US FO sticks it to FA's

Bert Harbenson

Active member
Joined
Jan 9, 2005
Posts
41
Total Time
5000
No--the article isn't about an ill advised decision after a few too many at the hotel bar...but it should be an interesting lawsuit to watch.

from avherald.com:


US Airways flight attendants spoke up - and face trial
By Simon Hradecky, created Thursday, Jan 29th 2009 18:16Z, last updated Thursday, Jan 29th 2009 18:18Z
Three US Airways flight attendants are facing a law suit filed by their pilot collegue demanding 2 million US$ in compensation for defamation, after they spoke up before departure on Jan 24th 2003, when they noticed ice accumulation on the wings of their airplane, which was to perform flight America West HP-851 from Calgary,AB (Canada) to Phoenix,AZ (USA). It took the common effort of all three flight attendants and three attempts, before the flight crew unwillingly agreed to de-ice the airplane. The airplane reached Phoenix on time and without incident.

The flight attendants reported the case to the FAA, which dropped proceedings against the pilots in 2006 stating, that they couldn't substantiate the allegations even though that doesn't mean, that they wouldn't believe the flight attendants. The first officer, put in charge by the captain to decide about de-icing, hired an attorney to represent him before the FAA, which cost him around 21000 US$. The first officer filed a law suit requesting 2 million US$ from the flight attendants in 2006.

US Airways let the flight attendants know, that they are on their own for that law suit, and wouldn't carry the bills for legal representation, even though they were on duty and following required crew cooperation procedures to ensure safety of flight.

Unknown to the flight attendants, Calgary Airport had filed an irregularity report as well, as ground staff had observed contamination of the wings and approached the flight crew asking, whether de-icing would be needed and received a blunt no.

The first officer admitted in a court deposition into the trial against the flight attendants, that there was frost on the wings of the aircraft indeed, but denied, that they were approached by the flight attendants until after having pushed back.

Contaminated wings have been cause of many crashes in the past. It is therefore required, that wings must be free from any contamination before takeoff.

The three flight attendants have set up a website asking for donations to fund their legal defense at:
http://www.helpflightattendantcrew.blogspot.com/
 

~~~^~~~

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
6,137
Total Time
7,500+
I don't get it. The airplane was de-iced. It's the Captain's decision. Why's the FO under the bus?

Why is this even a story, or something that everyone is writing unusual occurrence reports about?

If the Flight Attendants went outside Company protocols to exact some justice against the First Officer, then it sounds like he is well within his rights to attempt recovery.
 
Last edited:

BeCareful!

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Posts
809
Total Time
10,000
Why, if he knew there was frost on the wings, would he.....

Oh nevermind. It's probably something about how you guys do it out west. East pilots probably wouldn't understand.
(Pretty sure I don't want to....ha!)
 

vetrider

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Posts
950
Total Time
10k +
Why, if he knew there was frost on the wings, would he.....

Oh nevermind. It's probably something about how you guys do it out west. East pilots probably wouldn't understand.
(Pretty sure I don't want to....ha!)
Thats ok, I don't understand the east 737 crew with their fuse plugs letting go while awaiting push after a gate return following an abort either.
 

JoeMerchant

ASA pilot
Joined
Mar 31, 2005
Posts
6,353
Total Time
14000+
I can't wait to hear Rez's take on this one....Who's got the popcorn?
 

CFIT

Gimme your money
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Posts
821
Total Time
1:51pm
I can't wait to hear Rez's take on this one....Who's got the popcorn?

Hard to say, when all of this started they were ALPO, so they were in the right.

But now they are USAPA, so they are wrong.

If only they volunteered more for ALPO then the crew would be worthy.

Oh, and heil Prater!
 

J Dawg

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Posts
45
Total Time
7500
I'm wondering..

1) Why did the dues paying pilot have to get his own lawyer to defend himself against the FAA?

2) Why did the dues paying FAs have to get their own lawyer to defend against the pilot?

Anyone from USAPA or the AFA care to answer?
 

~~~^~~~

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
6,137
Total Time
7,500+
Sue said...
Sue said:
This info is very factual. I can't wait for the truth to come out in court and for the FO to get handed a proper bitchslap and his walking papers from the FAA and the proper hit in his ego and wallet for starting this in the first place. A man - with integrity, and honor would have done what is right. He holds the lives of others in his care. US Air (formerly America West) should be ashamed of themselves for not backing their crew and siding with the almighty dollar in trying to salvage their rep instead of doing the right thing by their customers who keep them in the air. This could have been a disaster! The FO's is lucky to be alive.
Obviously the FA's have some vendetta against this particular First Officer. Explains why he's singled out when the PIC gets no mention.

He must have done something baaad, like told them to take their bags out of the Pilots' closet, or asked for food.
 

Dornier 335

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Posts
1,089
Total Time
10300
This reminds me of a similiar incident that happened to a friend of mine, back in this regional days. He was flying a newer E145 with still shiny leading edges, when on the approach at night pax were saying he had ice on his wings (OAT being +15C). The next day he got a call from the CP telling him that the FAA had received a complaint. Backseat drivers! Love 'em!
 
Last edited:

KeroseneSnorter

Robust Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Posts
1,530
Total Time
Miller
I'm wondering..

1) Why did the dues paying pilot have to get his own lawyer to defend himself against the FAA?

2) Why did the dues paying FAs have to get their own lawyer to defend against the pilot?

Anyone from USAPA or the AFA care to answer?
Usair was ALPA at the time (2003 to 2006 when the thing happened) so prolly need to ask them.
 

relief tube

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2003
Posts
999
Total Time
9000
did this really happen like this guy said?

Couple Concerns here:

-It's the captains responsibility, he should be much more involved in this, even if he doesn't want to be.
Crusty old ********************er- bet he's 61 right now.

-FA's should know better to never call the FAA, call ProStandards then shut the hell up. Calling the company itself is bad enough, but the FAA?

-why the hell isn't the company getting involved? It's absolutely embarassing that these women have to seek their own council. Union dues?

-Suing your own co-workers for 2 mil? He knows they don't have 2 mil. I know they ********************ed up in calling the FAA but they didn't ask to fly with 2 guys that don't ever like getting de-iced. What an ***********************************.
 

rajflyboy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2003
Posts
1,797
Total Time
17500
If their was ice on the wings the FA's did a great thing saving all those people from possible death.

If I'm riding in the back and I see ice on the wings and not going through deicing >> then your gonna see something happen real quick.

Thats not acceptable
 

DAL737FO

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Posts
389
Total Time
8000+
I hate lawyers and I wouldn' t personally sue but I wasn't the FO called on the carpet because 3 FA's thought they knew the job better than I did.

How many of you really think that the FO would take the aircraft off in a dangerous condition? Remember we are the first ones to arrive at the scene of the accident.

I would also like to know what time of day this happened. The person doing the walk around has the best view of the surfaces to be deiced. I've had to look more than once at wings that have roughed paint on top of the wing because I thought it was frost.

If you read that Phoenix times article it talks about how one of the flight attendants had survived a crash that was due to lack of de icing. Do you think that she would be spring loaded to de ice regardless of the actual conditions. Just because it was cold does not mean you have to deice.

Finally the FAA investigated the claim and cleared the cockpit crew of any wrong doing. Additionally it came out that the cabin crew lied about passenger concerns of the wing icing.


I imagine the cockpit conversation went something like this:

Capt: The lead FA has a concern about wing icing.
FO: The airplane is good to go.
Capt: The FO says it's good to go.
Lead FA: I see ice. I have 30 years of flying (riding) I know ice on a wing when I see it. I survived a crash don't you know that!
Capt: FO is the wing good or not.
FO: Yes.
Lead FA: The passengers have indicated concerns about ice on the wing (lie).
Capt: Go back and look at the wing again.
FO: (while walking back grumbling) well now we have to deice just to cover our a$$ (read because the passengers want to see the plane sprayed to make them feel better and because the Flight Attendant hinted that we should get deiced)

Airplane is now deiced. No one can ever prove whether it actually needed it or not.

"The FAA rep asked Walker to make a written statement — and asked for statements from Burris and Shunick, too. All three were happy to comply.
But without thinking of the ramifications, they made a mistake. In their statements, they repeated their claim that the passengers had raised the issue of the icy wings.
Later, when the FAA was investigating the matter and summoned the three for sworn testimonies, they would volunteer the truth: They'd made up the passenger concern just because they didn't know how else to get the pilots' attention. The discrepancy in their accounts would later become a major issue."

"We did not take any action against the pilot in the case you referenced," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor wrote me in an e-mail. "I cannot comment on the allegations, other than to say that we were unable to substantiate them. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that we doubted the word of the flight attendants. "It simply means that we were unable to prove the allegations."
 

~~~^~~~

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2001
Posts
6,137
Total Time
7,500+
The FAA does not have a burden of proof per se'. With an administrative action they can reach a finding on their own without proving up a case.

Changing their story does call into question their credibility about the entire incident. Particularly when they all conspire to tell the same lie.

Again, when did they make the FO the Captain?

I'm wondering if it was a situation where a jet came in from altitude super cooled and was too cold for anything to stick to it. That explains why some airplanes were getting de-iced and this crew INITIALLY did not think it necessary.
 

BeCareful!

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Posts
809
Total Time
10,000
Either way, any west airplane operated above about 45 degrees latitude is probably an accident waiting to happen :laugh:

Good thing that FA was experienced with ice....probably saved the ex mesa FO's bacon and everyone else's. He should just thank her and move on, but instead he sues. I guess that's the American way these days.
 

Sioux115

Regional BEEOTCH!
Joined
Sep 3, 2003
Posts
261
Total Time
0<
What I don't understand is that the FO reported in the deposition that he saw a small patch of ice on the right wing. Was that active frost that formed after his walk around? Or is he admitting the flight attendants were correct? If so, he should be thankful he wasn't violated. Especially with the ramper's irregularity report.
 
Top