Pretty sure these are for children but they so closely resemble astronaut food that they got me hook, line, and sinker.
This is exactly why I have “TFRs” checked on Foreflight. My worst fear is not getting flanked by F16s, my worst fear is hearing “Sir standby to copy a number; there’s a person that needs to speak with you.”
Checking TFR’s today, and suddenly; SPACE LAUNCH!
Two things: 1) They’re going to have a heck of a time getting to space from a launch zone restricted to 16,000ft. 2) The “possible pilot deviation, advise ready to copy phone number” phraseology has a name and it’s called the Brasher notification. Though I have no idea who Mr. Brasher is or what he did to get the notification named after him.
That first episode of House of Cards season 2 just gave me an anxiety stomach ache.
This is exactly the sort of stand I was talking about yesterday. Good on the Eagle MEC for doing the right thing for the future of the industry without being selfish or shortsighted. This is unfortunately how the change must happen. And it will likely be a painful correction.
February 12, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEC Newsblast – MEC Meeting Result
The Master Executive Council of the American Eagle Pilot’s Union, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), voted today to reject management’s recent concessionary proposal. The company proposal would have given American Airlines Group (AAG) contract concessions in return for refleeting American Eagle Airlines with new Embraer 175 jets.
Company representatives made it clear that should the pilots and management fail to reach a deal, the company will not entertain future negotiations. Negotiators for AAG also stated numerous times that if a deal fails to be ratified, American Eagle Airlines will be downsized continually until it is small enough to liquidate.
Captain William Sprague, Chairman of the pilot’s union had this to say: “The vote today was about the future of Eagle pilots and the regional airline pilot profession. The pilots negotiated and signed a concessionary agreement during the recent bankruptcy, and management asked us soon after AAG exited bankruptcy for additional, significant concessions. Our pilots decided they were not willing to work for less than the company is already paying our peers. We will now begin the process of assisting our pilots in identifying alternative career options within the industry.”
During the coming days, ALPA will be working with the American Eagle pilots to help them find placement with other airlines. ALPA representatives will ask management for their timetable regarding the liquidation of American Eagle. Stay engaged as we move forward. The need for unity is more critical now than any other time in our history.
John Gardner, Chairman
EGL ALPA Communications Committee
Anonymous asked: So everyone takes your advice: logically eventually there will be a shortage of experienced pilots. If they took your advice and only accepted jobs as jet pilots.. I don't know maybe only 5% of people that become pilots make it to the jumbo jets. But that's because they were willing to put up with the shit jobs first. I feel like you're bitter about flying. I'm not trying to piss you off but a lot of aspiring pilots follow your blog. So please be gentle with those dreams. Have a nice night.
I’m not bitter in the slightest. I had a job at one of the highest paying regional airlines in SkyWest, I left voluntarily, and I don’t miss it. I’m also well aware there are a lot of aspiring pilots who follow this blog because I field questions from them all the time and I’m always glad to respond with whatever advice I can offer based on my own experiences. But I refuse to lie to these young people by sugar coating the truth. And if they ever hope to realize their dreams they need to understand the realities of where the airline industry is headed in order to affect positive change.
You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem I’m describing. It’s not just the “shit jobs,” as you say. Major airlines have been hit hardest by salary concessions over the last decade. Most pilots at mainline carriers are making 40% of what they were making pre-9/11. In order to retain what few contractual upsides they’ve got left, they’ve systematically sold out what’s known in the business as “scope.” This is why regional airlines have gone from flying 19 seat prop aircraft to 96 seat jet aircraft. This is why 51% of all airline flights in the country are now operated by regional crews. The flying is slowly being outsourced in the name of cheaper labor and the bottom line. This made sense when every airline was in bankruptcy but now that airlines are making record profits once again too much has been given up to ever get back.
It’s emblematic of the greater problems in our country. The reasons for all of the forced cuts that the middle and working class took during the recession have long sense been recovered but the now logarithmic dividends are all going to the top instead of being distributed to those who took the real loses.
The bigger issue at play here is the labor unions representing the airline industry, namely the Air Line Pilots Association. ALPA represents the likes of United and Delta but they also represent regional carriers such as ExpressJet and American Eagle. That means that a single union is representing both the main labor group as well as the outsourced contractors. It’d be like if one union represented Apple employees in Cupertino as well as the kids in China who actually assemble the iPhone.
So if young kids with stars in the their eyes and dreams of flying a jet keep taking these jobs which require $100K+ in training to obtain and pay only $20-30K annually, the companies never have any incentive to change the now status quo. More and more flying will go from the mainline carriers to the regional ones and before you know it regional airlines will be flying even larger aircraft for even less money. The nature of having a majority of labor operating as contractors is that management can play one side of the other.
I used to fly the Dash 8 for Colgan Air which is a company that doesn’t exist anymore because we negotiated a contract which paid us somewhat reputable wages (first year FO pay was $27/hr compared to $22 at most airlines). I’m simplifying here, but this made the contract under which we operated those aircraft unsustainable and the company went out of business. Those aircraft are still flying on behalf of United Express but now by Republic Airlines who pay their pilots much less. If Republic were to ever sign a new contract improving their pilots’ pay or quality of life they would quickly have that flying stripped as well, all of those pilots would lose their jobs, and it would go to the next airline who offered to do it for a dollar cheaper. PSA just signed a new contract taking ridiculous pay cuts in exchange for new aircraft and more flying. There is no way to view this but a race to the bottom. As long as someone else is willing to do it for cheaper, everyone’s job is at stake. It’s a Pandora’s Box that once you open you can’t close. Eventually as this trend continues suddenly there’s no good jobs left. All of the jobs, from turboprops to 777s, are “shit jobs.”
This is the path down which the industry is headed and until young pilots make a stand and refuse to work for less than they’re worth, it will continue. If I’m being too harsh with their dreams it’s because if someone’s not, their dreams will eventually become untenable and nonexistent.
Going to Wegmans. Supposed to get a foot of snow tonight.
I got called over to a crazy busy sector this afternoon for one of the few duties I’m qualified thus far to do on my own and without supervision. A flight plan had completely bombed out, or disappeared entirely from the computer, and the controller working the sector was way too busy to reenter it himself. I sprung into action, plugged in my headset, and turned on the frequencies just in time to copy the information I needed which the controller solicited from the pilots.
It was a military G5 landing in the DC metro area and the first thing that came to mind was to break out my Matthew McConaughey impression from Tropic Thunder and say, “You’re talking about a G5…airplane?”
maxk asked: I was reading through your blog and see that you used to fly caravans.... Just wondering how they handle... I've heard it's like flying a 172 on steroids.
Looking back it was the biggest and most powerful thing I had ever flown at the time, but that’s not really saying much. I did all of my training and instructing in Piper products so I’ve only actually flown a 172 the two times I’ve rented one, but essentially yeah, the Caravan flies like a big GA plane. Really simple, really forgiving, intuitive, easy to fly. It sit’s pretty high up off the ground (about as high as the CRJ200, really) which took some getting used to. In hindsight it’s actually really slow and under powered compared to the planes I flew after. Steroids is a stretch…A 172 on muscle milk, perhaps. We’d pull the prop back for passenger comfort and we were lucky to do 140 knots. With everything full forward it’d do 150 in level flight, and redline was 175, but you could only do that going downhill. The coolest thing about the airplane was the white arc went all the way to the redline so you could put on the first notch of flaps at 175 knots. Going into O’Hare they’d ask us to keep our speed up so we’d do 175 to the fence, throw on flaps 10, power to idle, and when the prop drops below 400 RPM it flat pitches and creates a wicked speed brake effect. Put on the rest of the flaps going through 150 and 125 and we’d go from redline to a full stop in only about 800 feet of runway. Usually those sort of landings were reserved for the empty legs because they could get a little violent.
Also that plane holds a shit ton of ice. More ice than I ever thought could come out of a cloud.
The real question is did I bring this as a mid morning snack specifically to make a subtle dick joke to those seated around me in the break room.
There’s a white dry-erase board at the gym where people can write their accomplishments for the day. People usually put things like how far they ran or how much they lifted but twice now someone has written “I had a 20 piece McNuggets for breakfast.”