MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The sky's the limit for the hundreds of thousands of people soaring above the clouds right now. But it's the men and women here on the ground that make it possible.
"The FBO is a full-service concierge, I guess you would say," FBO manager Paul Smith says. "General aviation public, they've got to have a place to have a gas station. That's what the FBO is. Primary operation is to ensure the aircraft get in and out as quickly as possible, whether it be hotel reservations, car rentals, dinner, catering, fuel requests, whatever it might be, our job is to take care of their needs."
So I'm here at the Meridian Airport to see if I have what it takes. Every day, the linemen are tending to a variety of different aircraft. Everything from military, to general planes at the airport, even private planes that people bring in.
That means hauling out the planes (with some direction from lineman Willie Smith), fueling the planes, and even checking to make sure the fuel is up to code.
"Aviation is a real technical job, so all the pieces have to flow uniformly to ensure departures are on time, arrivals are on time, people get to their destinations," Smith says.
Checking fuel samples is a big part of that.
"We take our sample of fuel, throw it in there," lineman Kyle Boykin says. "This is how we perform the API gravity check. Give it a nice little spin, make sure it does good, tell you the temperature of the fuel and make sure it's scientifically, chemistry, what it's supposed to be."
So now that everything's prepared, it's time for my favorite part - marshaling in a T-45 after it hits the runway! I feel very Jedi-like as I wave the pilots in.
I ask Smith how he'd grade me for my performance today.
"I'm going to have to give you an A- just because of your hustle and dedication and willingness to do every job we have out there," he laughs. "Come back here on the weekends, we'll give you a little more training, and get you to an A."
I'm ready to put in my extra credit!
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