FAM Flight Tips/Tricks

ATC_av8er

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What airport? I've always been curious how most people fair trying to get through some of the big hubs?
I always try to schedule my FDT through secondary airports (COS instead of DEN, ABE instead of PHL/EWR, etc). YMMV but it's in my experience that unless you are a local, nobody actually want's to go to these airports so you're chances of making the flight are greater. I have found that if you can make your flight to whatever hub you're flying to, you have a much greater chance of making it to your destination from there. The only time I've had an issue is when I'm going hub-hub.
 

JNev

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There’s a daily 747 between ONT And ANC on UPS
I see there’s an MD11 from OAK to ANC on Fridays it looks like too but I can’t tell if it’s seasonal or it’ll end by August

Also can I do MRY-LAX then drive from LAX to ONT and ONT-ANC?
 
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Ara

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Any tips for finding cargo airline schedules? Aiming for ANC in August and would love to go cargo at least one way (LA area or Bay area)
Alaska Air Cargo is also a good option. 737 SFO/SJC->SEA->ANC

I'm assuming you can't jumpseat on foreign carriers? Cathay Pacific and China Southern have 747s that do a direct SFO-ANC as well
 

edds93

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There's a list of carriers that you can fdt on. There's only 20ish and it's mostly the big domestics, some U.S. regionals, ups/fedex and a couple more iirc
 

Phillyman2633

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Any tips for finding cargo airline schedules? Aiming for ANC in August and would love to go cargo at least one way (LA area or Bay area)
You have to call the airline directly...log in to your FDTAS and go to the tab for Airline Info, pick FDX or UPS or whatever and then open up the pdf and it should have the dispatch phone number in there.

I always try to schedule my FDT through secondary airports (COS instead of DEN, ABE instead of PHL/EWR, etc). YMMV but it's in my experience that unless you are a local, nobody actually want's to go to these airports so you're chances of making the flight are greater. I have found that if you can make your flight to whatever hub you're flying to, you have a much greater chance of making it to your destination from there. The only time I've had an issue is when I'm going hub-hub.
I've FDTd twice a year every year I've been in the agency...taking my 9th next month. Never had any issues flying out of hubs. Unless the weather is fucked and there have been a shit ton of cancellations for storms or whatever, 99% of the time if a pilot is deadheading, he's #1 on the standby list for a seat in the back and he's not going to be in the cockpit. Even when the flight is 100% full it's very rare that the jump seat is taken...although I have had to sit in the 2nd jumpseat on a JBU A320 once. The bigger the aircraft the better. Get on that DAL A330 JFK-LAX and you might even score a business class seat (once the door is shut, of course...Philly always follows the regs).
 

N90-EWR

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of course...Philly always follows the regs).
Of course! ;)


It's a shame the new generations of controllers won't get to experience the beauty and freedom of the old fam trip program. I used to do 8 trips a year (2 international). In conjunction with a 2 week vacation? no problem! No paperwork? no problem! Would you like to sit in first class? If you insist! ;)
 

Phillyman2633

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It's a shame the new generations of controllers won't get to experience the beauty and freedom of the old fam trip program. I used to do 8 trips a year (2 international). In conjunction with a 2 week vacation? no problem! No paperwork? no problem! Would you like to sit in first class? If you insist! ;)
I'm sure some controller got wasted and fucked it up for everyone else, but I dont understand them putting so many restrictions on the program. I'd say maybe 20% of the time they take my paper ticket (most people look at me like I'm an idiot when I try to hand them a handwritten ticket). Most gate agents have no clue what's going on when I walk up the gate, so instead of saying "I'm here for Flight Deck Training," I hand them my FAA badge and tell them I'm jumpseating. That was good enough to get me onboard without additional questions I think 7 of the 8 times I've done the FDT thing. DAL legit doesnt give a shit, they just want you to flash your badge at the gate. JBU wants you to call that dispatch number ahead of time and list yourself for the flight, and then they give you a 6 digit alphanumeric code like you have a flight reservation (which is actually clutch as fuck, because then I can pull that number up under "My Trips" on the JBU app, which gets me through security and TSA PreCheck with nothing more than my phone and driver's license)...if you didnt tell the gate agent that you were there to sit in the cockpit, they would just issue you a seat in the back.

Literally the airlines (from my experience, anyway) dont give a fuck if we fly with them...it seems that the restrictions come from the FAA and they dont seem like they care to budge. Although I do remember at the convention in Philly some people came to the mic and asked national to get the FAA to loosen the restrictions. At least let us travel past our duty day...who the fuck cares if we go outside of our 8 hours if we do so of our own volition? I'm lucky out of JFK being able to go wherever the fuck I want for the most part, but any time i try to set up a trip with friends at smaller facilities, they cant make it because the long connections or lack of alternates put them over the 8 hour rule. And not being able to use it in conjunction with leave...again, if you get your dumbass report (yeah, we discussed the sterile cockpit rule in depth, it was about a 45 minute discussion, etc etc) then why would they care if you use your own leave?
 

N90-EWR

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I'm sure some controller got wasted and fucked it up for everyone else, but I dont understand them putting so many restrictions on the program.


Literally the airlines (from my experience, anyway) dont give a fuck if we fly with them...it seems that the restrictions come from the FAA and they dont seem like they care to budge. Although I do remember at the convention in Philly some people came to the mic and asked national to get the FAA to loosen the restrictions. At least let us travel past our duty day...who the fuck cares if we go outside of our 8 hours if we do so of our own volition? I'm lucky out of JFK being able to go wherever the fuck I want for the most part, but any time i try to set up a trip with friends at smaller facilities, they cant make it because the long connections or lack of alternates put them over the 8 hour rule. And not being able to use it in conjunction with leave...again, if you get your dumbass report (yeah, we discussed the sterile cockpit rule in depth, it was about a 45 minute discussion, etc etc) then why would they care if you use your own leave?
While there were certainly quite a few incidents from idiots that abused the program, there were quite a few people in mid to upper management that were just looking for an excuse to terminate the program back then. I know at N90 our training department head at the time (Terry Tracy) absolutely hated it, and openly and frequently campaigned to have restrictions similar to what we have in place today as early as the late 90's. I recall going to her office to turn a fam trip report in, and her saying "I can't wait for this bullshit program to be neutered". When 9/11 happened it was easy for them to jump in and terminate it. Why? My guess is because we had it and they didn't.

It is a miracle that we now have the program back at all, as they fought and tried their best to make it as restrictive and cumbersome as possible so as to render it unusable for anything "fun".
 

Phillyman2633

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It is a miracle that we now have the program back at all, as they fought and tried their best to make it as restrictive and cumbersome as possible so as to render it unusable for anything "fun".
Thanks for the insight. Times change and people come and go, but I guess managers gonna be managers lol.

On a side (but related) note, I think it's fuckin bullshit that we dont get "flash-and-dash" privileges. I mean, pretty much everyone who works for the airlines get standby privileges...there's so few controllers relative to the entire industry, we would never make an impact. There's probably more DAL baggage handlers at ATL than there are total controllers lol. And the FAA inspectors get to flash-and-dash whenever they want.
 

N90-EWR

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Thanks for the insight. Times change and people come and go, but I guess managers gonna be managers lol.

On a side (but related) note, I think it's fuckin bullshit that we dont get "flash-and-dash" privileges. I mean, pretty much everyone who works for the airlines get standby privileges...there's so few controllers relative to the entire industry, we would never make an impact. There's probably more DAL baggage handlers at ATL than there are total controllers lol. And the FAA inspectors get to flash-and-dash whenever they want.
Agreed! Most people never did it because we had a good number of fams a year. but for some of us it was a way of life. There was a period of time after my divorce where I was taking weekly trips from JFK to San Juan, PR on American, then hop on an Eagle ATR42 to Santo Domingo. That was all flash and dash, but not even one time did I encounter anyone competing for those jump seats. It's been almost 18 years now since my last fam but I had more than my fair share, so no complains.
 

JNev

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MRY Monterey Tower
"When an FDT participant elects to depart from home and the initial departure airport is more than 50 miles from the participant's duty station, duty time is authorized to and from that airport only for the commuting distance that exceeds 50 miles."

I'm a controller at MRY and SFO is 100 miles from here (but it's where most people here choose to depart from). I requested straight SFO-EWR and was rejected because SFO is >50 miles from my station. My reading of the Order says nothing about a request automatically being denied because an airport is >50 miles from your station, just that you can be authorized time for traveling (which my facility has no problem doing). Now I'm having to put MRY-LAX-SFO-EWR as my Alternate (MRY-SFO-EWR as Preferred) instead of the alternate just being the alternate SFO-EWR flight. I'm also worried because my new Preferred flight has a layover of 7 hours in SFO and they'll probably not be okay with that. I'm not fishing for OT or anything like that, I just want to get to EWR
 

32andBelow

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"When an FDT participant elects to depart from home and the initial departure airport is more than 50 miles from the participant's duty station, duty time is authorized to and from that airport only for the commuting distance that exceeds 50 miles."

I'm a controller at MRY and SFO is 100 miles from here (but it's where most people here choose to depart from). I requested straight SFO-EWR and was rejected because SFO is >50 miles from my station. My reading of the Order says nothing about a request automatically being denied because an airport is >50 miles from your station, just that you can be authorized time for traveling (which my facility has no problem doing). Now I'm having to put MRY-LAX-SFO-EWR as my Alternate (MRY-SFO-EWR as Preferred) instead of the alternate just being the alternate SFO-EWR flight. I'm also worried because my new Preferred flight has a layover of 7 hours in SFO and they'll probably not be okay with that. I'm not fishing for OT or anything like that, I just want to get to EWR
Why don’t you just put SFO-JFK as your alternate. Or SFO-ORD-EWR.
 

JNev

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Their issue is SFO and MRY are >50 mi apart, so I should have to start at MRY is what they're saying
 

JNev

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Oh well why go back to SFO? United offers LAX-EWR like hourly
787-10 goes between SFO and EWR and I don't want to fly in the morning when it goes LAX-EWR. Also, ideally I'd just like to do SFO-EWR instead of having to make another flight from MRY-XXX
 

Alpha_bravo2

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With FAMs you may have to make a compromise to get to where you want. Keep in mind that routes with more options may be better simply for the fact that you are dead last in boarding priority. I had an FAA inspector bump me off a flight a few weeks ago, the flight before that I was bumped by a pilot that didn't want a seat in the back.
 

sizziano

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With FAMs you may have to make a compromise to get to where you want. Keep in mind that routes with more options may be better simply for the fact that you are dead last in boarding priority. I had an FAA inspector bump me off a flight a few weeks ago, the flight before that I was bumped by a pilot that didn't want a seat in the back.
I was under the impression that you weren't dead last in priority. My friend bumped a pilot to the back when he did it because he had priority for the jumpseat.
 

axman

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1.They must have thought he was an inspector and that takes priority over pilot.
Or
2. It was southwest and it’s essentually a first come first serve..
 

Alpha_bravo2

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I was under the impression that you weren't dead last in priority. My friend bumped a pilot to the back when he did it because he had priority for the jumpseat.
From my experience we are dead last and they either listed him as something other than ATC, or they asked the pilot if he wanted the seat in the back or up front and he chose the back.
 

axman

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So what do people do with flights that are over 8 hours because of a long layover. I’ve read some answers but my ATM is saying he can’t do that because it would put into OT.
 
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