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Hints, Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Posted By:
Adam Baker
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 4/4/2010 02:07:14

Hey Guys,


I've been a line guy for 4 years now, and I've been in the aviation community slightly longer... you could consider me one of them there 'Whippersnapper pilots that's still wet behind the ears'...

During my service at the airport, I've learned a few things that I feel every pilot should know. Much to my surprise however, quite a few of them don't! So... here goes nothing:

* When taxiing into an airport, the line guy will more than likely point your aircraft in the direction of the wind, or in a direction that results in the least amount of tailwind. This is a standard and common procedure.

* When parking at an FBO, if the ramp is full of aircraft and a line guy is nowhere to be found... park your aircraft in the same direction as the rest of the aircraft! (They're all pointing the same way for a reason) You have no idea how often I encounter this issue! The only exception would be during a frontal change where your pointing your aircraft into the wind.

* When a line guy parks your aircraft, and seems to possess a fair bit of knowledge, don't treat him like an idiot. That's just not cool. Example:


Line Guy: "Hi, Welcome to ____. What can I do for you today? By the way, that's a great-looking 1956 172. I love those straight-tails. Does this still have the O-300?"

Pilot: "Yes. It still has the O-300. Have you ever fueled a Cessna 172 before? I need it topped off with 100 Low Lead Av-Gas."

  - That's just not cool guys... I do understand when pilots watch the line guys fuel up their aircraft - I encourage it! Also, I understand specifying 100LL versus 80 or 100 Octane fuel.... just don't talk down to us. It's important to understand that although line guys are underpaid, they're not ignorant. (Some special cases apply)

Here's a cool tip: Did you know that you can actually save money by talking to the line guys? I know a particular 135 operator that used to spend $10.00 on pizza for the line department when he'd come in. You may think that's asinine... but it always worked in his favor. All applicable fuel discounts would apply, and for some unknown reason, his landing and ramp fees would be waived. During the winter months, he'd even get a free heated hangar for the day.

Of course, buying the line department probably doesn't work at these larger FBO's... but it definitely works at the smaller Mom 'n Pop locations. Try it sometime - At the very least, they'll always remember you and treat you with care in the future.

* If it's a slow day and the frequencies aren't congested, thank the approach controllers for their help before you sign off and wish the person in the tower a great day. It really means a lot to those guys. A controllers job is monotonous enough, and they constantly deal with impersonal pilots, they start thinking of us as numbers rather than people. A quick thank-you and have a great day may actually make their day.


I'm sure other people have some great useful information regarding Hints, Tips, Tricks for the aviation world. (Other than completely ignoring everything that I just said!
goggles)  Please share your experiences with the rest of us.




Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#2 Posted: 4/4/2010 04:14:15

One of the joys of flying, for me, is meeting new people - line staff included.  I fully endorse Adam's advice - just treat folks like folks and they will normally respond favorably....goggles


Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Bob Meder
NAFI MemberAirVenture Volunteer
#3 Posted: 4/4/2010 06:47:48

In (friendly) response to the linepeople of the world:

1)  Don't be miffed if a pilot stands there and watches you bring the correct truck and ground the airplane.  It's the pilots' responsibility, ultimately.  Not only have I had to ask the line to ground the airplane on occasion, but I personally know of one mis-fueling adventure involving a DA42 with the Thielert diesels.

2)  Don't be offended if, right after we watch you top off the airplane and put the caps on, we verify that you topped the airplane and put the caps on correctly.  It's nothing personal, just our job.

3)  Don't be put off if a persnickity instructor asks his student to call the line to ask for a step ladder so she can climb up and check the fuel and caps on her 182.  See one and two above.

4)  If I insist that I tie down a rental myself, it's  because, if the expected storm that's coming in flips it over, guess who the owner's insurance company is going to approach.

An earnest reminder to my fellow pilots:

1)  Be nice to the linepeople.  They're the ones standing up in the wind on a cold winter morning topping your 172 so you don't have to.

2)  Related to the above, pleases and thank you's go a long, long way.

3)  Be sure your instructions are clear, particularly when doing weight-critical fueling.  If there's any question, go over it again ("Yes, that's correct, to the tab that's sticking down plus one more gallon per side beyond that.").

4)  Don't be upset if ATC isn't always as hearty as you in greetings/sign offs.  They may be dealing with multiple comms and land-lines, or just be busy watching a busy situation.  Also, I know of one busy tower that, although professional, was (somewhat legitimately) gigged for being a bit loose on radio procedures, so they've gone to the straight and narrow for the time being.

5)  If you own a fancy bird, don't be high-falutin' (and linepeople, don't fall into the trap of fawning over them).  A long time ago, I pulled into an FBO in a 172 about the same time a Citation did.  We were directed to park on one side, while the Citation was brought to the "terminal" door.  The jet owner/pilot and I walked in about the same time.  When the receptionist started asking for his fuel order  he said "Hey!  The 172 was here first!"  I will never, ever forget that...

Bob Meder "Anxiety is nature's way of telling you that you already goofed up."