Air Line Pilot
September 2012
Table of Contents

Take Note
Aviation Matters
Everything Matters at ALPA’s 58th Air Safety Forum
State of the Airline Industry
Why Scope Is Important (Outside of your Medicine Cabinet, Long After You Brush)
ALPA Toolbox
From the Hill
Pilot Musings
Health Watch
The Landing


Take Note

9/11 Remembered

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since the nation observed the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

We honor the memory of the people we lost that day and support the families and friends they left behind, like Melodie Homer, the widow of United Flight 93’s F/O LeRoy Homer. In her new book, From Where I Stand: Flight #93 Pilot’s Widow Sets the Record Straight, Mrs. Homer gives a deeply personal account of how 9/11 affected her and her children, from the hounding her family received from the news media and the difficulty in working with United Airlines to and the endless support that came from family, friends, and representatives at ALPA.

Melodie Homer turned her grief into service, honoring her husband’s memory with a foundation for young aviators. ALPA staff, although most of us aren’t airline pilots, are devoted to serving our members by supporting those who still suffer a decade later, and by working tirelessly to prevent future tragedies.

This September 11, as we do every year, ALPA remembers the victims of 9/11 with a ceremony at our memorial garden in front of our offices in Herndon, Va. It’s a place for quiet contemplation, with relics from the twin towers and stone quarried from land near Shanksville, Pa. Please stop by and visit if you’re in town—it’s a tangible reminder of what we lost that day, and what still needs to be done to protect our freedoms.

Marie Schwartz
Director, ALPA Communications

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Aviation Matters

Everything Matters
By Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA President

On August 20, I was honored to attend the memorial service to commemorate the tragic First Air Flight 6560 accident that took place one year ago. It was both humbling and sobering to be in the presence of the friends and family who were affected by this event. The harsh reality of how fragile life is showed on their faces. They are a tight-knit community, and the services our ALPA members provide connect the uppermost realms of northern Canada to the rest of the world.

And today, as we go to press, this country is just weeks away from the 11th anniversary of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001—an event that reshaped the world we live in. Each anniversary that passes is a reminder that the unexpected can happen. In our line of work, we remain focused and diligent, always looking for ways to mitigate the potential risks that come with flying.

Yes, both anniversaries are gut-wrenching. Both have the potential to cause a downward spiral of emotion or spur one into action. In my case, and in the case of this union, taking action is the only recourse. Because even though this time of year evokes emotions of sadness and rage when remembering those who are no longer with us, we cannot lose sight that our mission is to protect our airline piloting profession—the current one that exists today, the one that has survived the catastrophic events of the last 11 years—and the one that we will leave behind for the future generations of airline pilots.

Our “protection” comes in several different forms: seeking the highest levels of safety when flying, which may come under attack from those who prefer regulatory leniency to gain financial productivity; guarding our quality of life from those who might eke out another annual bonus for operational efficiency; protecting our jobs from those who would prefer to outsource to countries not bound by workers’ rights.

In the story of David and Goliath, we are always David. We know that to gain any momentum or a so-called victory, every ounce of collective strength and energy must be funneled in the same direction.

This union’s success depends on its ability to build and maintain relationships with key people in our industry, including finding ways to work with our company executives to find solutions to issues that affect our careers. As I’ve said before, the taxes on our industry make success difficult to achieve; and most often, we bear the brunt of failed business plans.

Let’s keep in mind that our industry is very cyclical in nature. We witness a bankruptcy followed by a contract that reflects the airline’s financial state; the liquidation of an airline company that leads to searching for and gaining new employment; the tragic loss of fellow crewmembers. All of these are realities that demonstrate time and time again that this is a challenging and changing industry. But we can help shape the change.

The irony is that we chose this profession, and we have trained for this privilege. We have earned the right to fly. And we demonstrate our skills and talents on a daily basis. Though the news media don’t report “Sully”-type headlines in every paper or blog, such events occur frequently. We have our own stories of superior airmanship that prove we are all capable of being heroes.

Early last month, we celebrated several ALPA pilots who exhibited superior airmanship when faced with the unexpected. Our natural instincts, coupled with all those hours of recurrent training, on top of the mandated check rides, make the North American airline industry the safest mode of transportation in the world. Please look inside this issue to read more about these pilots and others who were honored during ALPA’s Air Safety Forum.

And as we recognize these pilots who have contributed their lives’ work to making this the safest, most secure transportation system, let it be known that we will forever honor the flight crews of United Flight 175, United Flight 93, American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines 77, and First Air 6560.

We will never forget.

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Airline Industry Update

The Washington Post reported that the FAA will bar a traffic-reversing operation used at U.S. airports that led to an incident on July 31 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport involving three US Airways commuter flights that got too close to one another. At the time of the incident, air traffic controllers had been changing the direction airplanes were landing and taking off at the airport because of bad weather developing to the south of the airport.

• According to, Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, posted a profit of $67.5 million for the second quarter of 2012. The figure was more than double the $28.8 million reported for the second quarter a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was up 9.3 percent.

• Per The Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the average domestic airfare for the first quarter of 2012 increased to $373, up from $356 in the first quarter of 2011. This 4.8 percent increase from the same period a year ago sets a record for any quarter.

A Senate panel voted on July 31 to support Michael Huerta as head of the FAA, reported USA Today. The Transportation Committee voted without debate to support Huerta, whose nomination moves to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Huerta became deputy administrator of the FAA in June 2010 and has been acting administrator since Randy Babbitt stepped down in December 2011.

• According to the Los Angeles Times, officials of the Coalition to Fix LAX Now are pushing for the continued modernization of Los Angeles International Airport, the nation’s third-largest airport. The coalition said more work needs to be done, including reconfiguring the northern runways, remodeling the airport’s aging domestic terminals, extending light-rail service to LAX, and building a consolidated car rental facility and a midfield concourse. The current layout is unable to handle larger airplanes like the A380 without closing one of the two runways during landings.

United Continental Holdings reported earnings of $339 million for the second quarter of 2012, compared to earnings of $538 million for the same quarter of 2011, USA Today reported. The airline’s revenue rose by 1.3 percent for the quarter but continues to face costs from the United/Continental merger.

• Per Flight Safety Information, the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) annual safety review shows that between 2002 and 2011 the rate of accidents in scheduled operations in EASA member states was one of the lowest in the world, with 1.6 fatal accidents per 10 million flights.

• reported that passengers traveling on American Airlines can have their luggage delivered to their home, hotel, or office under the airline’s new ancillary service. The fee is $29.95 for a single bag, $39.95 for 2 bags, and $49.95 for 3 to10 bags, with an extra $1 charge per mile for locations 41 to 100 miles from the airport. “We think this service will be especially valuable to families traveling with children as well as our business travelers who need to go straight to a meeting or into the office,” said David Vance, managing director for customer operations planning at American Airlines.

An arbitrator has imposed Air Canada’s final offer on the airline’s pilots, clearing the way for management to launch an international discount airline, reported The Globe and Mail and CBC News. “I accept that Air Canada needs to establish a low-cost carrier to ensure its competitive future,” arbitrator Douglas Stanley wrote in his decision released in early August. “The arbitrator’s selection of Air Canada’s final offer concludes a new collective agreement with Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) following negotiations and mediated talks that took place over a period of 19 months,” the airline commented. Stanley, who had to choose the final offer submitted by either Air Canada or APCA, selected the airline’s proposal. The pilots say the new deal could eliminate up to 1,100 jobs and puts in place provisions that will allow Air Canada to get rid of its entire fleet of Embraer airplanes and “contract out domestic and transborder flying.”

• Per The Wall Street Journal, most U.S. airlines have cut their international first-class seating to upgrade their business-class seating. Of the 500 airplanes used by U.S. airlines to serve Asia, Europe, and South America, only 27 percent have a first-class cabin. Most airlines have chosen to rebrand their first class as an updated, premium business class. The only two U.S. airlines that still offer first-class seating are American Airlines and United Airlines. And these airlines have decided to downsize their most luxurious first-class cabins.

• According to The Washington Post, on August 2 the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the union representing its 45,000 security agents reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement. TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agreement “represents a significant milestone in our relationship with our employees.” The tentative agreement, which changes the way agents are evaluated, among other things, will need to be ratified by the employees.

A swarm of honeybees gathered on the wing of a Delta Connection commuter jet parked at Pittsburgh International Airport on August 1, causing about a 45-minute delay until the protected insects could be safely removed, reported ABC News. It was at least the fourth incident this year in which bees had to be removed from a parked airplane at the airport (see photo above). A professional beekeeper used a soft bristle brush and his bare hands to sweep the insects into containers for later release.

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest discount airline, announced that fiscal first-quarter profits fell 29 percent as fuel costs increased and a sluggish economy limited its ability to increase fares, reported Bloomberg. The airline’s net income for the three months ending June 30 fell to 98.8 million euros ($121 million) from 139.3 million euros ($173 million) a year earlier.

• Per Fox Business, in a recent FlightView survey, travelers responded that they are dissatisfied with airline and airport technology offerings. Out of 600 respondents, 94 percent said they want to be able to see their flight status on their mobile devices, 70 percent want to see flight boarding alerts, and 63 percent want to be able to upgrade seats via mobile devices. Travelers also want to be able to rebook flights via their mobile devices. To do it all, respondents said, airlines and airports need to improve Wi-Fi service.

The EU has abandoned a plan that would have ended a ban on liquids at airport security checkpoints by April 2013, reported AAAE Security Smart Brief. Proceeding with the change would “represent a considerable operational risk mainly due to the scale of the change,” according to an EU statement. The EU will consider new legislation on the liquid ban in the fall and stated that a “phased approach” is necessary to allow liquids through security.

Front Lines

Crewmembers Commemorate First Air Flight 6560 Anniversary

Friends, relatives, and colleagues celebrated the lives of First Air Flight 6560 crewmembers on August 20, a year to the day after their airplane crashed into a hill in Resolute, Nunavut Territory.

The crash took the lives of 12 of the 15 souls aboard, including pilots Capt. Blair Rutherford and F/O Dave Hare and flight attendants Ute Merritt and Ann Marie Chassie. The crew was remembered at a private memorial service in the First Air hangar in Yellowknife, NT.

Speaking at the service, F/O Devin Lyall, the pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman, and Capt. Rutherford’s widow, Tatiana, agreed that the common denominator that linked the Flight 6560 crew was happiness—for their families, their colleagues, and their airline.

Family members joined pilots in flight suits, mechanics in coveralls, and managers in suits and ties in standing silently and holding hands at 10:42 a.m., the moment the Boeing 737 was lost. The moment of silence was observed across the entire First Air network—from Iqaluit in the east to Inuvik in the west.

Among the guests at the service were Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, who was in the Northwest Territories taking a series of orientation flights with crews from First Air and Canadian North, and Robin Wyllie, a geologist who was one of three survivors of the accident. Wyllie was also a guest of the MEC at a barbecue held in a local park after the ceremony.

Capt. Brad Avery, Council 241 chairman, piloted a First Air charter to the remote Resolute Airport after the service so that relatives of the victims could view the crash site and the new, permanent memorial to Flight 6560. Plans are also under way to build a memorial at the Yellowknife Airport, where Flight 6560 originated.

United, Continental Pilots Reach Agreement-In-Principle on New Contract

United and Continental Airlines pilots, after more than two years of negotiating with management for a joint collective bargaining agreement, and with the assistance of the National Mediation Board (NMB), have reached an agreement-in-principle (AIP) with United Continental Holdings, Inc., on major economic issues. While some details of an agreement still remain open, the pilots are confident a final AIP can be worked out soon.

“After working under a bankruptcy contract for nearly 10 years, the substantial contributions of the pilots in helping United Airlines survive its darkest economic days and make the United/Continental merger possible will, at last, be respected and rewarded,” said Capt. Jay Heppner, the United pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman. “This pilot group has endured more than its share of sacrifices since 9/11. We have flown through the airline’s bankruptcy, taking drastic pay cuts and losing our pensions. We’ve witnessed the loss of thousands of United pilot jobs through outsourcing and offshoring.

“Once the agreements are finalized and approved by our membership, we look forward to getting to work under this new agreement and doing what we do best, which is providing United customers with a safe and comfortable traveling experience.

“We stand at the threshold of a new day at United Airlines, and we are ready to join forces with our Continental brethren to help build the new United into the world’s preeminent airline.”

“After many years of enduring the hardships of concessionary and bankruptcy-era contracts, we are pleased to have finally reached an agreement that will allow our pilots and their families to see gains in compensation, work rules, job protections, and retirement and benefits,” said Capt. Jay Pierce, the Continental pilots’ MEC chairman. “Our pilots must be recognized for the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual givebacks that ultimately allowed our airline to remain competitive, prosper, and avoid the economic turmoil that befell others in the industry. Further, they deserve to be recognized for their role in building the success of the company and for the role they will play in the success of the merger of equals with United…. Once there is pilot approval of this contract, the operations of the two airlines can finally begin to be integrated for the ultimate benefit of our passengers, pilots and United employees, and shareholders. We can begin to deliver on the promise of the world’s largest and best airline.”

Terms of the agreement must now be converted into a tentative agreement (TA) and will be presented independently to ALPA’s governing bodies for each of the Continental and United pilot groups for consideration. If approved, it will be sent to the pilots of both airlines for a combined ratification vote.

Comair Announces Plans to Shut Down

In late July, Delta Air Lines announced that the company would be shutting down wholly owned subsidiary Comair on September 29, laying off more than 600 active pilots.

In May, the Comair Master Executive Council (MEC) Negotiating Committee provided management with a comprehensive plan for a new pilot contract, which included numerous cost-cutting proposals in an effort to save their airline and their jobs. These proposals would have saved more than $10 million in just the first year. However, the proposed concessions weren’t enough to persuade Delta management to keep Comair in business.

In 2001, having been acquired by Delta two years earlier, the Comair pilots went on a strike that lasted 89 days. Just four years later, Comair, along with Delta, filed for bankruptcy and negotiated a new pilot contract that included deep concessions. In September 2010, Comair announced plans to park the majority of its 50-seat regional jets. This move would have cut the airline to about 500 pilots by the end of 2012. Even this reconstruction of the airline wasn’t enough to save it long-term.

Through ALPA’s Furloughed Pilots Support Program, the Comair pilots will continue to receive assistance from ALPA, including admission to job fairs, employment opportunities, unemployment benefit information, and Flight Path, a newsletter covering everything from stress management to finances.

“Every pilot at Comair has worked extremely hard toward a different outcome, and we are disheartened by the announcement,” commented Capt. Erik Jensen, the pilots’ MEC chairman. “For years, Comair has been flying against strong headwinds—including an ever-changing industry, high fuel costs, and an increasingly competitive regional market. We are extremely proud of our commitment and sacrifices, but in the end, the company just couldn’t overcome the obstacles.”

Piedmont Pilots Support Strike Authorization

On August 10, Piedmont Airlines pilots voted to authorize their union leaders to call for a lawful strike, should the pilot group be released to do so. Of the eligible pilots who voted, 93 percent supported granting their leaders the power to call a strike. This authorization comes after more than three years of negotiations with management, including 27 months of mediation facilitated by the National Mediation Board (NMB).

“Our goal is, and has been over the past three years, a fair contract that recognizes our value to this company and to the US Airways network,” said Capt. Bruce Freedman, the pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman. “This vote should send a clear message to Piedmont and US Airways managements that this pilot group is committed to obtaining this contract and will take whatever legal steps necessary to do so.”

If the NMB concludes that further mediated negotiations are unlikely to result in a contract, it could result in a release from mediation, triggering a 30-day cooling-off period, after which a legal strike could take place.

In May 2009, the pilots began negotiations, optimistic that they could come to a quick resolution with the company. However, management was unwilling to have meaningful talks about key issues until the pilots filed for mediation. The NMB has helped the parties narrow the open issues to just a handful of remaining items, but so far has been unable to help reach a comprehensive agreement.

The pilots’ Negotiating Committee held its last scheduled session with management in May 2012. No further talks are currently scheduled.

USEPA Pilots Continue Information Exchange

Recognizing the importance of collaborating in an ever-changing environment, the US Airways Express Pilots Alliance (USEPA) met on July 25 in Indianapolis to further the exchange of information among pilots flying for the US Airways regional network. Through the alliance, Air Wisconsin, Mesa, Piedmont, PSA, and Trans States pilots are working to enhance pilot contract standards, harmonize safety programs, and promote career portability.

ALPA is also engaging with pilots flying under the US Airways Express banner who are represented by another union. Joining the group for the first time were pilots from Republic, whom the Teamsters represent. Republic pilots have been in contract negotiations for more than five years with a management that is reportedly refusing to participate in meaningful discussions. The pilots’ goal of a fair contract is shared throughout the profession, as every pilot contract, regardless of union affiliation, affects the bargaining outcome at all other airlines.

Also attending the meeting were the ALPA executive vice presidents for Groups B1 and B2 and pilots from ExpressJet, who are working to develop a structure similar to USEPA’s within the United Express network.

FedEx MEC Hosts Family Awareness Event at Memphis Zoo

Spearheaded by the work of its Family Awareness Committee, the FedEx Master Executive Council (MEC) recently hosted an event at the Memphis zoo. Joined by their families, FedEx pilots socialized with each other and their MEC representatives while enjoying a day at the zoo. Children were also able to enjoy such activities as coloring, airbrush tattoos, and face painting. More than 300 people attended.

“We designed this event as a way to embrace our pilots’ families and continue our commitment of ongoing communication with our pilots’ families,” said Capt. Scott Stratton, the pilots’ MEC chairman. “We recognize the integral role family support plays. This event allowed many of us the opportunity to interact and connect face-to-face with our pilots and their families.”

“I feel it’s important for us to get together as a group, connect with our fellow pilots and their families, all while having a little fun,” said F/O Pat Meagher, Family Awareness Committee chairman. “The support of our families is crucial to our role as pilots. And what better way to thank our families than doing something fun at the zoo. Thanks to all for coming out.”

Known Crewmember Expansion Continues

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) opened Known Crewmember (KCM) lanes at four additional airports the first week in August—DTW, LAS, LGA, and MDW. Pilots who went through the new access points were overwhelmingly positive, whether they had used KCM before or were doing it for the first time.

“This is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” said one Delta captain as he walked up to the new KCM lane at DTW, had his ID checked, and was cleared to enter the McNamara Terminal—all in less than 60 seconds. Other pilots who went through checkpoints at LGA, LAS, and MDW had the same positive reaction.

No longer a test program, KCM is now available to more than 100 U.S. airlines, including all U.S. airlines that have ALPA-represented pilots. As of mid-August, more than 20 airlines had subscribed to this service. ALPA has strongly supported including flight attendants in KCM; and in late July, the TSA announced that it would allow them to participate. The timing for adding flight attendants to the system will depend on the KCM airlines’ respective IT capabilities and business decisions, but flight attendants could begin participating in KCM within the next few months.

KCM is expected to expand to 31 major U.S. airports by the end of November. ALPA pilots and staff have been conducting site surveys—the most recent at HNL—and are working with Airlines for America and the TSA to roll out the program in airports across the country as soon as possible.

For a complete list of KCM airports and the locations of checkpoints, click here to download the ALPA smartphone app and then select the KCM tab or visit

President’s Committee for Remote Operations Begins Work

The first meeting of the President’s Committee for Remote Operations (PCRO) took place on July 26. The committee, chaired by Capt. Peter Black (First Air), discussed member experiences in remote operations, ALPA activity, and expectations for the group. The group focused on establishing committee priorities, identifying hazards and proposing solutions, and developing future objectives.

The committee was formed to address the challenges that ALPA members face operating in remote areas such as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Alaskan locations at the outer fringes of North America—including the adequacy of airport infrastructure, the availability of navigation and approach capability, weather information dissemination, and human factors considerations regarding operating in extreme temperatures and in the Arctic’s long days and nights.

One of the committee’s first activities was meeting with NAV CANADA to discuss these unique operational challenges. The group addressed the safe growth and quality of performance-based navigation (PBN) procedure design and implementation, airport infrastructure requirements, future weather data capabilities, and the ADS-B surveillance system. NAV CANADA provided a thorough briefing on the current and developing PBN technologies that will serve all regions of Canada by 2018. The committee will continue to work with NAV CANADA to provide pilot input and promote airspace improvements.

ALPA Advances Views on UAS Integration at House Hearing

On July 19, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management held a hearing on “Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Within the Homeland: Security Game Changer?”—a topic high on ALPA’s aviation safety and security agenda.

ALPA reinforced its views on integrating UAS into the national airspace system (NAS) as outlined in the Association’s white paper titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Challenges for Safely Operating in the National Airspace System.”
In a letter to the subcommittee, Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, emphasized that UAS “approval for operations in the NAS requires comprehensive and exhaustive total system analysis to achieve integration. The needs of air traffic services, airspace, airports, airmen, and operators all will need to be evaluated to safely and securely integrate the UAS into the complex and dynamic operations of the NAS.”

Consistent with ALPA’s goal of achieving “one level of safety and security” across the system, the Association continues to advocate for comprehensive standards for aircraft, pilots, and operators involved in UAS operation in the NAS. ALPA continues to actively participate in this effort to ensure that UAS operations meet the high level of safety that is currently present in the NAS.

While ALPA recognizes the benefits that UAS may provide in national defense and law enforcement functions domestically, Moak cautioned that “the introduction of such aircraft into an integrated national airspace system represents an entirely new concept that has the potential to profoundly degrade the safety of both commercial and general aviation flight operations if this integration is not accomplished in a responsible, comprehensive manner.”
In ALPA’s view, the FAA is the agency that must evaluate the safety, operational, and security procedures that may need to be modified to provide for unique UAS requirements to maintain the exceptional level of safety in the NAS. ALPA continues to work with government and industry to address this issue and to protect the security of the nation’s airspace.

National Pro-Aviation Policy Key to Industry’s Global Success

ALPA’s recent efforts to bring the issue of the U.S. airline industry’s worldwide competitiveness to national attention contributed to a hearing that the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security held July 18 on “The Global Competitiveness of the U.S. Aviation Industry: Addressing Competition Issues to Maintain U.S. Leadership in the Aerospace Market.” The hearing highlighted key issues important to leveling the playing field for U.S. aviation.

“The future of the U.S. aviation industry depends on how well we can compete in the global marketplace,” Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, said in a letter to the subcommittee. “We believe the United States must take immediate, proactive action to…enable U.S. air carriers—and manufacturers and downstream users—to effectively compete internationally.”

Moak expressed ALPA’s willingness and readiness to work with lawmakers and other stakeholders in support of sound aviation policies. He offered the Association’s comprehensive white paper “Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Airlines and Their Employees” as a resource that provides a framework for a national pro-aviation policy that promotes a strong U.S. airline industry and positions U.S. airlines and their employees for global success.

To read ALPA’s white paper, click here.

Scholarship Recipients Announced

ALPA has chosen the recipients of the 2012 ALPA Scholarship Award.

Sarah Malerich, daughter of Capt. Kurt Malerich (United, Ret.), is the recipient of a new four-year scholarship. Sarah will be attending Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.

Rocky Rogel, son of deceased S/O Robert Rogel (United), had his 2011 scholarship renewed. Rocky attends Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

Jillian Sanning, daughter of medically disabled F/O Matthew Sanning (United), had her 2010 scholarship renewed. Jillian is enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Tyler Renslow, son of deceased Capt. Marvin Renslow (Colgan), had his 2009 scholarship renewed. Tyler attends the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Fla.

A new special one-year scholarship was awarded to both Christina Murphy, daughter of Capt. David Murphy (Northwest, Ret.), and Brittney Vigil, daughter of Capt. Darren Vigil (Northwest, Ret.). Christina is a senior enrolled at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.

Each year the Association sponsors four $3,000 scholarships that are available to the children of medically retired, long-term disabled, or deceased ALPA members. ALPA’s vice president–administration/secretary and vice president–finance/treasurer review all applications, select the recipient, and report to the Executive Council on their selection. One scholarship is granted to an enrolling college freshman and is renewable for three additional years, provided the student maintains an adequate grade-point average.

All applications are carefully reviewed with consideration given to financial need and academic performance before a selection is made. At the time new applications are reviewed, the academic records of those currently enrolled college students are also reviewed to determine if they are eligible to have their scholarships renewed.

Applications for the 2013–2014 school year may be obtained from Maggie Erzen, Air Line Pilots Association, 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036. The application period begins in January, and applications must be received by no later than April 1, 2013.

Member Insurance Update

ALPA Launches New Member Insurance Site

The Association has launched a new member insurance website that is easier to navigate and more visually appealing.

The ALPA National R&I Committee, together with ALPA’s Member Insurance Department, conducted a survey to find out what members know and think about the insurance products that ALPA offers and the communication methods used to promote these products.

Based on member feedback, the Association learned that 70 percent of ALPA pilots did not know about the insurance website—even though information about ALPA’s insurance products has been online since 1998. In response, the National R&I Committee and the VEBA Board allocated resources to take steps to educate members on the available products and to improve their online experience.

On ALPA’s home page at, there’s now an ALPA Insurance link in the top menu bar. Click on the link to access the new page, read about the plans currently available, review plans in which you are already enrolled, and use the online form to request more information about all of ALPA’s insurance products.

To view the new site, click here.


Letters to the editor may be submitted via regular mail to Air Line Pilot, Letters to the Editor, 535 Herndon Parkway, P.O. Box 1169, Herndon, VA 20172-1169, or by e-mail to

Sudoku difficulty?

Way too hard! I’m a pretty good sudoku player, and I can do the Extreme category on Nook in an average of 12 minutes on any game presented. The problem [with the sudoku in Air Line Pilot] is that in five out of the nine squares, only two numbers are given. This is not enough to identify patterns throughout or line redundancy with any given number presented. I would recommend only three out of nine blocks with only two numbers given.

Capt. Bill Savage (FedEx Express)

I often read that members complain the sudoku is too hard. I agree they are the hardest of any publication. Keep it that way. All the others are much easier, and I look forward to these more difficult ones. Someone has to have the hardest ones in print, so why not us? Keep it up.

F/O Tony Ball (Alaska)

The sudoku puzzle is just right: not too easy but doable.
Regarding the ALPA insurance ad on the back cover, the two young boys will never be able to communicate. For the can-and-string method to work, the string must be held taut and works best if the string is wet. The string must not touch anything between the cans.
Trust me. I know. I was young once.

Capt. Rob Briggs (United, Ret.)

Have You Read?

From Where I Stand
Flight #93 Pilot’s Widow Sets the Record Straight
By Melodie Homer

It doesn’t matter how many years go by. The tragedy of 9/11 will forever remain in the lives of those most affected in a way that many of us will never be able to fathom. More than 10 years after this terrible day, a pilot’s widow reflects on how life has been for her and her children, and how losing your soul mate in such a violent way affects everything you do.

Melodie Homer is the widow of F/O LeRoy Homer, who was the copilot on United Flight 93. On Sept. 11, 2001, this flight crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pa. In her book, Mrs. Homer recounts the hounding of the news media, the difficulty in working with United Airlines, and the endless support from family, friends, and representatives at ALPA.

While this book is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are, it more so chronicles Mrs. Homer’s depths of despair and ordeal with post-traumatic stress, understanding what really happened that day inside the airplane, and honoring her husband’s memory with a foundation for young aviators.—Reviewed by Marie Schwartz, Director, ALPA Communications Department


The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation

The mission of the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation is to encourage and support young adults who wish to pursue careers as professional pilots. The foundation also promotes awareness about aviation careers to disadvantaged youth. It has granted 13 scholarships since its inception in 2002, and all 13 recipients have earned their private pilot licenses. To learn more about the foundation and how you can get involved, go to

ALPA Negotiations Update

The following is a summary of the status of ALPA contract negotiations by airline as of Aug. 10, 2012:

Air Wisconsin—A Section 6 notice was filed on Oct. 1, 2010. Negotiations continue August 28–31.

Atlantic Southeast—A Section 6 notice was filed on May 20, 2010. A joint Section 6 notice was filed on March 28, 2011. Atlantic Southeast/ExpressJet joint negotiations are under way.

CanJet—A notice to bargain was filed on Dec. 1, 2011. Negotiations continue September 24–28.

Comair—A Section 6 notice was filed on Sept. 27, 2010. On July 27, 2012, the airline announced it would permanently cease operations on September 29.

Continental—With the assistance of the National Mediation Board, the pilots have reached an agreement-in-principle (AIP) with United Continental Holdings, Inc., on major economic issues. While some details of an agreement still remain open, the pilots are confident a final AIP can be worked out soon.

Evergreen—Negotiations began in December 2004. ALPA became the pilots’ bargaining agent in November 2007. A tentative agreement was reached on April 16, 2010. The pilots voted against ratification on Aug. 16, 2010. Mediation continues.

ExpressJet—A Section 6 notice was received on May 28, 2010. A joint Section 6 notice was filed on March 28, 2011. Negotiations are under way for the Atlantic Southeast/ExpressJet JCBA.

*First Air—A notice to bargain was filed on Oct. 1, 2010. Negotiations continue September 17–21 and 24–28.

Mesa—A Section 6 notice was filed on Sept. 10, 2010. Negotiations continue September 11–13.

Piedmont—A Section 6 notice was sent on March 13, 2009. An application for mediation was filed with the NMB on April 21, 2010. Mediation is under way.

PSA—A Section 6 notice was sent on Jan. 19, 2009. A joint application for mediation was filed on July 12, 2011. Negotiations continue September 17–20.

Ryan—A Section 6 notice was sent on Sept. 2, 2011. Negotiations continue September 24–28 and October 8–12.

Sun Country—A Section 6 notice was sent on Feb. 23, 2010. Sun Country filed for mediation on May 9, 2012.

United—With the assistance of the National Mediation Board, the pilots have reached an agreement-in-principle (AIP) with United Continental Holdings, Inc., on major economic issues. While some details of an agreement still remain open, the pilots are confident a final AIP can be worked out soon.

*Editor’s note: ALPA negotiators at this Canadian airline have experienced many delays in bargaining because of management shakeups and the loss of Flight 6560. Since bargaining opened in 2010, the pilot group has had two CEOs, three vice presidents of flight operations, and four company lead negotiators. However, the team members remain confident they will make progress in the coming sessions.

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Everything Matters at ALPA’s 58th Air Safety Forum

By ALPA Staff

When it comes to aviation safety and security, and pilot assistance issues, everything matters. “For ALPA, it’s not just our job, it’s a moral imperative,” said the Association’s president, Capt. Lee Moak, during his opening remarks at the 58th ALPA Air Safety Forum, held August 6–9 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.

Moak reviewed several of ALPA’s recent successes, including expansion of the Known Crewmember program and U.S. regulations that set science-based flight- and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements for U.S. passenger-transporting pilots. Yet he acknowledged that more work needs to be done regarding the cargo carveout. Moak also drew attention to several highly successful ALPA conferences that addressed topics like laser illumination of aircraft cockpits, Aviation Safety Action Programs, pilot fatigue, closing the gaps in air cargo safety and security, and pilot training and qualification. He then talked about the Association’s strategic priorities.

Capt. Charles Hogeman (United), ALPA’s Aviation Safety chair, who moderated the forum, said, “Our theme for this year’s forum is ‘Everything Matters.’ What does it mean for us? Just this: In a system as complex as commercial aviation, no single element can enhance safety on its own.

“Equipment, systems, and human factors are interrelated and affect everything else and must work together to function effectively, just as a crew must work together,” Hogeman continued. “Everything matters.”

Introducing keynote speaker John Pistole, Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) administrator, Moak declared that Pistole “embodies many qualities that we at ALPA have come to rely on heavily as we advance our aviation safety and security goals.”

Pistole noted that only three months ago, “an extraordinary foreign intelligence coup” helped to foil a second attempt by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to bring down an airliner with a nonmetallic explosive device. Terrorists, he said, “are going to school” on explosives, so the TSA has recalibrated its explosives detection equipment throughout the United States, encouraged its international partners to do likewise, and even retrained explosives-detecting dogs.

Pistole reported that his agency has trained more than 35,000 officers in procedures for de-escalating conflicts with passengers and crewmembers at screening checkpoints. “The partnership with ALPA has continued to be a key enabler in helping us to provide the best possible security in the most efficient way,” he concluded.


Coming Together

This year’s Air Safety Forum brought together ALPA pilot representatives from the safety, security, and pilot assistance disciplines along with government officials, members of airline management, and other industry stakeholders. Members of ALPA’s Air Safety Organization (ASO) spent two days in closed sessions, sharing information, discussing pressing matters, and receiving presentations. The forum held its “public days” the following two days, with panel discussions, presentations from top-ranking government officials, and ceremonies to recognize ASO pilot accomplishments for technical work as well as superior airmanship.

ASO Workshops, Committee Briefings, and Presentations

At a brief general session open to all ALPA members and staff, Moak and Capt. Sean Cassidy, ALPA’s first vice president, thanked the members of the audience for their notable achievements and laid out a strategic roadmap for the coming years. Then it was time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Day One

CASCs Collaborate

ALPA’s Safety Council, made up of master executive council (MEC) Central Air Safety chairs (CASCs), held its semi-annual meeting to review safety-related activities at each of ALPA’s pilot groups and to hear presentations about new programs and best practices. The chairs reviewed the status of voluntary data collection programs like ASAP and FOQA and the safety-related experiences and culture at their airline.

Sharing information was a recurring theme in much of the discussion, and Capt. Mike Schilz (Delta), director of ALPA’s Safety Information and Analysis Program, talked with the group about the status of the FAA’s ASIAS (Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing) data fusion project. The intent of the project is to blend data from several sources to provide a more complete picture of flight operations.

Capt. Greg Downs (United), his pilot group’s ALPA FOQA/FSAP chair, reported on a novel and confidential information-sharing program between the United pilots and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). Using the pilots’ Flight Safety Action Program (FSAP) feedback and the controllers’ Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP), the two groups work together on common problem areas identified by their members.

F/O Marc Henegar (Alaska), ALPA’s Air Traffic Services Group chair, discussed the status of the Terminal Area Reporting Program (TARP), an automated program that reports any loss of required separation between aircraft. Henegar reviewed the process for reporting loss of required separation and the need for pilots to file timely ASAP reports. “If you even think something happened, ASAP it,” he said.

Training Council Chairs Share Information and Address Mutual Issues

The ALPA Training Council, made up of the MEC Training Committee chairs from ALPA pilot groups, discussed vital issues pertaining to pilots. F/O Marc Henegar (Alaska), ALPA’s Air Traffic Services chair, reviewed ATC phraseology regarding speed restrictions and “climb via” clearances slated to go into effect later this year.

Dr. Kathy Abbott, FAA chief scientific and technical advisor for flight deck human factors, provided an update on current FAA and government/industry activities on several fronts. Abbott discussed aircraft automation, including control automation, information automation, and management automation. “What’s considered automation at one time—for example, yaw dampers—may not be considered automation in the future.”

Security Chairs Share Info at Security Council Meeting

ALPA’s MEC security coordinators and committee chairs assembled as the Association’s Security Council to review ongoing security issues for ALPA’s member pilot groups.

Capt. Fred Eissler (FedEx Express), ALPA’s Aviation Security chair, talked about the status of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, security-sensitive information, expansion of the Known Crewmember program, secondary cockpit barriers, threatened airspace management, and a new federal statute that criminalizes the intentional laser illumination of an aircraft’s cockpit or its flight path. Eissler examined both the challenges and the progress being made in each of these areas, emphasizing that “the key to solutions is working relationships.”

Security committee coordinators and chairs provided comments and feedback from their pilot groups about airport security screening experiences, layover hotel issues, and laser incidents.

Jumpseat Council Promotes Captain’s Authority

Pilots in command play a critical role in ensuring that the jumpseat remains available to fellow crewmembers, said F/O James Berzon (Continental), ALPA’s acting Jumpseat Council chair.

Capt. Craig Stephens (Delta), ALPA’s international jumpseat coordinator, told the group that the major hurdle in gaining widespread international jumpseating is standardizing databases and procedures across company lines so that each airline has an easily recognizable master crew list.

Canada, unfortunately, still lags behind its U.S. counterparts when it comes to cockpit access. Canadian regulations only allow pilots to use cockpit jumpseats on their own airline if every cabin seat is full, a situation Moak says must be changed.

The Jumpseat Council took time to honor two outstanding ALPA volunteers for their contributions to helping airline pilots get to and from work:

• Capt. Shannon Smith (Continental), his pilot group’s MEC jumpseat chair, who created the “No Pilot Left Behind” program several years ago, and

• Capt. Rob Frank (US Airways, formerly Air Wisconsin), who served as ALPA’s National Jumpseat Committee representative for almost a decade and was the driving force behind the creation of ALPA’s website and ALPA’s smartphone app.

PA Forum Begins with In-depth Briefs from PA Leaders

ALPA’s Pilot Assistance leaders discussed the five areas under Pilot Assistance: Aeromedical, Canada Pilot Assistance, Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP), the Human Intervention and Motivation Study (HIMS), and Professional Standards. Approximately 75 attendees received briefings on the issues that each of the five areas are tackling to improve Pilot Assistance services.

Following these updates, participants received a thorough HIMS presentation. Dr. Lynn Hankes from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine explained how alcoholism is a chronic, treatable disease and that complete abstinence is crucial to recovery.

Dr. Daniel Zenga, a licensed psychologist, examined certain behaviors that PA volunteers need to recognize to resolve potential conflicts within peer groups.

Capt. Dave Noble (Air Canada, Ret.) received a plaque in recognition of his efforts to build and maintain the Pilot Assistance program in Canada. Noble is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of Pilot Assistance in Canada and has worked tirelessly for more than 25 years to assist pilots in need.

Day Two

AvSec Forum Speakers Address Risk Mitigation

ALPA’s Aviation Security Forum attendees heard from speakers who examined airline industry security issues. The U.S. approach to airport passenger screening has changed significantly in the period since 9/11. Doug Hofsass, TSA associate administrator for risk-based security, looked at its transformation from a one-size-fits-all legacy screening system to the current risk-based security philosophy. “We’re using our resources more effectively,” he noted.

Warren Miller, TSA branch chief for air cargo policy, spoke about the agency’s efforts to screen air cargo coming into and leaving the U.S. After the enactment of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the TSA has been working with freight forwarders, shippers, and independent cargo screening facilities to ensure that the entire air cargo supply chain is covered.

Politics play a tremendous role in determining the direction of air transportation security, and Elizabeth Baker, ALPA’s senior legislative representative, reviewed U.S. aviation security legislation during the last decade. She noted that the U.S. has spent $636 billion on security since 9/11.

F/O Darrin Dorn (Alaska), his pilot group’s MEC Security Committee chair and a former U.S. Special Forces member, examined the details of four terrorist attacks that occurred in recent years, offering recommended practices that crewmembers can use to protect themselves.

Training Issues at the Forefront

Stall prevention, recognition, and recovery dominated the second day of the ALPA Training Council’s meeting. Capt. Dave McKenney (United) described the new pilot test standards for stall recognition and recovery that the FAA recently published. The new standards call for the pilot to demonstrate recognition and recovery from three approaches to a stall—one each in takeoff or partial flap configuration, clean cruise, and landing configurations—one of which must be encountered with autopilot engaged (if installed).

New stall standards emphasize reducing the wing’s angle of attack as the fundamental and a primary recovery step for any stall event. Evaluation criteria for a recovery from an approach to stall should not mandate a predetermined value for altitude loss and should not mandate maintaining altitude during recovery.

Capt. Aaron Bolduc (Compass) discussed ALPA’s participation in the Aircraft State Awareness Joint Safety Implementation Team, a government-industry group chartered by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team to research loss-of-control accidents specifically caused by loss of flight crew awareness of the aircraft’s energy status.

Capt. Don Dobias (United) led a lively discussion on crew resource management evaluation issues. A Training Council member asserted, “CRM may be the most important thing we teach.”

Information Is Power When Managing Security Threats

You’re a captain piloting an A330 from Chicago O’Hare to Washington Dulles when your lead flight attendant reports that there’s a credible threat of a passenger on board with an explosive device implanted in her body. That was the scenario presented to ALPA’s aviation security group as part of a tabletop exercise.

If a possible security threat escalates, the U.S. and Canadian militaries may be called on to intercept the aircraft. U.S. Air Force officers from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) gave an overview on “Intercept 101,” explaining what happens when fighters are sent aloft. “Ten years after 9/11, the primary information-sharing tool used by U.S. and Canadian air security partners is still the telephone,” said USAF Col. Robert Hehemann.

PA Forum Focuses on Training in Core Areas

The Pilot Assistance Forum resumed as participants received a briefing on how ALPA’s CIRP members mobilized after the Sept. 16, 2011, crash at Reno’s National Championship Air Races, which killed the pilot and 10 spectators and injured 69 others.

Professional Standards then took the stage to discuss effective communications skills for resolving conflicts. Participants engaged in exercises to practice seeing and understanding various situations from different perspectives. The skills learned will help volunteers interact with their peers.

Dr. Quay Snyder, ALPA’s aeromedical advisor, detailed the scope of services provided by the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service and touched upon recent trends within the field. Dr. Gordon Turnbull, one of the world’s leading experts on trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, closed the forum with a presentation on trauma.

Day Three

ALPA’s Public Offerings

Voluntary Safety Reporting Helps Raise Safety Bar

While aviation is safer than ever, the airline industry is collaborating successfully with government to make it even safer by participating in voluntary reporting programs that provide information to analyze to help identify risk factors. This is important because as aviation transitions to a risk-based safety model, “you realize you can’t do it all,” said Martin Eley, director general of civil aviation for Transport Canada.

Eley; Peggy Gilligan, FAA associate administrator; and others joined ALPA pilot safety leaders to discuss current government efforts to achieve one worldwide level of safety.

“We’re at a point now where we have access to information that we’ve never had before, and our ability to use it and look into the future is excellent,” said Tom Hendricks, Airlines for America’s senior vice president for safety, security, and operations.

On the international front, ICAO Chief of Flight Operations Mitchell Fox said the three highest safety priorities are reducing runway excursions, loss of control in flight, and controlled flight into terrain.

Where the Rubber Meets (and Leaves) the Pavement

“On the Radar: Critical Safety Issues at Our Airports” was the title of a panel moderated by F/O Steve Jangelis (Delta), chair of the ALPA Airport Ground and Environment Group.

Patrick Doyle, the FAA’s director of runway safety, said that educating pilots and airport drivers to reduce runway incursions is “a very high priority for the FAA Runway Safety Office,” which is developing new training for both groups.

Christopher Oswald, vice president for safety and technical operations, Airports Council International, North America, noted that his organization has “worked to develop best practices and checklists for airport drivers—no FOD on the vehicle, all vehicle systems working properly, proper radio frequencies set, that sort of thing.”

NATCA’s Rick Loewen said, “One message I’ve been trying to get out to our members is, take the airport tour. You may have worked at your facility for years; but unless you’ve gotten in a vehicle or an airplane and traveled around the airport surface, you don’t really know your airport. Having that perspective is huge.”

Wildlife hazard mitigation may get a big boost from avian radar, designed to detect and display flocks of birds on and near airports. Oswald warned, “Five to 10 miles from the airport is still a wild west show. Who has the jurisdiction [over bird attractants like garbage dumps near the airport] is a terribly important question.”

Air Wisconsin, AirTran Pilots Receive 2011 ASL Awards

Three ALPA members who serve as the Association’s eyes, ears, and voices at their local airports received ALPA’s 2011 Airport Safety Liaison (ASL) Awards.

Capt. Nick Chichester (Air Wisconsin), ALPA’s ASL at Philadelphia International Airport, was recognized for the strong relationships he has built with airport staff, but most especially with the airport rescue and firefighting unit. He’s helped airport firefighters become familiar with the most common aircraft types operating there.

Washington’s Reagan National Airport was under construction as Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the D.C. area last year. The main runway had three different surfaces that could affect braking response. Capt. John Jester (Air Wisconsin), ALPA’s ASL at the airport, provided timely safety alerts that helped prevent potential problems.

When a pipeline problem disrupted fuel flow at Billy Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, F/O John Crow (AirTran) notified ALPA safety representatives, enabling them to monitor the situation and advise pilots of potential delays.

Top Docs Talk Shop

As part of a presentation titled, “The Federal Air Surgeon Is In: Airline Pilots’ Top Health Issues,” Dr. Snyder explained how ALPA’s Aeromedical Office maintains a close liaison with the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine, the NTSB, international pilot unions, and the military.

Snyder introduced Dr. Frederick Tilton, the FAA’s federal air surgeon, who declared that the primary reason the FAA’s aeromedical certification function exists is “to keep the airspace safe,” but that “the second reason is to try to certify everyone we can and get them in the air.” Tilton said he talks with Snyder “frequently about individual cases and specific issues.”

Capt. Mark Pinsky (Delta), his pilot group’s MEC Aeromedical chair, praised the FAA for its decision to permit pilots to fly while using certain antidepressant medications, which is done with safety foremost in mind. “It’s made a difference in many, many lives,” he reported.

Day Four

Risk-Based Security

In the world of aviation, nothing has changed more since the tragic events of 9/11 than security. There has been much debate about whether the tougher measures have made the system more cumbersome for users or whether they have made a more efficient system.

The theme throughout presentations and subsequent discussion was that a one-size-fits-all approach to security is not the answer. Speakers emphasized the need to move toward a risk-based system, which the panelists agreed would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of aviation security for all its users.

Moderated by Capt. Fred Eissler (FedEx Express), ALPA’s Aviation Security chair, the panel included Robert Bray, TSA assistant administrator, Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS); Doug Hofsass, TSA associate adminis­trator for risk-based security; Elizabeth Shaver, director of cargo services, Airlines for America; and Carey Davis, assistant port director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Cockpit Automation

Capt. Dave McKenney (United), ALPA’s director of Pilot Training, moderated a panel on “Automation and Technology in Aviation.” McKenney cautioned, “Automation training for pilots must enable pilots to correctly interpret and predict the system’s actions and to control them during normal and abnormal situations, as well as high workload environments.”

Capt. Mike Carriker, Boeing chief pilot, New Airplane Product Development, acknowledged the tremendous strides in cockpit automation from the B-727-200 to the B-787. He maintained nonetheless that, “Unless you know of a ‘killer app,’ the competitive race (between airframe manufacturers) is for production rate and greater use of key assets.”

Capt. Terry Lutz, Airbus experimental test pilot, observed that “the pilot’s role is to fly, navigate, communicate, and manage the mission—with aircraft systems management largely automated. As for the flying task, a manual skill set and an extensive mental skill set are needed, and the weather, aerodynamics, and runway environment remain unchanged.”

Dr. David Woods of Ohio State University explained how systems adapt in the face of complexity. He also described new techniques developed by the new discipline of “resilience engineering” to monitor and measure the “brittleness” of a system and enhance overall system “resilience.”

“Philosophy is the guiding light, and from that emerge policies for everything—automation, emergencies, and normal and abnormal situations—which then translates to procedures, checklists, flows, approaches, and so forth,” said F/O Helena Reidemar (Delta), ALPA director of Human Factors programs.


Capt. Don Wykoff (Delta), chair of ALPA’s Flight Time/Duty Time Committee and IFALPA president, chaired a panel on Fatigue Risk Management Plans (FRMP) and Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS). Wykoff noted that the similarity of the two names and their acronyms has caused some confusion about “two completely different programs although they are both designed to address pilot fatigue.”

FRMP, he noted, “is mandated by law, and every FAR Part 121 air carrier—domestic, flag, and cargo—has an FRMP.” These programs are required by the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010.

The FRMP, Wykoff explained, “is an airline-generated plan that outlines the airline’s policies and procedures for reducing the potential effects of day-to-day flightcrew member fatigue and improving flightcrew member alertness. These plans are submitted to the FAA for review and approval and must be updated every 24 months.”

FRMS, by contrast, is an optional fatigue mitigation tool that is designed to be used with specific flight pairings and is part of the new FAR Part 117 rules on flight time and duty time limits and minimum rest requirements. One of the additional requirements, Wykoff noted, “is to gather information from pilots so it can be scientifically validated and applied to a specific flight pairing.”

UAS Integration Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Safety must not be sacrificed to meet deadlines for UAS to be allowed unrestricted access to the U.S. national airspace system, according to a panel of UAS experts who spoke on the subject.

There are currently no federal standards for unmanned aircraft, systems, or commercial operators, but the FAA is working to roll out a comprehensive integration plan by later this year, said Richard Prosek of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office. ALPA is an integral part of that effort on both policy and technical levels.

Prosek said the government’s challenge is to find the “sweet spot” in balancing the competing needs of safely introducing UAS in an efficient and timely manner. One important thing to remember is that the congressional language in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 doesn’t call for full UAS integration by 2015, but for safe integration, he said.

Paul McDuffie, a representative for a company that currently builds UAS for the American military, said many of the general public’s perceptions about “drones” are incorrect. Current systems are not a cheap alternative to manned aircraft, but are complex and expensive and require large teams of ground support workers.

For ALPA, the most important safety criterion is that such systems should be flown by pilots who are trained and certified to the same high standards as pilots of other aircraft in the same airspace. “Equal access to the national airspace system requires the equal responsibility of providing a highly trained pilot,” said Capt. Ellis Chernoff (FedEx Express), ALPA’s UAS Project Team lead. Chernoff said remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) should go through a civil certification process like any other aircraft, including certification of manuals and other training aids. RPA pilots should be instrument-rated and meet high professional standards.

FAA Chief Closes Forum

Michael Huerta, FAA acting administrator, offered the closing remarks to formally end the Air Safety Forum. “I value the relationship we have with ALPA,” said Huerta. “Working together on safety issues in a proactive way really makes a significant difference. The future of aviation depends on this collaboration.”

Aviation, Huerta noted, has always been “a spirited, forward-thinking, and very innovative industry.” And today, he added, “we are in the midst of revolutionary change,” with the “complex transition” to NextGen and many other new developments.

Huerta emphasized the importance of improving pilot training. To maintain pace with rapid technological transformation in today’s aircraft, he said, “our training must keep pilots up to speed with new and sophisticated technology. It must also stress the fundamental aspects of flying.”

He added, “We believe scenario-based training will enhance safety for the kind of emergencies that happen so rarely. But we want pilots to have sufficient knowledge, experience, and confidence so they can appropriately handle any situation.”

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Huerta acknowledged, “must be integrated into our [U.S. civil] airspace with the highest degree of safety. We are not going to do anything that compromises safety when it comes to integration. In order to do that, we need good, solid data.”

For full coverage of the 58th ALPA Air Safety Forum, including articles, photos, and videos, click here.

Banquet Caps off Forum by Honoring Some of ALPA’s Best

The culmination of the annual ALPA Air Safety Forum was the awards banquet, which each year highlights the hard work and achievements of the Association’s safety, security, and pilot assistance efforts. ALPA’s top honors in each of those disciplines were presented. The banquet, held the evening of August 9, also honored two pilot crews for their superior airmanship and quick thinking in the face of adverse flying conditions.

Air Safety Award

Capt. William “Bill” de Groh (American Eagle) received the ALPA Air Safety Award, the Association’s highest safety honor, for his outstanding commitment to advancing aviation safety.

“Ever since attending the ALPA Basic Safety School in 2001, Capt. de Groh has been actively and integrally involved with ALPA safety activities at the local, MEC, national, and international levels,” Moak explained. “His focused dedication to aviation safety and his unwavering willingness to serve when asked exemplifies the ALPA spirit of volunteerism and sets a high standard for excellence in aviation safety.”

In 2004 de Groh was named director of ALPA’s Aircraft Performance Programs, and in 2005 he presented a paper on rejected takeoffs at the Flight Safety Foundation’s International Aviation Safety Seminar in Moscow. He also testified as an expert at the NTSB’s public hearing regarding Southwest Airlines’ landing overrun accident at Chicago Midway Airport in December 2005.

Moak declared, “Capt. de Groh’s commitment to aviation safety touches every professional aviator in the skies today.”

Aviation Security Award

ALPA honored Capt. Everett Reese (ExpressJet) with its Aviation Security Award for his leading efforts to detect and mitigate potential threats to aviation security.

“As professional aviators, we stand constant guard against ever-increasing threats—both at home and abroad,” said Moak. “Capt. Reese’s efforts to ensure a safe and secure working environment, particularly for flight crews operating in areas of unrest in Latin America, spurred an industrywide movement among pilot groups and airlines to establish similar security protocols for operating in hostile foreign environments.”

Reese was elected to serve as the ExpressJet pilot group’s Security Committee chair in fall 2006, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to advancing aviation security. Because of his expertise in foreign security threats and solutions, he was selected to help lead an ALPA-hosted seminar on terrorism and situational awareness in Herndon, Va., in March 2009.

“Capt. Reese’s expertise in addressing a myriad of aviation security threats and issues is invaluable to ALPA, its members, and the industry as a whole,” Moak pointed out. “He is a leading authority in advancing security, particularly as it relates to foreign operations.”

Pilot Assistance Award

Capt. Thomas O’Toole (Jazz) received the ALPA Pilot Assistance Award for his commitment to providing outstanding support to his fellow pilots. He has worked with Canadian pilots in all aspects of Pilot Assistance and helped many pilots overcome professional and personal obstacles to perform at their very best in the cockpit.

“Capt. O’Toole’s work in Pilot Assistance has touched the lives of pilots and crewmembers across Canada for more than 20 years,” Moak pointed out. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for his dedication to making a difference in the lives of pilots and for strengthening the pilot community.”

Through his work with ALPA’s Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP), O’Toole has helped pilots and crewmembers who have experienced stress and trauma as a result of airline accidents and incidents. Starting with the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Halifax, Nova Scotia, and continuing through the 2011 crash of First Air Flight 6560 at Resolute, Nunavut, he has supported crewmembers in the aftermath of tragedy. O’Toole has been instrumental in connecting people with resources they need to ensure their recovery and return to service.

Superior Airmanship Awards

Delta pilots Capt. Rodney DeWeese and F/O Paul Skluzacek received the ALPA Superior Airmanship Award for their skill in overcoming physically challenging control issues to successfully stop their airplane from an uncommanded roll caused by a stuck right outboard spoiler shortly after a night takeoff from Honolulu on Oct. 4, 2010.

Capt. Tim O’Malley (Delta), his pilot group’s MEC chair, noted that DeWeese and Skluzacek “exemplify the high standards required and training accomplished to react appropriately and successfully in dangerous and time-critical circumstances…. No amount of training can prepare for every situation, as this event demonstrates. That’s when professionalism and raw airmanship developed over a career can make the difference.”

Moak asserted that DeWeese and Skluzacek “demonstrated the consummate skill and extraordinary professionalism that characterizes all airline pilots and reaffirms the importance of the highest standards of training in all areas, including manual flying. I congratulate both pilots for setting a model of excellence for the airline piloting profession.”

United pilots Capt. Dale Nordhausen and F/O John Eskuri also received the ALPA Superior Airmanship Award for safely landing after their airplane’s right main landing gear door failed to open fully and thus blocked the right main landing gear from extending and locking into position.

“Capt. Nordhausen and F/O Eskuri are a testament to the skills and training that define a United Airlines pilot,” said Capt. Jay Heppner (United), his pilot group’s MEC chair. “With each flight, United pilots enter the cockpit prepared and equipped to handle such situations as these two faced. We earn our reputation of being among the world’s safest aviators, and Capt. Nordhausen and F/O Eskuri represent the best of the best among superior airmen.”

Moak added, “Both pilots deserve tremendous credit and serve as a model of professionalism for all airline pilots.”

To view video coverage of the Air Safety Forum banquet, click here.


Mineta Talks Safety

Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, delivered the evening’s keynote address. “ALPA has demonstrated like no other [organization] what it truly means to care about safety,” Mineta declared. “We’d be here all night if I had to recount all the great things we’ve accomplished together.

“Thank you, ALPA, for lending your expertise on this important endeavor. The safety and well-being of passengers has been ingrained in your history from day one.”

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State of the Airline Industry

At the Halfway Point, Airlines Keeping Pace in 2012
By ALPA’s Economic and Financial Analysis Department Staff

The airline industry faced a tough beginning in 2012, with external economic events continuing to place hurdles in the airlines’ path toward sustained profitability. Fuel prices were rising once again, and the economy was at a near standstill, with all eyes focused on the European debt crisis. Still, with a resiliency that is becoming a new norm, airlines continued to modify and adapt to this ever-changing environment in an effort to maintain, if not improve, profits. As the second half of the year unfolds, the North American airline industry is still expected to be profitable in 2012, albeit with some airlines faring better than others.

Airlines are overcoming some of the economic hurdles by constraining capacity, utilizing existing assets more productively, reducing fixed costs, and finding new revenue streams. Airlines have placed a renewed emphasis on product improvement and modernization through fleet renewal as competition for business travel increases. At the same time, airlines are carefully watching every dollar that they spend on capital investments and are monitoring their debt loads, continuously looking to restructure and reduce existing debt to improve their financial performance and strengthen their balance sheets.

Economic outlook

The U.S. economy continues to grow at a snail’s pace. The housing market, although finally showing some signs of improvement, is still weak, and consumer spending remains sluggish, with confidence low and households still focused on reducing debt. Without improvements in consumer confidence and spending, the labor market is unlikely to improve. While exports have been a bright spot in the recovery, weak growth in U.S. trading partners’ economies and a strengthening dollar are likely to curb trade.

Global economic events, particularly in the European Union, are the predominant threat to the airline industry at this time. The current economic outlooks call for the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to grow just more than 2 percent in 2012, with only moderately higher growth in 2013 at 2.3 percent. In Canada, economic growth is expected to reach 2.1 percent in 2012 and 2.2 percent next year. As a frame of reference, the airline industry typically needs at least 2 percent economic growth to generate profits, and the economy needs more than 4 percent to generate job recovery.

While modest economic growth is forecast, downside risks to the economy are ever-present. A further deterioration of the European debt crisis could lower demand for U.S. goods and hurt financial markets. In addition, the U.S. is facing a fiscal cliff at the end of the year. In January 2013, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are set to begin, while a series of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush and extended under President Barack Obama, as well as temporary reductions to payroll taxes, are scheduled to expire. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the effect of the fiscal cliff could result in a 3.9 percent reduction in the growth rate of the GDP next year.

Industry results

The strong airline revenue environment that occurred in 2011 has slowed during 2012. Despite this slowdown, however, the airline industry continues to experience sustained unit revenue growth, stemming from continued capacity constraint. The fuel price spike seen in the first quarter ebbed considerably in the second quarter, giving airlines a chance to generate modest returns in the first half of the year. Year to date, the industry has earned more than $2 billion in pre-tax profits, nearly as much as it earned for the whole year in 2011.

Passenger industry

Various factors, including revenue trends, capacity constraint, and fuel costs, are contributing to the industry’s continued positive performance, despite the sluggish economy. Domestic and international passenger revenue per ASM growth (PRASM) continues on a year-over-year basis. While the gains seen so far in 2012 have been at similar levels as those seen in 2011, these gains are noticeably decelerating. In 2011, the industry instituted 11 domestic fare hikes by mid-year. So far in 2012, only four such fare hikes have taken place. Note that the 2010 growth rates were significant, but that growth rate represented the recovery from the throes of the 2009 recession. As the industry moves into the third and fourth quarters of 2012, continued capacity constraint will be vital to maintaining reasonable rates of PRASM growth.

Capacity and costs

The ability to manage capacity effectively has become critical to the airline industry for a number of reasons. As aircraft ownership is among the largest fixed costs, fleet management can have a significant effect on profitability. Additionally and more importantly, by ensuring that demand (traffic) exceeds supply (capacity), airlines can maintain greater pricing power and avoid fare wars, which deteriorate yields and profitability. In 2011, airlines were able to maintain high load factors and aircraft utilization in passenger markets, which improved cash flow and profitability—even in the face of high fuel costs and weakening economic growth. To date in 2012, the industry is still seeing the same positive results, particularly with fuel costs declining.

Capacity discipline is expected to continue into the near future. U.S. industry capacity is remaining essentially flat, growing at only 0.3 percent. Major airlines are actually reducing capacity on a year-over-year basis. Even Southwest, which has generated strong growth rates for so long, has announced that it will not be adding capacity this year. In addition, airlines’ ability to coordinate capacity with their alliance partners may become a bigger factor, as airlines look to recapture the traffic from capacity reductions made to secondary cities by redirecting passengers over their partner hubs.


While revenue has been one of the positives for the airline industry, volatile fuel prices remain a real challenge and risk for all segments of the industry. Fuel prices continue to fluctuate significantly. In March, crude prices were up 42 percent from the low in October 2011. By the end of June, fuel had dropped by 28 percent from the March high. Only a month and half later, crude prices were back up 21 percent.

As the economy has struggled, particularly in Europe, fuel prices have decreased. However, since falling to as low as $2.63 per gallon in the second quarter, jet fuel prices have started to rise again and are back above $3 a gallon. Over the last few years, the industry has been able to pass higher fuel prices on to the passenger, but that may not be the case in the future if a spike in fuel prices results from geopolitical tensions or refinery issues, as opposed to economic strength.

In addition to the effect of crude oil prices on the airline industry, it’s facing volatile crack spreads. Crack spreads (the cost of refining crude oil into jet fuel) have increased significantly in recent months. Airlines have had to respond with more tactical hedging strategies to address these volatile costs. In fact, Delta’s recent purchase of a refinery is the latest attempt by one airline to control this volatility. It remains to be seen whether other airlines will attempt similar strategies.

Regional industry

With little to no growth on the horizon, aging fleets and workforces, and a maturing business model, the regional market is in the throes of further consolidation and restructuring. Delta recently announced the closing of its subsidiary Comair, Pinnacle has filed for bankruptcy and is shutting down its Colgan operating unit, and American Eagle is in the process of restructuring due to its parent company’s bankruptcy filing. And SkyWest (the parent company of SkyWest and ExpressJet) is still focusing on integrating Atlantic Southeast and ExpressJet.

These moves all coincide with the fact that the 50-seat jet is being driven out of regional markets. In today’s environment, the operating economics of the 50-seat jet have become less attractive. High fuel prices and increased maintenance costs for these older aircraft are outweighing their relatively low ownership costs.

Delta, for example, presently operates more than 300 50-seaters. However, it’s looking to reduce that number to 125 over the next several years. As part of that effort, Delta recently reached an agreement with SkyWest to replace 66 50-seat airplanes that SkyWest currently operates with 34 larger regional aircraft.

Meanwhile, Canadian regional operator Jazz is in the process of replacing its entire fleet of CRJ100 jets with Q400 turboprops.

Some analysts believe the 50-seat jet will be gone from the skies as early as 2018, while the FAA indicates in its 20-year forecast that these airplanes will cease to operate by 2032.

Cargo industry

After a dismal 2011 and first quarter 2012, air freight volumes have seen a minor recovery. An improvement in business confidence and a slight increase in world trade have supported the freight markets recently. Seasonally adjusted world freight volumes in June were up by more than 3 percent compared to the low point in the fourth quarter of 2011.

While freight volumes are up slightly, there is a concern that the cargo market could soon face an overabundance of capacity. According to Air Cargo Management Group, 213 new-built widebody freighters were on order as of May 2012. This represents about 21 percent of the current widebody freighter fleet.

Couple the growth of the widebody freighter fleet with an influx of belly space from deliveries of large numbers of widebody passenger airplanes in the next few years and the main-deck freighter value proposition seems to become more difficult. Deliveries of new twin-aisle airplanes with belly hold capacity will increase capacity by almost 60 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.

Maintaining asset utilization will be a challenge. In fact, several cargo carriers have been parking airplanes, a strategy that only passenger airlines had instituted in the years following September 11 and after significant surges to fuel prices and the global economic recession of 2009. FedEx has announced several measures to face the ongoing slowdown in its business segment, including retiring 24 freighters.


While current forecasts suggest the airline industry will post its third straight annual profit this year, the middle- to longer-term outlook remains uncertain. While airline revenue is still strong and many airlines have sufficient liquidity on hand, the situation can change quickly given the economic landscape and the variety of external factors that can affect the industry or fuel prices. Capacity constraint has served the industry well for the past few years and will be key in the future. Airlines will need to be cautious with any plans to add capacity.

While the industry as a whole is expected to make a profit in 2012, this will be likely concentrated at mainline airlines. The regional industry will continue to struggle through the rest of 2012 as it undergoes major structural changes, consolidation continues, and mainline airlines look to divest themselves of smaller jets. In the cargo industry, the largest airlines are expected to continue to post profits, but margins will be pressured by anemic growth and increased competition.

All in all, the airline industry as a whole continues to perform relatively well given the poor economic backdrop. As revenue growth trends slow and fuel prices creep back up, the structural changes that the industry has made over the last several years will continue to be tested and will provide invaluable insight into the industry’s ability to weather future downturns.

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Why Scope Is Important (Outside of your Medicine Cabinet, Long After You Brush)

By ALPA Staff

Airline deregulation changed the game for U.S. airline pilots. It triggered major shifts in the structure of the U.S. airline industry. Nearly 35 years later, the peril for U.S. airline pilots in the post-deregulation era continues with new challenges as airlines go ever more global.

Global airline alliances now range from simple code-sharing to full revenue-/profit-sharing joint ventures. The global reach of today’s airline networks has increased the potential for U.S. and Canadian airlines to have pilot bases in foreign countries. Liberal air services agreements have opened the door to competition from airlines owned by and/or supported by governments that make promoting strong and competitive airlines a priority. Continuing efforts by a broad range of constituencies to erase the limits on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines mean that the landscape could change even more radically in the future. All of these developments dictate that pilots must work to achieve the strongest possible contractual definitions of the “scope” of the international work they are to perform.

Deregulation sets the stage

In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act set off a dramatic shift in how U.S. airlines could—and would—do business in the decades to come. Deregulation brought the end of Civil Aviation Board-established limited entry routes and heralded hub-and-spoke networks that relied on connecting passengers to and from many points. And it permitted airlines vastly greater flexibility in how they structured their businesses.

Many airlines quickly took advantage of these new freedoms. By adapting to the hypercompetitive climate, they realized unprecedented growth. However, the new post-deregulation paradigm made it easier for managements to attempt to subvert union pilots who had invested their careers in helping to build their airlines’ success. In particular, some managements sought to circumvent union contracts through practices such as double-breasting, by which managements would create a nonunion subsidiary and outsource to nonunion labor flying that had traditionally belonged to the company’s union pilots.

Open Skies

In 1993, the U.S. began pursuing Open Skies agreements to expand international passenger and cargo flights by reducing the government’s role in the airline’s decisions about routes, capacity, and pricing. Since then, the U.S. has signed Open Skies agreements with more than 100 partners. More than 70 percent of international departures from the U.S. now fly to Open Skies partners, but only one Open Skies agreement—with the European Union—contains a labor article to safeguard U.S. aviation jobs.

Global airline alliances

In the past three decades, international alliance agreements have also emerged and evolved with the stated goal of allowing airlines to expand networks and compete more effectively in the global marketplace. These agreements have ranged from code-sharing to coordinating specific operations such as pricing, routing, and sharing facilities to full revenue-sharing or profit-sharing joint ventures. Each of these arrangements poses scope challenges for pilots. However, the revenue-/profit-sharing joint venture has come to dominate much of the international market as far as U.S. airlines are concerned and presents the greatest challenge.

Airlines from the major alliances—United and Lufthansa from Star, Delta and Air France/KLM from SkyTeam, and American and British Airways from oneworld—have each implemented a fully integrated joint venture (FIJV) covering transatlantic services. United/All Nippon Airways and American/Japan Airlines have similar arrangements that cover much of the transpacific market as well. The involved airlines have received antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for these FIJVs, and the DOT, in granting that immunity, has essentially required that the covered operations be integrated to the fullest extent possible (“metal-neutral,” in the words of the department).

Metal-neutral joint ventures

A metal-neutral arrangement, which the DOT defines as an alliance arrangement in which the partners are “indifferent as to which of them operates the aircraft when they jointly market services,” raises significant job risks for flight crews. These arrangements are fundamentally different from traditional code-share arrangements. In the usual code-share arrangement, an economic incentive exists for an airline to fly its own airplanes, but that incentive is eliminated in a metal-neutral arrangement. If airlines are indifferent as to which partner flies a particular route, they may be indifferent as to which employees operate those services as well. Taken to its extreme, such an agreement could result in an airline receiving a significant portion of revenue generated by the joint venture operations but doing none of the actual flying.

All these developments and others underscore why scope is a vital issue to pilots in the area of international flying. We have already seen disturbing examples of what can go wrong.

What can happen without adequate international scope protection

FedEx establishes a pilot base in the Philippines

In the mid-90s, FedEx management took the position that pilots based outside of the U.S. should not be afforded U.S. labor law protections or representation under a collective bargaining agreement. Had FedEx been successful in advancing this position, it would have given the company significant flexibility in staffing its aircraft with nonseniority list pilots on international routes.

FedEx management asserted that pilots based at Subic Bay in the Philippines were not part of the “craft or class” of FedEx pilots that ALPA represented under the Railway Labor Act (RLA).

In January 1995, ALPA filed suit in U.S. District Court to compel FedEx to bargain with ALPA over the opening of the Subic Bay domicile and related issues, and to cease attempting to undermine ALPA as the exclusive and rightful representative of all FedEx pilots by excluding Subic Bay pilots from the bargaining unit. ALPA maintained that management’s refusal to negotiate the working conditions of Subic Bay pilots violated FedEx’s duties to meet and bargain with ALPA regarding all terms and conditions of employment for FedEx pilots as required by the RLA.

In a letter to FedEx management, Capt. Joseph DePete, then FedEx Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman, noted that other U.S. airlines for many years had flown international routes from overseas domiciles and routinely bargained with ALPA and recognized that their ALPA contracts applied to all their pilots. He reiterated that the lawsuit did not seek to stop or delay the opening of the Subic Bay base, but was filed to ensure that FedEx pilots’ interests and careers were fairly protected.

Beyond the immediate legal and representational issues, the FedEx pilots pointed to possible future plans by the company to hire foreign nationals to fly these or other international routes. In 1994 testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Aviation, the FedEx company spokesperson stated, “You could have a mix. I simply can’t speculate as to who—as to what pilots may be on board. I suppose you could actually have Philippine pilots, pilots from Australia, etc., located out of a Philippine hub.”

Subsequently, and at least in part as a result of the lawsuit that ALPA brought over the Subic Bay issue, the FedEx pilots worked out an agreement that was memorialized in the collective bargaining agreement, which resulted in FedEx treating the Philippine-based pilots in the same way as those who are domiciled in Memphis, Tenn. Since the Subic Bay agreement, FedEx has opened pilot bases in Hong Kong and Cologne. In both cases, the company has agreed to recognize ALPA as the representative under U.S. labor law of the pilots based there and negotiated with ALPA concerning the benefits associated with assignment to those bases.

Atlas establishes a pilot domicile in London

Similar foreign pilot domicile issues were raised in 2000, when Atlas Air Cargo established a wholly owned subsidiary—Atlas Air Crew Services (AACS)—at London Stansted Airport for pilots who were to fly some of the international wet-lease or crew-and-aircraft leasing services that Atlas operated for foreign airlines. According to Atlas, these pilots would be on their own seniority list and have wages and working conditions unilaterally set by the company.

ALPA sued Atlas, claiming that establishing AACS violated the status quo provisions of the RLA. Atlas then filed its own suit against ALPA, claiming that the pilot work to be done for AACS was outside the jurisdiction of the RLA. Atlas proceeded to staff AACS with a mix of pilots from the Atlas pilot group and new hires.

After more than a year of litigation and negotiations, ALPA and Atlas reached an agreement designed to limit the AACS operation and eventually bring the AACS pilots under the Atlas pilots’ collective bargaining agreement. Atlas agreed to set up a branch office in the UK for the purposes of employing the Stansted-based crewmembers, and AACS pilots’ employment would be shifted to that office. The number of AACS pilots not on the main Atlas seniority list was capped, with the goal of eventually eliminating those pilots through attrition. The terms and conditions of employment for the Stansted pilots were included in individual employment contracts, and those contracts incorporated the ALPA–Atlas collective bargaining agreement and any necessary modifications required by UK law.

United sets up a joint venture with Aer Lingus for the Washington, D.C.–Madrid route

On March 29, 2010, the inaugural Washington, D.C.–to–Madrid flight took place as part of a United/Aer Lingus joint venture that allows United to collect a significant portion of the joint venture revenue without using United pilots, United airplanes, or United crews.

Prior to United’s reorganization in bankruptcy in 2005, the company’s pilots had scope provisions that would have precluded the joint venture from being implemented in this form. These provisions were lost in the Section 1113 contract set-aside process that took place during the bankruptcy.

In early August of this year, United made a decision to end the Washington, D.C.–Madrid joint venture. ALPA welcomed this action and maintained its position that the United pilots who have invested their careers in their company and helped it prosper have earned the opportunity to fly this route.

Qantas sets up a series of Jetstar operations

In 2003, Qantas established an Australia-based subsidiary airline—Jetstar—and the new airline began operating the next year. In 2004, Qantas started Jetstar Asia, a Singapore-based airline, holding 42 percent of the stock and funding most of the Singapore-owned stock. Three years later, Qantas took a significant ownership stake in Vietnam’s Pacific Airlines and, in 2008, rebranded that airline as Jetstar Pacific, which it operates as a joint venture with Vietnam Airlines. Most recently, Qantas has started up Jetstar Japan as a joint venture with Japan Airlines and Jetstar Airways in Australia and New Zealand (wholly owned by the Qantas Group). Plans are under way (subject to regulatory approval) for the start-up of Jetstar Hong Kong, a partnership between China Eastern Airlines and the Qantas Group.

Collectively, the Jetstar airlines operate approximately 3,000 flights a week to 60 destinations in 17 countries, employing approximately 80 airplanes and accounting for approximately 20 percent of the airline revenues of the Qantas group.

The lack of clear job security provisions in the working agreement between the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) and Qantas has permitted Qantas to establish this wide-ranging parallel network. As a result, AIPA has focused its attention in negotiations on job security issues to address the massive outsourcing of flying and is currently in government-required arbitration over the terms of its working agreement.


The current Open Skies regulatory framework, and the prospect of a fiercely competitive future for U.S. airlines against state-backed foreign airlines, underscores the urgent need to define as strongly and precisely as possible the scope of international flying work to be performed by pilots.

To secure U.S. airline industry jobs in today’s global environment, we need a domestic business environment that not only provides U.S. airlines with a level playing field to compete internationally, but also champions airline workers directly though the enforcement of labor laws that are designed to safeguard U.S. workers in areas where the U.S. labor market is exposed, such as by Open Skies agreements or any future relaxation of foreign ownership and control laws.

The goal must be to secure U.S. pilots’ international flying in the face of stiff competition from foreign airlines, while giving U.S. airlines an opportunity to compete and prevail in the global marketplace.

Special thanks to F/O Ron Abel (United), chairman of ALPA’s International Affairs Committee, and Capt. Rick Dominguez (Delta), who serves as a member of ALPA’s International Affairs Committee, for contributing to this article.

The next article in a series on international scope will appear in an upcoming issue of Air Line Pilot.

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ALPA Toolbox

ALPA for Life!
By F/O Ken Binder (FedEx Express), Chairman, ALPA Retirement & Insurance Committee

The National Retirement & Insurance Committee wants you to be aware of upcoming major improvements to ALPA’s member-only insurance plans. As part of ALPA’s continuing efforts to support “pilots helping pilots,” the Association recently sent its members-only insurance programs through a major overhaul. The result is better prices on every plan. Highlights are annual renewable term life coverage with open enrollment for tiered guaranteed issue coverage and some of our best rates ever.

The Association also continues to offer 10- and 20-year level term life insurance for both members and their spouses, with rates for both existing and new policies decreasing by about 15 percent on November 1. Each of these two level term life insurance options is a phenomenal value and the fastest growing of our ALPA insurance products.

Group Term Life

During our open enrollment period—Nov. 1, 2012, through Jan. 15, 2013—any eligible ALPA member age 59 or younger may purchase ALPA’s annual renewable term life insurance without providing evidence of insurability. Rates will decrease anywhere from 2 to 50 percent, depending on your age.

The guaranteed issue amounts are

• as much as $300,000 for eligible members younger than 40,

• as much as $200,000 for eligible members age 40–49, and

• as much as $100,000 for eligible members age 50–59.

To qualify, you must

• be a member in good standing and employed by an airline whose pilots are represented by ALPA,

• hold a valid FAA airman medical certificate, with no special issuance or SODA, and

• confirm, at the time of enrollment, that you have not previously been denied participation in an ALPA group life plan. The guaranteed issue limit takes into account any existing coverage under this plan.

You may purchase as much as $1.5 million in total coverage; however, you will have to provide evidence of insurability to purchase amounts greater than the guaranteed issue amounts referenced here. Although the guaranteed issue is not open to spouses, they are eligible to take advantage of these great rates up to $1.5 million in total coverage.

So take care of your “ground crew,” your loved ones: Sign up for ALPA annual term life coverage. Remember—no exam, no blood, no bottle, enrollment guaranteed.

Watch your mail for open enrollment information that will be sent soon. Call ALPA’s Member Insurance staff at 1-800-746-2572, or visit ALPA’s new and improved member insurance website,, if you have any questions.


Significantly Lower Premiums on the Horizon

A major benefit of ALPA membership is the ability to participate in Association-sponsored insurance programs that offer high-quality coverage at competitive rates. Over the past year, we took a closer look at each of our programs and have made changes that provide enhanced benefits at a lower cost to our members.

After an extensive review, ALPA has decided to partner with Guardian Life Insurance Company—our current insurer for the Loss of License, Loss of License Plus, and Lump-Sum Loss of License products—on our life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, and short-term disability plans.

More importantly, every insurance product ALPA offers will have a rate reduction beginning Nov. 1, 2012. In some cases, the rate reductions are dramatic. For our two most popular products, Loss of License and Group Term Life, rates will decrease between 30 and 50 percent and 2 and 50 percent, respectively, depending on your age. These reductions will affect every member who is currently covered by an ALPA insurance product as well as all members who choose new coverage.

If you’re currently insured under one or more of the New York Life insurance plans, the CIGNA (LINA) Accidental Death and Dismemberment plan, or the Unum Short-Term Disability plan, your coverage(s) will transfer to Guardian at midnight on Oct. 31, 2012.

Guardian, a mutual company with excellent ratings from all of the insurance company rating agencies, has considerable experience and an outstanding track record as ALPA’s Loss of License insurance provider. Guardian’s knowledge of ALPA figured significantly in selecting the company to provide our other insurance products.

The ALPA Loss of License, Loss of License Plus, and Lump-Sum Loss of License plans remain with Guardian, but significant rate reductions will also apply to these plans starting Nov. 1, 2012.

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From the Hill

Security: Abu Dhabi Will Pay to Play
By John Perkinson, Staff Writer

This summer, ALPA, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, Airlines for America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other industry groups came together to advocate against a flawed government policy proposal. They’re opposing a bill that would use taxpayer-supported foreign aid in a way that would place U.S. airlines and their employees at a competitive disadvantage with their overseas counterparts.

In a joint letter to the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security chairman and ranking member, ALPA and these other organizations challenged the bill, writing: “This kind of policy choice by U.S. lawmakers clearly undermines the ability of U.S. carriers to compete in the global marketplace and puts American jobs at risk.”

Section 555 of Fiscal Year 2013’s Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill would permit U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to be reimbursed by third-party entities, including foreign governments, for setting up customs preclearance facilities in foreign airports currently not served by U.S. airlines. The CBP already maintains 15 preclearance facilities at airports in Canada, the Caribbean, and Ireland. But each of these airports is served by at least one U.S. airline, and the facilities were established as a convenience for U.S. citizens traveling to and from these locations.

International preclearance operations enable U.S. officials to conduct customs, immigration, and agriculture inspections before travelers fly—and in the case of Canada, also drive—to the U.S.

Last year, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano flew to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed and other officials. In a move to combat terrorism, Napolitano discussed creating a U.S. Immigration Advisory Program to identify high-risk travelers before they board U.S.-bound flights.

As part of this effort, the U.S. signed a letter of intent with the UAE to arrange for preclearance at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The stated purpose of this action is to increase security and cooperation between the two countries. However, an unintended consequence would significantly benefit UAE state-owned Etihad Airways. Building a preclearance facility would allow Etihad, an airline that already operates free of corporate taxes, to offer a service not available on most other U.S.-bound routes. In addition, this policy would set an alarming precedent, opening the door for other foreign airlines to enjoy similar advantages, creating a pay-for-play construct that would shift resources to those most willing to pay, rather than to those with the greatest need. Nothing in the proposed language stipulates that these reimbursement agreements be vetted for national security risks.

“The Air Line Pilots Association firmly believes that, as a matter of policy, the goal of the U.S. government’s customs preclearance programs should be to benefit U.S. passengers traveling to their homeland on U.S. airlines,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, in an opinion piece that ran in the May 30 Aviation Daily. “U.S. taxpayers’ money should not be used to give an unfair advantage to foreign airlines.”

The other problem with allowing Abu Dhabi a U.S. preclearance facility is that it fails to recognize that Customs facilities within the U.S. are already understaffed. Adding new international accommodations would further stretch CBP’s resources, compelling international passengers arriving in the U.S. to stand in even longer processing lines—while making international preclearance that much more desirable.

“Ensuring that the CBP and U.S. lawmakers are taking into account the hypercompetitive nature of our industry, and the airline worker jobs that are at risk by their decisions, is a top priority for ALPA,” said Moak. “As we work toward leveling the playing field for our members in the international marketplace, we need government to work with us to make smart policy decisions to promote and safeguard our workforce, and not policy judgments, made in a vacuum, with no consideration for the consequences.”

Click here to read Moak’s Aviation Daily opinion piece.


Unintended Consequences

Allowing Abu Dhabi a U.S. preclearance facility would

• let Etihad Airways, an airline that already operates free of corporate taxes, offer a service not available on most other U.S.-bound routes.

• set an alarming policy precedent, opening the door for other foreign airlines to enjoy similar advantages.

• create a pay-for-play construct that would shift resources to those most willing to pay, rather than those who need it most.

• further stretch CBP’s already limited resources, compelling international passengers arriving in the U.S. to stand in even longer processing lines.


Read All About It

In ALPA’s white paper “Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Airlines and Their Employees,” the Association addresses government decisions that handicap the U.S. airline industry and measures that must be taken to make U.S.-based airlines competitive and to protect American jobs. To read ALPA’s white paper, click here.

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Pilot Musings

Remembering “the” Day
By Capt. William Glen Lykins (Continental)

As a Continental pilot based in Newark, I found myself at Ground Zero just days after the 9/11 attacks. The view of the smoldering aftermath outside my kitchen window finally wore me down. I got in my car and began the slow, arduous drive into the city. I needed to make sense of this. A few blocks out, I abandoned my car and started walking. Soot a foot thick blanketed the streets like a heavy snowfall; the air was nearly unbreathable. Finally, I found myself at the foot of the atrocity. Overwhelmed, I leaned against a wall, taking in the enormous mound of steel girders and trash that, only days earlier, supported the massive towers that held up the New York skyline. I was forever changed.

It has taken me 10 years to find my way back.

Last year, as the anniversary of 9/11 approached, I found myself needing to once again pay my respects to all who lost their lives, including the flightcrew members—our brothers and sisters from the four United and American flights.
So, like the decade before, I made my way down Church Street, this time with my family in tow. The event had streets barricaded for several blocks in every direction to provide privacy for families and friends, dignitaries, and the two U.S. presidents who would be speaking. We parked on a side street and walked from there. The closer we got, the more crowded it became. As we inched forward and stopped, we got our first obscured view of Ground Zero. It was a tough one for us all.

As we stood among the crowd, we quietly paid our respects and then walked down a long, sterile street. We couldn’t help but feel the weight of history and the times on our shoulders. Finally, we passed through a white tent, the last security station before entering Ground Zero.

The memorial was surprisingly peaceful. The park-like setting of trees and benches was serene. Two huge square fountains, in the footprint of the Trade Centers, cascaded into a flat basin then flowed to the center, disappearing into a bottomless smaller square.

The entire perimeter of both fountains was etched with the names of all who were lost. It was tough not to get choked up. Families, police, and firemen from around the world touched the names of loved ones they lost. Some traced names and took pictures, while others stared into the fountains’ abyss in prayer, thought, or just remembering a better time.

For my family and me, it all hit home when we approached the names of the lost crewmembers from both the United and American flights. I read each to myself. Some names had pictures taped next to them, while others had personal notes and flowers tucked into the letters of their loved ones’ names. One note was simply addressed to “Mom.” I glanced at my wife as she turned away; just too much to take.

My son and I walked up to a haggard tree in the midst of a beautiful, well-manicured area. An older fireman explained that the tree was found in the rubble of the Trade Centers, crushed and burned but still alive. He said that the city nursed it back to health and that it finally bloomed again.

But in March 2010, a pair of nor’easters brought high winds and rain that uprooted the tree, almost killing it a second time. Once again, it was nursed back to health and now stands in the memorial as a living symbol of hope and recovery after tremendous adversity. They call it the Survival Tree.

Much like I felt when I left Ground Zero the first time, I was forever changed, this time for the better. The Ground Zero memorial is one of the places on Earth where you feel the incredible weight of tragedy. Yet when you leave, you come away with an incredibly uplifting sense of hope.

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Health Watch

A Peer Pilot’s Cardiac Lesson Learned
By JST Ragman*

One year ago, on July, 11, 2011, I was in the cardiac catheter lab. I was 53 years old.

For a lifetime, I had done everything “right.” I had not smoked. I had been a gym rat for 40 years. I had wrestled and boxed in high school and college. I had run track, cross-country, and triathlons. Thirty years of EKGs had been flawless. My cholesterol was 120. My resting pulse was south of 60. My blood pressure was south of 110/70. The uniform slacks were a 31-inch waist. I was fit as a fiddle.

Yet a year ago, I was on the receiving end of three cardiac stents. My left anterior descending artery had been 99 percent blocked. I had been a percentage point from dead. Lesson Number One: The cardiac tests may tell you if “something is wrong.” The cardiac tests cannot tell you “nothing is wrong.” For me, something clearly was wrong.

My family history was wrong. My father had suffered his first heart attack at age 37 and had died of his final heart attack at age 79. He had lived through 42 years of heart disease. Lesson Number Two: Despite every “good” cardiac test result, family history is a serious risk factor. If you have any risk factor, including family history, put a cardiologist on your to-do list. The co-pay is a small price to pay.

The chest discomfort had started in mid-April, while shoveling five yards of mulch. Centered on my sternum, and stemming from exertion, I did not for a moment believe it was my heart. Perhaps I had inhaled a mold spore while shoveling. Perhaps I had torn some tissue while bench-pressing or working the dumbbell fly. I took a knee many times, caught my breath many times, and I told myself I was fit as a fiddle, no worries.

Within a few days after the mulch, the discomfort hit at the two-minute point on the treadmill. I stopped running. The next day, the discomfort hit at the two-minute point while swimming laps. I stopped swimming. As the weeks passed, the discomfort hit while lifting weights. I stopped lifting weights. In mid-June, the discomfort hit while navigating the surf of North Carolina’s Outer Banks with my two boys. I quit the surf, and watched my boys from the beach.

In early July, the discomfort hit while fertilizing my front lawn, a task I had done four times a year for 15 years. It was time to call the doc. Lesson Number Three: Do not wait. Listen to your body. Call the doc. I would soon learn I was a percentage point from dead.

An early morning nuclear stress test led to the emergency room, onward to hospital admission, and finally to a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. My left anterior descending artery, nicknamed “the Widow Maker,” was 99 percent blocked. Four days later, I returned home with three cardiac stents, a horizon filled with questions, and no answers in sight.

Upon returning home, I immediately put the “rebound principle” into play. I walked in the front door, laced up my running shoes, and walked back out 10 minutes later. I took my first post-cardiac walk: Two miles at a brisk pace. I took that walk every morning for the next 10 months.

I put the “inflight emergency” mantra into play: maintain aircraft control, analyze the situation, take proper corrective action.

• Maintain aircraft control: I walked daily. Within a week, I resumed the treadmill, hit the swimming lanes, and returned to the weights. I added the elliptical trainer, and I took my medications.

• Analyze the situation: I was grounded. I had no idea if I would ever fly again. I had to provide for my family. There were things I could control, and there were things I could not control. I would control what I could, and I would let the rest of the story play itself out.

• Take proper corrective action: I focused on four areas—the “safety net,” the “physical element,” the “social element,” and “Plan B.”

Regarding the safety net, I contacted ALPA’s Aeromedical Office and began the paper chase to renew my medical. I contacted ALPA’s long-term disability program and the state disability office. I asked the questions, filled in the missing pieces, and began the paper chase to provide for my family. Anticipating a possible pay cut, I paid off all debts and emerged debt-free.

Regarding the physical element, I hit the gym, the treadmill, the elliptical, the lap lanes, and the weights seven days per week for 10 months, never missing a day. I became a label reader and avoided saturated fats and refined sugars. I took my meds. Within a few short months, I was in the best physical condition of my life and 10 pounds lighter.

Regarding the social element, I worked to remedy the social isolation of the unemployed. I became a daily presence at the gym smoothie bar, building a new circle of nonairline friends. I became a twice-weekly lunch-time presence at the local watering hole, building a second circle of nonairline friends. Lesson Number Four: Have a solid social life, have a solid social support system, entirely independent of your airline life.

Recognizing that my return to flight status was uncertain, I began to work on my Plan B. If I could not fly for a major airline, I wanted nothing to do with aviation. After 32 years of flying jets, I could not imagine myself wearing a jacket and tie in corporate America. My two bachelor’s degrees were 32 years old. My two master’s degrees were 27 and 23 years old. I took an inventory of my skills, my qualifications, and my interests.

I opted to pursue two teaching paths: a high school math teacher and certified personal trainer. I did the research, asked the questions, and filled in the blanks. For five months, four hours per day, I studied high school mathematics and the “gold standard syllabus” for the certified personal trainer designation.

Eight months following my heart “event,” I passed the state high school mathematics certification exam and the qualifying exam for the “gold standard” certified personal trainer designation. I had a solid Plan B in place. I would either return to flying (Plan A) or I would collect my long-term disability (tax-free) and begin teaching high school mathematics in the fall (Plan B). Most importantly, I had come to peace with either option. I would be equally content flying the North Atlantic or having breakfast and dinner at home, every day, with family while teaching high school mathematics. Lesson Number Five: Have a solid Plan B.

On the one-year anniversary of my cardiac catheterization, I have returned to the flight deck. I have two circles of friends I did not have a year ago. I am healthier than I have ever been. I have a high school mathematics teacher Plan B, and I have enjoyed the role of part-time certified personal trainer. I am debt-free. All good.

I continue to work out daily. I continue to watch the saturated fats and the refined sugars. I continue to cultivate my new friendships. I continue to keep my eye on Plan B opportunities.

Lesson Number Six: Learn from the experiences of others.

*Editor’s note: The author is using a pseudonym to remain anonymous.



ONE: An abnormal angiogram showing significant coronary artery disease will lead to a minimum six-month grounding period after an intervention such as an angioplasty, stent placement, or bypass graft. A normal angiogram is reportable to the FAA, but is not grounding. Pilots whose cardiologists recommend they undergo diagnostic angiography should not hesitate to do so to protect their career.

TWO: The raw-data results of the six-month nuclear stress test, and the six-month cardiac catheterization, are forwarded by ALPA’s Aeromedical Office to the FAA Medical Review Board.

THREE: The FAA Medical Review Board convenes every two months. My six-month testing was complete in mid-January. I missed the January board. My package was reviewed in mid-March. I learned my fate on March 26. Be prepared to wait.

FOUR: The long-term disability (LTD) would provide me with $90,000 tax-free until the age of 65. I could get any job, paying any salary, and still collect the $90,000 tax-free, with one exception: I would lose all of, or a portion of, the LTD payout if I accepted employment with my airline.

FIVE: With close to 900 hours of sick bank, I received “full pay” (blended rate of 85:30 per month) for the duration of my absence.

SIX: My meds were minimal: A statin for cholesterol control, an adult dose of aspirin, an anti-clotting medication.

SEVEN: A lifetime of doing the right thing had bought me 16 years between my father’s heart attack at age 37 and my heart “event” at 53.

EIGHT: A lifetime of doing the right thing had negated any need for cardio rehab: While my plumbing was clogged, my heart was strong.

NINE: Each pilot’s situation is unique. ALPA members should contact ALPA’s Aeromedical Office at 303-341-4435 for information about their specific circumstances regarding FAA medical certification implications of their condition.

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The Landing

Over the years, ALPA has presented numerous awards to members who, through their skill, decision-making, and decisive actions, have averted potential disaster. Here’s a look back over the last five years at events that earned ALPA members Superior Airmanship Awards.

• On Aug. 8, 2010, Alaska pilots Capt. Steve Cleary and F/O Michael Hendrix safely stopped their airplane in Sitka, Alaska, after experiencing a bird strike and engine failure during takeoff.

• On Oct. 20, 2009, Jazz pilots Capt. Paul Ivey and F/O Edward Paterson were flying their airplane from Cranbrook, B.C., to Vancouver, when during their initial descent flames flashed from the electrical connection to Ivey’s front windshield heater and then the windshield began to crack. After declaring an emergency and receiving clearance to descend further, the pilots were able to safely land the airplane.

• On July 23, 2006, United pilots Capt. Scott Stoops and F/O Bradley Loper were taking off in their airplane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. At approximately 110 knots, Stoops noticed that a freighter was approaching and would soon cross the runway that their airplane was on. Stoops took evasive action and cleared the freighter by less than 100 feet during a forced flyover. The flight continued, and the pilots landed safely in Denver.

• On Dec. 25, 2009, American Eagle pilots Capt. Mark Davis and F/O Andres Rubio were flying their airplane from Midland, Tex., to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) when a flight control system malfunction left their airplane only marginally controllable. The pilots were able to safely land the airplane.

• On Nov. 21, 2006, Air Canada Jazz pilots Capt. Mike Nelson and F/O Paul Cafouros were preparing to land their airplane in Prince George, B.C., during a snowstorm. Visibility had dropped to below minimums so they declared a missed approach. The pilots tried to retract the flaps for the go-around, but they wouldn’t retract. Their original alternate airport for landing was too far away due to low fuel and wind conditions so they diverted to Fort St. John, B.C., where they safely landed.

• On May 5, 2008, Compass pilots Capt. Steven Peterka and F/O Clifton Cain were flying their airplane from Minneapolis–St. Paul to Regina, Saskatchewan, when a lavatory fire broke out and quickly spread. Peterka and Cain were able to safely land the airplane in Fargo, N.D.

• On June 20, 2007, American Eagle pilots Capt. Richard Joslyn and F/O John De Paola were approaching Boston Logan International Airport in their airplane when their landing gear malfunctioned. The pilots conducted an abnormal landing gear extension and safely landed.

• On Jan. 25, 2008, United pilots Capt. Everett Miller and F/O Douglas Cochran were in their airplane departing from Newark Liberty International Airport to Denver when most of the electronic cockpit displays went blank. The pilots returned to the airport and safely landed.

• On June 11, 2009, Atlantic Southeast pilots Capt. Yngve Paulsen and F/O Michael Aguzino, flying from Columbus, Ga., to Atlanta, were able to safely land their airplane after the left main landing gear failed to fully extend on final approach.

• On Aug. 5, 2010, AirTran pilots Capt. Richard Stalnaker and F/O Mendel Bell safely landed their airplane in Orlando, Fla., after suffering a critical fuel system failure—and a lateral fuel imbalance of more than 9,000 pounds, six times the flight manual limit.

• On July 7, 2007, Delta pilots Capt. Peter Hupperich and F/Os Edward Calzolari and Joseph Stafford were flying their airplane when it began shuddering violently shortly after departing from Rome Fiumicino International Airport enroute to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The airplane had hit several seagulls during takeoff. The pilots declared an emergency and safely returned their very overweight airplane to the airport.

• On Aug. 14, 2007, Northwest pilots Capt. Dennis Leighton, F/O Edward Sparks, and S/O David Kritzer were flying their cargo aircraft when it experienced multiple electrical system failures after taking off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. The pilots declared an emergency and requested clearance to immediately land, which they did safely after three missed approaches.

• On April 26, 2009, Continental pilots Capt. Brent Black and F/O Dan Montgomery were flying their airplane from Newark (EWR) to San Francisco when the left engine failed and started on fire. Montgomery safely flew a single-engine approach back to ERW.


To find out which pilots were presented with Superior Airmanship Awards at this year’s Air Safety Forum awards banquet, and to view speaker presentations, photos, videos, and other award presentations, click here.

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