On Thursday morning as Patti and I passed by ‘Morton Airport Lane’ the two C130’s passed overhead departing for another classified destination. They were scheduled to return Sunday afternoon. In the back of my mind, I wondered if it would be Monday or Tuesday instead.
We had a busy day planned for our pilots on Monday. Four of the six pilots were scheduled to leave early Monday morning. The first plane was heading to Michigan to pickup the 20 that had passed physicals and background checks. They were to get training for 6 days for 12 hours a day along with the 10 DHS guys that Eric was sending there. It was better to pay them overtime than keep them over the weekend and another week.
The other plane was going to get the 15 Rochester police group.
I was going thru the e-mails at my desk when Marcy sent me a FYI text. In it she said my Dad is going to handle all the bus tagging for us”. He knew the inspector, they are going to give him the certificates and while they are finishing the repairs he is going to go get the tags at the independent DMV site. Then he is going to take them to Island sign to get the old county logos taken off and ours installed.’
I guess he was serious about wanting to start working today. He and Mom were pumped up about his retiring and more over that he could work for us as he felt like it. At supper last night I asked, “Why did you retire if you still want to work?”
“Jason talked me into finally doing something I had been thinking about for a long time now. Every day I got up and drove across that damn bridge, cuss asshole drivers in both directions. All summer long I had to sit in one traffic jam after another.”
“Jason said the best thing he ever did was to come work for you. He said that Lisa and Jason are having the best time of their lives since he retired. He added, if he wants to go fishing for a few days he goes. He said he has been to places he never would have been able to with out your help. Jason, Lisa, Mom and I are going to vacation together down to Naples this winter when you have an empty house available. Lisa has talked Mom going to a private beach that she and Jason like to go to.” He replied.
I just smiled at that revelation. I knew the beach Lisa was talking about. Jason had let it slip last winter when they returned, that Lisa had a natural all over tan. It was the same suit optional beach that my mates and I went to when we went to Naples to inspect houses.
The folks may be retiring early but were still young at heart and still frisky. I knew Mom and Dad were swinger’s years ago but I never thought about Jason and Lisa in that light. I wondered if Jenny knew. It was one bit of information that I was going to keep to myself one of those things that you carry to the grave.
The next day as Patti and I were headed back to KCC, I received a text inviting me back to the budget meeting. Because of the rushed adjournment yesterday, I went back for a short question and answer session.
Bob Jackson started the questions, “The new dorm will be finished next year. You made no additional budget request to add manpower for coverage of them, why?”
I responded by saying, “With the completion of the dorm Mr. Bozman is planning to retire along with the reduction of student problems and the statistics that prove it I plan on using his budgeted salary and benefits cost to hire more part time individuals that will not require benefits. That change will allow enough part timers to handle our needs,”
“So you don’t forsee a supplemental budget request?” He responded.
“No, we will have adequate coverage,” I responded.
A couple more minor questions from the remainder of the board and I returned to my office.
The rest of the morning was quiet. After lunch I received a call from Lorrie. She asked if I could be home half an hour early. There were several aviation issues that needed immediate attention and she wanted me there to help with the decision making at the gym.
The first pressing problem for JBG at Morton field was a serious pilot shortage. When Delmarva Air Charter & Florida Vacation Rentals as a JBG company first started, we had 4 planes and were using a dozen pilots that also worked for major airlines out of BWI that lived in the area.
Those pilots received their work schedules from the airlines a month in advance. The way it worked in the past was those with hi seniority could pick and choose the flights they wanted it was a union perk.
This perk allowed the pilots if they wished to pick flights and take long layovers in great cities depending on how many hours they had flown in a given week. They could with the right planning have a three day weekend in Miami, San Francisco, New York on the airlines dime. They also had a shot at international flights like London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and other great cities where they got even longer layovers Again, in case of the airlines all that was needed was for them to fly a minimum number of hours they had to fly for the airline in order to keep the full time pilot status.
When they were not flying for the airline they were flying for JBG. The kicker into this arrangement was the FAA rules and Union rules limited the hours a commercial pilot could fly in a month. Because we were so small, we were able to work around all those problems.
With the cost of crude down the price for airline tickets came down and passenger numbers went up for the airlines so they were busy and the pilots flying more at BWI. To compound that problem we had added the Bombardiers and now the C130’s.
To even further complicate the problem was the added flights to the Naples vacation houses. From November to March was Lorries busy season and we had added 20 more houses this winter for a total of 40 vacation houses. Marcy had bought 15 and contracted for five more with an additional five that may be available at a higher rate if we needed them.
It was almost too easy to get pilots to work for JBG because the airlines were not hiring any full time pilots. To keep cost down they had developed a stand-by plan. It was another way of saying we have only part time work for you.
The four of our pilots that were flying the C130’s exclusively for the agency were ex-military, trying to get full time positions with the airlines. The airlines were not hiring any full time pilots they offered 20 hours of flight time a week as on call pilot. When the airline called, you had an hour to respond and accept the flight or they called the next pilot on the list.
Those four pilots withdrew their applications from the airlines and became full time for JBG. The FAA rules still applied and we were still seriously short pilots.
Ten applicants were coming in today starting at three for interviews. The agency had checked all of them and signed off on 5 of them whom they would accept on agency flights. Those five were ex-air force in their 40’s would be able to fly for us.
The other five were airline pilots who had had enough and wanted to be home for their families more. They were in their mid fifties, retirement age. I suspected they were going to play the sick time, vacation time thing, just fly the minimum for the airlines and then retire when the airlines started putting the heat on them.
Marcy, Lorrie, Roseanne, Ty and Jack Rush (our chief pilot) and now I were going to sit in on the interviews. Jack was going to inspect their credentials and logbooks and as an instructor had access to FAA records.
If we decided to hire them he would give them their flight test sometime in the upcoming week. They would have to demonstrate instrument landing under the hood and other skills to Jack’s satisfaction along with a pilot’s physical with the JBG company doctor. All that would be before we would offer them a position and a salary.
The first one was Josh Ransome. I could have sworn it was a young Pierce Bronson when he was escorted in. Jack took his log books and analyzed them as we reviewed his information and started asking questions. Josh was on the list Eric approved and was ex-air force.
The interviews were to last an hour each and six were scheduled to be done tonight with four more tomorrow night. The five who the agency endorsed were going to be the first ones.
Some of them brought wives and kids or girl friends who Kendal allowed into the gym to sit in the refreshment area or work out while the interviews took place.
We were finished shortly after 9. Marcy and Lorrie had prepared a standard set of questions to ask all of them. Jack hit all of them hard with aviation related questions and Ty with the what-if scenario along national security lines.
Jack scheduled the test flight for each of them; three were for tomorrow morning and the other three for Saturday morning.
I worked Friday morning at KCC and participated on the interviews in the afternoon. Those interviewed in the afternoon were all senior airline pilots with thousands of flight time and – as I suspected – were in the process of retiring. They wanted part time work; that suited our needs as well as theirs.
Saturday afternoon when all the check rides were done, Lorrie called all of them to set up appointments to offer them the jobs, our salary offers and to schedule the physicals, the final piece necessary.
Edit by Alfmeister
proof read by Joe H.