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In defense of USA Jet

pilotyip

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USA Jet was the finest DA-20 operator in the business. Our training programs were good enough to train anyone who had basic flying skills. USA Jet did all of its training under Part 121 N & O; the DA-20 had 5 weeks of full time ground school prior to starting sim training, which ran one week and 25 hours for F/O's. All DA-20 F/O's received 25 hours of supervised IOE prior to being released to line operations, we observe 100 min time in seat for pairing restrictions and in the past have turned down trips because of only low time pairs available. USA Jet had not hired a Captain off the street since 1998. We have had pilots go to major airlines and tell us, except for fancy bells and whistles, the USA Jet training was as good as they got at their major. DA-20 maintenance was conducted under Part 121, crews were not forced to fly what they considered unsafe airplanes, and a pilot could write up anything and put it in the logbook. We had been inspected many times by both the FAA and outside audit companies, they came away with the same findings: USA Jet was one of the finest operations they had ever seen. We did it right and stood by our standards which went well beyond that required by the FAR’s. While in full time ground school pilots were paid full pay of $35 K per year to start. We have program on track for 6-figure pay in 6 years for all Captains. 10 hard days off every 28-day bid period. We established the policy of hard days off and gave the pilot the option of being flown home or getting additional pay for selling their days. No training contract was required, if you did not want to work for us, we would let you go. We had a very low turnover and the pilot who left went to better jobs. We had the highest guaranteed pay of any on-demand operator flying DA-20 sized equipment. We introduced more days off, increased pay, and hard days off to the on-demand industry. Our completion had to match us in order to attract pilots. We raised the bar. All of this excellent came with a cost and its was cost not being carried by our competition, in the end we were not competitive in the on-demand business. Faced with a choice of cutting pay, cutting days off, getting rid of expensive training and maintenance by going back to the 135 ride along program and abandoning our excellence the company did not lower the bar. BTW I know a lot of people think it could have been differently. To all who were cut, you have great skills, you were fantasic employees, you will succedd in this business, do not let hard feeling eat you up.
 

Porky

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Very nice post Yip, but it almost sounds like a ulegy for a dying company. :crying:
 

avbug

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All the things cited in defense of USA Jet are past-tense, because the DA20 program is over. In the end, the company terminated their employees with no notice, despite planning it out and knowing what they would do. The company didn't wake up one morning and decide they had no choice...they simply elected to blindside their people with no notice...and that's just not defensible.

So far as meeting regulatory training requirements...well, that's just compliance with the regulation. Nothing more.
 

captainv

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The game we are playing here is closest to the old game of "Christians and lions."​
— Robert L. Crandall, CEO & President of American Airlines.

The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.
— Warren Buffett, annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, February 2008.
 

Publishers

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If you have ever managed any business of consequence, you would know why one never gives advance warning or notice of shut downs or terminations. In big companies, it often means security comes to your office and escorts you to the door checking everything you are taking.
 

Amish RakeFight

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If you have ever managed any business of consequence, you would know why one never gives advance warning or notice of shut downs or terminations. In big companies, it often means security comes to your office and escorts you to the door checking everything you are taking.

You got that right. Seen it happen in the corporate world a few times. One guy managed to escape and was bawling in a partners office. Very pathetic to watch.
 

Snakum

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You got that right. Seen it happen in the corporate world a few times. One guy managed to escape and was bawling in a partners office. Very pathetic to watch.

+2

I realize aviation is sometimes a different animal, with respect to how layoffs are handled, and so expectations are often that one will have advance notice, severence, recall rights, etc. But what happened at USA Jet was nothing more than what has happened to of thousands of folks in manufacturing and IT right here in NC in the last ten years. You show up for work one day and you're met by private secuity ... escorting people in groups to get their stuff. No notice ... no warning ... no apologies ... nothing.

I've been there, and so I hurt (seriously) for those who were affected at USA Jet. Those pilots have families to feed and it sucks beyond all measure. But I think animosity towards Yip might be a bit misplaced. I'm sure he wishes it could have been handled differently, but he didn't have a vote. I know Yip to be someone with integrity, someone always willing to patiently suffer dumb questions, and always willing to lend a hand when he could.

Is he a bit of a cheerleader for USA Jet? Sure. Is that a bad thing? Not in my book.
 
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avbug

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If you have ever managed any business of consequence, you would know why one never gives advance warning or notice of shut downs or terminations. In big companies, it often means security comes to your office and escorts you to the door checking everything you are taking.

I understand the rational behind the move. Pilotyip posted here at one point showing that he knew about the impending action a month before it occured...but was blindsided himself with the actual date, later on.

That busineses do this does not make it defensible or right. There's no comfort, and no ethical morality in the assertion that "it's not personal...it's just business."

It's personal.
 

iaflyer

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I worked at USA Jet for a period of time - PilotYIP is correct, the training and MX was great.

What he doesn't mention is that many of those benefits (additional days off, guaranteed days off, etc) were a result of lots of people leaving in the 2000-2004 timeframe and a union drive in 2003. I'm sorry that USA Jet couldn't be competitive, but I think that has more to do with the investment groups wanting their monetary returns and to cut the losses than the flight ops management holding the line on training and benefits.

Also, it's easy to claim "low pilot turnover" when the company is constantly shrinking - when I got there in 2000 there were 26 airplanes (not counting the corporate airplanes) on the property - now there are less than 10. Morale is very low I hear and people are trying to leave.

I wish USA Jet could of competed better - they have plenty of opportunity, but they chose to not expand outside their comfort zone until it was too late. The management from the top down was a bunch of yes-men who could not challenge the "wisdom" of Active-Aero decision makers.

The only exception was PilotYip - really, I'm not blowing smoke here. He had a number of smart ideas that, had management listened to him, would of done the company well - some were off the wall and I thought odd (Squadrons anyone?) but others were well thought out but shot down by Active Aero because they didn't think of them. Sure, he was a cheerleader but if that's what it takes to keep the job, where are the pompoms?
 

phr8dawg

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Aviation employees are expendable. There is always another starry-eyed kid who wants to be a pilot. The industry knows it. We don't have the unity to really do anything about it so the exploitation will continue until autoflight grounds all of us. I will then climb into my post-apocalyptic steam-powered ultralight and just disappear.........
 

Way2Broke

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If you have ever managed any business of consequence, you would know why one never gives advance warning or notice of shut downs or terminations. In big companies, it often means security comes to your office and escorts you to the door checking everything you are taking.

Apparently you are not familiar with the federal laws that require notice.
 

tjsatter

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If you have ever managed any business of consequence, you would know why one never gives advance warning or notice of shut downs or terminations. In big companies, it often means security comes to your office and escorts you to the door checking everything you are taking.


True, Very, very True. I hope folks take note of this type of behavior when they are considering how to manage their own careers especially in re the myth of "2 weeks notice" thing. It's my policy on any job I've ever left (voluntarily on my initiative that is :) not to give ANY notice but just walk out at the necessary time. I once saw a guy at a previous job screw himself out of a job he really wanted because of misguided loyalty and the belief that he "owed" the company some notice. You don't owe them shiite I tried to tell him; how much notice would they give you?

tj
 

Way2Broke

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True, Very, very True. I hope folks take note of this type of behavior when they are considering how to manage their own careers especially in re the myth of "2 weeks notice" thing. It's my policy on any job I've ever left (voluntarily on my initiative that is :) not to give ANY notice but just walk out at the necessary time. I once saw a guy at a previous job screw himself out of a job he really wanted because of misguided loyalty and the belief that he "owed" the company some notice. You don't owe them shiite I tried to tell him; how much notice would they give you?

tj

Just like if a company is required by law to give you notice, and can be held liable if they do not give notice, you are risking a not eligible for re-hire if you do not give the company notice. I agree, though, if you are working for a operator that might screw you over, then no notice is prudent. Unlike a employer, a employee is not bound by law to provide notice.
 
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Just like if a company is required by law to give you notice, and can be held liable if they do not give notice, you are risking a not eligible for re-hire if you do not give the company notice. I agree, though, if you are working for a operator that might screw you over, then no notice is prudent. Unlike a employer, a employee is not bound by law to provide notice.
Like it or not, what do can you do about it? It's kinda like being broke up with...you just have to lick your wounds and move on. Good luck to all yall guy's finding new jobs, its tough times out here but don't waste anytime with the past. Thats my .02

Big D
 

tjsatter

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I don't believe employers, in general, are required to give any notice at all. There are specific, individual cases where contractual issues are involved but this is not federal law. "At Will" is a more general mode of employment for most folks, most of the time.

tj
 

Amish RakeFight

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Apparently you are not familiar with the federal laws that require notice.

Not true.

There is something called "At Will Employment," meaning the employer or employee may terminate the employment at any time without any notice whatsoever.
 
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Not true.

There is something called "At Will Employment," meaning the employer or employee may terminate the employment at any time without any notice whatsoever.
If you want to pay a lawer to flight this battle, rest assured that he/she will be the only one that walks away with any $. They always have and always will!

Good luck!

Big D
 
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