Recently, we spoke to Brian Walker, who is the Director of Operational Services at Jet Linx. He discusses how he got into aviation, his aviation journey and an introduction to what he does in his current role.
How did you get into aviation?
Before we can answer that, we must go back in time, where it all began. I grew up in a small town in
Kentucky. My dream was to become an airline captain as far back as I can remember. That was the “no
matter what” goal.
When I was 14 years old, my mom saw me sitting on the couch and politely pushed me to reach out to
the local airport to see if they needed any help. Low and behold, it was help that they needed. They
needed help mowing grass, pulling weeds, vacuuming the FBO, and once a month, I would get to fuel a
Piper Archer or Cessna 172 (only because that was how frequently the airport was utilized).
I was hooked. This was the beginning of my dream. A few years later, I enrolled at Eastern Kentucky
University, the only school (at the time) with a full aviation program in the state. My dream quickly
became concerning when I realized how much money it would take to fly consistently each semester.
After around 40 hours, reality set in. I could not work enough hours, attend classes, and fly. My dream of
being an airline captain had vanished. I realized though, I did thoroughly enjoy whipping out the
sectionals, plotting courses, correcting for wind, and calculating the flight times for my cross-country
flights. Operations was my new dream.
Where have you worked before your current role?
Over the next few years, I worked at some amazing airlines and with some amazing human beings at
both KLEX and KSDF. I was throwing bags, checking people in, dumping lavatories, and getting free rides
to some amazing places.
I got the chance to meet a dispatcher with one of the airlines I was working for and picked their brain on
what they did. Dispatching was where it was at (for me at least). I was lucky enough to have a Part 121
Dispatch school close to where I lived and enrolled in the Spring of 2005. By June 2005, I was a full-
fledged dispatcher with Comair, the largest regional airline in the world (at the time).
After my work at Comair, I took the path of the Part 135 charter side of the industry and while taking
advantage of my airline operations background, I helped transform numerous flight departments into
“Captains on the Ground.” The teams learned everything the pilots learned (except for how to fly the
aircraft). We taught NOTAMs, TAFs, METARs, aircraft performance and flight planning. With those
combined, we changed the landscape of how we supported our pilot group.
What do you do in your current role?
The Director of Operational Services position merely introduces service back into the operational
environment. For years and years, Operations has been seen as a very mechanistic and limited branch
of any airline. While bending or breaking safety and security is an absolute no, there is still plenty of
room to “be water” and adapt to changing conditions and provide that service aspect to the customer.
I am responsible for teaching and leading our Flight Coordination and International Team to a more
service focused destination. That means if we run into an operational restriction, we look for solutions
and options to provide to our customers. Major delays into EWR, no worries, we have TEB/JFK/LGA/HPN
to offer. Winter storm or hurricane bearing down on a specific point in our network, no worries, we
show amazing service by analyzing those situations and offering options such as departing or arriving at
a different time.
My mission is to protect the schedule. When you protect the schedule, you are also protecting the
passengers, crew, and aircraft by ensuring that they are not put into a situation with no way out. This
also enables us to capture as much revenue as possible and keeps aircraft moving.
As the Director of Operational Services, I am also responsible for the administration of our OSA
(Operations and Service Alert) program. This program captures data from each mission that we
conduct. What went well and what did not go well. We then use this data to tweak processes and
procedures as well as use it as simulations during recurrent training.
The Director of Operational Services position also allows me to give back to our team. By taking
advantage of educational grants, we have been able to offer our entire team the opportunity to get their
Part 121 Dispatch Licenses, at zero cost. This is an investment in our team members and investment in
their future as they grow further in our industry.