We had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with DeerCrusher this Saturday in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members in the Workshop got a chance to ask Deer questions.
Deer is an Infinite Flight Moderator and ATC Supervisor, Commercial Single/Multi Engine Certificate, currently flying the Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan for a Part 135 company.
You’re a pilot on the C208. Do you have any plans for the future like switching to another model or flying for another airline?
What are the plans for the future? Great question. I only have a few days left to fly the Caravan. November 25 will be my last day here at the company that I’m with now. Starting December 18th, I will be in Phoenix at Mesa Airlines training headquarters. There I will spend about 2 months learning the CRJ700/900. I plan on spending about 2 years with them before I send in an application to Southwest Airlines. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved (LUV’d) Southwest. The hope is that I retire with them. That’s kind of my 5 year outlook so far. Pretty exciting but nervous not knowing what the future holds. Always best to set goals and have a plan in life and actively work on that plan as you progress though it.
If you could change one thing on the Infinite Flight Community Forum, what would it be; and what situations are the most challenging for you?
If I could change one thing on the forum? Honestly, that’s a tough one. I love how it operates as is. The forum is really the first and only type of forum that I’ve ever used. I was never into Reddit or some of these other big name forums. So to be fair, I don’t have anything to compare the forum to. The second part of your question, what situations are the most challenging? 98% of our users self moderate themselves. They tend to watch out and take care of each other. Ghostings topics generally show ones true colors. This is where we as moderators need to have patience and allow the individual to talk. I walk into each argument if you want to call it that with an open mind willing to hear them out and perhaps support their argument.
What do you find most rewarding about being a part of Infinite Flight? What kind of opportunities have you stumbled across here?
Most rewarding about being part of Infinite Flight? As a pilot I’ve found that I can continue to keep my skills sharp on a regular basis because of Infinite Flight. This includes even when I’m not flying. The physics are so real, the weather is real, the way that aircraft in general handle, are so natural feeling. Sounds weird but its true. Add on the fact that I can fly from JFK to Sydney and it pretty much seals the deal. I love being a moderator and assisting in any way that I can. I enjoy providing feedback where its needed. Specifically the beta testing portion. I feel that by me providing this info, I can help ensure that the aircraft we’re flying perform the way any other aircraft should handle. #Realism
Part 2 As for the opportunities, I kind of covered that portion above. Keeping the skills in tune even when I’m not flying IRL. ATC also gives me a better appreciation for all of the work that is required to keep our skies clear of conflict. Being able to jump in that hot seat is a real joy.
What have you found or discovered within the community that has either surprised you or made you grow as a person?
What have I discovered within the community that has helped me grow? I think communicating with others on a much larger scale. I’m not a flight instructor but I do enjoy teaching others who have absolutely no clue how to fly a plane across a platform such as the community forum. Helping promote the next generation of aviation is something that I enjoy. You hear all about “PILOT SHORTAGE. Airlines predict 250,000 pilots needed in the next 20 years”. Yeah, while true, even if I could inspire say 25 people to become a pilot just by chatting casually with them, I feel that I have contributed to the industry.
What’s your favorite part of being apart of the Infinite Flight ATC team?
Favorite part of IFATC? The people. Getting to control along side of some amazing controllers is a blast. I don’t control very often, but when I do its a moment you won’t want to miss. I try to have fun while controlling. Some folks are all serious and straight to the point. Approach controlling with an open mindset, relax and get comfortable in the hot seat.
What’s the best part of being a moderator on the forum?
Best part about being a mod? Getting the opportunity to chat with you guys in a setting like this, getting to interact with you guys on the forum and doing group flights with folks occasionally. Its fun to watch y’alls reactions when I show up. Everyone’s like, “ooooh. A mod! Alright, time to shape up and behave!“
Who’s your favorite moderator besides yourself?
Favorite moderator besides myself? That’s mean and hard. I can’t. But I will say this, all of the mods that we have are amazing. We’ve all grown closer together. I have yet to meet up with the rest of the team in person simply because of my crazy and unpredictable schedule. But come 2020 we’re going to change that. FSExpo2020
Have you ever had to make an emergency landing?
Emergency landing? Nope. Not if you count the time I hit the deer. I was already on the ground when he and I collided. But I’ve never had an emergency where I’ve had to land because of an issue with the aircraft/passenger.
What do you think of the A350 being added to Infinite Flight?
What do I think of the A350? I’ve always been a critic of the A350, lets be completely honest. All jokes aside, I’ve never liked the A350. Thought it resembled the 787 too much. To be clear, those first couple sentences are in real life. To me, there was no point in adding it to the Infinite Flight fleet. But I respect and can understand where Infinite Flight is coming from in regards to a business stand point. Thousands of people wanted the plane. Fewer didn’t want the plane. Do the math and we get the outcome that we’ve got coming. That being said, I can’t comment on much about the aircraft right now. I will say though, that I will continue to provide feedback as noted in another individuals line of questioning to ensure that this aircraft is up to par with the high quality aircraft we’ve got presently.
If you were to decide what the next plane to come were be, what would you want to see?
If I had the opportunity to decide on the next aircraft? I still stand by my feature request that I made about the King Air 350. I think we could use another twin engine turbo prop. We’ve only got the Dash 8 which falls under the “regional jet” category. The King Air would be a step above the TBM930. Speed and altitudes would be similar. Corporate. Great cruising capabilities. Great performance on Takeoff and Landing. An all around great aircraft.
If there was one thing in your past that you could do differently, what would it be and why?
If I could do one thing in my past what would I have done differently? So far, I’ve been happy with everything that I’ve done. Its kind of hard to pinpoint anyone thing that I would have done differently. That being said, something that was out of my control was my childhood. When I was a kid, my parents moved my younger sister and I out to Hawaii where we lived for 13 years. Missed out on a lot that happened here on the “mainland”. As much as I loved Hawaii’s weather, I do not miss the traffic, the nonstop craziness, high cost of living, and the threat of Tsunamis a few times a year.
Did you have any other close calls as a real world pilot other than your famous run in with a Deer?
Any other close calls as a real world pilot? I have and interesting ones too. The not so interesting ones include other 737’s that were vectored too close to us when arriving into Dallas. We’ve had our fair share of Turkey Vultures coming close to the aircraft as we’re either departing or arriving. The last one would be a turtle. We were powering up for takeoff and we were at about 40kts already barreling down the runway when we saw a turtle in the middle of the runway. Just a small box turtle of some sort. We missed him as we drifted off centerline to dodge him. Interesting experiences though. Its always an adventure!
Being a pilot you have the privilege of being able to take advantage of Jumpseating. Have you ever used it in your line of work, maybe to go on vacation or transfer somewhere?
Have I used jumpseating in my line of work? Yes, but not for my current company even though I am able to. I currently live at the base where I’m based out of, so I dont need to commute. Makes life simple that way. However, I have jumpseated before and will jumpseat when I move the Mesa Airlines starting in December 2019. The plan is to live in Denver and commute to either DFW or Phoenix while working at Mesa! Its fun and a great opportunity to take advantage of as a pilot. You get to meet and network with other great pilots.
Thank you for that great question! Jumpseating is used widely throughout the industry. Become a pilot for an airline and you’ll use it!
What’s your favorite part about flying the C208?
Favorite part about the C208 Caravan is getting to chat with the passengers. The passengers get to watch what it is we do. The passengers generally have questions after the flight about what altitude, or what speed, or anything else that we did which often opens the door to a great conversation. I’ve got to meet a lot of great people. People from DFW Tower controllers, other airline pilots, visitors from Austria and Australia. Its something that you don’t get to do on an airliner much.
What’s your least favorite part about your job?
Least favorite part about the job? I sometimes have to stand in the rain/snow to watch the fueler. Per company policy, one pilot needs to stay with the fueler to ensure that he/she is putting in the correct amount of fuel into the wings.
Would you trade it (your job) for something else?
Would I trade my job for something else? Short answer: No. Funny, I was just talking to Joshua Smithley about this. I have a degree in Aviation Management as a part of my fallback plan should flying go south for me. The only thing is I don’t know or haven’t thought of what I would do in that event. To me, flying is not a job/career even thought that’s what it is. To me flying is a career that pays with a view.
How did you get picked to become a moderator for Infinite Flight and how did you hear from Infinite Flight back in the old days?
How did I get picked to become a mod? I was creating tutorials on things that involved anything flying. Some are still there today. I approached Mark and Tyler back then asking that if they ever needed another hand to create tutorials covering the flight aspect of the simulator as well as providing insight as a real world pilot to the Infinite Flight community. Couple days went by and they gladly accepted my offer. I created a tutorial just the other day which will come out when update 19.4 rolls out. I also assist some of our other community members who have started making written tutorials for aircraft to ensure that they have the proper verbiage and understanding on how the aircraft features work so that you guys are able to fly the aircraft to its fullest potential.
Moral of the story: Asking for mod is a no no. I did it only because I had something to offer and they agreed. Its no different than Infinite Flight hiring people to be on the development team. What makes you different? What can you offer and bring to the table? Those types of things will take you far in life as that’s what employers are looking for in their employees.
What makes you different that Person A and why should we hire you? Ask yourself those questions and come up with a good answer because every company that you interview with will ask you that question.
Great question. Not one I’ve shared but that’s why we have this Q&A setting!
How long did it take for your flight training? Any advice to younger aspiring pilots?
How long did training take? For me this took 3 ½ years. From someone with 0 hours to 250hours. I wasn’t flying or taking flight courses during the whole time. I got my degree in Aviation Management all while learning how to fly. Something to keep in mind which will answer your second question is that everyone learns at different rates. Don’t base the amount of time that it took me to learn to fly, to you. You may catch on faster or slower. The other thing to keep in mind is your financial standing. I was not born into money but I’m not from a poor family either. Choose a flight program that will fit your wallet because it will cost a bit.
Reach out to me if you have any other questions. I love helping coach people in the right direction especially when it comes to flight training.
Any advice you have for up and coming college students?
Advice for up and coming college students? Have a plan. Know what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to change that plan part way through. I was a mid-year degree change person. I started Aeronautical Science and didn’t like what was involved so I decided to go to Aviation Management.
Have a back up plan. Try to envision where you’d like to be 5 years down the road. Don’t try to work out the 10 year thing because that can often be unrealistic. 3-5 year plans work out better from what I’ve found.
Really got to learn a lot about Deer, some of the stuff relating to his job and moderation. Very cool AMA!
If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop.