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mkrishnan
Feb 13, 2009, 09:37 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/nyregion/13crash.html?hp

A flight out of Newark crashed into a home, killing all passengers / crew and also a person in the home into which it crashed...

The last fatal crash involving a scheduled carrier in the United States was a ComAir regional jet in Lexington, Ky., in August 2006. The crew picked a too-short runway for takeoff; 47 passengers and 2 of the 3 crew members were killed.

Ironically and sadly, another recent NYT article discussing the rate of fatalities in emergency helicopter medical transportation ("lifeflighting") noted how high the rate of accidents is in comparison to the near elimination of commercial airplane fatalities.

The crash comes on the heels of the heavily reported emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River earlier this year. And just this week also, a Southwest airplane (http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=9837447&nav=168XDWn7) had an engine catch on fire and was forced to make an emergency landing -- I met someone in Atlanta at a conference who apparently was on that flight.

I myself was on an airplane that required a (very mild) evasive maneuver this last week because it was assigned to occupied airspace. That was a total non-issue, and there was no danger, but at the same time, I can't remember the last time that happened while I was on a plane.

I don't know if this thread is suited for the PRSI or here, but...

I wanted to express my condolences to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. And also wonder... what has changed, and why has there been a sudden spike in air traffic issues?

yojitani
Feb 13, 2009, 09:45 AM
I know a lot of people in Buffalo, some not so well but they are professional contacts. I'm nervously awaiting news...

dmr727
Feb 13, 2009, 10:16 AM
And also wonder... what has changed, and why has there been a sudden spike in air traffic issues?

With regard to the evasive maneuver - you might be able to blame the FAA for that kind of thing. They've made being an air traffic controller pretty miserable. Most locations are understaffed, the experienced guys are retiring early, and the new contract for the guys coming in is so crummy that they're not exactly attracting the best talent anymore.

On the whole ATC in the U.S. is very good, but I've definitely noticed a decline in quality over the years. To be fair to ATC, what you experienced might not have been their fault - there are many situations where the responsibility of separation falls on the shoulders of the pilots.

Nonetheless, the FAA is certainly not doing ATC any favors. I'm not going to say that it's not safe or anything, but it's certainly not going in the right direction, IMO.

mkrishnan
Feb 13, 2009, 11:00 AM
On the whole ATC in the U.S. is very good, but I've definitely noticed a decline in quality over the years.

Yeah, don't get me wrong -- I don't really see evidence so far to blame these problems on personal irresponsibility. Particularly, just the small sampling of various problems I mentioned happened each of them to different airlines. Including Southwest, whom I generally adore. So I think there are some real systemic issues that need to be analyzed before the US aviation safety record experiences further decline.

SactoGuy18
Feb 13, 2009, 06:06 PM
From what I've read online, accident investigators noted an unusual amount of wing icing on the remains of the wing they found at the crash site. Given the really cold and poor weather last night, it's not surprising the accident happened in the first place. :(

iJohnHenry
Feb 13, 2009, 06:20 PM
She probably trimmed to the acceptable stall speed for that aircraft, then all hell broke loose. Something like a wind-sheer, but with icing.

Sad. :(

PlaceofDis
Feb 13, 2009, 06:26 PM
so sad. my thoughts go out to the families affected by this.
does seem to be a rash of accidents lately. weird.

j26
Feb 13, 2009, 06:34 PM
so sad. my thoughts go out to the families affected by this.
does seem to be a rash of accidents lately. weird.

True.

There was a crash landing (http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0213/london.html) in London too - fortunately no fatalities

gonyr
Feb 13, 2009, 06:45 PM
This was about 10 miles from my home, but I went to bed early and didn't hear about it until this morning. My school's valedictorian lost her father on board.

MooneyFlyer
Feb 13, 2009, 08:54 PM
There's been an effort for a while to go to the next gen traffic control system. But, it's tough to get it funded and the airlines can't pony up because they have no money. One of the options they've been trying to force is to get the general aviation community to pay for it -- which is crap.

In this case, I hadn't heard about the flight crew "picking too short of a runway". I'd be surprised if that ends up being the cause. I suspect based on pure conjecture and some experience that icing was the issue. I have not read much on the subject...

Icing is a major problem that this plane would have been able to handle easily if everything was in working order.

In any case, this is a sad day for aviation and the people involved :(

Mr. Giver '94
Feb 13, 2009, 09:58 PM
Where was Sully when they needed him??? :confused:

This is very sad though...:(

Music_Producer
Feb 13, 2009, 10:49 PM
Where was Sully when they needed him??? :confused:

This is very sad though...:(

He was extremely lucky that they had a path near the Hudson - and I can imagine that it might have been a different scenario had it been night time. Of course his brain worked at lightning speed to make that decision - which is what saved everyone.

I have always noticed that plane crashes happen together - one crash will be followed by a couple of crashes within a few weeks - and then there will be relative calm for a few years. Weird coincidence.

Terrible for the families.. I can't imagine going to the airport, in excitement to receive a friend/family member and hearing that you will never see them again. :(

mkrishnan
Feb 14, 2009, 07:34 AM
Icing is a major problem that this plane would have been able to handle easily if everything was in working order.

It seems to be a preliminary candidate, with a lot of info still to be gathered. It's interesting to note that there's so much variability in terms of the view of proper management of icing on these small airplanes.

Link (http://www.silive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-41/1234614244226920.xml&storylist=simetro&thispage=3)

Steve Chealander, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said that recovering the remains could take several days. "We're very sensitive to the families," he said.

Investigators have been poring over instrument data and have listened to the last words of the doomed pilot and co-pilot of a commuter plane in the hopes of determining whether ice on its wings caused the fiery crash that took 50 lives.

Officials say the crew of the Continental Connection flight remarked upon significant ice buildup on the wings and windshield shortly before the aircraft pitched violently and slammed into a house.

Ice on the wings can interfere catastrophically with an aircraft's handling and has been blamed for a number of major air disasters over the years, but officials said they had drawn no conclusions as to the cause of Thursday night's crash.

Chealander said early Saturday that the icing on the plane that was noted by the pilot is just one of several things they are looking at.

He said the NTSB has been pressing for more regulations to improve deicing. "We don't like the progress that's taken place right now," Chealander said. "It's something that requires constant focus."

He said the NTSB had made recommendations "for several years."

The aircraft, bound to Buffalo from Newark, N.J., went down in light snow and mist ideal icing conditions about six miles short of the airport, plunging nose-first through the roof of a house in the suburb of Clarence.

...

Chealander said at an afternoon news conference that the crew of the twin-engine turboprop discussed "significant ice buildup" on the windshield and the leading edge of the wings at an altitude of around 11,000 feet as the plane was coming in for a landing.

The flight data recorder indicated the plane's de-icing equipment was in the "on" position, but Chealander would not say whether the equipment was functioning.

The landing gear was lowered one minute before the end of the flight at an altitude of more than 2,000 feet, and 20 seconds later the wing flaps were set to slow the plane down, after which the aircraft went through "severe pitch and roll," Chealander said.

The crew raised the landing gear at the last moment, just before the recording ran out. No mayday call came from the pilot.
...

In general, smaller planes like the Dash 8, which uses a system of pneumatic de-icing boots, are more susceptible to ice buildup than larger commuter planes that use a system to warm the wings. The boots, a rubber membrane stretched over the surface, are filled with compressed air to crack any ice that builds up.

A similar turboprop jet crash 15 years ago in Indiana was caused by ice, and after that the NTSB recommended more aggressively using pneumatic de-icing boots. But the FAA has not adopted the recommendation. It remains on the NTSB's list of most-wanted safety improvements.

SactoGuy18
Feb 14, 2009, 08:35 AM
From the description of the news article it appears the Dash 8-Q400 suffered the same fate that befell an ATR-72 turboprop back in 1994--the wing had too much ice buildup and any movement of the wing surfaces causes a serious aerodynamic upset, causing the plane to go out of control.

It should be noted that makes this situation worse is that both the Dash 8-Q400 and ATR72 are T-tail designs, which means the horizontal stabilizers are on top of the vertical tail. This makes the plane VERY susceptible to a condition called deep stall, where the plane violently goes out of control during a high angle of attack stall and the horizontal tail surfaces loses effectiveness, with little to no chance of recovery. The British found this out the hard way when a BAC 111 prototype crashed during a test flight at a high angle of attack, forcing BAC to install a "stick shaker" to warn the pilot of such a condition. That's why I've never heard of a BAe 748 or ATP or a Saab 340 or 2000 go into such a violent stall, given the mounting of the horizontal tail surfaces on the rear of the fuselage of the airplane on these commuter plane models.

dmr727
Feb 14, 2009, 11:20 AM
It seems to be a preliminary candidate, with a lot of info still to be gathered. It's interesting to note that there's so much variability in terms of the view of proper management of icing on these small airplanes.

Yep, it's complicated by the fact that icing isn't particularly predictable. There are rules of thumb about when it can occur and what to do when there's a lot of ice on the airframe (if I knew I was carrying a substantial amount of ice, the last thing I'd do is touch the flaps), but it can vary greatly in the type of ice that forms as well as how fast it accumulates.

The Q400, as MooneyFlier noted, should be able to handle icing reasonably well. There are a lot of variables here that could have caused this crash, and as always there'll be lots of speculation until the NTSB releases its findings.

If I had to *guess*, I'd say that the tail is what stalled, not the wing. How that much ice got on the airframe - who knows?

Melrose
Feb 14, 2009, 12:43 PM
That's about an hour or so from my house.. Somehow it just seems different being close to home.

dmr727
Feb 14, 2009, 01:13 PM
That's about an hour or so from my house.. Somehow it just seems different being close to home.

Yeah, this is a bummer. It's strange how these things tend to happen in groups.

sushi
Feb 24, 2009, 09:31 AM
It's strange how these things tend to happen in groups.
Yes it is. Weird.

To add, working a crash site is definitely not a pleasant experience -- especially if you know the some of the individuals involved.

dmr727
Feb 25, 2009, 11:27 AM
To add, working a crash site is definitely not a pleasant experience -- especially if you know the some of the individuals involved.

Wow - you say that as if you know from experience. That must be very tough.

sushi
Feb 25, 2009, 11:34 AM
Wow - you say that as if you know from experience. That must be very tough.
Yep.

It is.

Something you never forget.

sushi
May 12, 2009, 06:39 PM
Some more info on the crash:

Article 1. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-12-buffalo-crash-side_N.htm)

Article 2. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5309116/Buffalo-plane-crash-pilot-had-failed-numerous-tests.html)

Article 3. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g4lPW3fYLQUuKXRHOdPO5BfBQc_gD984VF0G0)

JCastro
May 12, 2009, 07:26 PM
Some more info on the crash:

Article 1. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-12-buffalo-crash-side_N.htm)

Article 2. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5309116/Buffalo-plane-crash-pilot-had-failed-numerous-tests.html)

Article 3. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g4lPW3fYLQUuKXRHOdPO5BfBQc_gD984VF0G0)

Thanks for the follow up post. Still a sad story!

sushi
May 13, 2009, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the follow up post. Still a sad story!
Definitely.

Unfortunately, not all training programs are the same.

Years ago, a China Airlines plane crashed in Nagoya Japan. As I understand, the cause of the crash was pilot error. The PIC made a pre-solo mistake. Really sad.

yg17
May 13, 2009, 08:40 AM
It'll be a cold day in hell before I get on a Colgan plane, if that's the caliber of pilots they're hiring.

I don't even know if I'd ever get on a Continental plane after this. I know it wasn't their pilots or plane, but still, they should probably have paid more attention to Colgan's training program, or lack thereof. Plus, any airline who thinks it's a good idea to fly 757s across the Atlantic (which, on several occasions has resulted in the westbound flight needing to land in Canada to refuel since the 757s don't have the range to cross the Atlantic and make it to EWR if they encounter a strong headwing) isn't any carrier I want to fly on.

Rodimus Prime
May 13, 2009, 11:12 AM
It'll be a cold day in hell before I get on a Colgan plane, if that's the caliber of pilots they're hiring.

I don't even know if I'd ever get on a Continental plane after this. I know it wasn't their pilots or plane, but still, they should probably have paid more attention to Colgan's training program, or lack thereof. Plus, any airline who thinks it's a good idea to fly 757s across the Atlantic (which, on several occasions has resulted in the westbound flight needing to land in Canada to refuel since the 757s don't have the range to cross the Atlantic and make it to EWR if they encounter a strong headwing) isn't any carrier I want to fly on.


I would expand that to industry wide. From what I seen on TV this lack of training on the regional side is very VERY typical. I willing to bet all the major careers are that way.

CMillerERAU
May 13, 2009, 06:37 PM
As a fellow airline pilot I'd like to weigh in on this topic in the non-aviation forums from time to time.

Personally, I blame what happened on that flight squarely with the flying public. For years people have shown that they want the cheapest ticket no matter what. In the end respectable companies have gone bust while low cost carriers and regional airlines have grown. Legacy airlines such as US Air, American, United, and Continental have expanded contract regionals while pushing their own fleets into less-competitive international routes.

Colgan, along with the rest of these contract carriers, account for 50% of domestic flying in the United States. They compete ferociously with each other for flying and often take it out on their employees. If one company's pilots demand better work rules and pay, then they lose the next flying bid for being too expensive. Colgan is by far one of the worst I've seen in the industry and its sad when they win flying over respectable regionals like my former employer ExpressJet.

While I was at XJT I was treated like a human being (relatively, I was a king compared to many pilots at other companies) but sadly Continental, in an attempt to push costs low, threatened to take away all of our flying with them if we did not match the "industry standard" pay. The company is still sorting that out and I fear that yet another decent place to work as a pilot has been pushed under by the system.

I have no solution to this problem, I wish I did. I encourage anyone interested in what's happening to the airlines to check out some of the aviation boards on the internet. I frequent airlinepilotcentral.com but be warned the debates get a bit heated. :eek:

In the meantime, I encourage all of you to think next time you book your $200 trip across the country about what a deal you're getting. For 5 hours you'll be flown in a pressurized, safe, smooth jet aircraft worth about $50M. The crew has made their career taking you from A to B and are most likely, all combined, making a sum of under $150k a year (including flight attendants). In an airplane that burns anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 gallons of jet fuel at $3.50/gal.

CNBC has a great documentary on American Airlines, I think it sums it up pretty nicely.

dmr727
May 14, 2009, 01:58 PM
^^^ Heh - I've been down in Cabo since last Friday, and I promised myself I wouldn't feed my internet addiction while here, but damn it - a day before I have to head home, you compel me to respond. :) :)

I don't think it's fair to place blame on the flying public. They expect the FAA, the airline, and the flight crews to keep them safe. It appears that in this case, they were let down by all three. It doesn't matter what the ticket prices are - they should be able to expect a reasonable baseline of safety. I do agree that the prices are far too low, but the changes have to happen within the industry, and the industry needs to then set the prices accordingly.

I notice that you have ERAU in your screen name, which leads me to believe that you intended to fast track your way into the right seat of a shiny airliner as quickly as possible. Fair enough, but when you got that call from ExpressJet, did you tell them to go screw themselves, given they're offering you a stupidly low $23/hr after you paid close to a quarter mil between your flight training and degree? Of course not, and nor should you be expected to, but until pilots stop taking the jobs, there's never any incentive for them to improve the pay and QOL. And please don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking you - I just think pilots are their own worst enemy when it comes to the working conditions at the regional carriers.

And as a side note, I hate to say it, but the attention span of the media and public is relatively short - they seem to be willing to absorb a crash or two every decade or so. Who remembers Lexington anymore? As long it continues like this, there's no real pressure for airlines to do any more than the minimum necessary to stay legal in the eyes of the FAA.

yg17
May 14, 2009, 06:08 PM
I'm still shocked at what they pay the pilots...that's peanuts. Why do people still become pilots? Do they just love flying? That's the only possible reason I could think of because there are so many more career fields out there fresh out of college where you can make almost 3 times what a pilot makes, work 8-5 and have none of these crappy working conditions.

I read somewhere that the FO on the Buffalo flight had debated calling in sick but decided against it. Why? Because not only would she lose pay for the EWR-BUF flight, she would possibly lose pay for the next several days until the schedule would allow her to fly again (I guess the idea was she'd fly to BUF and then fly BUF to somewhere else, but if she's not in BUF, then she doesn't fly for a few days). Not only that, but she would need a doctor's note or else she'd possibly face being disciplined for calling in, and the cost of the lost pay, plus the doctor visit wasn't worth it. That's complete crap, and something should be done. No one should feel like they can't afford to call in sick. Not only do you make your coworkers sick, in the case of a pilot, you may have hundreds of other lives at risk if you're flying and not feeling well.


And as a side note, I hate to say it, but the attention span of the media and public is relatively short - they seem to be willing to absorb a crash or two every decade or so. Who remembers Lexington anymore? As long it continues like this, there's no real pressure for airlines to do any more than the minimum necessary to stay legal in the eyes of the FAA.

I remember when TWA 800 went down, and they did sensationalize it and dragged it out for months in the media. Obviously, there's a difference between a 747 mysteriously blowing up and a Dash 8 going down in what seems to be a fairly cut and dry case of pilot error, but still, enough is enough already. Yes, we need to keep the airlines on their toes, but if the media kept going on and on about it, they're just going to scare everyone and no one will fly. And even with 800, Lexington and Buffalo, and everything else that's happened, flying is still by far safer than driving; you have a better chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the airport. The 50 people who died in Buffalo could've each died on that same day in individual car accidents across the country, and there wouldn't be a word from the media. Plane crashes, as tragic as they are, sometimes get way too much coverage IMO. The public does need to know about them and know what happened, but I don't think excessive coverage on TV is the answer.

MooneyFlyer
May 14, 2009, 09:51 PM
I'm still shocked at what they pay the pilots...that's peanuts. Why do people still become pilots? Do they just love flying? That's the only possible reason I could think of because there are so many more career fields out there fresh out of college where you can make almost 3 times what a pilot makes, work 8-5 and have none of these crappy working conditions.


As crude as this is -- it's the same reason that men don't get paid for porn... too many people are willing to do it for free. It's not about money in this case. (Why become a musician?)

Also, you've heard people say this about being a tester for video games.

Instructors (young and old), quite literally, will do anything to build up time to get their airline jobs. They will give instruction for [nearly] free, ride right seat in a charter to get SIC time, etc. The airlines hire these people for nearly no money and, as an earlier post mentions, are basically forced to give tickets away because the flying public doesn't want to pay more than a $300-400 avg ticket. There is a huge disparity between those entry level jobs and a 777 Captain with 20+ years in.

I've heard, and believe, that prices today are no more than they were 10-20 years (possibly longer) ago despite inflation.

Now, the airlines haven't helped themselves either. Costs have been way out of control and not managed. Unfortunately, some should be allowed to fail. That would start to eliminate the undercutting of fares and force people to run real businesses.

I am also a pilot though only for personal pleasure.

yg17
May 15, 2009, 07:59 AM
As crude as this is -- it's the same reason that men don't get paid for porn... too many people are willing to do it for free. It's not about money in this case. (Why become a musician?)

Also, you've heard people say this about being a tester for video games.

Instructors (young and old), quite literally, will do anything to build up time to get their airline jobs. They will give instruction for [nearly] free, ride right seat in a charter to get SIC time, etc. The airlines hire these people for nearly no money and, as an earlier post mentions, are basically forced to give tickets away because the flying public doesn't want to pay more than a $300-400 avg ticket. There is a huge disparity between those entry level jobs and a 777 Captain with 20+ years in.

I've heard, and believe, that prices today are no more than they were 10-20 years (possibly longer) ago despite inflation.

Now, the airlines haven't helped themselves either. Costs have been way out of control and not managed. Unfortunately, some should be allowed to fail. That would start to eliminate the undercutting of fares and force people to run real businesses.

I am also a pilot though only for personal pleasure.

I don't think ticket cost has a lot to do with it...look at Southwest for example. Their prices are very reasonable, usually the cheapest. They don't charge for the first two checked bags. They don't charge you rediculous fees to change a ticket. They don't charge you all of the other fees the legacy carriers charge. Their customer service is the best in the industry, and I assume they pay their crew pretty well, and they fly 737s, none of the supposedly cheaper to operate regional jets or prop planes. And yet, there still a profitable company.

There may be a lot of reasons airlines are in the situation they're in, but I don't think ticket prices have a lot to do with it.

CMillerERAU
May 15, 2009, 05:54 PM
Ok well for starters to defend myself:

I flight instructed for a few years, even when the airlines were taking everyone with a commercial license, just so I could work at ExpressJet who has some of the best pay and work rules in the regional world. I made sure I was well qualified before jumping in right seat in a RJ so that I woudn't end up like so many of my friends way over their heads flying passengers around.

This Colgan thing has really ticked me off because there are so many misconceptions about the airlines. If the public knew half the stuff that's screwed up about the airlines it would blow their minds. And yes, pretty much the only reason people become pilots is because "its in their blood" and maybe to travel, which is becoming next to impossible.

Anyway, its a frustrating time to be in the industry. I guess most of all I just wish people would show a bit of compassion towards folks who work for the airlines. I have been grilled on my competency more now than ever, when was the last time any of you were asked flat out if you were competent at your job by total strangers? :mad:

yg17
May 15, 2009, 06:08 PM
Anyway, its a frustrating time to be in the industry. I guess most of all I just wish people would show a bit of compassion towards folks who work for the airlines. I have been grilled on my competency more now than ever, when was the last time any of you were asked flat out if you were competent at your job by total strangers? :mad:

The difference is that if I was incompetent at my job, no one would be hurt. I think it is very fair to question whether our pilots, doctors, etc, are competent.

sushi
May 15, 2009, 06:17 PM
The difference is that if I was incompetent at my job, no one would be hurt. I think it is very fair to question whether our pilots, doctors, etc, are competent.
Agree. We are putting our lives into their hands.

There is the old adage ...

At flight school, what do you call the top student graduate? Pilot.

What do you call the bottom student graduate? Pilot.

Personally, I would rather fly with someone who was towards the top of their class. BTW, you can substitute medical school/doctor, law school/lawyer, etc.

Rodimus Prime
May 15, 2009, 09:25 PM
Agree. We are putting our lives into their hands.

There is the old adage ...

At flight school, what do you call the top student graduate? Pilot.

What do you call the bottom student graduate? Pilot.

Personally, I would rather fly with someone who was towards the top of their class. BTW, you can substitute medical school/doctor, law school/lawyer, etc.

Same could be said about doctors.

For example only 1/2 the doctors graduted in the top 50%.

in medical school, what do you call the top student graduate? Doctor

What do you call the bottom student graduate? Doctor

CMillerERAU
May 15, 2009, 10:12 PM
The difference is that if I was incompetent at my job, no one would be hurt. I think it is very fair to question whether our pilots, doctors, etc, are competent.

I'll take my critiques from the FAA whom determines if I'm qualified to fly. Having a passenger with no idea what he's talking about question me as well as complain because the cokes aren't ice cold is quite different. Anyway I understand everyone's concern but you need to realize that pilots are humans too. We're quite passionate about our work and to be asked to be super human and be paid minimum wage is asking for a lot.

yg17
May 15, 2009, 10:48 PM
I'll take my critiques from the FAA whom determines if I'm qualified to fly. Having a passenger with no idea what he's talking about question me as well as complain because the cokes aren't ice cold is quite different. Anyway I understand everyone's concern but you need to realize that pilots are humans too. We're quite passionate about our work and to be asked to be super human and be paid minimum wage is asking for a lot.


I'm not going to critique anyone's flying capability. The only part of an aircraft I know how to operate is the in seat entertainment. I am in no position to say whether you're a good pilot or a bad pilot. However, I do think it is completely fair to wonder if a pilot has passed all of the FAA requirements and tests, and if they have gotten the required amount of rest before a flight, and if they successfully completed their training. And when I board a plane, I think it is perfectly acceptable to hope that the people in the cockpit are more like Sully and less like Renslow or Shaw.

CMillerERAU
May 15, 2009, 10:58 PM
I'm not going to critique anyone's flying capability. The only part of an aircraft I know how to operate is the in seat entertainment. I am in no position to say whether you're a good pilot or a bad pilot. However, I do think it is completely fair to wonder if a pilot has passed all of the FAA requirements and tests, and if they have gotten the required amount of rest before a flight, and if they successfully completed their training. And when I board a plane, I think it is perfectly acceptable to hope that the people in the cockpit are more like Sully and less like Renslow or Shaw.

Well of course you should feel that everyone operating your aircraft is safe and ready to fly. That's what the FAA was created for! What I'm saying is that its so incredibly annoying how people have no trouble walking up (literally) to me and question my abilities. Its rude! Its like someone walking into your house and telling you what cheap stuff you own, or how tacky you clothes look. Or even better, imagine being an artist and people walking up to you and saying your work is terrible. Even though they might not know what they're talking about or even knowing they're being mean, it hurts.

Anyway, hopefully with all this exposure the FAA will get back to what they were created for, to promote and regulate safe air travel. Pilots love their job, and we love having you all flying with us. But I think its time the flying public cuts us a break too.

yg17
May 15, 2009, 11:03 PM
Well of course you should feel that everyone operating your aircraft is safe and ready to fly. That's what the FAA was created for! What I'm saying is that its so incredibly annoying how people have no trouble walking up (literally) to me and question my abilities. Its rude! Its like someone walking into your house and telling you what cheap stuff you own, or how tacky you clothes look. Or even better, imagine being an artist and people walking up to you and saying your work is terrible. Even though they might not know what they're talking about or even knowing they're being mean, it hurts.

Anyway, hopefully with all this exposure the FAA will get back to what they were created for, to promote and regulate safe air travel. Pilots love their job, and we love having you all flying with us. But I think its time the flying public cuts us a break too.

Well, those people are morons, if you were a terrible pilot, would they expect you to be truthful? "Yes sir, I'm a horrible pilot. This is only my second time in my life flying and we're all going to die." I would never directly question a pilot. What I had originally meant is that I would question whether airlines such as Colgan are actually hiring pilots who meet all FAA regulations, pass their training and get the required rest, etc.

Rodimus Prime
May 15, 2009, 11:46 PM
Well, those people are morons, if you were a terrible pilot, would they expect you to be truthful? "Yes sir, I'm a horrible pilot. This is only my second time in my life flying and we're all going to die." I would never directly question a pilot. What I had originally meant is that I would question whether airlines such as Colgan are actually hiring pilots who meet all FAA regulations, pass their training and get the required rest, etc.

chance are yes they are.

From what I been told by my friend the FAA is very strict with their requirements and I highly doute an airline would try to cheat the rules.

dmr727
May 16, 2009, 12:03 AM
Ok well for starters to defend myself:

I flight instructed for a few years, even when the airlines were taking everyone with a commercial license, just so I could work at ExpressJet who has some of the best pay and work rules in the regional world. I made sure I was well qualified before jumping in right seat in a RJ so that I woudn't end up like so many of my friends way over their heads flying passengers around.


That's very cool, and admirable. I'm sorry that I assumed that you would have taken the first job offered - I see ERAU and figure that to be the case. That wasn't fair of me to do. Again, I apologize. :(

I'm still shocked at what they pay the pilots...that's peanuts. Why do people still become pilots? Do they just love flying? That's the only possible reason I could think of because there are so many more career fields out there fresh out of college where you can make almost 3 times what a pilot makes, work 8-5 and have none of these crappy working conditions.

Others have answered the question, but I'll throw my situation in too. It generally comes down to just loving to fly. I've wanted to do it my whole life. There was a time in the late 90s when I was making crazy money as a game developer (I did this to pay for college and much of my flight training), and when everything came crashing down in 2001, I jumped ship and made my push to be a career pilot. I became a flight instructor, and took a six figure pay cut. But I'll tell you something - when I was a game developer, I spent every hour looking out my window wishing I was up flying. When I was instructing, I never once looked down and wished I was writing code, even with the larger paycheck. Instructing was one of the best times of my life.

The vast majority of pilots that make a living at it are like me - they have a passion that makes them push through the crappy pay in an effort to finally make it someplace that doesn't suck. Like I said in my last post, short of the government getting involved in airline pay - the only way a regional is going to pay better is if it can't find any pilots to fly their airplanes. And unfortunately that'll never happen - there's even a regional airline where the pilot has to pay $29,900 (http://www.gulfstreamacademy.com/First_officer.php) for the privilege of flying in the right seat as a First Officer. It's disgusting, but I bet they still have a steady stream of pilots that desperate for the turbine flight time. Pisses me off just thinking about it.

Anyway, I will say that the vast majority of airline pilots are very, very good at what they do, but unfortunately (like any industry) there are a couple of bad apples that slip through the cracks, and remember that all pilots are human and will occasionally make human mistakes. The system is designed such that one mistake alone won't bring down an airplane, but occasionally everything lines up, a bit of bad luck is thrown in, and an accident happens. And this isn't limited to regional flying - it happens everywhere. It's just that this particular accident brought some issues of regional pay to light. The other stuff the media is talking about - fatigue, training deficiencies, not adhering to sterile cockpit rules - that stuff goes on industry wide.

quagmire
May 16, 2009, 12:06 AM
Reading this discussion back and forth is making me scared for my future career. I know the regionals pay like crap, but once you make it to the big airlines it gets better. It's just a lot of investment of your time and life to get that far up.

Southwest pays well, $198/hr for a 12 year Captain.

I am hoping I am able to grab a job at NetJets in my career. Minimum pay there is $70K/year and most is $225K/year( all depending how you choose your schedule).

dmr727
May 16, 2009, 12:28 AM
Reading this discussion back and forth is making me scared for my future career. I know the regionals pay like crap, but once you make it to the big airlines it gets better. It's just a lot of investment of your time and life to get that far up.


That's pretty much it. As long as you understand that you'll be not making much for awhile, you'll be okay. Just plan for it. Also plan on being furloughed a couple of times if you're airline or fractional, or just plain let go if you're corporate or charter. As an aside, word on the street is that NetJets is about to let go of 700. :(

sushi
May 16, 2009, 04:51 AM
Same could be said about doctors.

For example only 1/2 the doctors graduted in the top 50%.

in medical school, what do you call the top student graduate? Doctor

What do you call the bottom student graduate? Doctor
Uh, did you read my post? :rolleyes:

Here is what I said at the end:
BTW, you can substitute medical school/doctor, law school/lawyer, etc.

<snip of good post.>

Anyway, I will say that the vast majority of airline pilots are very, very good at what they do, but unfortunately (like any industry) there are a couple of bad apples that slip through the cracks

<snip some more good stuff.>
Agree.

Good post BTW. :)

MooneyFlyer
May 16, 2009, 03:33 PM
I don't think ticket cost has a lot to do with it...look at Southwest for example. Their prices are very reasonable, usually the cheapest. They don't charge for the first two checked bags. They don't charge you rediculous fees to change a ticket. They don't charge you all of the other fees the legacy carriers charge. Their customer service is the best in the industry, and I assume they pay their crew pretty well, and they fly 737s, none of the supposedly cheaper to operate regional jets or prop planes. And yet, there still a profitable company.

There may be a lot of reasons airlines are in the situation they're in, but I don't think ticket prices have a lot to do with it.

Fair enough but as I noted the airlines cost structure is an issue causing a more complex problem than just the ticket price. Southwest manages to make it work by keeping their costs very low but they are a point off of the curve. Perhaps JetBlue will follow -- but the legacy carriers have way too much overhead to compete at those prices. Instead, they start price wars with each other to gain market share at the expense of, well, more losses. And, keep in mind, they own most of the good routes -- though some of that is changing as well. Ultimately the public doesn't want to pay more than about $300-$400 to go anywhere.

Mergers would be one way to cut the costs down but they are extremely difficult and many don't make it. Northwest and Delta recently pulled it off working through the difficult challenges of merging the unions (and therefore dealing with the complex seniority issues).

Unfortunately for me I spend far too many hours in the back of one of the legacy carrier planes (more than 1.2M miles / thousands of hours) and far too few hours in my Mooney :( (hundreds of hours).

dmr727
May 16, 2009, 03:56 PM
Good post BTW. :)

Yeah, even the sun shines on a dog's ass every so often. :)

rtb90
May 16, 2009, 05:08 PM
It is unfortunate that the plane crashed but after hearing the cockpit tapes I have to wonder what the pilots were thinking. They mention the ice buildup and then don't do anything about it.

quagmire
May 16, 2009, 06:34 PM
It is unfortunate that the plane crashed but after hearing the cockpit tapes I have to wonder what the pilots were thinking. They mention the ice buildup and then don't do anything about it.

The procedure to using boots is that you have to wait until a decent amount of ice builds up on them then turn them on or else they won't deflate right( I believe that is the right explanation), but who knows how they used them on this flight.

dmr727
May 16, 2009, 10:40 PM
The procedure to using boots is that you have to wait until a decent amount of ice builds up on them then turn them on or else they won't deflate right( I believe that is the right explanation), but who knows how they used them on this flight.

What you're thinking of is ice bridging, and the conventional wisdom is that if you inflate the boots too often, the ice simply begins to form a shell around the inflated shape - making them useless as they inflate and deflate under the shell. So the idea was to wait until there was about a quarter inch of ice on the leading edge of the wing, blow the boots to break it off, and repeat.

Not too long ago the NTSB claimed that ice bridging is a myth, and recommended cycling the boots as soon as any ice is seen. There's still a lot of debate about this though - many pilots claimed to have personally witnessed bridging, and you can still find the 'old method' in the flight manuals of a lot of airplanes.

quagmire
May 16, 2009, 11:39 PM
What you're thinking of is ice bridging, and the conventional wisdom is that if you inflate the boots too often, the ice simply begins to form a shell around the inflated shape - making them useless as they inflate and deflate under the shell. So the idea was to wait until there was about a quarter inch of ice on the leading edge of the wing, blow the boots to break it off, and repeat.

Not too long ago the NTSB claimed that ice bridging is a myth, and recommended cycling the boots as soon as any ice is seen. There's still a lot of debate about this though - many pilots claimed to have personally witnessed bridging, and you can still find the 'old method' in the flight manuals of a lot of airplanes.

And being said by Riddle( or at least my IP). :)