Saturday, February 21, 2015
F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle)
August 15, 2010, StevenWarRan Backstage, 'Mature Beyond His Years', by Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor,
Mature Beyond His Years, by Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor
F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle) personifies pilot professionalism and living by the ALPA Code of Ethics
Some men and women grace their world with a maturity uncommon for their age. One such is F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle), a role model for the ALPA Code of Ethics.
"I met Tim 4 years ago on the Saab in DFW at Eagle," says F/O Ray Nicoll (Delta). "He came to me fresh off IOE at the age of 21. When he came into the cockpit, he looked me straight in the eye and shook my hand as he introduced himself to me."
The ALPA Code of Ethics declares, in part, that "[an airline pilot] will realize that he represents the airline to all who meet him, and will at all times keep his personal appearance and conduct above reproach."
"His shoes were shined and his uniform and personal appearance were sharp," Nicoll continues. "He looked like a real professional pilot. There was something about the way he carried himself that made him stand out from the other pilots.
"Tim is always at work early with a smile on his face," Nicoll adds. "The way he looks through the paperwork and weather, you would think that he has been a pilot his whole life. He is a real treat to work with. Throughout the years that I've known him, he never ceases to amaze me."
Falcons and Eagle(s)
Martins got an early start on his path to the cockpit.
"When I was 6 or 7 years old," he recalls, "my family went on vacation. We flew from Islip to Miami on a B-727. I got to see the cockpit as we boarded, and I thought, 'This looks pretty cool. This is what I want to do when I grow up.'"
At the age of 16, Martins started flying in September 2001—an inauspicious month, to be sure—as a freshman in the Dowling College School of Aviation, located at Brookhaven Airport on Long Island, N.Y. He graduated 3 years later, all of 19 years old, with a commercial certificate and multiengine, instrument, CFII, and single-engine sea ratings.
"I was in one of the last classes at Atlantic Coast Airlines," Martins recalls, "but I was furloughed after 8 months, so I joined the New Jersey Air National Guard." He flies F-16s as a member of the 177th Fighter Wing, which is based in Atlantic City, N.J.; F-15s might be next.
In August 2006, Martins joined EGL, flying as a Saab 340 copilot based at LAX. Since 2007, he's flown Embraer 135/145s from New York's JFK and LGA.
Community service and ALPA volunteerism
The ALPA Code of Ethics asserts that an airline pilot “will be a good citizen of his country, state, and community, taking an active part in their affairs….”
Martins lives up to that part of the Code in multiple ways.
In addition to flying for EGL, Martins, carrying on a family tradition, works as a firefighter and paramedic for New York City. “It’s an easy second job to hold,” he explains, “because I can work a flexible schedule that fits in with my flying.” Martins is a member of Ladder Company Two, located in midtown Manhattan.
"Tim is the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you need it," Nicoll points out. "He is always helping guys at work with things."
In 2007, Martins took the ALPA training, hosted by the ExpressJet Master Executive Council in Houston, to become a volunteer serving in the Association's Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP). He also is cross-trained in safety and accident investigation, having completed the ALPA Basic Safety School and the Accident Investigation Course.
With that background, he was well prepared to provide CIRP support for the ALPA accident investigators who participated in the field investigation of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in February 2009. Martins spent 10 days at the Colgan field investigation.
Martins also provides CIRP support to EGL pilots when they encounter situations that might seem minor when compared to working on the field investigation of a major accident, but are stressful nonetheless—"a rough time at home, going through a divorce, experiencing smoke in the cockpit, stuff like that," Martins explains. "I give 'em a call and ask how they're doing."
As if his days aren't full enough, Martins also volunteers in the food pantry at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Nesconset, N.Y., down the street from where he lives, and has helped build houses through the Habitat for Humanity program.
"I try to give back to my community," he says. "It's the way I was raised."
A few years ago, during EGL's big hiring push, Martins served as a volunteer in the EGL MEC's new-hire mentor program. Some of the new hires he guided through their first year on the airline had as few as 500 hours total flight time, and were understandably overwhelmed by not only flying larger airplanes but also learning the myriad details—such as using the airline's computerized bidding system—that more senior pilots had long since incorporated into their lives on the line.
Capt. Dave Michaud (EGL) describes Martins as “lots of fun to fly with—he’s very personable, but that doesn't interfere with his professionalism. He’s not only flying the airplane, he’s having fun doing the job, and I think that takes a special talent. He has a great ability to get along with anyone—flight attendants, dispatchers, maintenance, everyone he comes into contact with.
"His knowledge of the airplane probably exceeds my own," Michaud adds. "Tim does everything above and beyond the requirements of the job.
"He does all the procedures by the book, following SOPS, and always uses the checklists. It makes it easier to do the job right, the way we're supposed to do it.
"It's the little things, like always saying, 'My airplane' or 'your airplane' when we transfer control, so there's no doubt about who's flying the airplane."
"Tim, to me, shows the professionalism that every pilot should show," Nicoll says. "He truly cares about his passengers and crew." And that brings us back to the very first declaration in the ALPA Code of Ethics: "An Air Line Pilot will keep uppermost in his mind that the safety, comfort, and well-being of the passengers who entrust their lives to him are his first and greatest responsibility."
Nicoll sums up Martins thusly: "He is what ALPA stands for. Tim is ALPA."