Skip to comments.Union at Odds with FAA Over PIlots' Penalty
Posted on 10/30/2009 3:24:16 PM PDT by La Enchiladita
Union anger over the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to revoke the licenses of two Northwest Airlines pilots threatens to disrupt voluntary safety-reporting programs used by many carriers, according to industry officials.
FAA regulators Tuesday revoked the licenses of both pilots aboard Northwest Flight 188, which failed to respond to air-traffic controllers for about 90 minutes. The union isn't defending actions of the pilots, who asked to be protected under voluntary reporting rules. But officials of the Air Line Pilots Association claim regulators jumped the gun and disregarded voluntary procedures worked out over many years among regulators, airlines and unions.
The union contends the enforcement move violated the spirit, and probably the letter, of voluntary arrangements in place at Northwest parent Delta Air Lines Inc. and other carriers.
FAA officials have rejected such claims, asserting that voluntary-disclosure programs were never meant to cover violations such as those committed by the Northwest cockpit crew. An FAA spokeswoman said certain types of behavior, including crimes, intentional violations, and alcohol and drug abuse, are beyond the purview of such programs.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
If the union ratchets back participation in these programs, "it would be a major loss for the FAA" and could slow the global drive for safer skies, according to John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the Northwest incident.
Senior FAA officials for years have credited the voluntary programs with helping to lower accident rates in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the programs have had a rocky history, with different airlines opting out at various times. '
Yep, this is gonna get nasty before its all over with.
The unions wouldn’t believe in penalties if the plane had crashed and the pilots somehow escaped alive.
Unions will help destroy America.
Reagan would just fire the union booger eaters who don't want to follow the rules of the safety-reporting programs. There's lots of folks looking for work!
Still like to know what the hell they were doing up there.
Maybe they were “ridin dirty”.
There is no excuse for being inattentive on the flight deck. Those pilots were lucky that no other aircraft were ‘accidentally’ at their altitude or any other emergency the controllers were trying to alert the crew to ... their heads were in the cockpit and not at business at hand. Usually the FAA suspends pilots for 90 days or more requiring a re-certification before being allowed back on flight status. In this case the FAA revoked their certification (license).
I bet they didn’t have more than 15 minutes of reserve fuel when they touched down!
I almost always side with the pilots. NOT THIS TIME! They screwed up BIGTIME and they lose!
Yep, their story about being absorbed in shop talk over their laptops doesn’t..... fly. That would not prevent them from hearing the radio or the flight attendants.
9/11 was barely a blip on the radar for unions, if that. I can tell you, from up close personal experience prior to 9/11, the pilots’ union is the most militant union I have ever seen. They are strident, demanding, relentless and ... in a word... thuggish.
They were apparently even calling their cell phones but got no answer.
I’d still like to know what the hell they were doing all that time. This story stinks.
A 90 minute overshoot, with ability to contact the pilots, should have resulted in military jets being dispatched to check out the plane. This event shows this country is ripe for another 9/11. Scary.
Anything less than 2 fired, incompetent airline pilots is grossly unacceptable! Plenty of other competent pilots to take their place! No excuse for what happened like it did!
The union needs to demand they get overtime pay for the extra 90 minutes.
And, I agree completely.
Too often pilots are convenient scapegoats, but as much as I would like to give them a break, this is ... off the scope.
Actually, losing their tickets would be pretty benign punishment for the pilots, and the union knows this. (Meaning, that the Union is probably just firing for effect, pretending to be angry when they are really mystified that it's not worse...so far.)
I still find any of the explanations for this incident hard to believe. If someone were to say “they flew through a time warp”...that would be more plausible.
The passengers should be charged for the extra airplane ride.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t agree with firing the pilots over a non life threatening action like this. BUT, they still haven’t told the truth. So why does the “voluntary” program even enter the picture?
THAT should be the unions first priority.
Yep. 78 minutes is a long, long time to supposedly be engrossed in your laptops and not hear a call, especially repeated calls.
The CVR track will tell the story. And they know that.
Only if they get extra frequent flyer miles.
They seem to be voluntarily lying and keeping their lips sealed about the truth. Too bad the FAA ever knuckled under to these stupid union agreements.
Just a guess here ... something was recorded in the last 30 minutes they didn't want for prosperity so they flew on for enough time to record over the last 30 minutes
What is a CVR track?
I’d sure-as-hell ask for a thousand extra frequent flyer miles.
I’ve despised the unions since I was 16 and working at the GEMCO gas station. We used to sell additives, like Wynn’s and Blendzoil. We got “spiffs” from the sales reps for each can we sold, and there was a tab inside the can to redeem it with. The union said we had to report those little .10-.35 cent spiffs. Our dues were based on our hourly earnings.
I chucked that job and made five times as much riding the walls of death at the LA County fair with my Hodaka Combat Wombat. LOL
But your theory still might hold water, just have to look further back.
I still think they were snoozing.
Thanks. I thought I heard that it only had 30 or 45 minutes on a loop, and therefore was worthless in this case.
And there is the possibility not all pilots are as honorable as you are, or as you would like to believe. I’m not sure this is merely a media cook-up as you allege since the FAA has revoked their licenses. And you’re right, 90 minutes is a LOT longer than 15. No thanks to ever having these guys in a cockpit again.
Of course, the FAA isn’t all that the public thinks they are either.
Another strange thing: the NTSB, who are doing the investigation, reportedly declined to seize the pilots’ laptops. Is that another coup for the union?