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Old 04-17-2017, 07:38 AM   #1  
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Default Star Marianas Air Review

I had posted this in an existing thread already, but I thought I would start a new thread so it is more easily accessible to anyone doing a web search.

I resigned after a week. Here is an account of my experience, good and bad. I'm not telling anyone to necessarily stay away from the company, I'm just giving an account of my experience that you can use in conjunction with other research to make an informed decision.

BAD: (Point 2 is why I resigned)

1.) On my second day of real flying after completing the checkout flights, I had a partial engine failure. I told a customer to transition from an ascent into a decent. The customer got a little too excited and we ended up pulling ~0 G's for about a second--no more. The engine sputtered out almost completely and for a second or two things got pretty quiet. The power slowly came back and the engine was vibrating quite a bit. It didn't come back completely, we were only able to maintain 1950-2000 rpm in level flight. I did all my checks (carb heat, primer, ignition, etc.) and couldn't find the cause. We turning back towards the airport and I discovered that leaning the mixture resulted in immediate rpm increase. It was odd, as I've never had such a sensitive mixture control nob. Pulling it out just a hair resulted in a ~200 rpm increase and pulling it a hair further killed the engine. We were able to make it back to the field without incident. After landing and shutting down the engine, we did a runup and achieved 2200 static rpm ("normal" for this plane). The "boss" (will go unnamed) supposedly looked at it and said there's nothing wrong with it. I didn't make a fuss of this, as I'm really no expert, but as a mechanical engineer something about this doesn't sound "fine".

2.) As soon as I arrived, management changed the way planes were assigned. Rather than a pilot "owning" a plane for a day, we rotated planes. You'd be lucky to fly the same one twice in one day. This brought up the concern of keeping track of fuel. Before, ground crews would fill it to tabs, the pilot would (should) verify this, and then they can keep track of air time and have a pretty good idea of how much fuel is left. With the new system, we were expected to trust ground personnel to keep track of fuel. There were two main points brought up about this. 1.) You're blindly trusting the ground personnel actually filled up the tanks and that the pilot(s) before you verified this. It's not unimaginable for this to go wrong. 2.) You're also counting on ground personnel to keep track of air time properly. In my short time there, they already screwed this up once. They told me there wasn't enough fuel left for a 23 minute flight when I still had ~20 gallons.

At a monthly pilot meeting, another pilot brought this up when the boss asked us if we had anything to bring up. All he asked is that we keep fuel sticks in the plane so that we can have a better way to gauge how much fuel is left. The boss somehow took offense to this, and crucified this pilot in front of everyone. The tirade lasted about 5 minutes, so I can't recall everything, but here are some excerpts: "You're a low-time 400 hour pilot and I have XXXX hours. I'm not going to stoop down to your level, you'll have to come up to mine!", "We do so much for you guys, you should just trust the system we have in place, it works." Now, keep in mind that we all had the same concern, but everyone else kept their mouths shut because they were cowards. I spoke up but was able to avoid most of the boss's wrath.

The next evening, me and this other guy are at dinner and he told me that the boss had requested to see him the next morning. He said that he thought he was going to bee terminated. I told him that there's no way he could be fired for that--all he did was respectfully make a suggestion based on a legitimate safety concern at the proper place and time. Keep in mind that this guy didn't really have a history of causing trouble. The only thing I was able to gather by talking to other pilots was that he once refused to fly because he wasn't comfortable with the weather (see below). I decided that I he was going to get fired for this "offense", then I'd resign.

The next morning, he calls me to tell me that he was terminated "for not knowing the fuel burn of a pa-28-140". He apparently told the boss "I know the fuel burn, it's 6-8 gph", at which point the boss said, "you can keep your job if you keep your mouth shut and don't start any trouble". This made it abundantly clear in my mind that I didn't want to work here. When I went to resign, the boss threatened me saying this would me on my PRIA record for 5 years.

GOOD:

Honestly, if it weren't for this one guy, I'd love the company. A lot of the employees are family and it's a tight-knit community. For all the complaints I've made above, the maintenance really isn't all that bad. The boss had been making changes recently specifically to ensure the planes have more hangar time for MX without affecting flight schedules. He's a very compitent, smart guy but the problem was that he as an arrogant a**hole would wasn't willing to listen to the guys actually flying the planes everyday. The story above also makes me question his integrity.
The company will also pay for half of your scuba certification. The waters around Saipan and Tinian are truly world class.
You'll start out doing discover flights for tourists which is amazing. A lot of them are cute girls in their 20's from China. (The Chinese don't really don't have GA, so it's super cool to them). Anyway, as a young guy wearing a pilot uniform and taking them on tour flights, they were ALL OVER ME. I've already got a significant other, but if you're a young, single guy, you can really have a blast over there!
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:39 AM   #2  
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1.) On my second day of real flying after completing the checkout flights, I had a partial engine failure. I told a customer to transition from an ascent into a decent. The customer got a little too excited and we ended up pulling ~0 G's for about a second--no more. The engine sputtered out almost completely and for a second or two things got pretty quiet. The power slowly came back and the engine was vibrating quite a bit. It didn't come back completely, we were only able to maintain 1950-2000 rpm in level flight. I did all my checks (carb heat, primer, ignition, etc.) and couldn't find the cause. We turning back towards the airport and I discovered that leaning the mixture resulted in immediate rpm increase. It was odd, as I've never had such a sensitive mixture control nob. Pulling it out just a hair resulted in a ~200 rpm increase and pulling it a hair further killed the engine. We were able to make it back to the field without incident. After landing and shutting down the engine, we did a runup and achieved 2200 static rpm ("normal" for this plane). The "boss" (will go unnamed) supposedly looked at it and said there's nothing wrong with it. I didn't make a fuss of this, as I'm really no expert, but as a mechanical engineer something about this doesn't sound "fine".

2.) As soon as I arrived, management changed the way planes were assigned. Rather than a pilot "owning" a plane for a day, we rotated planes. You'd be lucky to fly the same one twice in one day. This brought up the concern of keeping track of fuel. Before, ground crews would fill it to tabs, the pilot would (should) verify this, and then they can keep track of air time and have a pretty good idea of how much fuel is left. With the new system, we were expected to trust ground personnel to keep track of fuel. There were two main points brought up about this. 1.) You're blindly trusting the ground personnel actually filled up the tanks and that the pilot(s) before you verified this. It's not unimaginable for this to go wrong. 2.) You're also counting on ground personnel to keep track of air time properly. In my short time there, they already screwed this up once. They told me there wasn't enough fuel left for a 23 minute flight when I still had ~20 gallons.
Why were you telling the costomer what to do, rather than flying the airplane yourself?

Partial power failure as you've described it sounds very much like fouled spark plugs from improper leaning. Especially given the improvement when you did lean.

There are few operations where you get your own airplane, whether 135' airline, military, or utility. Get used to it.

Sounds like you're very inexperienced and got a taste of the real world.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:53 PM   #3  
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I was considering this place and i have a couple guys that went to ATP that went down there, looked like a pretty cool gig for a couple months. Unfortunate that the boss man acts like that... That is definitely the worst thing for a company.
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Old 04-18-2017, 04:09 AM   #4  
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Why were you telling the costomer what to do, rather than flying the airplane yourself?

Partial power failure as you've described it sounds very much like fouled spark plugs from improper leaning. Especially given the improvement when you did lean.

There are few operations where you get your own airplane, whether 135' airline, military, or utility. Get used to it.

Sounds like you're very inexperienced and got a taste of the real world.
1-Because that's my job. They were discovery flights where want-to-be top gun Asian tourists get their first experience flying a plane. I fly right seat, they fly left.

2-Possibly, but I've had fouled plugs before and I really don't believe this to be the case.

3-I don't have a problem sharing planes. I do have an issue with firing an employee because they politely asked to have $2 fuel sticks in each of the planes. I'm not working somewhere where employees are fired for voicing concerns (in an appropriate manner).

4-Totally uncalled for.
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:48 AM   #5  
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1-Because that's my job. They were discovery flights where want-to-be top gun Asian tourists get their first experience flying a plane. I fly right seat, they fly left.

2-Possibly, but I've had fouled plugs before and I really don't believe this to be the case.

3-I don't have a problem sharing planes. I do have an issue with firing an employee because they politely asked to have $2 fuel sticks in each of the planes. I'm not working somewhere where employees are fired for voicing concerns (in an appropriate manner).

4-Totally uncalled for.
The reason you're no longer there is very apparant.

Beggars had best not be too choosey, lest they be unemployed beggars You're the beggar. If you havent figured it out yet, your emoloyer is the chooser.

You may have been doing discovery flights, but you were the pilot in command. Not your passenger. Whether you were right seat or left is irrelevant.

Take that responsibility. Own it.

Whether you failed to properly lean or simply had a moment of hesitation due to the carb float position or another pilot induced cause, the problem could not be duplicated and you couldnt replicate it. Your melodrama in terming it to be an engine failure (ever had one?) betrays inexperience, as does your assertion that you know it wasnt "fine."

You seem to feel at 300 hours that you have the tiger by the tail and know more than everyone else.

Go ahead and tell your next prospective employer across the interview table about your integrity in standing up to your ladt employer. Tell your prospective employer all about your righteousness. Tell him how you taught your former employer a lesson, put him in his place. The industry needs more 300 hour pilots who know everything, and that week of experience is the kind if foundation that will springboard you to captain in no time flat.

#4, incidentally, is not only called for as the unvarnished truth, but kind and generous. I tactfully refrained from calling you an idiot.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:21 AM   #6  
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The reason you're no longer there is very apparant.

Beggars had best not be too choosey, lest they be unemployed beggars You're the beggar. If you havent figured it out yet, your emoloyer is the chooser.

You may have been doing discovery flights, but you were the pilot in command. Not your passenger. Whether you were right seat or left is irrelevant.

Take that responsibility. Own it.

Whether you failed to properly lean or simply had a moment of hesitation due to the carb float position or another pilot induced cause, the problem could not be duplicated and you couldnt replicate it. Your melodrama in terming it to be an engine failure (ever had one?) betrays inexperience, as does your assertion that you know it wasnt "fine."

You seem to feel at 300 hours that you have the tiger by the tail and know more than everyone else.

Go ahead and tell your next prospective employer across the interview table about your integrity in standing up to your ladt employer. Tell your prospective employer all about your righteousness. Tell him how you taught your former employer a lesson, put him in his place. The industry needs more 300 hour pilots who know everything, and that week of experience is the kind if foundation that will springboard you to captain in no time flat.

#4, incidentally, is not only called for as the unvarnished truth, but kind and generous. I tactfully refrained from calling you an idiot.
Not really sure what your deal is. You seem oddly offended by my review of the company.

You're right. I absolutely am a beggar, but that doesn't stop me from having standards. I will not work somewhere where you can't make reasonable suggestions or bring up legitimate concerns without the fear of repercussion, period. I understand that for me and every other pilot who feels this way, there are probably several more who are willing to do so. That's OK--I understand how the free market works; if flying doesn't work out, I've got a solid backup as an engineer.

Once again, you're right. I am PIC and responsible for the successful outcome of the flight. I never said otherwise or even came close to insinuating that my passenger with 0 flying experience is at fault for anything. I'm not really sure where that came from, but seeing as we're having this conversation on the keyboard, and not in person, I'll let it slide.

You've got this idea in your head that I'm some self-righteous, know-it-all prick. That's OK, because I'd guess you're an aging man who forgot to take his medicine this morning--seriously, why so grumpy? I'm a brand new commercial pilot with a week of "real" work experience. I know this and am aware of my lack of experience. I was actually looking forward to working somewhere and dealing with less-than-ideal conditions for the learning experience. With this said, if I'm going to have someone urging me to fly when I'm not sure about the weather, or convincing me some unknown phenomenon with the plane is "fine", I would like to be able to trust this person. If you don't think that's reasonable, then I don't want to work for you, it's that simple.
I was born at night, but it wasn't last night and I can recognize a sketchy operation when I see one. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but firing an employee for bringing up a legitimate concern (and not even making a fuss about it) and telling him he can stay if he "shut up and not start any trouble" is pretty darned sketchy! The "partial engine failure" and dismissive attitude thereover is just supporting evidence (you're right, perhaps my terminology, albeit correct, is a bit melodramatic. perhaps "partial power loss" is better...)
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:00 PM   #7  
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Ten feet deep and still digging, we see.

Which is it that you seek, comfort, or validation?
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:15 PM   #8  
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Ten feet deep and still digging, we see.

Which is it that you seek, comfort, or validation?
Neither. If you go back to the original post you'll see what I seek--to give an account of my experience to anyone who may be looking to go over there. I stand firm in my decision.

With that said, when some armchair expert pilot/keyboard warrior wants to come in and provoke a debate, I'm more than happy to entertain. It's real easy with all this extra time I've got now... I think there's been enough back and forth for someone to decide. I hope you wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow, it's got to be exhausting to be this grumpy all the time.
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Old 04-19-2017, 04:33 AM   #9  
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Neither. If you go back to the original post you'll see what I seek--to give an account of my experience to anyone who may be looking to go over there. I stand firm in my decision.
Valuable stuff indeed. With your vast experience base and work history (one week!), your observations will be both poignant and thought provoking. The casual reader will say to himself "if that guy couldn't make it with his strong background and deep industry understanding, to say nothing of stellar skills and hardy ethic, then no one could.

Your "account" has included copying someone else's facebook post of another airport in another country to make your "point."

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I hope you wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow, it's got to be exhausting to be this grumpy all the time.
I'm not grumpy in the least. Then again, I didn't quit my job after one week, either.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:57 AM   #10  
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Valuable stuff indeed. With your vast experience base and work history (one week!), your observations will be both poignant and thought provoking. The casual reader will say to himself "if that guy couldn't make it with his strong background and deep industry understanding, to say nothing of stellar skills and hardy ethic, then no one could.

Your "account" has included copying someone else's facebook post of another airport in another country to make your "point."



I'm not grumpy in the least. Then again, I didn't quit my job after one week, either.
-Years of work experience, just new to aviation
-Came straight out of the mouth (or keyboard actually) of a coworker. Actual location of the picture isn't really relevant, especially since the last sentence is "missing th good ole days". I'd think anyone with half a brain could price this together--try harder.

Look, my next post on here is going to be when I get hired on by my next employer and will include what they have to say about this. (Might be a few months, I'm using this time to finish CFI and CFII). Would you be satisfied then? Alternatively, this back and forth is pretty amusing...
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