Specialists can brief anywhere

AFSS5602

Junior Member
Feb 19, 2009
128
1
18
Lockheed Flight Service upper level management have recently stated that every specialist can brief anywhere in the country regardless of where they work. It is true that specialists workstations can pull up weather anywhere in the country. However, there are 3 service regions (West, Central, and East). Specialists ONLY receive training and education on 2 flight plan areas WITHIN a service region. They receive a quick overview of the remainder of their service region. Specialists are NOT taught or trained on ANYTHING about other service regions. So, if a California pilot in the western service regions calls in and asks for any briefer and gets a specialist who works New England in the Eastern Service region, odds are that specialist wont be as helpful as a briefer trained in the Western service region. Many pilots get rolled over to other flight plan areas and service regions due to high call volume. This is how management has decided to do things whether people feel it is right or wrong. Therefore, as a specialist I would just ask that pilots be patient and bear with us. Its not an ideal situation, but it is what it is and specialists have no control over the situation. I would like to thank all the pilots who call us and bear with us when we aren't trained in the area they are flying in.
 

RWG

Newcomer
Aug 17, 2009
5
0
1
SE Oklahoma
The phrase that leaps into my mind is "Equal or better service". Old timers can explain that one to newbies. The FAA should be ashamed.
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
991
7
18
Thanks for your work. I'm always treated professionally and expeditiously when I call in for a briefing.
 

otterstrom

Trusted Member
Jun 16, 2008
461
0
16
of NATCA
lockheed-martin... "we never forget who we're working for."

well its clearly not GA pilots or the FAA. must be the shareholders.

bottom line, sounds like if we want someone who knows anything about local terrain and weather patterns, its best to not request "any briefer."
 

AFSS5602

Junior Member
Feb 19, 2009
128
1
18
It is important to note that the upper level managers in charge of the flight service program are that, managers. Most have education and backgrounds in business areas like finance or management. They are the ones in charge and have all the power. However, with that said, the operations of flight service is not business related. It is aviation/meteorology related. The specialists are the ones who have the aviation education, and FAA and national weather service training and qualifications. The managers calling the shots do not have the education or credentials to do the job. There is a famous saying for college students that goes "your opinion doesn't mean anything until you get a PhD.". Likewise and with all do respect to management, your opinion that we can brief anywhere doesn't mean anything since you aren't qualified to do the job. Specialists will respect the hierarchy of the organization and do what you say, but sorry, they will never support briefing all over the country.
 

anoms

Newcomer
Dec 5, 2009
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0
1
Totally agree with the post. Thanks to the pilots indeed. Just a side not from something I was told from my boss at my facility. "Our customers are NOT the pilots but the FAA and the NWS." I'm just very surprise that AOPA has not raised more of a fight as so many facilities have closed as well as how many briefers have lost their jobs. I suppose that as long as people don't complain about the service things will probably not change. I should not be surprise, afterall LM is a for profit company hence the FAA being the customer.
 

DCATC

Rookie
Nov 2, 2009
49
0
6
actually they have been able to brief nationwide for years now.....
the call tree starts at the FPA, then goes to adjacent briefers, then to ALL.
 

AFSS5602

Junior Member
Feb 19, 2009
128
1
18
It is true that when the FAA had flight service calls would roll as well. However, calls held in a flight plan area for significantly longer periods of time before rolling to adjacent flight plan areas. Minutes compared to seconds on Lockheed's system. I have watched the call tree and some areas have calls only hold for 20 seconds before rolling. This is done in busy areas so that typically there is only one call holding at any given time. The low staffing chosen by Lockheed would result in massive bottlenecks if calls held for minutes like in the FAA. Also under the old system there were over 60 stations each with a 400 mile flight plan area. So if a call rolled it might go from Cleavland to Dayton instead so it want a major deal. Now we have calls rolling all the way across the country in a short period of time.
 

MikeATC

Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
1,230
3
38
Nashville TN
Another real problem with the roll over, I've received IFR flight plan and release request off satelite airports from as far away as Texas or Virginia, told them to call back or better have the pilot call me on the phone or depart VFR because I can't release the aircraft at that time. The problem is that I often have no clue what station called because of the roll over, and that stations outside my area are not among those that I can call on the lines I had.

I can't count the number of pilots that call for release and have no flight plans in the system because the lockheed system either screwed up entering the flight plan or just plain didn't do it.
 

AFSS5602

Junior Member
Feb 19, 2009
128
1
18
It happens very frequently that pilots call us up saying their flight plan wasn't in the system. I have checked this multiple times both in our records and on the tapes and 9/10 times its the pilots fault because they only requested a brief and never asked to file a flight plan. I think its an honest communication issue. Some pilots probably think that when they provide the basic background info for a brief it also files a flight plan. Another major issue is pilots filing on DUATS improperly or DUATS just not sending the flight plans to ATC.
 

OASIS

Newcomer
Jul 24, 2010
1
0
1
It happens very frequently that pilots call us up saying their flight plan wasn't in the system. I have checked this multiple times both in our records and on the tapes and 9/10 times its the pilots fault because they only requested a brief and never asked to file a flight plan. I think its an honest communication issue. Some pilots probably think that when they provide the basic background info for a brief it also files a flight plan. Another major issue is pilots filing on DUATS improperly or DUATS just not sending the flight plans to ATC.
How do you know about all these flight plans that aren't getting into the system and how are you checking tapes on them? Are you in QA?

What do you mean by "DUATS just not sending the flight plans to ATC"? I can understand a flight plan with an incorrect time not being there or a flight plan "bouncing out" due to errors. But do you somehow know that DUATS just elects not to send a flight plan sometimes?
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
When a pilot called saying their flight plan was not in the system, I asked how it was filed. Almost every time they used DUATS. So yes, I would say that system is flawed and does not always send flight plans like it should.