After a few decades of delay, and despite strong urging from the NTSB, the National Safety Council, pilot unions , and any other group or agency that is concerned about aviation, the FAA has capitalized on three years of study and decades of sleep-deprivation research and have reached the following conclusion: Pilots that fly passengers for hire under the stringent rules of FAR 121 which governs all of the operating parameters for airlines along with the commuter airlines, must have their flight and duty times decreased in order to enhance aviation safety and reduce the increased probability of a tired pilot crashing an airplane. We all remember the Continental flight 3407 (operated by Colgan Air) that crashed in Buffalo, New York with two “dead-tired” pilots at the controls.
There is, however, an interesting caveat relating to this new aviation safety-enhancing legislation, and that is, very simply: cargo-carrying airlines, (such as Fed-Ex or UPS) are exempt from the new rules. The next immediate question is: Do cargo pilots require less sleep than passenger pilots? Of course not, but money and politics have once again trumped aviation safety. We all remember the 1970s Harvard Business School mantra of “maximum utilization of human resources.” This is one more example of that axiom being employed at the expense of aviation safety. An interesting addition to this travesty is that a little research into aviation accident investigations will reveal that far more cargo airplanes are involved in accidents and incidents than passenger carrying airplanes. The cargo “freight-dog” pilots who often operate on the “back-side” of the clock and have their fatigue factor intensified by circadian rhythm dysfunction.
As one might expect, the cargo pilots and their unions have very wisely jumped into this fray and are now filing lawsuits to eliminate this severely mis-guided shortsightedness by the FAA. In December, 2011 The Independent Pilots Association (IPA) that represent 2,700 pilots who fly for UPS, filed a petition asking the federal appeals court to review the rules.
The FAA very recently decided to review the rules after stating that it made “errors” in cost calculations used to justify the exemption. That is a glaring example of a confession of a decision that was made regarding aviation safety that once again placed corporate profits ahead of the possible consequences of a Boeing 747 filled with cargo, (perhaps hazardous material) flown by tired pilots that crashes into the hospital. If there was ever high-level government officials left with “egg-on-their-face” this is a high-level glaring example.
This blog was prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com)
Posted in cargo pilots need rest
Tagged boeing 747, Colgan Air, commuter airlines, Continental 3407, FAA, far 121, harvard business school, independent pilots association, ipa, nationa safety council, NTSB, pilot fatigue
Marylee at the 727 flight engineer’s panel
Aviation World Mourns Loss of Evelyn Bryan Johnson
‘Mama Bird’ was the highest-time female pilot in history
Evelyn Bryan Johnson in 2003. (Photo courtesy John Riedel/Women in Aviation International)
May 14, 2012 – Evelyn Bryan Johnson, who had more flight hours logged than any living female pilot in the world, died Thursday, May 10, in Jefferson City, Tennessee. She was 102 years old. According to the National Aviation Hall of Fame, which inducted her in 2007, “Mama Bird” Bryan Johnson had 57,635 flight hours – more flying time than any woman in aviation history and second all-time only to Ed Long’s 64,000. She also taught more than 5,000 pilots how to fly, and as an FAA designated pilot examiner since 1952, conducted more than 9,000 checkrides. Evelyn was a member of EAA from 1979 to 2009, and was a Vintage Aircraft Association member from 1980 to 2008. * (excerpt from the May 14, 2012 EAA electronic newsletter)
Evelyn is one of the many wonderful women in aviation who has contributerd so much to fellow pilots. One of her colleagues stated that she had trained as many as 3,ooo pilots who went on to get their private pilot’s license. During my many air show presentations of my book, The Rogue Aviator, I have been fortunate enough to meet and chat with several of the WASP aviatrix ladies and it was always an enlightening experience. Many of them, now in their 90’s, have the spirit and mental acuity of a teenager. The level of chutzpah that they exhibited by going off to fly airplanes is an example of getting “way out of the box,” especially if you consider that is was only a couple of decades prior when women were finally given the right to vote.
During my 36 year aviation career I was fortunate enough to have trained several lady pilots in my capacity as a check-airman in the Boeing 727. One of those ladies was Marylee Bickford. We flew together at four different airlines and became good friends. For nearly a decade she insisted that I write a book about my radical aviation career. Here goading was the impetus for my book. Yesterday, my wife and I met her for lunch in Sausalito, California and she once again displayed that wonderful personality pizazz that led her to aviation as a young woman. The Powder Puff Derby and the organization, Women In Aviation provide a wonderful platorm for the aviatriz. As the cliche goes, “You go girl!”
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator: in the back alleys of aviation. www.therogueaviator.com
Posted in superstar lady pilot
Tagged "mama bird", aviatrix, B-727, eaa, evelyn bryan johnson, hall of fame, Powder puff derby, sausalito, the rogueaviator, vintage aircraft association, women in aviation
TSA: TERRORISM OR ANTI-DOTE
As the disdain for a trip through the TSA controlled airport security intensifies it appears that progress is being made to reduce the level of intrusion that occurs at these government-mandated check-points. Ironically, this backlash against the onerous activities of the poorly-trained and often un-screened cadre of the all-too-frequently “wannabee cops” is being led by the former TSA Administrator, Mr. Kip Hawley. He has published a whistle-blower-themed book titled: Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the fight for the future of American Security. He is in demand at the news-talk shows and with his impetus; perhaps we can get our government to cease stripping us of our dignity unnecessarily.
He points out the obvious fact that the pilots now often have guns in the cockpits, there may be armed Air Marshalls in the cabin, and the cockpit door is fortified like a CITI bank safe. It is no longer necessary to snatch away personal possessions such as small knives, scissors, or any other pointed object that the TSA agent could deem to be a weapon. He also points out that the 3 ounce rule for liquids is equally inane. The most frequent complaint amongst air travelers, the overzealous pat-down, should be seriously curtailed and a bit of judgment interjected. (See Ace Abbott’s book, The Rogue Aviator, for more information about pat-down scenarios.)
The draconian and often hostile treatment of innocent people who are treated like criminals must come to an end. Currently, we are seeing the old axiom of “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The agents have the ability to have people arrested for the most meaningless transgression and the intervention of police at these emotionally charged and stress-inducing situations, all too often, results in actual arrests with no crime—the old “disturbing the peace” charge can always be employed and anyone who is paying close attention to the intensification of the “criminal justice system” is aware that trumped up charges are the norm. I experienced police intervention twice in the year 2002, but since I was in my airline uniform and had 170 people waiting to go to Cancun the police officers decided to let me proceed to my aircraft. One of my pilot colleagues was not so fortunate—he was arrested and fired from his job when he protested the idiotic snatching of his nail clippers since he had a large crash-axe in his cockpit.
Janet Napolitano has her work cut out for her and she had better step forward. The commercial airline environment is coming unraveled and more potential flyers are now heading for the highway as they do not want to deal with all of the stress, grief, and aggravation that frequently haunt the airline passenger. Chaos in the cabin is intensifying and now we hear of pilots and flight attendants flipping out. A precursor to the stress in the cabin is the always emotionally-trying passage through the gauntlet of airport security. The airlines are losing a lot of revenue as people avoid the long lines and oppressive treatment. As Popeye so famously said, “I can stands so much, and I can’t stands no more.” It is time for the American people to take back at least a portion of their human rights and dignity and stand up for some humane treatment at the airport.
You-Tube has numerous videos that portray activity at airport security that will repulse the viewer. To become further repulsed please note that a recent drug bust in LAX implicated several TSA agents and a similar East Coast investigation revealed that agents at three airports were on the take while facilitating illegal prescription drug transportation. An internal memo recently revealed that TSA people are hired for their jobs before a security clearance has been accomplished. Pre-TSA airport security was pathetic but our current system appears to be in need of major rehabilitation. We must hire people who can be trusted to make sound judgment decisions such as avoiding the pat-down of babies and crippled grandmothers in wheelchairs. For those folks that understand the airport environment it is very clear that most of the TSA concourse lunacy is eye-wash.
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator: in the back alleys of aviation. (www.therogueaviator.com)
Posted in The shorcomings of airport security
Tagged air marshalls, airline passenger, airport security, cancun, crash-axe, flight atendants, guns, janet napolitano, mr. kip hawley, pat-downs, permanent emergency, police intervention, popeye, terrorism, The Rogue Aviator, tsa