
 

CapnVegetto

The Prince of all Saiyans
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Mar 24, 2005
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English said:
Being on call is not that big of a deal.

With time, you'll begin to figure out when you'll be called and when you won't.

For example, I know that if I don't get a call by 3 pm, I'm good for the night. Worse case scenario for me will be a 6 a.m. show (but not likely).

Usually you'll know a few days in advance when you'll be flying. Charter isn't all last-minute callouts like some would have you believe.

I live 1 hour and 30 minutes from my airport (on average). When I leave the area I take a uniform with me, just in case. I've never had to use it.

What she said. I've been at my job since Jan, and I've had either 6 or 7 "get here ASAP" calls. I get scheduled days off, so that's when I go out of town or whatever. I could care less about being on call. If I'm at the store, or on the golf course, then I'll get there when I get there. It was understood when I took the job that I was going to be living about 45 minutes away, they were OK with it. I can't sit by the phone all day, 24/7, and they know this. They just say 'get here as soon as you can.' Like I said earlier though, it doesn't happen much. Most of the time I get called the day before and told about a trip the next day. Like everyone says, it just depends on the company. Just be sure you know what you're getting into.
 

Photoflight

AIR rAMBO
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Jun 9, 2005
Posts
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The being on call part isn't what bothers me its just the fact that I may or may not ever be able to go out. I don't mind having the cell phone with me and having a suitcase/uniform ready to go. I guess I'll find out at the end of this week when I go talk to 'em. Hopefully there'll be some hard days off.
 

aeronautic1

Virgil_Tracy
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Sep 9, 2003
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Hardays off?... that's a joke!! The majority of my hard days off are "after the fact" as in, "hey, you know those four days you didn't fly last week? Those were you hard offs."

Also, be aware that when dispatch releases you to the hotel, it doesn't mean that you can run off and have brewskis. If you just had about 5 hours of duty time and 2.4 hours flight time, you can still get called back out and come in under the 10/14 rule. I have seen pilots get called to the carpet on this one.

The most important thing to do is keep track of your time; stand your ground and don't let the guy flying the desk get you behind the power required curve. Give them an inch and they'll take a yard every time!! If they call me while I am sleeping off my rest period, I start the clock again when I answer the phone... and they know it. Even had them try to send me out for a piss test during my rest period; called me while I was asleep. Tick Toc
 

59PA

Member
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Sep 18, 2005
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11
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1.43yr
Question, if on call 24/7, when you are called to fly, when was your rest period? How are 135 companies addressing this?
 

aeronautic1

Virgil_Tracy
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Depends on when your last flight was. On Call 24/7 does not mean duty time, unless you are called away from your domicile/hotel. Consult your AIM for clarification.
 

59PA

Member
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Sep 18, 2005
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11
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1.43yr
59PA said:
Question, if on call 24/7, when you are called to fly, when was your rest period? How are 135 companies addressing this?

I did not state my question clearly. If on call, and expected to fly when or if called, you are not free from responsibility to fly should the need arise. You are therefore not on rest. Do companies simply ignore this?
 

TimsKeeper

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What section does the AIM talk about duty times? Just curious, the only information I have seen are in he FAR's. tx
 

MNR

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Jul 23, 2003
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The FAA has up until this point said that you just have to be able to "look back" over the last 24 hours and see 10 hours of rest some time in there. Some companys will tell you that its technically ok to call you out at 2 am for a 3 am show and a 4 am depature and as long as you were not "on duty" since 3 pm that afternoon they can use you until 5pm the next day. If you look at the FARs under 135 nowhere does it specifically outline "on call" situations. Its a loophole that some operators choose to exploit at this point.

The FAA is quite aware of it and is right now in the final process of a major revamp of the Part 135 regulations. Similar to The addition of Part 91(k). One of the things that will be addressed in detail is the issue of rest time, on call time, duty time, etc. From what I have read companies will have a number of options about how to operate their fleet but each option will be much more defined.

The company I work for tries very hard to not put pilots in situations like I described above. They try to give us at least 10 hours notice of a trip. So briefings are done the day before for the next day. We then know we are basicly off unless they call and say the trip cancelled. Pop-ups do occur but if they happen between 10 pm and 6 am the dispatchers will not call until exactly 2 hours before wheels up time.

As far as the brewski thing goes. When at home, unless I get briefed for a trip the next day and they turn me off for 10+ hours I don't. I really dont want to tell the CP, "Yeah sorry I can't do that trip because I just had a beer". When on the road I have two questions for the dispatchers when we get done with a trip. "Are we released to the hotel?" and "When can we have a beer?" They typical response is too tell us to go to the hotel and call in around dinner too turn us off duty. (if there is duty time left) Seems to work well so far.
 

FlyingMoose

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Nov 9, 2004
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76
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59PA, you are asking the key question, that for some reason, the answer to which eludes many pilots, operators, and POI's.

I've never understood why people get twisted up into the discussion of an "on call" term not being in the FAR's. It doesn't need to be and IMHO this was by design. Instead of trying to define any and all possible terms an operator might come up with to describe being "on call", the FAR's were written specifically to define rest requirements and what qualifies as rest. Subpart F specifically and completely lists all applicable Rest Requirements per operation type and 135.273 specifically and completely defines Rest / Rest Period.

Secondly, The FAA has issued numerous letters, notices and publications addressing this matter. But for whatever reason, many pilots and operators still remain confused and continue to argue about the "on call" term and likewise many POI's can't seem to read and understand the language either! That is why the "rewrite" is being done, not to close a loop-hole, but to clarify there isn't one to begin with and to stop operators AND pilots from trying to exploit their "misunderstanding" of the FAR's.

With all of that said, understand that being "on call" 24/7 is not in and of it self what is illegal and unsafe. There is nothing wrong (from a regulatory sense) with being "on call" for any length of time in order to be given a schedule or assignment which will provide for a PROSPECTIVE Rest Period (as defined by the FAR's) within any preceding 24 hours. The bottom line is that any time that you are "on call" is not and can not be considered Rest or any part of a Rest Period.

BTW, keep in mind that this is only addressing the regulatory issue and we aren't even discussing the practical and physiological reason for why these rules are present and need to be respected by operators AND pilots. The whole point is to avoid flying fatigued. Never forget that it is our responsibilty as pilots to operate safely and the lack of understanding or concern for current regulations by your operator or lack of government oversight shouldn't relieve you of common sense and safety.
 
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