I wrote the email below and then followed up with a call to Charles. I genuinely feel bad at the timing of all of this, but Kathy and my participation at Field Day will be limited at best due to American Airlines scheduling my training right up to Field Day. There is also the very high likelihood that what is currently on my schedule will not be the final piece. The end result is that we, all of us, need to give the matter some serious thought. We are genuinely presented with a “Field Day” type exercise where people are going to have to improvise, participate and anticipate issues.
Please read my note below and then if you can offer up a suggestion, please do. Most urgently, if you have a trailer with ramps that will handle a 4000 pound scissor lift, please let us know. If you have an RV that can be brought out for a cooling station; Kathy and my experience has always been that everyone is always super neat and nice and the RV provides a welcome break from the heat. I told Charles that our ladder is really more like 28′, but I will have to measure it.
I will be posting more on this topic, emailing all of you, coordinating with Club leadership and supporting Charles in every way possible. Please raise your hand and tell Charles how you are willing to help out.
From: Phillip Beall (firstname.lastname@example.org) <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2023 1:39 PM
To: Charles Penry [WA5VHU] <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Kelly Collins [W5KJC] <W5KJC.PARIS@GMAIL.COM> <W5KJC.PARIS@GMAIL.COM>; Johnny Thomas (WB5JT) (firstname.lastname@example.org) <email@example.com>; Jerry Keisler [WA5KZA] <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>; Mel Toye [K5KEY] <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>; Randy Holland (N5DDS) (firstname.lastname@example.org) <email@example.com>
Subject: Field Day
I am writing to you in your capacity of Club Field Day Coordinator to inform you that we have some logistical issues that have suddenly arisen as the result of my returning to AA. On Thursday I was finally assigned a training schedule. It is not a total disaster for us yet, but it is rapidly shaping up to be one if we do not start addressing the complications this imposes.
I start classroom and simulator training on June 14. I am supposed to finish on Thursday, June 22. That is two days before Field Day. All good, right? No. Immediately following that period my schedule has “OE” on each day for the balance of the month. I called and asked what that meant and they said that I require a “line check”. These are required once every two years and normally it is accomplished by them putting a check airman (think instructor) in the cockpit jumpseat on a flight segment. He observes that I do things as I am supposed to, makes an entry in the computer and I am good for another two years. Well, mine expired while I was out. So, they will have to schedule me for a flight and have a check airman go with me. I cannot fly following training unless they have a check airman in the cockpit with me. I don’t know if they will assign me a turnaround, a two-day, a three-day or what. And I for sure do not know when that assignment will be on my schedule.
What I do know is that they normally wait to put something like that on your schedule until you finished what I will complete on June 22. The reason is in case a simulator breaks, you have some issues (much as I could due to being off for so long) and so the pilot asks for another day or two of training. They want to make sure no “glitch” causes you to not be operationally ready for the flight with the check airman where they then have to cover the flight with a couple of reserve pilots.
I could get done on June 22 and they give me a trip on June 23, or June 24 or any other day on the calendar. They may just tell me “Go home and we will call you when we get one.” Several of those variations completely blow me out of the water for Field Day. Might I be able to be there? Yes. Might I not be able to be there and learn that fact very late in the game? Yes, that is very much the case and even the likely case. So, we are going to have to do some advance planning as though I won’t be there and if I am, great. If not, then we will have at least mitigated the damage to the degree possible. As I see it, some but perhaps not all of the issues and options are:
Saturday Morning: We never do breakfast per se, but for the last several years Kathy and I have gone to FD, dropped our RV and trailers, set the coffee urn to brew and then run for ice, water and donuts. We will need to get someone to volunteer to take over those duties.
Saturday Lunch: Next week I will call Dos Maria’s and get a price on the buffet that they laid out for the Chamber of Commerce Tour de Paris meeting that Mark Johnson and I attended. I can make arrangements for that, then rather than planning on me going to pick it up myself we will need to line someone else up.
Saturday Supper: We will need to get a volunteer lined up to order Domino’s on Saturday night.
Sunday Breakfast: We will need to get a volunteer lined up to order and pick up breakfast burritos from one of the at least three local options.
If I can’t make it the RV won’t be there, our coolers won’t be there, our power cords and our RV generator won’t be there. I can loan my trailer mounted welder generator to someone (user manual attached) and let the Club use it, our power cords, our coolers, etc., we will just need to find a responsible person to take possession of all of that, keep it all safe and in good order and then we coordinate my picking it up following FD. Kathy and I have always just donated the fuel that the RV generator uses while we are there. If the welder generator is used, I think it is only fair to ask people to chip in for some cans of gas to keep it operational. It holds 12 gallons of gas and it uses 1.5 gallons an hour running on high, which is the way you will want it running for continuous use. I will send it full of gas, but it will probably have to be fueled twice in 24 hours.
We have big plans for the scissor lift. From hanging halyards to elevating antennas, it is planned for use. My trailer is very iffy and I do not have a suitable ramp. After Field Day last year I spent some time looking at ramp options and started constructing one and I planned to continue working on it over the next couple of weeks, but I never finished fabricating one. And the deck needs to be replaced AND it does not have brakes. I planned to put some plywood down to spread the load over the decking, but now I think it would be better if we locate someone with a drive on trailer that will handle the 4000 pound weight of the lift. We will need to coordinate them bringing the trailer out here, we load it and then they take it to a secure location until FD, then take it there, unload it so that it can be used, ensure that it is secure throughout the event so that is not stolen, and then reverse the whole process at the end of FD. This is not a small undertaking. It was a big deal when I loaded it up and took it out there last year. We left it on the trailer then, but this year its use for the halyard install requires that it be taken off the trailer. If you decide to forgo the effort, we are happy to loan our 20’ extension ladder to the effort.
My sincere apologies. Off for only a week shy of nine months when I start training in June, this was a concern. But, I have had and continue to have zero control over the circumstances. First the FAA and now AA’s scheduling department; neither cares one whit about how their actions affect me. Normally I can use my seniority to bid for things and control my schedule. When you have been off for as long as I have been you are a square peg going back to a round hole and you just have to be flexible. I hate it. I am used to having a lot of control over my schedule. But in June I am going to have little or none. We will need to put our heads together and figure out how to solve the issues above. If by the grace of God, I finish up the training center stuff and they tell me that they won’t have me fly until the week following FD or even later, then I can plan a more active role. But we have to plan for the worst – that I 100% will not be there – while hoping for the best.
I am copying the Club officers, admins, Trustee and some senior members so that the leadership knows what we are up against. I am genuinely sorry to have to tell you this stuff, but it literally just came together on Thursday. After you have had the chance to mull this a bit let’s talk about options. Hopefully some of the Club leadership may have some advice too. One bright spot – Maybe someone in the Club needs to use a scissor lift for a week or two. They can use ours for free so long as they support the Club’s needs for FD.