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Old 03-12-2019, 10:49 AM   #151  
New Hire
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Position: 4000+ hours TT, 700 NVG
Posts: 6
Default Scheduling

Scheduling: Are schedule is basically done by "Pay Period". Which is 14 days. 99% of the time you will get 4 days off per Pay Period.
- is always a Sunday through Saturday (14 days)
- there is no rule which 4 days
- nothing says you will get two days off in a row
- nothing says you will get a Friday or Saturday off

Example (not typical, but does happen):

Off Sunday and Monday
1400-2200 for 10 days (Tuesday though following Thursday)
Off Friday and Saturday

There is no national policy on schedules or shifts. Each branch has sets their own shifts and days of the week. Ive rarely seen two do it the same way. Many places will have 2 or 3 "groups". Group A may be 0600-1400 Sunday through Thursday. Group B Tues-Sat 1400-2200. Group C 1800-0200. They may switch monthly or quarterly. You may move around a lot due to training or to cover holes in the schedule.

8 hour day: you must work at least 8 hours a day and 40 hours in a 7 day week. So no matter what. You must be at the office. Even if all the planes are broken, the Wx is awful or you just cant fly, you will stare at the ceiling (not really.. see next post). There is no 96 hour liberty or "on call" at home. Home doesn't count for anything, and we don't have G vehicles. So unlike our Boat Drivers who can drive around in their G rides and take a 3 hour lunch with the guys or go visit a Marina on the way home when they are unable to float, we sit in the office. Sometimes we can take a g ride to a local airport... but.. you still have to bring it back to the office at the end of the day. That gets stupid and boring fast.

TDY: I generally feel that TDYs are a good deal. Go someplace new. Do something different. Catch bad guys. get per diem. Stay in a decent hotel and get hotel points Ive been to good places. Ive been to terrible places. But I knew that part when I took the job. So cant complain. TDY is good because the work is sometimes hard. Like 0200 patrols, but at least you get per diem, and get decent sleep in quiet hotel room. I enjoy TDY, because at home we take off and land at the same airport. Nothing like 70 hours a month and never landing at a anywhere but your home base. Are we there yet? Circles
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:05 AM   #152  
New Hire
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Position: 4000+ hours TT, 700 NVG
Posts: 6
Default Typical Day

Typical Day: Most places start with a shift brief. There isn't always a flight schedule, if there is, its not in stone. So there will usually be a shift brief. Figure out who came to work, what aircraft are working, which need a Mx pilot, a Wx brief and intel. This is the good part. when you come to work, you never really know what you will fly, where or with who. But that is a double edged sword.

When you are not flying, there is often plenty to do. A mix of things that are actually important:
- gun range each quarter
- tactics training each quarter
- duty desk
- online annual training
- admin stuff: timecards, travel authorization, travel claims, misc

Then there is the stuff that will make you scream:
- IT systems that lock up
- outdated or poorly designed systems that require an expert to understand
- HR persons who hate their job, are incompetent, both and are generally unhelpful.
- Unfilled support positions. People who quit or retired, and take months to replace. Payroll person, travel person, Mx officer. Those jobs you can live without, but make things much harder to do.
- paperwork: Its the G, we love paperwork. We don't know why we are doing it, but it has to get done or someone, somewhere may have to work or not get their bonus for the year.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:27 AM   #153  
New Hire
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Position: 4000+ hours TT, 700 NVG
Posts: 6
Default The Staff

- Aviators: tough one to describe. We are not a professional aviation organization. I don't care what some may say. Our organizational model is not designed like a aviation unit. It is BP model. leadership is not required to have any aviation background. Their is no leadership path or position for experienced pilots. An IP or standards pilot is still a GS-13 and gets paid the same as a line pilot who only has a rotor or fixed wing rating. There is no chief pilot.

Supervisors: A BP agent can lateral to AMO and become a supervisor. An AIA can ONLY become an SAIA. We cannot lateral to BP or supervise boat units. Every unit is different, but supervisors are generally discouraged from flying. This breeds two issues. Weak pilots applying for supervisor. Lazy pilots applying for supervisor. Not saying all or even most are poor or weak aviators. But the system does not reward good aviators who are experts in aviation and want to take on more aviation leadership. I can say that the best pilot in any AMO unit is a line pilot, and not a supervisor. There are good Sups, but the really good pilots very rarely apply for SAIA. This allows weaker aviators or people with little leadership experience to rise quickly. You will not be impressed with the leadership.

Typical Supervisor: Typical may be the wrong term. But here is what many look like, and the number is growing:

-less then 3000 hours (if they are a pilot)

-Not a pilot. Former radar operator, boat driver, BP agent

- Overweight: my point is that we claim to be Law Enforcement, but our leaders set poor examples

- No college

- peaked in high school

Support Staff: This is another area that is really seeing a decline. HR staff is getting smaller. Those that remain are now bitter and angry to have more work and same pay.

Mechanics: Another area in decline. The last maintenance contract gutted our most experienced and motivated mechanics. The contract removed requirements and lowered the bar on hiring. Many with advanced experience either left, were laid off or took a pay cut. Again, more work, less pay, decline in morale. Years ago the mechs were absolutely motivated and trusted. They would bend over backwards. Stay late, help you load the helo, answer questions, or just plain hustle when their was a real mission and everyone was in a hurry to go catch a bad guy. They were part of the team. Most places now have a stressful relationship with their mechanics. Planes that take forever to get fixed. Slow progress, and overall us vs them attitude. Not the ideal relationship for a professional aviation organization. Low readiness rates, slow work, and distrust. Not everywhere, but many places and growing.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:39 AM   #154  
Line Holder
Thread Starter
Joined APC: May 2017
Position: Part 141 Program
Posts: 30

Just a quick question for the AMO guys, what's happens to a pilot that has a medical issue pop up or ends up losing a medical? How does AMO handle that?
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:12 PM   #155  
Line Holder
Joined APC: Feb 2017
Position: Airborne Law Enforcement
Posts: 59

Originally Posted by Grom1234 View Post
Just a quick question for the AMO guys, what's happens to a pilot that has a medical issue pop up or ends up losing a medical? How does AMO handle that?
Ive only personnaly known this to happen once. Managment placed him into a operations position where he managed the air support request and schedulled the special events. Others on here may have different experiences.

Since I also possess a US Coast Guard captains license I may claim to lose my medical so maybe they'll transfer me to a Marine unit and I can go do my last couple years cruising around on the water in a desirable location instead of the UAS location im stuck at. Haha
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:17 PM   #156  
New Hire
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Position: 4000+ hours TT, 700 NVG
Posts: 6
Default The bad

So I mentioned the good. Now the bad.

Schedule Changes: I have no idea what my schedule will be in 2 weeks. And whatever is posted has a 50% chance it will be changed. My wife doesn't make dinner anymore unless I tell her Im on the way home,

Seniority: We have absolutely no seniority. Except the rate we earn leave. Besides that.

There is no seniority for
your schedule
your days off
your vacation days
what aircraft you fly
who go TDY
when and if you PCS
what you will do tomorrow at work
any position in the office (training, instructor, firearms)

So a pilot with 30 years and age 56 just jammed worse then a new pilot with no quals.

Vacation Time and Days at Work:
This is interesting. After a few years many of us prior military will earn 8 hours Vacation Time.

Here are all the benefits you may be eligible for. Per year.
26 vacation days (work days NOT calendar days)
10 paid federal holidays ( you will likely worth half of them)
15 paid days for guard or reservists
13 days paid sick leave (plan on using 5 per year)

That's 10 weeks of excused and paid work or 42 weeks.

42 weeks x 5 days = 210 work days per year or 17 days per month.

so you say.. hey, that's about what a SWA flies. Well not really.

That's 17-20 days per month your entire career. Remember. No seniority. No moving up. No long haul. No bidding reserve.

Your last year WILL be as painful as your first year here.

Ohh.. but we sleep in our own bed every night?

Well not so fast. We do often go TDY to garden spots like Tucson or McAllen, and at home we often work nights. So that means working until midnight. Driving home. Sneaking into the house at 1am. Sleeping in your own bed, then having everyone in the house wake you up at 7am when they go to school.

Its not terrible. But it must be considered.

How do others do it??

12 hours on, 12 hours off. 7 days on 7 days off
Wow.. 7 days off in a row sounds nice.
Sleeping during shift sounds nice too.

Almost forgot. The flying. We have become very focused on flight hours. Don't know why. Maybe its the pilot shortage. Competing with USCG or plain stupidity. But flying circles over the same stretch of desert or water gets old. We aren't doing overnight trips to Cancun with 20 hour layovers. It can be 6 hours in the same 20x20 mile box. With little to zero hope of actually accomplishing anything because the weather is marginal, nobody on the ground, or just no real intel. Just "patrolling".

About as exciting as driving a fire truck around the Sahara desert looking for a house fire.

Good friend is a fireman. They stay in shape. They are meticulous about keeping their equipment in top working order and they sleep and rest when there is no fire. That truck goes to fires, schools and the local Applebees. When there is a fire, they are ready and so is the equipment. We fly to fly, land tired, then go back up flying because somebody may have seen a fire.

Computer Systems: I swear there is some sick IT jokester at our HQ. We constantly change travel systems, nobody seems to know how to work out the bugs, HR is absolutely no help. Our systems are probably our number one enemy. A day doesn't go by that somebody in the office has some sort of IT based issue. An error message, locked up, cant figure it out. Whatever. It is incredible the amount of lost time we spend battling our own computer systems. Our IT systems:
flight logs
DHS training
Im sure I forgot one. Mind boggling how poorly they function.

Like someone said. You can be the highest paid single engine piston pilot in the entire country... before your divorce.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #157  
Gets Weekends Off
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Joined APC: Oct 2006
Posts: 383

As has been highlighted before, folks do these BP related jobs (and yes I'm pointedly lumping everyone under the BP banner, I know AMO hates that) because they have ties to the local area. Being paid GS-13 to live in proverbial McAllen, Sierra Vista et al is all about local ties, not a flying progression worth putting up with those places. Most of the folks I knew in Del Rio (non-pilots) were doing it for a lateral to other agencies. That either would take years or their loved ones would give up on them. It's the reason we could never hire ARTs in my AFRC unit down there and the command finally wised up and knocked it off with the ART nonsense. Even AGRs go unfilled in this hiring environment, or they get filled by airline guys topping off their retirement then they're gone.

I certainly was about to geo-bachelor my family by moving them to bona fide civilization, in order not to lose them if I didn't get a transfer in time for the kid to turn school age. That took me 7 years of my life. I ain't getting that time back, and I'm certainly never doing that again, my life is finite after all lol.

Only the local-tied would be copacetic with that mediocrity, and from their perspective you really can't beat a GS-11 thru 14 in these places, compared to the median income on these places. So sure, a good reason as any for someone in that situation, but it's just not a good setup for most who are not local tied, especially in this aviation hiring environment. To each their own.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:36 PM   #158  
Line Holder
Joined APC: Jun 2011
Posts: 94

Iím curious why CBP doesnít bring down the hiring mins, considering their manpower shortage and especially that youíll really only be able to fly a piston single or RPA.

You donít need 1500, or even 1000, to fly a C206 in a law enforcement capacity. I believe USFW and the National Parks will hire law enforcement pilots at 500 hours.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:58 PM   #159  
Line Holder
Joined APC: Feb 2017
Position: Airborne Law Enforcement
Posts: 59

Originally Posted by kaputt View Post
Iím curious why CBP doesnít bring down the hiring mins, considering their manpower shortage and especially that youíll really only be able to fly a piston single or RPA.

You donít need 1500, or even 1000, to fly a C206 in a law enforcement capacity. I believe USFW and the National Parks will hire law enforcement pilots at 500 hours.
AMO has reduced the hiring mins. Up till about a year and half ago you had to be commercially dual rated to get hired and honestly you wouldn't even get a phone call back if you were less than 3000hrs TT. Now you can be either fixed or rotor with 1500hrs and get hired. For what its worth, AMO could fill a few AIA slots with current AEA's who are rated, but the stupid policy of taking a pay cut and moving to a new hire location keeps some of the AEA's from wanting to move up to AIA.

I personally know 3 AEA's who are 1500 hr guys (one even has a ATP license) but those guys are GS13 AEA's in good locations, and don't want to bust back down to GS11 and move back to the southern border, so they don't promote up to AIA. AMO has made ZERO incentive for guys to promote up to AIA.
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:35 PM   #160  
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Joined APC: Mar 2019
Posts: 1
Default Birmingham duty location

I'm halfway along the hiring process and my application shows my applied duty location in Birmingham, AL. Does CBP have a base in Alabama?
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