Want to take it back??? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

j3tdr1v3r

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I take no credit for the following, it was a collaborative effort by many people on another board, but we are spreading this throughout all of the forums in an effort to create unity. Read the following, and send yours in! But hurry, time is ticking, the hearings are Wednesday!!!

From another forum...

***INSTRUCTIONS***

1) If you haven't already...read the letter and attachment, so that you konw what you're talking about. Also an earlier thread on the Cockpit forum titled..."So, What would you say!" and

2) Change the "John Doe" Addresses on the letter to reflect your name and address, email and telephone.

3) Email/Fax the complete letter and attachment to Senator Dorgan of North Dakota. Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Avaiton Operations, Safety, and Security. Email: Senator@dorgan.senate.gov
or Fax (202) 224-1193


4) Look-up the address for your states U.S. Senator. And make edits as you see fit. It is your senator so make sure the letter will make sense to them. Don't write anything like "I voted for you..., or I don't agree with most of your policiies..., etc. The email and address for your US Senator and North Dakota Senator Dorgan can be found through this link:

U.S. Senate: Senators Home

The link should give you an email address, fax, and in some cases a link that you can cut and past into their email system.

5) On Monday afternoon, but no later than Tuesday Call Senator Dorgan's office, and ask his staffer, if the email/fax has been received and has Senator Dorgan been able to review the contents prior to the hearing. Express that you are a commercial airline pilot and are very interested in knowing that these issues are discussed during the hearing.

Senator Dorgan's Washington Telephone: (202)224-2551

5) Ask your fellow pilots come in contact with, if they've submitted their letter.

6) Feel free to share this with other non-Expressjet pilots, that you believe want to improve our profession.
 

j3tdr1v3r

Bald CEO's SUCK!
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The Letter...

June 12, 2009

The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman, Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety & Security
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Attachment: Operational Issues, Challenges, and Failings in the Airline Industry


Dear Senator Dorgan:

Thank you for scheduling a senate committee hearing on June 17th concerning the Role and Responsibility of Commercial Air Carriers and Employees. The issues that were uncovered in the NTSB hearing on Continental Connection flight 3407 concerning: industry scheduling practices, training, and pilot compensation are not unique to Continental Connection, nor are they unique to so-called commuter and regional airlines. It appears that a total review and reset need to be applied to these unsustainable practices within the industry.

This letter is a collaborative effort by a grassroots group of airline pilots. Our intent is to describe some of the challenges that we face daily. Being a collaborative effort, some of your senate peers may receive copies from their constituents. You will also likely receive multiple copies of this letter from other pilots as a means of reinforcing, to you, our seriousness about these issues. Many of our pilots will be watching the hearing; we look forward to listening to your discussions with industry leaders. Please feel free to share this with other members of your senate committee.

Our desire is that you address the concerns disclosed in the attachment to focus your comments and drive solutions during the upcoming hearings. We believe that these issues are the very ones that may be avoided by some of those industry leaders who appear before you. However, issues which are critical to the safety and long term viability of this industry.

Attached you will find a more detailed brief, as this is a complex subject; we hope you will understand the length of the attachment. Thank you for reading this letter. We praise your attention to this matter, your leadership, and work on the Senate Sub-committee on Aviation Safety.


Very Truly Yours,



John Doe

P. S. Please feel free to contact me, if I can be of assistance to you in these matters.

ATTACHMENT

Operational Issues, Challenges, and Failings in the Airline Industry
A grassroots effort

In the first weeks of September 2008 the American people came face to face with an extraordinary collapse of the U.S. Economic system. The resulting job losses, salary degradation, and business failures have resulted in urgent action on the part of the Federal Government to right the failures of the sinking economy for the benefit of the public. We wish to remind you, and the committee, that seven years earlier a single devastating event, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, had a similar impact on the air transport community and those employed in it. The financial and social damage that the greater population is now experiencing has been endured by Pilots, Flight Attendants, Mechanics and other airline industry workers now for nearly seven years. The upcoming senate hearing will not be complete without a thorough consideration of labor practices and government regulations, as they apply to the industry, and the impacts that low pay, fatigue, and training have on the overall safety and sustainability of the U.S. air transport industry.

Unfortunately many of these issues are not likely to be a focus of those representatives testifying at the upcoming hearings, save possibly for the airline unions. Therefore as a grass roots network, we wish to present some of the key issues related to these structural issues which we hope that the committee will address, understanding that these are seminal to the challenges that your committee and the industry now face. In the interest of being concise, we will highlight five critical issues that we must be addressed urgently to assure the continued sustainability of this industry.

Training Standards and Career Progression: Pilot training standards can vary widely within the industry; pilots can be trained as members of the U.S. Military, in aeronautical science programs at major universities, or through small local flight training schools. There also exists a network of flight training centers which provide accelerated training programs for those who endeavor to have a career as a professional pilot. However, the turnover and dynamics of the profession now make for pilots that move from the classroom environment to the captain’s seat of highly sophisticated air transport aircraft in as little as a couple of years. Thereby bypassing the years of experience gained through the careful career progression historically associated with professional aviation. Although, all of these methods of training have been available for many years, at no time has the succession of pilots from initial training to operating complex aircraft occurred so rapidly and haphazardly. The many years that pilots once spent, first as a Flight Engineer, then as a First Officer, finally in the last 10 to 15 years of their career; as a Captain, has now been compressed so that many lack the depth of experience that was once commonplace. This is not the result of irresponsibility on the part of airline pilots, or inadequacies in the training environment, but senator please consider the financial pressure to increase pay to a “livable” wage. For current pilots time “wasted” in lower positions will have a long term effect on income, quality of life, and insulation from adverse industry swings. The need to provide an income that is at least consistent with that of other skilled careers presses the need to advance as rapidly as possible. This makes the issue of pilot compensation central to the promotion of safety in this industry.

Compensation: Simply put the airlines do not pay their junior pilots a livable wage! Compound this with the lifestyle challenges that one must endure: hours away from home; additional unreimbursed expenses, like in-base apartments; in some cases child care expenses; or the fiscal challenges of a single income household, as the profession does not lend well to a full time working spouse, and it becomes obvious why many pilots are sleeping in crew rooms, surviving on Ramen Noodles, working multiple jobs on days off, and commuting long distances to reach their bases. Whereas thirty years ago a pilot job meant a good middle class lifestyle, it now often means a poverty lifestyle…at least until upgrade to a Captain seat at a major carrier. This in part explains the rush to upgrade, and the seeking of training shortcuts to try to get a seniority number as quickly as possible. It is interesting that in each of the last two major regional airline accidents. Delta Connection Flight 4191 in Lexington, Kentucky (operated by Comair), and Continental Connection Flight 3407 (operated by Colgan Air) the last recorded conversations of the ill-fated crews concerned career progression and longing for career improvement. The loss of Continental Connection 3407 has highlighted the abysmal pay of regional pilots and their more junior major airline counterparts. One might ask, “Why would airlines subject their flight crews to such abysmal working conditions?” The answer lies in the financial undermining of responsible regional carriers by their major airline partners.

Financial undermining of Responsible Carriers: The airline that one travels on today is often only a façade of the airline for which one has purchased a ticket. In fact, over 50% of the actual airline block hours flown in the U.S. are actually flown by a regional carrier affiliate. Most likely the passenger has no idea that they are not flying on the Airline from whom they have purchased a ticket. When one considers the amount of outsourcing of pilots, flight attendants, maintenance, ground personnel, and dispatchers, the major airlines are clearly on the path to becoming simply clearing houses of travel services; they provide no actual services themselves. In a effort to increase profits major carriers have put tremendous financial pressure on regional carriers to reduce cost in exchange for a contract. Some major carriers have gone as far as to engage in pay-to-play schemes requiring large cash contributions to the major carriers in exchange for being awarded a contract. Inevitably, this has made it more difficult for responsible regional/commuter airlines, with quality training and training facilities, respectable pay, safe scheduling practices, and good work rules to compete as they are unable to match bottom line costs. One can look no further than past Major-Regional relationships at United and Atlantic Coast Airlines, Delta and Comair, American and American Eagle, Continental and ExpressJet respectively to find examples of this Major vs. responsible regional carrier phenomena in action. A most recent and disturbing example of this is the plight of Midwest Airlines’ pilots whom have nearly all been released in order to outsource the majority of that flying to a regional carrier pilot group at significantly lower wages. It would be laughable to suggest that Midwest Airlines’ passengers are now being flown by crews with comparable levels of experience and knowledge under the current outsource agreement. However, management compensation is being preserved under the current arrangement. What is unfortunate is that air carriers are enjoying these protections through the manipulation, and circumventing of federal legislation intended to protect the viability and sustainability of air transportation, the Railway Labor Act!
 

j3tdr1v3r

Bald CEO's SUCK!
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Continued...

Pilot Negotiations and the RLA: As you know the Railway Labor Act (RLA) was intended to prevent interruption to rail service as the result of labor action. During the rise of air transport, particularly the air mail service, the act was extended to include air carriers. We believe that the current practices of outsourcing and creation of proxy airlines fall outside of the spirit and intent of the RLA. Over the last 20 years major air carriers have effectively circumvented the negotiation process and the government mediation process to self-help. This is done by having a stand-by pool of replacement workers (in the form of outsource airlines) in place to leave airline pilots without the tools to negotiate from anything but a position of weakness. The Federal government has partnered with the airlines in this practice, by ignoring the pleas of pilots, destroying pilot contracts and pensions through the bankruptcy process, and having an overall laissez-fare attitude toward the labor side of the industry.

Fatigue and Crew Scheduling: Finally, the issues of crew scheduling and fatigue have been discussed referencing the Continental Connection Flight 3407 accident. We support the discussion and resolution of this issue. We can only encourage the senators to travel a four day trip with a regional flight crew (New York Based), to understand the realities of this type of flying. The Regional Airline Association and the subject carrier of flight 3407 would love nothing more than to be able to point the finger at the crew, imply irresponsibility, lack of professionalism, inaptitude and incompetence. However, as members of the Sub-committee Chair Senator Dorgan remarked during the FAA hearing, “fatigue probably has much more to do with this accident than is being said.” The realities of being based in Newark, the long sits, delays, multiple flight legs are frankly…exhausting! Often one does not experience fatigue until long after takeoff, and many times pilots engage in discussion (above or below 10,000 feet) in an effort of staying alert! A flight crew can be on duty for 16 hours, get eight hours of rest, then perform another 16 hours of duty and be entirely legal per FAA regulations. Consider that these eight hours of rest do not take into account travel to the hotel, falling asleep, waking, preparation for the next day’s duty, travel back to the airport, or the movement through time zones. Truly about 5 hours of sleep is a more realistic rest period on one of these “minimum rest” overnights. When commuting time is calculated, it is quite possible for a pilot to be operating an in excess of 24 hours prior to getting rest. The fatigue issue is particularly difficult for pilots, because airlines only pay pilots for actual flight time which starts at brake release and ends at door opening. Reduced duty time at current pay could translate to even lower pay for pilots, and could be the tipping point which would cause mass pilot exodus and industry crisis.



Thank you for reading this brief. We praise your attention to this matter, leadership, and work on the Senate Sub-committee on Aviation Safety. It appears that a total review needs to be applied to these unsustainable practices within the industry. We implore you to:

1) Address fatigue and crew scheduling issues, while preserving compensation. Require livable wages for critical airline workers whose labor negotiations are encumbered by government legislation.

2) End the questionable outsourcing of airline responsibilities to third party operators; address the use of regional airlines as simply low cost proxies of their mainline partners.

3) Amend the Railway Labor Act to protect the industry and labor as intended, without giving airline management unbalanced favor in the negotiation process. Permit regional airline labor groups to…at a minimum…negotiate contracts in unison with their major carrier counterparts under a single brand.
 

Browntothebone

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What about the proposed language to retroactively fire regional pilots who have failed any checkride in there past flying history? Sen. Lautenberg wants this language included.
 
Last edited:

FlyboyPhil

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Sounds like a good plan brown to the bone.. lets fire everyone who ever failed a checkride.. my last failure(and my first) was in 1998.. so I'm history despite 10 years of safe flying with no incidents/accidents.. I am unsure of the numbers.. but I would bet that somewhere between half and three quarters of the airline pilots in this country have failed a checkride sometime..
AH.. you edited before I posted.. lol..
Yeah.. thats an idiotic idea..
 

OUPilot01

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At the bottom of this post is a link to the letters we've collaborated on to send to the Senate Committee on Aviation Operations. As previously discussed this is an opportunity for you, by spending 15 minutes of your time, to let those responsible for this industry know what you as a pilot deal with on a day to day basis. The Senate is holding their hearing on Wednesday with Colgan management, Regional Airline Association, and other airline industry reps. You can be sure that industry managment will use the time to imply that commuting, low-pay, and fatigue are the result of pilot irresponsibility and out of their control. It is your option if you would rather sit idlely by, or attempt to take a stand for your profession.

The letters are provided in three formats, Word 97, Rich Text Format, and Plain Text format. Whatever, word processing program you use. One of these will be compatible. If you use text format, some reformatting may be necessary.

***INSTRUCTIONS***

1) If you haven't already...read the letter and attachment, so that you konw what you're talking about. Also an earlier thread on the Cockpit forum titled..."So, What would you say!" and

2) Change the "John Doe" Addresses on the letter to reflect your name and address, email and telephone.

3) Email/Fax the complete letter and attachment to Senator Dorgan of North Dakota. Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Avaiton Operations, Safety, and Security. Email: Senator@dorgan.senate.gov
or Fax (202) 224-1193


4) Look-up the address for your states U.S. Senator. And make edits as you see fit. It is your senator so make sure the letter will make sense to them. Don't write anything like "I voted for you..., or I don't agree with most of your policiies..., etc. The email and address for your US Senator and North Dakota Senator Dorgan can be found through this link:

U.S. Senate: Senators Home

The link should give you an email address, fax, and in some cases a link that you can cut and past into their email system.

5) On Monday afternoon, but no later than Tuesday Call Senator Dorgan's office, and ask his staffer, if the email/fax has been received and has Senator Dorgan been able to review the contents prior to the hearing. Express that you are a commercial airline pilot and are very interested in knowing that these issues are discussed during the hearing.

Senator Dorgan's Washington Telephone:
(202)224-2551


5) Ask your fellow pilots come in contact with, if they've submitted their letter.

6) Feel free to share this with other non-Expressjet pilots, that you believe want to improve our profession.

The letter templates can be found at the following link (Thanks Austin):

drop.io fr9obik (double click and download the format that works on your wordprocessing software).

Best Regards, Thanks all for working on this project.
 

OUPilot01

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Sent mine in. Above is an easier way to cut and paste the letter
 

Speedtape

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enough
Let's include language that would fire a Senator who had ever missed a vote, who live in glass houses, who get one DUI, who take money from lobbyists, who have extra-maritial affairs, who go in bathrooms trying to pick up male prostitutes, who switch parties, and serve more than one term.
 

Sandhawk

Waiting on Dec 13, 2012
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Let's include language that would fire a Senator who had ever missed a vote, who live in glass houses, who get one DUI, who take money from lobbyists, who have extra-maritial affairs, who go in bathrooms trying to pick up male prostitutes, who switch parties, and serve more than one term.

Hell Yeah !!!!

:pimp:
 

Pistonpilot

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Letter sent

Guys, take action. If we're ever going to get change, now is the time. Public awareness is high right now. A little effort now may benefit us in the future.
 

Hugh Johnson

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Yep
Letter sent

Guys, take action. If we're ever going to get change, now is the time. Public awareness is high right now. A little effort now may benefit us in the future.
You guys must be young. The same chest beating happened when AE crashed and it turned out the pilot has been fired from a previous carrier and lied on his application. That was 1996. That brought on the PRIA. Nothing has changed.
 

DC8Driver

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Why is regional pay so low? Because ALPA eats their young..............Always have.
 

RobCat

Always on my feet
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plus 2
"Inevitably, this has made it more difficult for responsible regional/commuter airlines, with quality training and training facilities, respectable pay, safe scheduling practices, and good work rules to compete as they are unable to match bottom line costs. One can look no further than past Major-Regional relationships at United and Atlantic Coast Airlines, Delta and Comair, American and American Eagle, Continental and ExpressJet respectively to find examples of this Major vs. responsible regional carrier phenomena in action. A most recent and disturbing example of this is the plight of Midwest Airlines’ pilots whom have nearly all been released in order to outsource the majority of that flying to a regional carrier pilot group at significantly lower wages. It would be laughable to suggest that Midwest Airlines’ passengers are now being flown by crews with comparable levels of experience and knowledge under the current outsource agreement."

This was a very well written letter. Although the above paragraph is going to over shadow what your true intentions are. You are writing this to Washington Politicans, business men and lawyers, not a jury of your peers. Try to keep your personal emotions and comparisons out of it. Most if not all of the companies you mentioned started to bleed money, and were not flexible enough in there previous business models.
 

j3tdr1v3r

Bald CEO's SUCK!
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This was a very well written letter. Although the above paragraph is going to over shadow what your true intentions are. You are writing this to Washington Politicans, business men and lawyers, not a jury of your peers. Try to keep your personal emotions and comparisons out of it. Most if not all of the companies you mentioned started to bleed money, and were not flexible enough in there previous business models.

While I see your point, I think the authors point was that the above named carriers only started to "bleed money" as you put it, because they were all doing the responsible things and attempting to have a respectable contract when the other carriers came in and undercut them for the sake of undercutting them.

This, while saving the mainlines a few dollars in the short term, did NOTHING but degrade safety because in order to compete, and 'stop the bleeding' the respectable carriers had to begin cutting corners to in order to compete.

If the bottom dwellers were forced to abide by the standards that the respectable ones were voluntarily doing until a gun was held to their head, we would all be better off.
 
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