You know, if pilots were treated like professionals, maybe they'd act like it. Pilots will always be as safe as possible, but when you give us 8:45 block to block for "rest" (ha, who but the FAA would call that rest?), no meals, (what, hypoglycemia isn't a problem?) no pay protection, no rulemaking until after the accident has occurred (remember 9/11?--nutcases have been breaking into the cockpit since the 60s, morons), then maybe you'd get pilots acting a little more "professional." Hey, Babbitt, you're the one who allows 250-hour pilots to fly a 70-seat prop. You are responsible for the degradation of the profession. You're so much in the pocket of the ATA that Congress has to step in and make rules for you. Keep making self-righteous speeches right up until your take your money and run while those who bear the yoke of your outrageous "rules" keep plugging away.
WASHINGTON —The Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot Minneapolis are part of a larger problem — eroding professionalism among commercial airline pilots, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt said today. Babbitt told an international aviation club that aviation is facing an “extreme need to refocus on professionalism.” He cited two examples: Northwest Flight 188, which overshot Minneapolis by 150 miles last month, and a regional airliner that crashed earlier this year near Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people.
The two Northwest pilots — Capt. Timothy Cheney, 53, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and First Officer, Richard Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore. — told the National Transportation Safety Board they lost track of time and place while working on crew scheduling on their laptops. Air traffic controllers and the airline's dispatchers were unable to communicate with the plane for 91 minutes, raising national security concerns.
In the Buffalo crash, testimony at an NTSB hearing in May indicated the pilots made a series of critical errors just before the plane experienced an aerodynamic stall and plunged to the ground.
A former airline pilot and pilots union president, Babbitt said that in both cases the pilots forgot their first job was to focus on flying the plane.
“I think that this is a sign of a much bigger problem,” Babbott said. “I can't regulate professionalism. With everything we know about human factors, there are still those who just ignore the common sense rules of safety.”