Date: June 24 2018
From: Hillel "G" ....
Subject: great FBO Shoutouts

Hello Again, Jack.

Sorry for the cryptic message. I wasn't sure whether you wanted a recorded story or written, and, whether you really did want more positive FBO stories to share.

(FWIW: "LMK" = "Let Me Know")

The morning after participating in "Innovations in Flight 2018" at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum adjacent Dulles, we got back out to our plane (now parked at the Jet Aviation FBO) for our short return flight to Martin State near Baltimore. Jet Aviation is adjacent the approach end of RW 19C, nearly the northernmost point on the entire airport.

It was Father's Day. While taxiing out for departure on taxiway Zulu to RW 30 (nearly the southernmost point on the field) the right main landing gear tire on our Cherokee's failed. At about the half-way point down. Turns out that the inner tube had failed in the tire.

We were on Ground (west) frequency and radioed our situation. They called airport operations for us. They arrived shortly after and NOTAMed that part of the taxiway closed. Thankfully, we were able to use momentum to shlep the plane out of the Alpha intersection and off to the side.

Operations called the FBO. The FBO dispatched a mobile repair van and a tug who were escorted out by another airport ops vehicle.

[ Paraphrase: At Dulles for an event at Udvar Hazy... Parked at Jet Aviation... Then, Flat tire as he taxied for departure. By this time they were halfway across the Dulles grounds headed for the departure runway.

[ Grounds called Ops. Ops called the FBO. FBO sent a repair van and tug out to the disabled plane. ]

Airport Ops and the FBO folks worked together to find a way to get the plane back to the FBO. Together we all came up with a way to safely get under the failed main with the tug and rig up a way to steer the nose. Slowly, we dragged the plane on two good wheels and a tug tray to get the plane out of the way and back to the FBO some mile and a quarter or more away.

Once at the FBO we were treated with compassion and care. When I inquired about a crew car, the desk rep grabbed a set of keys and handed them over, no questions. (I didn't end up using the car.) Here's an incredible piece that makes the whole experience....

The FBO at Dulles doesn't deal with little planes like ours and was not accustomed to procuring or inventorying parts for them. So I started making some calls myself. I was able to find a new tire and tube at Dulles Aviation, Inc. at KHEF in nearby Manassas. On Father's Day Sunday, no less!!

[ At this point Hillel writes about a Dulles Aviation lineman, and a desk rep who were above and beyond helpful.]

From our first distress call to Dulles Aviation (which used to be at KIAD and moved), it was clear the lineman who took the call owned our problem and would make sure things would happen. To my delight, his responses and communication with me was prompt, timely, and informative. Characteristics no longer common anywhere these days.

Later when speaking with the desk rep, I was again delighted to recognize that she knew the situation and I could make progress without me having to walk through the entire story just so she could run down information. (We've all BTDT with dysfunctional hand-offs.) She had the information and was knowledgeable about next steps. Once again, a clear indicator of a ship tightly run and once again, not common enough.

Later on, Tom (one of the owners) stepped in, communicated directly with me, and made what could have been a worse situation far better. His instinct for parts availability turned out to be great luck as the inventory tracking software did not match what he knew better ought to be true. Keeping me in the loop the entire time. Not only did he come in on a busy Father's Day, but he then agreed to drive the parts to us at the FBO at Dulles, we were simply in a space of grace. The sort of humanity and sympathy that made spending Father's Day at an FBO an experience of gratitude.

After Tom hand-delivered the parts, the Jet Aviation mechanics removed the wheel, replaced the tube and tire, reinstalled the wheel and made sure to swap out some worn parts. THEY STAYED LATE after their shifts ended knowing that I needed help and that the parts were on their way.

As a private owner of modest means, I was positively astonished that I was not facing multiple hundreds or thousands of dollars of fees for all the help. I paid Tom for the parts but all the other work (towing, replacing the tire) were COVERED by our fees (which this time we didn't pay due to being part of the museum event).

You KNOW I will be frequenting Jet Aviation at Dulles, and Dulles Aviation at Manassas more often now! (Somehow I doubt Signature would have been the same.)

Be Clear and Unlimited!

-->> Hillel

"In a sky full of people, only some want to fly. Isn't that crazy?" --- Seal

I emailed him for clarification on airport ID and FBO names

Date: June 20 2018
From: Hillel "G" ....
Subject: great FBO Shoutouts

Hello Jack,

Hope you're well.

Should you actually make a periodic segment for awesome FBO experiences, I've got a doozy.

I won't take up your time with all the details here, but let's just say that it involved:

Airport Ops at a Class B airport
An on-field FBO at that airport (NOT SIGNATURE--go figure)
An FBO at A DIFFERENT airport

All of whom went above and beyond to help this lowly Cherokee driver with a flat on the taxiway to the departure runway. They all deserve great kudos and our patronage.


See you at Oshkosh!

Be Clear and Unlimited!
-->> Hillel
"In a sky full of people, only some want to fly. Isn't that crazy?" --- Seal