1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

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  1. #1
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    1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Today the inevitable happened. Due to a loss of over 100 flight service specialists the Eastern Service Region completely failed due to no where near adequate staffing.

    As of 230pm EST the eastern service region had over 200 lost calls. The service level was below 50% which is way below passing. A lost call is counted when a pilot waits too long on hold for service and hangs up. Before the layoffs the east would generally have maybe 2-3 lost calls a day. There was also only 34 weather briefer's for the entire eastern portion of the US. Before layoffs there was 75-80.

    Lockheed PR said that their new communications system would cause no difference in service. Their supposed communications system is just re-routing calls from the east to people who brief the central US and west coast and have no knowledge or training of the east coast. This plan of Lockheed's failed though, because the central and western service area were totally bogged down with their own calls. Therefore there was no place for a lot of the east coast calls to go.

    This problem will likely get significantly worse as spring and summer approaches. Unfortunately, unless the FAA, pilots, AOPA etc... complain, nothing will likely change.

  2. #2
    FSS_LULZ's Avatar
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Do you think that the call volume will go down when ADDS becomes QICP certified? They have some good products, and it looks like graphical airmet is operational now.

  3. #3
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    I have wondered the same thing. Many specialists use Adds products in our weather briefs as their products are very good and more than adequate to provide a briefing if you have a good understanding of weather. Notams can be easily obtained on the FAA naimes site.

    Its difficult for me to say that many pilots can easily just get weather for themselves, because I need this job, but I cannot deny the truth either. I get tons of calls from pilots on days when its clear and a million with nothing going on. I am glad that they call, because I have a job, but I also wonder why since all I am doing is practically reading off word for word stuff that is available to them on the internet. Then there are times when the weather is awful and I have tons of people trying to go out into conditions they shouldn't be. Those are the days that the knowledge I have actually helps some people.

  4. #4
    FSS_LULZ's Avatar
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Curious that Lockheed hasn't updated the performance metrics for that week on afss.com

  5. #5
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    but you keep forgetting its ALOT better than what it used to be.....look at service levels and dropped calls prior to 05 and compare them now.

    which goes back to my point i said before, your there to work, yes brief pilots and all, not to just sit around, darn another call....you picked this profession, be stoked about it, you dont like it, then get the F out and when I call in i want a briefer who is happy and willing to help, not some unionized POS thats there just to collect a paycheck

  6. #6
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by AFSS5602 View Post

    Its difficult for me to say that many pilots can easily just get weather for themselves, because I need this job, but I cannot deny the truth either. I get tons of calls from pilots on days when its clear and a million with nothing going on. I am glad that they call, because I have a job, but I also wonder why since all I am doing is practically reading off word for word stuff that is available to them on the internet. Then there are times when the weather is awful and I have tons of people trying to go out into conditions they shouldn't be. Those are the days that the knowledge I have actually helps some people.
    and they call as stated in the FAR all pilots are required to be briefed prior to flight.

    DUATS used to count, havent used DUATS in who knows how long, if its either still around.

  7. #7
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by DCATC View Post
    ...when I call in i want a briefer who is happy and willing to help, not some unionized POS thats there just to collect a paycheck
    is that you, marion blakey?

    Quote Originally Posted by DCATC View Post
    and they call as stated in the FAR all pilots are required to be briefed prior to flight.

    DUATS used to count, havent used DUATS in who knows how long, if its either still around.
    a pilot is only required to "become familiar with all available information concerning [their] flight." calling FSS for a briefing has never been a requirement. yes, DUATS still counts. also, if you sit at home and look up everything yourself, that counts. you just better be able to explain yourself if you fly through a TFR or get trapped in bad weather and cause an emergency situation. its best to put the onus on FSS, as you seem to realize.

  8. #8
    MikeATC's Avatar
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    The flight service was more efficient prior to Lockmart taking over, we never and I mean never had the problems that we have now with Lockmart flight service. It is very apparent that DCATC "IS NOT A CONTROLLER", from his comment.

    I know a lot of pilots and flown with many that absolutely refuse to call Flight Service because of the poor service and lost calls.

  9. #9
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeATC View Post
    The flight service was more efficient prior to Lockmart taking over, we never and I mean never had the problems that we have now with Lockmart flight service. It is very apparent that DCATC "IS NOT A CONTROLLER", from his comment.

    I know a lot of pilots and flown with many that absolutely refuse to call Flight Service because of the poor service and lost calls.
    ok, can you tell me what problems you see? from the outside it seems more effiecient now than before, im interested to know from the inside what your thoughts are

  10. #10
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    The efficiency issue is a double edged sword. Lockheed Martin does not have enough weather briefers in every AOR to accommodate all of the calls that particular AOR gets.

    Here is what is happening... Lets say a pilot calls for a briefing in Florida. All of the briefers are busy so he has to wait. After a very short amount of time the call tree moves the call without telling the pilot to another briefer in the Eastern service area which could be a Maine briefer or Wisconsin briefer. However often even those briefer are busy, so the call tree again moves the call over to the Central Service area to say someone who briefs North Dakota. Lets say the North Dakota briefer was available. The call drops into his/her station as "any central briefer". The pilot has never been told he is not speaking to someone in Florida. Now this briefer is only trained and certified in a couple states in the north central US. They know nothing about Florida and now they have to provide a safety related service to a pilot in an area where the don't know the airports, navaids, special use airspace, or weather for that matter. This results in a choppy and sloppy briefing that takes way longer than it would for a Florida Briefer. At the end the poor pilot is left sitting there thinking "god these people don't know crap". Is it fair to judge this North Dakota briefer a horrible specialist since he can't give a smooth Florida brief?

    The pilot gets service relatively fast so indeed it is efficient. However is is completely unsafe, because the company is forcing briefers to take calls from sometimes thousands of miles outside their AOR. We are also getting lots of pilot complaints about specialists not having good knowledge of their area. They have a right to complain, because they should be getting a briefer in their area. The call tree is routing California calls as far away as New York on a regular basis. Specialists are only trained and certified for a few states which comprise their AOR.

    It is a highly unrealistic expectation that every briefer know every airport, navaid, and local weather patterns in the entire United States. The vetern guys have stated that to become trained and proficient in just one region of the country takes many years of experience let alone the entire nation in a year or two like Lockheed wants.

    Is it really fair for a rookie California briefer to be forced to take calls in the state of New York where he has zero training and put his job on the line. No, not even the slightest. Lockheed will not even entertain the idea of transferring calls back to their proper area in most cases, however when that California briefer messes up its all his fault and gets harsh disciplinary action.

  11. #11
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    Re: 1/23 Eastern Service Region fails due to layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by DCATC View Post
    which goes back to my point i said before, your there to work, yes brief pilots and all, not to just sit around, darn another call....you picked this profession, be stoked about it, you dont like it, then get the F out and when I call in i want a briefer who is happy and willing to help, not some unionized POS thats there just to collect a paycheck
    Yes I agree with you my good man, we are there to work. However, my knowledge of expertise is in a handful of States and not the entire Eastern Service Area. I tried to provide courteous service when someone calls but when the calls start dropping from NJ, TN, AL, KS... and everyone of those places has WX in which every brief takes over 10-15 minutes and attention to detail, it just simply gets mentally taxiing! After six calls like these its really hard to be motivated and all "stoked". BTW this is a scenario that happens pretty regularly. I ask you, is this safe?

    Lockmart is calling ppl for overtime to cover those busy times (weekends and others). PPL get laid off so in order to compensate they call ppl on overtime - what a way of being "stoked" huh? Granted it's voluntary (right now) but you still will not get your "stoked" Specialists as you call it. Lockmart has also made it really difficult for Specialists to have time off and this is a nation wide problem. You mess with people's time off you won't get your 'stoked' Specialist. You give people better schedules and time off when they request it; I can guarantee you you will have people with better modes and even better service!! Companies for profit forget that the better you treat someone the better they will perform - it's a win win situation! However, many companies and bosses still do business as if it was the 70's or 80's and think as long as you have a good paycheck it will be enough. They forget that many of us Generation Y and some X'ers want the quality of life and not the money. It's sad it is so close minded; but as long as they keep this mentality they will never 'ever' get the workforce to be 'stoked!!

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