MEMBER ALERT: AOPA Pilot Information Center and Member Services will be closed today, Dec. 12, after 2:30 p.m. Eastern, and will reopen Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Thank you for your understanding.
August 23, 2006
Some members may not agree, but overall, Lockheed Martin has earned a B+ so far for its operation of the flight service station (FSS) system, according to AOPA officials.
Company executives met last week with AOPA staff to review progress and AOPA members' concerns about the service they're getting from AFSS facilities.
Overall, Lockheed Martin and AOPA members concur; service is good, but it still needs improvement.
"We have an ongoing communication with Lockheed Martin so that they remain well aware of our members' needs," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We're not going to let them slide on any of their service promises.
"And their management seems committed to providing high-quality information to pilots quickly."
According to Lockheed Martin, their briefers are answering calls in less than 30 seconds on average. That's better than the FAA's average when it ran the automated flight service station system (AFSS), and Lockheed Martin is doing it with 500 fewer employees.
But not doing it perfectly, yet.
Some members have reported being on hold longer than 30 seconds or being transferred to other facilities where the specialists aren't as knowledgeable about local conditions.
Company officials acknowledge that some stations are not fully staffed, particularly those destined for closure as part of the modernization program, and that can lead to longer hold times or to the call being transferred to a specialist in another facility.
But Lockheed Martin is working to solve that problem. Its second class of specialists will graduate this month, all trained to FAA and National Weather Service standards. And the company is actively recruiting pilots already living in hard-to-staff cities to train them as FSS specialists.
The company is continuing to train and certify briefers on specific flight planning areas. Ultimately, you should always talk to a briefer who has knowledge of your local area.
Lockheed's managers told AOPA that they are serious about responding to and resolving pilot complaints. Any complaint - whether by phone or to their Web site - will be investigated by the facility manager, and the pilot will get an answer, usually within a day or two.
Of course, they would appreciate compliments as well.
"Lockheed Martin gets paid for performance. The faster the calls are answered, the fewer the complaints, the more money they can earn," said Boyer. "So they have every incentive for doing this job well."
August 23, 2006
FAA Procedures and Services,
Pilot Safety and Skills,
Weather and Seasons
AOPA VOICES STRONG SUPPORT FOR LEGISLATION REQUIRING FAA TO REVISE THIRD CLASS MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg has challenged AOPA President Mark Baker to a dogfight. The battle? To see who can bring in the most "Hat in the Ring Society" donors before the end of the year to support aviation safety, promote community airports, and encourage more people to fly.
Your mission: Fly with eight F-15s to the Philippines, rejoin, refuel with air tankers, engage an unknown number of Red Air fighters, refuel again, and then return home to Okinawa. And fly with radio silence up to the first contact with the Red Air fighters.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.