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Pack Vasaline: Ten Years later, still a Classic

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Rez O. Lewshun

Save the Profession
Jan 19, 2004
Since my days as a non-fancy lad are coming to an end, the time has come to address the new-hire classes of 1999. You'll have to play that creepy top-40 tune in your head as you read this, this version is called....


Pack Vaseline in your flight kit. This is the only concrete advice I can give you. Studies have proven that packing Vaseline in your flight kit will ease the pain as any one of Hulas' monkey soldiers slides you the dry, sand-coated salami up where the sun don't shine while you're bent over some technicality or black-and-white self-serving interpretation of the rules while they whip you upside the head with their despicable yet unique lack of ethical behavior. Pack Vaseline, my friends.

The rest of my advice is simply the ramblings of another burned-out idiot Captain based on over three years of survival in the Aviation version of Shawshank.

Remember grandpa's rules for self defense: Deny, deny, deny, and make counter-accusations. Example: "I turned in that Irregularity Report on time, I did just what you said and slid it under the door after hours, I never break the rules, maybe YOUR staff lost the report!"

Always be polite. When you yell or get angry you just look like a jackass. It makes the rest of us look like idiots. Shouting and pissing contests are for the weak. Be passive-aggressive. Accept the reroute cheerfully on the in-range call then [very diplomatically] call in fatigued when you get in. Eventually they will get the point and stop messing with you. Think before you speak.

Make an effort to enjoy the flying. You are working at a commuter airline. Enjoy the VFR patters, circling, and non-towered operations. It may be the last time you experience these things in your career.

Stop whining. Your spouse doesn't like it, your parents don't like it, the F/O HATES it, and the Captain can barely tolerate your chicken-******************** rambling about low-pay and bad schedules. They don't ask garbage men during their interviews if they mind getting their hands dirty, they didn't ask you if you minded working at a commuter because that's where you just applied. Redirect your negative energy into something useful like volunteering for an ALPA position and fighting for change.

Maybe you'll pass training
Maybe you won't
Maybe you'll bust upgrade,
Maybe you won't
Maybe you'll be fired out of SVT,
Maybe you won't

But you will be expected to do a good job flying the line by other pilots.
And at some point management will accuse you of being part of a broad, far-reaching conspiracy-because they are bitter old losers. And the next telephone call could be USAirways calling to recruit you despite your on-the-job performance.

Don't be too proud to be flying your aircraft. Most of the passengers think that ATRs are the smallest thing they've ever been on. A Jetstream is bigger than a 152 or a Baron but remember folks it is just a Jetstream. Instead, wow yourself with being a really good First Officer. Fly your best whenever you can. Then you'll find upgrade isn't so bad after all.

Listen carefully to everything the old farts have to say. They may be eccentric, eclectic, or downright offensive -- but after you work for Hulas for 10 years you will be too. 10 years without getting fired or fed-up is pretty damn impressive. These guys will show you how to survive and have fun. But -
If they are overly negative don't be afraid to ask them to quit their job and get out of your seat.

Fill out the paperwork, it may save your ass someday. If you've been here more than 18 months and you haven't filled out an Irregularity form, Hotel Incident Report, Trip Report (at least six), or filed a Grievance then you just aren't with us, are you?

If you are single, date as many people as you can- taking advantage of your mobility. This will enrich your life beyond your wildest expectations. If you are married or steady with someone then don't cheat. This will destroy your life and add more stress than you can imagine.

Maybe you'll be fun to fly with
Maybe you won't
Maybe you'll marry a pilot and have kids
Maybe you won't
Maybe you'll overcome your gender-biased attitudes
I seriously doubt that
Maybe you will be able to control the frustration
Maybe you won't

But one thing's for certain - I hope to see all of you someday in the show.
The past three years were the best and the worst I could ask for.
And you all
should pack
Good-bye and good luck!

-Austin Hondo

really sums it up, good post

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