Below, I made a post about some pilots who came to work for us up in Washington this past summer, and how some of them didn't work out. I do try to be accurate and fair in my writing, but sometimes it's tough to report on events when you hear things third-hand. The guy I referred to as "Pilot D" replied, giving me his version of what went down.
What does this all mean to you, the reader? Very simply, clear communication is the key to happiness in life. If you enter into an agreement with someone, make damn sure that the terms are fully understood by everyone involved. Get it in writing if possible (an email is okay). Because when things blow up, as they sometimes do, the whole "he said/she said" thing gets mighty old for those of us who are not the original he and she.
Here is "Pilot D's" response, and my response to his response:
Pilot "D" here. Sorry Bob your account is not accurate as it pertains to my relationship with Golden Wings Aviation. To start off, I never mentioned pay once. Not once. I made the mistake to assume that what had been previously agreed upon during phone conversation, was being paid when I got there and getting the required 5 hours for PIC. Things went off the rails on the 3rd day of flying at around 4 hours in the cockpit Davey tells me how, and I quote "Dad was grumpy this morning and wasn't going to start paying me until I was put online as a pilot." Whatever that means. I told him I don't work for free and if they want to keep me you're going to have to pay me. At no time did he express that they were unhappy with my flying. After that I never heard from anyone, not to stay on or even an apology for wasting my time and money getting there. I only spoke with Davey, and negotiated the terms before coming up plain and simple. Now he wants to blame someone else for going back on his word? Its AMATEUR HOUR with those guys. I've invested too much time and money to not be paid for what I do. Any other career that expects that? No. Pilots are there own worst enemy when it comes to pay like we don't deserve to make at least a modest living. Its bullshit.
Pilot D! How happy I am that you responded. See, I've only heard two sides of this fiasco: The Smith's side and what I've heard from Mikey. I had not heard directly from you, and I appreciate that you took the time to give us your input.
But let's get a few things straight.
1) You may have negotiated the terms of employment with Davy (which is also what I heard), but as everyone knows - and I'm sure Mikey told you - it is Senior who writes and signs the checks. To say you were unaware of this, or that Davy can act unilaterally is silly. Everything Davy told you came straight from Dave Senior.
2) You believe that your pay was supposed to start when you got there. For his part, Davy *swears* that he told you on the phone that your pay would start when you got checked-out in the S-55, which it turned out was going to happen on the first day of drying: Tuesday morning (your fourth day at Golden Wings). I've known Davy long enough that I believe him.
3) You may have had that conversation about not working for free on the third day of your training (that would have been Monday). If you had decided to draw your "line in the sand" then (as we suspect) you should have left at that point. But you did not, did you? No.
According to Mark and Danny, the FACT is that you had another confrontation with Davy on *TUESDAY* morning just before going out to dry for real - which would have been your first day of work. Instead you refused to go flying and walked off the job. You told Mark to grab his headset, that he could fly with Davy, and then you went in and packed your stuff, never to be seen again.
3) You're right that pilots should be expected to be paid to fly. The company recognizes that there is quite a bit of expense involved in just getting to Brewster for a part-time summer job. (It cost me nearly $500 in gas/food/lodging just to get home to Florida this week.)
But companies should not be expected to invest a bunch of money in pilots who don't end up checking-out. For instance, Golden Wings paid, fed and housed those other two pilots for an ENTIRE MONTH and neither of them checked-out. I can assure you that won't happen in the future - not with you, me, or anyone else.
(And by the way, Pilot B is still there, living in the Smith's pilot quarters and eating their food.)
The way I see it, you threw away a month or so of work for $450. If that seems like a fair trade to you, so be it. It doesn't to me. The Smiths have a reputation of helping people- not screwing them. (Ask Mikey if he intends to ever repay the 50 gallons of jet fuel that he "borrowed" from them when he was low. Or did he "forget?" What is jet fuel these days, $5.00 per gallon?)
Dave Senior is one of the most generous, kind-hearted men I know. He's treated me wonderfully. He's treated Mark wonderfully. Golden Wings took Mikey in and treated him like one of their own, giving him unrestricted access to their facilities, and inviting him to events (restaurant lunches) and barbecues at the hangar that nobody else got invited to. But I'm sure Mikey will only see the things *he* did for Golden Wings - because in his worldview he only sees the things he does for other people and usually discounts or ignores the things people do for him (like ohhhh, loaning him money repeatedly and let him and his dog live with them rent-free).
I have no doubt...in fact I guarantee!...that Dave Senior would have paid you for your first three days of training. And he probably would have paid to have the brakes on your truck fixed. Yeah, he's like that.
Your problem (and Mikey's problem as well) all seem to center around Davy. You guys don't like him? Fine. You want to make him the bad guy here? Hey, if you need to feel good about your decisions and actions, go for it. But by doing so you messed-up big time. You and Mikey both did. Making a pay demand at 6:00 in the morning and then walking off the job was simply unprofessional, man. Call it what you want, but that is what happened and it is what it is.
More than that, you made Mikey look bad too.
No, Golden Wings is not PHI. But calling it "amateur hour" is unfair. On Monday, after that conversation with Davy, you could have come to Danny...or me...or Mark...or even Senior(!) and asked what's up? But no, you just got pissed and decided right then that you weren't going to stay. That much is obvious. Oh well. If the company did not live up to your standards and expectations, what can I say? Perhaps there are other, better, less-amateurish companies that will appreciate your 1,200 hours of flight time and A&P ratings.
I may be wrong, but the way I see it is this: You came up to Brewster with the attitude and assumption that "something" would go wrong...that you were going to get screwed. And, self-fulfilling prophecies being what they are...you did. At least in your mind.
The reason I'm even putting all of this bullshit up on the blog is because I believe in communication, and I believe that there is "more to the story" here. There's another factor...an agenda that I'm missing. Maybe you didn't like flying the S-55. Maybe you just dislike Davy so much that you couldn't see sticking around and working with him. I don't know.
I'm really, really sorry that it worked out the way it did for everyone involved. I was truly looking forward to hanging out with you, having fun, eating some great food and going for some kick-ass motorcycle rides. And in the end, all I can do is wish you luck wherever life takes you next.
Oh, and next time, get it in writing.