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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Flying Words

Every time I think it is time to move on from Butler Aviation, I think of another story.

Our manager was Jack Redman and every time we had an issue with him, we would go to Weber's house and his wife, Kerry, would  cook up a big pot of chili so we could have a chili meeting.  I guess we had a couple of those, but don't remember if we resolved any issues as a result.

I had a few issues with Jack myself.  One of them was when a customer, who requested that the pilot who flew with their people would go to the site with them, tried to get a reduction in what they paid the pilot per hour for waiting time.  These were the electricians who climbed the stacks at power plants.  We would go with them in their rental cars and sit at the bottom of the stack all day when they were working.  What fun!

The union contract of their electricians required someone to be with them, when they were climbing, with a walky talky radio, in case something went wrong.  If we pilots had not gone to the site, they would have had to pay another electrician to sit in the rental car all day.  I don't know what electricians made in those days, but I'll bet it was more than the $6 per hour we were getting for waiting time.

With all the other customers, we had the option of going with them, if we were invited, or we could just hang out at the airport.  This allowed us to walk to a restaurant, watch TV, or find a recliner to take a nap. Our days usually began and ended in the dark.  Sitting in a car at the base of a smoke stack is very boring. 

Jack brought Dave and me into his office and tried to make the case for us to accept this lousy deal, because this company was such a big customer.  It kind of pissed me off that he would do that, because he was putting it all on us, instead of being a leader.

I told him that this was the only customer who almost required us to go to the site and that they were saving money by not having to send an electrician.  At that time, I was the guy who usually ended up flying with them, so I was opposed to the reduction.  I guess he bought that argument, because nothing changed.

Another episode I had with Redman was after I had flown as much as I could for 2 years in a row.  Previously, my income had been going up each year, but I finally got to the point where I was flying the most lucrative trips.  My income was the same for both years and I did not see how I could increase it by flying more.  I asked for an increase in my hourly pay.

We made a small salary, but the biggest part of our income was based on production.  If we didn't fly, we didn't get paid.  If we flew, we made money and the company made money.

I explained all that to Jack.  He already knew that.  He said if I got a raise, I would be making more than he made.  I pointed out that my efforts added directly to the bottom line, while his did not necessarily.  I also said, "Maybe you need a raise too."  Some times I just can't help myself.  These things just fly out of my mouth.  
   

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