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Little Help Needed! Defending a Colleague ...

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Dornier 335

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2005
There has been much talk about USAirways flight 1549. It had been extensively covered here and in the press. So much in fact that I started tuning it out. Not too long ago I read an article in a foreign newspaper (the renowned German Zeit) in which former F1 racing driver Niki Lauda made a comment about the co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles. He described him as being “totally inexperienced” and that the captain was left to himself. Despite the fact that Mr. Lauda has aviation experience I find this comment to be quite insulting. Just because someone gets trained onto a new type does not make him a 250 hour regional f/o equivalent (I hope we can all agree on this issue).

Since my German is still fluent, I made up my mind writing a letter to the editor complaining about Mr. Lauda's deprecative statement and also outlining how pilots get trained onto other types without dropping back to the 250 hour regional f/o level. I just need a few basic facts. Could somebody please tell me (or PM me) what Mr. Skiles' background is (military or not), TT, years with USAirways or Cactus (please don't open up a can of worms), maybe different types flown etc.

Few other things are worth being pointed out. As most of you know, some European legacy carriers have ab-initio programs which put 250 hour pilots into the right seat of a medium to long range Bus or Boeing. Some legacy carriers in Europe have this snobbish attitude that their airline is the best and f___ the rest (especially the ones here in the US). From what I have seen in Europe, I'd rather have a US trained pilot in the seat than a book-smart one who can calculate the curvature of the earth at FL 410 in 3 secs but is unable to handfly. The news-coverage and subsequent labeling the crew as heroes had been received a bit exaggerated and ludicrously, which is also a cultural difference.

Again, I don't want to bash anybody or see this thread morph into a hatred f__ u one. I just want to defend a colleague and our profession. Any support is welcome.


3 3 5

P.S. Here's a link to the article in German
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Use facts... keep it short.... wait a week.... if you still feel compelled to send it... do so. In addition, look up Skiles congressional testimony.... and Sully's... for back ground information.

In addition, you can finnd info where Sully praises Skiles...

Recall Skiles was a Captain himself... simply displaced to FO due to the status if the industry...
well, it seems this lauda guy (dont know who he is) is the one who looks like a real idiot. those in the know, know what skiles abilites were. matter of fact.. he may have had like 20K and Sullly 19K TT.
When you write your letter to the German newspaper write the following:
The simple fact that Mr. Lauda or anybody else in the industry would question or doubt the abilities of any of those crewmember (Yes, FA's included) shows nothing but IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY on their part. As simple as that.
Do not bother researching TT, previous experience and so forth for either Skiles or Sully. Those who know a thing or two about what actually happenned, know the facts and the background of the crew.
And that my friend is all that matters; the truth.
well, it seems this lauda guy (dont know who he is) is the one who looks like a real idiot. those in the know, know what skiles abilites were. matter of fact.. he may have had like 20K and Sullly 19K TT.

Lauda was a F-1 race car driver until he got into a crash that burned himself significantly. He was still famous, and started a charter airline (Lauda Air), and did very well in Austria. He got type ratings on each aircraft (737s, 767s, 777s), and flew the line almost every week. Austrain Airlines then bought him out and ousted him, but he created another charter airline called Niki (his first name), and it now flies A320s, A319s, and new E190s. He still flies once a week in the left seat, and is the CEO also. He may have more hours total than Skiles, and he runs the company, which has done very well as a charter. There is no doubt though that Lauda does not know the experience level of most USAir East pilots, as well as not knowing how spoiled and entitled they think they are also.

Bye Bye--General Lee

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