Here's something I wrote before I was grounded:
I’ve always thought that it doesn’t really matter what you fly. Maybe that’s why I’m not flying a 757 or an A 330. Maybe I just suck. Us regional turboprop drivers exist in a plane of our own. Without the glamour of long haul flying or the performance of a jet aircraft, we fly at the worst flight levels, in relatively underpowered birds for much less money. We fly without a lot of the bells and whistles, we are plainer pilots.
We are propdogs.
We are propdogs.
But the interesting part is this: we do a lot more hand flying than the jet guys and gals do. We still have actual metal wires connecting our controls to the ailerons and elevators, so we feel every turn and every pitch change in our hands, and: ‘Auto-throttle?’ It’s called ‘knuckles’ on my aircraft.
Crucially, we also land and take-off a lot more often. In a 6 hour block duty we will have landed at least 4 times; in long-haul you would barely complete a single leg in that time.
Regionals have traditionally been seen as a stepping stone to the jets, in some places they still are; but for one reason or another, more and more pilots are spending more of their flying lives on board turboprops.
Do we love the flying? Most of us do.
Do we complain about everything else? You bet we do. Most of the time, we have good reason to.
I'm a regional pilot, have been for a while. I want to present the beauty I still see in what I do for a living, and I also want to share some of the things people won't normally hear about but which do happen in my job.
I think it doesn't matter what you fly, as long as your eyes are open the beauty is there; but equally, we can't close our eyes to what's happening to our industry, not matter what we fly.
I became a pilot because I wanted to fly, not because I wanted to 'be a pilot'. There’s a big difference.
Considering that I’ve been ‘made redundant’ or ‘furloughed’ twice in my life, I consider myself lucky to have had the career that I've had so far. I'm grateful for every day I can continue to fly for a living; I accept that after all, aviation is all about ‘ups and downs’; but when it comes to Safety, that’ll never be something that I’ll be willing to compromise on.
Now that I'm not up there everyday, I'm glad I saw the beauty in it.
Copyright © Francisco Rebollo 2014