FAM Flight Tips/Tricks

breakaway2000

Legendary Member
Messages
1,693
I'm curious what others have experienced. I've always tried to do the maximum 2 per year. This last time I flew United prior to 8am... full breakfast in the cockpit, had no idea that even existed. Anyone else have any good FAM stories or tips/tricks for the rest of us?

Basic Info
  1. Can go on two per year
  2. You cannot leave or return on your RDO's or use leave in between flights
  3. Essentially turns your two day weekend into a four day weekend (Your facility may charge you a few hours of leave on the front and back end)
  4. Need to submit your paperwork at least 21 days in advance (EDIT: only 14 days now - credit GulfPapaBravo
  5. I don't know if this is new but on my last FAM, they gave me this number just in case...
    FDT Time Critical: 202-267-4663 (issues at airport such as CASS or with TSA)
  6. Everything is now done online. You need to be on an FAA computer and visit http://atcwebdev.faa.gov/FDTAS. Once you submit, your FLM will have to log in, approve it, and submit it on his end.
Aircraft Jumpseat Info
  1. CRJ - Small, expect a tight fit if you're over 6'
  2. B737 - Slightly more space then the CRJ, some have 2 jumpseats, but I have no idea how a normal sized human being could fit in the 2nd.
  3. A320 - Largest of the three, 2 jumpseats and can seat 2 comfortably. (I actually had another pilot jumpseat with me.)
Tips/Tricks
  1. Breakfast tip above, anyone know if you ever get a lunch/dinner?
  2. While boarding, I always tried to board first. The one time I boarded last, the flight attendant said, "We have a first class seat available, would you like that instead?"
  3. I believe you can FAM at any airport within 50 miles of your duty station. Although each could be different, our 'sister' facilities have all let me park in their visitor parking lot for a FAM.
  4. Request your days off between your RDO's prior to the schedule posting, if they're approved, put in your FAM paperwork (Credit - Stinger)
If you guys have any info to add, I'll throw it up here as well.
 

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Stinger

Moderator
Staff member
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My one tip:
Put in for leave on the day before and day after your RDOs before the schedule is published. If that gets approved, then submit your FDT/FAM paperwork, and then your two days of leave will get turned into off-site-training days.
 

ATOH

Trusted Contributor
Messages
97
I board with the first class passengers. Gives you a chance to introduce yourself before the crew gets too busy. Each time I was politely asked to wait in the jetway while all the passengers boarded. The biggest thing to remember is be very humble and courteous towards the crew.

As far as ATC is concerned my biggest takeaway was realizing the crew's workload right before takeoff and right before landing
 

GulfBravoPapa

Forum Sage
Messages
800
With the new online process you only need paperwork in 14 days in advance. I am doing it right now and it has been very smooth. Emails when my supervisor and facility FDT rep approved the request.

I have previously gone to San Juan on Delta.... The flight from ATL to San Juan I got dinner meal service.

Depending on airports, out if DTW I did not have any luck with Southwest. The gate agent couldn't find me in CASS and my backup flight would have been the same gate agent so I just went to work. That was just a one day trip though so no big loss.
 

breakaway2000

Legendary Member
Messages
1,693
Depending on airports, out if DTW I did not have any luck with Southwest. The gate agent couldn't find me in CASS and my backup flight would have been the same gate agent so I just went to work. That was just a one day trip though so no big loss.
This sounds like every FAM trip I've taken. I've never been in CASS, even if they have to call a manager over they've been really good about manually putting me in.
I don't know if this is new but on my last FAM, they gave me this number just in case...

FDT Time Critical: 202-267-4663 (issues at airport such as CASS or with TSA)

That's great about only 14 days! I had no idea.
 
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ATC_av8er

Trusted Contributor
Messages
108
I'm curious what others have experienced. I've always tried to do the maximum 2 per year. This last time I flew United prior to 8am... full breakfast in the cockpit, had no idea that even existed. Anyone else have any good FAM stories or tips/tricks for the rest of us?

Basic Info
  1. Can go on two per year
  2. You cannot leave or return on your RDO's or use leave in between flights
  3. Essentially turns your two day weekend into a four day weekend (Your facility may charge you a few hours of leave on the front and back end)
  4. Need to submit your paperwork at least 21 days in advance (EDIT: only 14 days now - credit GulfPapaBravo
  5. I don't know if this is new but on my last FAM, they gave me this number just in case...
    FDT Time Critical: 202-267-4663 (issues at airport such as CASS or with TSA)
Aircraft Jumpseat Info
  1. CRJ - Small, expect a tight fit if you're over 6'
  2. B737 - Slightly more space then the CRJ, some have 2 jumpseats, but I have no idea how a normal sized human being could fit in the 2nd.
  3. A320 - Largest of the three, 2 jumpseats and can seat 2 comfortably. (I actually had another pilot jumpseat with me.)
Tips/Tricks
  1. Breakfast tip above, anyone know if you ever get a lunch/dinner?
  2. While boarding, I always tried to board first. The one time I boarded last, the flight attendant said, "We have a first class seat available, would you like that instead?"
  3. I believe you can FAM at any airport within 50 miles of your duty station. Although each could be different, our 'sister' facilities have all let me park in their visitor parking lot for a FAM.
  4. Request your days off between your RDO's prior to the schedule posting, if they're approved, put in your FAM paperwork (Credit - Stinger)
If you guys have any info to add, I'll throw it up here as well.
If I recall correctly, you can FAM from any airport. You can even FAM to and from two different airports (i.e. Arrive into LGA, depart JFK) as long as those two airports are no more than 50 miles apart.

I have done it several times. My favorites are the 757 and A320 jump seats. Quite a bit of legroom. Least favorites are the 737 and MD-80. Unless you plan for the pilots to get to REALLY know you, avoid the Mad Dog. I have always been given exemplary service on American, they will usually offer you a meal.

I do not recommend trying to check a bag. However, since space is so tight in the cockpit, I suggest you try to gate check your carry-on. You can assume most flights will be full and overhead space will be sparse.

If you can, try to avoid hub airports, aka Crew Bases. You are more likely to get bumped for a commuting pilot. Instead of flying into PHL for instance, maybe try ABE. I know it's hard with the way the airlines schedule, but some still offer point-to-point flights. I've never had a problem, but I was almost bumped from DFW-MIA one time. There was, in the words of he head flight attendant, "an ass in every seat", including the other jump seat up front. I was the very last person to be able to board.
 

jen_n_juice14

Member
Messages
28
anyone have experience jumpseating with any of the Cargo Carriers?
We here in Memphis FAM with FedEx all the time and its an easy process. My first FAM, I went out on FDX and came back on UAL and I prefer cargo carriers much more.

The only benefit of the UAL flight was that I got to fly in a 787 from SFO to IAH...then got stuck in a regional jet from IAH to MEM so that sucked.
 

TimShady

Member
FAA
Messages
11
Facility
MDW Midway Tower
If the gate agent has trouble locating you in the CASS system, make sure they're using ATC as the airline code and not FAA. I ran into that problem more than once.

If you board first, a lot of times you'll end up just awkwardly hanging out in the doorway to the flight deck until the pilots get their stuff situated enough to pull out the jump seat. This is on a 737. One time I just ended up standing with a flight attendant and greeting the passengers as they boarded, lol.

I have rode with a second jump seater on a 737 before. I got the "better" seat in the middle as opposed to behind the captain's seat but it was super tight. Ended up being fun though cause they were all characters and me and the pilot in back just chatted the whole flight.

If you're going between hubs, pick flight times with good alternates. A lot of times you can have an alternate less than a hour later which is nice.
 

rugbydog11

Forum Sage
Messages
469
FDT in a few weeks for the first time on the new online version... I don't need anything other than FAA ID and the little "I can hang in the cockpit" card right?

Also, landing PDX if anyone has good recommendations for food
 

GulfBravoPapa

Forum Sage
Messages
800
FDT in a few weeks for the first time on the new online version... I don't need anything other than FAA ID and the little "I can hang in the cockpit" card right?

Also, landing PDX if anyone has good recommendations for food
Wrong. A day or so before you go whoever is in charge of FDT at your facility will give you all the paperwork. You still have paper tickets to give to the airline. You just fill out your "what you learned" sheet online
 

rugbydog11

Forum Sage
Messages
469
Wrong. A day or so before you go whoever is in charge of FDT at your facility will give you all the paperwork. You still have paper tickets to give to the airline. You just fill out your "what you learned" sheet online
This could be bad... Ive had to stay on top of them to even get things approved.
 

breakaway2000

Legendary Member
Messages
1,693
This is what you'll need...

FAA Forms
Form 3120-37 - The approved copy
3120-38 - These are the written tickets (Can be surrendered at the gate)
3120-39 - This is your laminated facility authorization card (need to bring this back to the facility)

Personal Identification
FAA Badge
Driver's License
Passport (optional, I've had them ask before so I just bring it)
 

RavenYZF-R6

Forum Sage
Messages
644
S
FDT in a few weeks for the first time on the new online version... I don't need anything other than FAA ID and the little "I can hang in the cockpit" card right?

Also, landing PDX if anyone has good recommendations for food
The Screen Door is a great restaurant while you're in Portland. If you want a tower tour send me a PM.
 

ArcherFlyer

Lurker
Messages
33
Is the transition still happening at smaller facilities? We've yet to be briefed on the new changes, and I've asked several others at my facility and no one seems to be aware of the newly implemented changes. I only found out recently at a NATCA event.
 

rugbydog11

Forum Sage
Messages
469
Is the transition still happening at smaller facilities? We've yet to be briefed on the new changes, and I've asked several others at my facility and no one seems to be aware of the newly implemented changes. I only found out recently at a NATCA event.
It should be completely transitioned now at all facilities.
 
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