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Generic Other Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 05:55 PM
Original message
Pilots on Food Stamps by Michael Moore
In my email this morning:

This week, the new 'Mike & Friends Blog' section will be added to MichaelMoore.com. In additional to my blog, I have asked a few people, like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (the Democrat from Toledo who has deservedly become the star of my movie!) and Leah Fried (who helped organize the sit-down strike at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago), to blog here on my site. Here's a sneak peek of my first blog post. Enjoy! -- MM

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Pilots on Food Stamps
By Michael Moore

We're on the descent from 20,000 feet in the air when the flight attendant leans over the elderly woman next to me and taps me on the shoulder.

"I'm listening to Lady Gaga," I say as I remove just one of the ear buds. I know not this Lady Gaga, but her performance last week on SNL was fascinating.

"The pilots would like to see you in the cockpit when we land," she says with a southern drawl.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No. They have something to show you." (The last time an employee of an airline wanted to show me something it was her written reprimand for eating an in-flight meal without paying for it. "Yes," she said, "we have to pay for our own meals on board now.")

The plane landed and I stepped into the cockpit. "Read this," the first officer said. He handed me a letter from the airline to him. It was headlined "LETTER OF CONCERN." It seems this poor fellow had taken three sick days in the past year. The letter was a warning not to take another one -- or else.

"Great," I said. "Just what I want -- you coming to work sick, flying me up in the air and asking to borrow the barf bag from my seatback pocket."

He then showed me his pay stub. He took home $405 this week. My life was completely and totally in his hands for the past hour and he's paid less than the kid who delivers my pizza.

I told the guys that I have a whole section in my new movie about how pilots are treated (using pilots as only one example of how people's wages have been slashed and the middle class decimated). In the movie I interview a pilot for a major airline who made $17,000 last year. For four months he was eligible -- and received -- food stamps. Another pilot in the film has a second job as a dog walker.

"I have a second job!," the two pilots said in unison. One is a substitute teacher. The other works in a coffee shop. You know, maybe it's just me, but the two occupations whose workers shouldn't be humpin' a second job are brain surgeons and airline pilots. Call me crazy.

I told them about how Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger (the pilot who safely landed the jet in the Hudson River) had testified in Congress that no pilot he knows wants any of their children to become a pilot. Pilots, he said, are completely demoralized. He spoke of how his pay has been cut 40% and his own pension eliminated. Most of the TV news didn't cover his remarks and the congressmen quickly forgot them. They just wanted him to play the role of "HERO," but he was on a more important mission. He's in my movie.

"I hadn't heard anywhere that this stuff about the airlines is in this new movie," the pilot said.

"No, you wouldn't," I replied. "The press likes to talk about me, not the movie."

And it's true. I've been surprised (and slightly annoyed) that, with all that's been written and talked about "Capitalism: A Love Story," very little attention has been paid the mind-blowing stuff in the film: pilots on food stamps, companies secretly taking out life insurance policies on employees and hoping they die young so the company can collect, judges getting kickbacks from the private prison industry for sending innocent people (kids) to be locked up. The profit motive -- it's a killer.

Especially when your pilot started his day at 6am working at the local Starbucks
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. if you can't make money as a pilot, what can you do and make a decent living?
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donco Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Several years ago I was on a motel shuttle bus
that had to do a loop to via the airport to pickup some passengers. A crew got on, including a couple of pilots from a connector line. They were discussing their pay and lo and behold this teamster truck driver (myself) was making a lot more than what they were talking about. Sad really, as they also had to spend much more hours on duty than the DOT allows us on duty.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Crew rest rules are another one of the industry's dirty little secrets
At the bigger carriers, the domestic pilots are usually restricted to a 14 hour day followed by a 9 hour break, but the Federal Aviation Regulations allow up to 16 hours on duty followed by "reduced rest", which can be a lot less than 9 hours. Many of the smaller carriers with poorly represented pilot groups use the FAR rules.

The best part of the deal is that pilots don't get paid for being at work. They only get paid for the actual time that the aircraft is moving, so a 16 hour work day with 7 or 8 flights can end up netting only 8 hours of pay, or in the case of a bad pilot contract, a lot less than that. For some unlucky pilots, 5 long days of work can be worth as little as 15 hours of pay.
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #13
69. yep - "block time"
we (I was a flight attendant and the rukes were the same for pilots and us) would get paid from the time that the blocks were removed from behind the tires of the aircraft until "blocked in" at another airport. All of the time from report to checking the aircraft to loading/unloading passengers is not paid. If a plane is delayed and you're sitting at the gate with a plane full of passengers, you're not getting paid.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. how many years ago? I can remember when those guys used to make $70K and more
airlines are probably doing what every industry does: cook the books, cries poverty, cuts wages, then magically posts massive profits.
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donco Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. That was in the early nineties, Romulus Mi (Detroit). nt
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. Paramedics make a decent living.
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Merchant Marine Donating Member (650 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 02:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
43. The Maritime Industry
Trained, professional mariners still command high salaries- a rookie 3rd mate makes between 50-70k, and an experienced senior master can make up to 200k a year. This is for 6 months of work, you get the other 6 off.

On the other hand, make one mistake and the Coast Guard will take away your license and throw you into the court system on felony charges.
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mudplanet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #43
72. Sailors earn it. They are on 24/7 for six months.
Talk to their families if you want to know what they are paid for.

Six months without getting laid, for one reason.
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snake in the grass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
78. Become a politician. n/t
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. I had NO idea about their pay. I thought they must make over 100,000 a year, easy

wow.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. the ones with seniority do
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I'm not so sure the ones with seniority
make that much anymore.

As Sully says, his -- and he's a senior pilot -- pay has been cut 40%.

Essentially ALL airline employees have had their pay cut a great deal, starting in the early 90's. September 11, 2001, just accelerated the process.

I was an airline ticket agent from 1969 to 1979 at National Airport in Washington, DC. It was a great job back then. Oh, the passengers could be difficult, and we NEVER got an extra day off for holidays -- we worked forty hours a week fifty weeks a year, but the airline I worked for initially had a nice rotating shift system that resulted in a four day weekend every five or six weeks, and we could swap days off. Back then the pay was somewhat better than adequate for my job, and I took full advantage of the free travel available to us.

But it's changed a lot, for every single job category at the airlines. I feel sorry for many of the people working there now.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. at the "legacy" carriers...and european pilots are paid more than in US
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
23. It doesn't have much to do with seniority directly
It has more to do with what type of plane you fly(and what airline you work for). The more passengers you carry, the more you make for the airline, the more they pass on to you. So the captain of a triple 7 is going to make more than the captain of an ATR-72, regardless of how much seniority either has. How do you get to fly a triple 7? Much of that is based on seniority, so it does play a part, just not directly.
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. Of course, we cannot have these sorry excuses of airline executives...
...not taking pay cuts.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks Reagan et al
THey have fucked up the middle class across the globe. Why we sit back and take it defies all logic.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
48. Reagan didn't deregulate the airlines
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #48
74. carter may have gotten the deregulation ball rolling, but Reagan strapped rocket boosters to it.
n/t
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #48
75. Ted Kennedy was very proud of his role in getting this passed
and you can see him standing behind the President in the picture.

He wanted to open air travel to the ordinary working guy.


The problem isn't with deregulation, it is with exploitation.


You can deregulate an industry and have fair competition without having an industry go into predator practices.


One way to do that is to strengthen Unions so that the cost of labor is a constant and they are competing with other variables.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #75
85. Like dividends and executive pay. nt
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #75
94. What industries have survived deregulation and kept fair competition?
Or not gone into predatory practices. I'm curious if there are good examples of this.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm a nurse
I got one of those last winter when I had a spate of sicknesses. I call in sick when I'm sick because I work with premature babies. I took a copy and I think I'll be sending one to Mr. Michael Moore.
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
70. me too
I was a flight attendant and am now a nurse. I got reprimanded for calling off sick yet now they tell us if that we can't come to work sick (H1N1 fear). So no matter what, many of us will get in trouble.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. I was shocked when I learned how much pilots make
That was about the time of that crash in Buffalo, NY.

These commuter pilots sometimes pull 60-hour weeks and make less money than a construction laborer.

Being a pilot used to be a prestigious position on a par with doctors and lawyers - professionals in whom we place our trust and require many years of training.

How did it end up like this?
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 05:41 AM
Response to Reply #7
45. Reagan and his Union Busting buddies.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. Pilots for big airlines do OK.
We did take massive pay cuts over the last eight years. Mine was closer to 50 percent than 40 percent. We did lose most or all of our pensions. We do work more days for less money. The airline I work for doesn't make us pay for meals; it just doesn't provide them anymore. All these things are true.

But I still make enough to pay my mortgage, feed my family and pay the doctor bills. So, it could be worse. The pilots who work at the regional airlines have always made very little money, but in their case the pay cuts are enough to drop them below the poverty line. There have been cases of airlines threatening to fire pilots who apply for food stamps or public assistance--on the grounds that such behavior reflects badly on the company.

I can no longer pay for things like my own retirement or my kids' college. But lots of people are in that boat. I will borrow money for the college if I have to, and I will work until I am required by law to quit at 65, or my health fails, and then I will get some other kind of job. The regional guys have it worse.

And no, I will not pay for any of my kids to pursue an airline career. That would be throwing money down a rat hole.
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Libertas1776 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Captain Sully
is supposed to be on TDS this week. I hope they will talk about this.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
12. my 24yr old daughter makes more take home pay than that pilot
she assemblies parts for the auto industry....
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rve300 Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
14. Too many pilots, not enough airplanes.
Hundreds of young pilots with a dream of flying for a living are willing to work for nothing to get a foot in the door anywhere. Dreamers have flooded the industry with cheap labor. I can advertise for an opening in Brisbane for a twin turboprop job and get over 300 applicants from as far away as Austin or Amsterdam. Many are overqualified pilots willing to pay for their own training and moving expenses. In this industry it is a dog eat dog world and the undercutting pilots are just as much to blame as the airlines.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. That's true of any profession. Those just starting were always
willing to work for less. What's different now, since the Reagan years, is that companies are hiring less qualified people and not respecting those with experience. You really just confirm what is becoming more and more obvious. There is no interest in professionalism or rewarding those who have worked hard for a company. Or the safety of the public. Money is everything.

As a result, the middle class is disappearing. And those young pilots will also be thrown overboard when they realize they cannot raise a family on the salaries they were hired at and ask for more.

This is Capitalism at its worst. CEOs do not need multi-million dollar salaries but it has been almost a crime to even point that out in this country over the past several decades.
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rve300 Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
33. The situation today has nothing to do with Reagan.
It has more to do with the movies "Top Gun" and "The Right Stuff" than any government regulation or lack of regulations. The interest in professionalism and safety is very high. The airlines are not choosing between high paid pro's and low paid idiots, they are choosing between high and low paid pro's. Do not assume a pilot is dangerous just because he doesn't make much money. Again the road goes both ways here, many pilots will bolt for a better job once they have built up their hours and leave a small loyal company in a learch. The story I gave above comes from Australia. The pilot glut is world wide, not just an American problem.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #33
41. First of all I did not say that a pilot is dangerous because he
doesn't make much money. But you seem to be contradicting yourself. This is what I responded to:

Hundreds of young pilots with a dream of flying for a living are willing to work for nothing to get a foot in the door anywhere. Dreamers have flooded the industry with cheap labor. I can advertise for an opening in Brisbane for a twin turboprop job and get over 300 applicants from as far away as Austin or Amsterdam.

Are you saying that these 'young pilots' who are 'flooding the industry with cheap labor' are as safe as someone with years of experience? If you have a choice of who would be your pilot, who would you choose, an experienced pilot or an inexperienced 'dreamer' who is willing to work for far less money? That is what you said, isn't it? That the industry is flooded with cheap, inexperienced pilots.

As for some pilots leaving for a better job after gaining experience, I'm sure some do and some don't so long as the company treats them with respect. As I said, this happens in all industries. There small companies who treat their employees well, and some who don't.

Reagan was responsible for smashing unions who looked out for workers. Deregulation of everything brought this country to where it is today. Not everyone can be trusted to do what is right so laws are necessary to ensure that corruption is kept under control. If everyone was honest, we wouldn't need regulation, but they are not. Reagan wasn't the only of course.

I doubt a majority of people who become pilots did so because of the movies. I know a few pilots and I know they did not go into the business because of Top Gun. They are far more intelligent than that.
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
19. too many pilots, too many actors, too many athletes
Edited on Sun Oct-11-09 10:04 PM by excess_3
too many would-be politicians.

an I suppose to feel sorry for these people?
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demmiblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. One is not like the others.
:crazy:
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #21
27. how so,
please enlighten me
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. You may be posting on the wrong web site.
Most of us at DU have the decency to feel some sympathy for people whose careers have been destroyed.
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. Tourism --> McJobs .nt
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. I don't know if it's accurate to say their careers have been destroyed
Lots of pilots had crappy pay from day 1 of their career. The problem is there's a long line of wanna be career pilots behind them for every job that's available and there's so much competition in the airline business the margins are very low. The lack of regulation means discount carriers like Southwest can serve only the most profitable routes that can be served by only one aircraft type.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #19
30. Athletes, would-be politicians and actors don't have your life in their hands
Are you naturally stupid, or is this Intentionally Obtuse Day?
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excess_3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. that has what? to do, with their pay?
Tourism is an economic and environmental disaster, btw.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 06:04 AM
Response to Reply #30
46. I would argue that politicians have your life in their hands..
What politicians do can be as life changing to their constituents as war and peace.

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demodonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 01:34 AM
Response to Reply #19
42. As a member of Actors' Equity I TAKE OFFENSE AT THIS POST.
Edited on Mon Oct-12-09 01:37 AM by demodonkey

The vast majority of card-carrying members of the actors' unions make only a few thousand dollars per year -- if that -- in the business.

Being an actor is not something that "anyone" can do. Some people have talent, but talent has to be developed and trained. Even the so-called overnight successes usually have years, maybe decades, of hard work, training, lessons, bit parts, making the rounds, and paying their dues to work up through the ranks.

Sure there are some personalities that suddenly appear and get millions, but for every one of them there are literally hundreds of hard-working actors plugging away in small roles, background work, and survival jobs.

No one is asking you to feel sorry, but you might at least feel some respect.

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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
22. alaska airline pilots live in long-term parking lot B at LAX
when on duty

and b/c they're based in Los Angeles but choose to live elsewhere

a crash pad is too expensive, so they live in trailers in the parking lot
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ampad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
24. I'm not sure if I read this somewhere
or heard it from mouth. Is is true that the pilots that crashed the plane in the neighborhood (icy wings) were working of little sleep? I heard that was the case because they both were working second jobs. One of them commuting long hours just to get to her airline pilot job. I heard that story once but I do not recall the media reporting on it. If that is the case then that particular airline has blood on their hands. It is a damn shame that anyone in this country has to work two jobs to make ends meet. It is a totally different story when those jobs require you to keep people safe. Damn shame. rec
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rve300 Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. "One of them commuting long hours just to get to her airline pilot job"
And how is this is the fault of the airline? You can't blame an airline for where the pilot hangs her hat.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Because many working folks cannot afford to live where they are employed.
Given that airline pilots are paid a paltry sum but most airports are located near areas too rich for the working class to live, I'd say that is the case here.
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rve300 Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. You are getting closer to the answer.
Airlines don't make money. Airport make money hand over fist. Brisbane Airport Corporation profit went up 25% this year even as passenger number thru the airport went down. Airlines carry all the risk, are the face of the industry, but make very little.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #36
38. Deregulation.
And airlines receive oodles of government subsidies.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #31
39. Such things can be made conditions of employment if the company gives a shit about it.
For example there are some school districts that demand residency within the district to hire a teacher. An airline could impose similar restrictions on commuting distance.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #31
47. The copilot in the Buffalo crash was living in her parents' basement in Seattle
She was in the process of going broke on her $16000 annual pay, since her student loan payments took up nearly all of her paycheck. She was based in Newark; unfortunately, she had no relatives there with a basement for her to live in.

Yep, it was all her fault--the airline pay and hiring structure had nothing to do with it.

/sarcasm
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rve300 Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #47
89. Just a bit of research on her part could have avoided all that.
Yes it was the airlines fault that she took a student loan to prepare herself for a career that would not pay her enough to live on and repay her debt. The airlines pay and hiring structure are not a secret and have not changed since she picked her career path. She got herself into that situation because of the choices she made. Who in the world takes a student loan to get the qualifications for a job that pays 16k a year?

A flying job is not something that you just end up in cause you have no other options. You are not forced to take it to feed your kids or make ends meet. You have to make a deliberate choice to be there and years of preparation to even be in a position to be considered for one. If a pilot is in an impossible financial position it is because they put themselves in it.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #89
91. With a bit of luck, you can enjoy pilots like this
on all of your flights in the near future. I hope you enjoy having not-too-bright minimum wage pilot-mill victims who have two or three jobs and live in their parents' basement flying you around. You deserve it.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #24
35. those two
were terrible

the pilot had lied to Continental about failing all his check flights during a previous job

he was a lousy pilot

and, he and the co-pilot violated "sterile cockpit rules," which mandate no
chit chat when 10,000 feet or lower

they chit chatted about all manner of non-flight topics, and failed to check their air
speed or the levels of icing that were building up

he also flaunted safety rules and slept in the airport pilots' lounge, against policy

that pilot got the job via private flying lessons, to the tune of countless 10000s of $$$$$

the legacy carriers actually prefer pilots out of the military, due to superior training and experience

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Hawkowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #35
57. You're an idiot
Legacy carriers no longer prefer military pilots because one, there aren't nearly enough and two, have found civilian pilots from regional airlines have vastly more current pertinent experience. Military pilots superior training and excellence? I've flown with many, many military pilots and the vast majority have far less experience than those with a civilian background. They are no more inherently superior or exceedingly excellent than other pilots. There are some very sharp military pilots. I will say that the absolute worst pilots I've flown with have been military pilots.

Have you listened to the CVR of the Buffalo crash? A lot of the "chit chat" was about the current icing conditions and how they didn't know how to deal with it. THAT is a training issue that should have been covered by the airline for that specific type of aircraft.

First, they didn't work for "Continental" they worked for Colgan subcontracting for Continental. You can't "lie" about failing checkrides because airlines are REQUIRED to review all your training records from previous airlines and all your training records on file at the FAA. Hell they still have mine from over 20 years ago. So Colgan knew everything about these two pilots abilities and put them in the cockpit anyway if there was a problem. Both were relatively inexperienced in the type of aircraft. Colgan and Continental management bear a large burden for knowingly short changing the pilots on training and not hiring the most qualified pilots because qualified pilots are expensive.
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #57
66. Little known fact that hasn't been stated yet in the MSM....
...the PICs of the last two regional carrier accidents (Colgan 3047 and Comair 5191, Covington, failed to check the fucking mag compass to ensure they were on the right runway) were graduates of the worst scam of a flight school on the face of the fucking planet, Gulfstream Academy.

My opinion, put this type of scam academy out of business and closely regulate the initial training business. This means completely funding the FSDOs to do so.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #66
100. yes, exactly
it did get published in the ny times around the time of the accidents

and pilots' blogs have reported on this issue at length
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #66
104. I'm not sure any amount of training is going to prevent something like that
It has more to do with cockpit discipline and attention to detail. It shouldn't matter if they graduated from Bob's ATP in Jerkwater, Nebraska. The airlines back in the 1930's took crop duster pilots and turned them into professional airline crews. It can be done, but the airlines have to be fully dedicated and committed to demanding and enforcing standards of professional conduct regardless of where they get their pilots from.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #57
99. guess you haven't read much
i have read several articles about the Colgan crash

i'll provide the urls for them

same goes for the hiring issue

ps: you're super rude
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #57
102. here's the article showing the Colgan pilot failed 5 check flights and concealed this
/snip

"...the captain, Marvin Renslow, had failed five check rides, or hands-on tests, conducted in a cockpit or a simulator, before the Feb. 12 crash.

Colgan Air, which operated the flight for Continental, said later on Monday that two of those tests had been conducted after Captain Renslow began working there, in September 2005. Colgan said it had known about one previous failure at the time, but the captain had not told the company about the two others...."

snip

<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/nyregion/12pilot.html... >
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #57
103. the cockpit voice recorder showed they violated sterile cockpit rules
"For most of their 59-minute flight, from Newark to a spot five miles northeast of a runway in Buffalo on Feb. 12, the two pilots of Continental Connection Flight 3407 chatted happily about career options, family plans and the merits of various kinds of airplanes.

The captain, Marvin D. Renslow, regaled his first officer, Rebecca Shaw, with the story of how wide his passengers eyes grew one day when he called maintenance to the plane after a light in the cockpit signaled loose metal chips in the engine.

Some of the banter violated federal rules banning nonessential conversation below 10,000 feet. Some of the talk was serious. The pilots spoke of the ice they saw gathering on the windshield of their commuter plane, and of their apprehension during previous brushes with ice. They prepared for landing...


snip


"The pilots chatting obviously violated Federal Aviation Administration rules that ban nonessential conversation when a plane is below 10,000 feet, as the Continental flight was as Captain Renslow asked about Ms. Shaws head cold.

The pilots clearly distracted let their speed drop too low, and failed to notice, according to documents released Tuesday by the safety board...."


<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/nyregion/13crash.html... >
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #35
62. These are the ALPA memes....
...and trust me, they have a fucking agenda that you can see from FL350.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #62
101. your
anger is typical

do you work for a regional?
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #24
67. If you are talking about Buffalo? That's in Moore's movie.

In fact they were talking about all of their job hardships right before the plane hit its difficulties. The damn airline reported that they were talking about their "careers" and the press reported it that way!
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
26. And so the old joke goes...
Q. What's the difference between a CFI (an instructor of pilots) and a pizza?

A. A pizza can feed a family of 4.

You could just as easily substitute regional airline first officer for CFI.

But all of this is little more than meaningless rhetoric. Commercial air transport is one of the safest modes of transportation going. So the airlines must be doing something right.
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #26
37. In 1972 I made $6/hour as a flight instructor (CFII, ASMEL, GLIDER).
A guitar instructor could get $15/hour - easy. That ain't right. That's why I was so happy to join the union (ALPA) when I got hired at Piedmont Airlines.

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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #37
61. It isn't much better, in fact a lot worse, adjusted for inflation....
...as long as FBOs consider flying the right seat as part of the compensation for a CFI/CFII/MEI we will never build a professional cadre of flight instructors. (However, the owners of an FBO will gladly leaseback on an all glass C-172 and charge 200+/hr for dual. That's right 200+ for a C-172).
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Hawkowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #37
76. In 1993 I made $10/hr (CFII)
Nowadays I know flight instructors can easily earn $30K a year--if they can find a job since not very many people are learning to fly.
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #76
79. Yup, the latest AOPA statistics reflect that.....
...that's why FTOs and FBOs are chasing after Indian, Chinese and SE Asian dollars. Too bad they are woefully unprepared for the regulatory requirements, Aviation English Language component and general babysitting that accompany teaching foreign nationals how to fly. I know several flight schools that have gone out of business after accepting insane contracts from these countries.
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:18 AM
Response to Original message
40. I'm calling Bullshit.
Shameless advertising if you read the second to last paragraph: "I've been surprised (and slightly annoyed) that, with all that's been written and talked about "Capitalism: A Love Story," very little attention has been paid the mind-blowing stuff in the film..."
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ThePantaloon.com Donating Member (278 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #40
92. Why is it bullshit?
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 05:40 AM
Response to Original message
44. The guys in the control towers are in the same boat.
My step-father-in-law is a controller. He has had his pay slashed, retirement cut, and they owe him back pay (this all happened during Bush years.) My brother-in-law trained in the airforce to work as an air traffic controller as well, but starting pay for the position (a very stressful job with old computers, old technology, and real usage of one's brain power) was now at $28,000.00 for entry level at a major airport. This is the same sallary that one could earn being a McDonald's mangager. My brother-in-law came out of the airforce, with an injury to his back for the rest of his life, and began work as a car's salesman. He has since switched to motorcycle sales and is second string behind the owner now. He made $70,000.00 last year. He would have liked to have a long career doing what he was trained to do, but he wouldn't be able to afford the house he bought or the camero he drives (southern boy.. my hubby has a mustang.. and his other brother has a mustang).

When my father-n-law retires, I will have to think twice about flying. There are a lot of older professionals who will be retiring around the time that he does. Everyday in Charlotte is another close call or near miss.. and the as the older guys retire, the younger guys just don't have the experience, equipment, or pay to do their jobs. The burn out rate is very high with the new hires... and with the lack of pay or benefits, it doesn't keep the new, younger people in for the long haul.
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
49. Reason number 5473 I don't fly
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #49
86. self-delete, dupe
Edited on Mon Oct-12-09 04:41 PM by valerief
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Hoosier Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
50. LOL -- irony
Edited on Mon Oct-12-09 08:39 AM by Hoosier
sorry...had to post this link...
I'd cleaned up my HD earlier this AM and hadn't logged into DU. At the bottom of all the posts was this link:

http://www.atpflightschool.com/intro/commercial_pilot_A...
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MidwestRick Donating Member (604 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
51. If enough of them quit
there will be a shortage, and the pay will be forced to increase. To maintain a job that as Moore puts it "makes less than the pizza guy", seems a bit odd. If you don't like the pay...quit. Become a pizza a guy if the money is your problem.
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #51
54. It's hard to quit -- the benefits package for commercial pilots is generally fairly good. It has
stayed good because pilots have been using wage concessions and lower wages for new hires as negotiating points to keep their benefits. The concessions are usually balanced by promises by companies to bump pay levels back up when some magical unicorn fart appears on the balance sheets.
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #51
63. "If you don't like your job, quit and find one that pays better."
Gosh, I never knew it was so easy :eyes:
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #63
71. especially in this economy, huh?
so "easy" to find even a pizza delivery job!

Not to mention the fact that these people trained to become pilots, not just anyone can do it, and they want to do what they love so it's not a matter of not liking a job.

Jeebus - some people are clueless.
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Proud Liberal Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
52. Mike talked about this in "Stupid White Men" book approximately 8 years ago
Edited on Mon Oct-12-09 08:44 AM by Proud Liberal Dem
It's sad (but not unexpected, unfortunately) that things have not changed much for the better since the book's publication. :-( It doesn't necessarily make me afraid of flying but I can't help thinking about their plight every time I do
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nightgaunt Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
53. An example of Capitalism at work? Where did all that bailout $ go?
One skewed and perverted by an ailing industry that just doesn't want to understand you have to pay your people well even in bad times or else. Pilots getting $405 a week? Glad I can't afford to fly! Mr. Moore is just going to have to steer them to the contents of the movie and off of him.

Time to investigate the airline industry on this. They have the money to pay them and it is a crime they are not. A real crime.
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
55. WTF?
judges getting kickbacks from the private prison industry for sending innocent people (kids) to be locked up.


:wtf: :wow:
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #55
65. that story occured in Pittsburgh (?) last year...
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October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #55
84. Wilkes-Barre, PA -- unbelievable story
Everyone really should see Michael Moore's "Capitalism" movie. It's enlightening -- in a horrifying way.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
56. "judges getting kickbacks from the private prison industry...
for sending innocent people (kids) to be locked up"

:nuke:
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
58. The theory behind this is the "apprenticeship".
They are getting paid nominally to allow them to build up experience flying very expensive airplanes that they simply couldn't afford to rent if they had to build up flight hours on their own.

Even single engine Cessnas rent for 85 to 120/hr depending on where and how old they are.

Multi-engine or high performance piston planes can be over $200/hr depending on capability.

Jet aircraft and turbo props simply are beyond the ability of ordinary humans to rent or buy.

The deal is that you get your licenses up to commercial and instrument and then you fly checks around or tow banners or take up skydivers or you get a CFI or CFII and teach others for a while and then you transition to the regional airlines and fly people around for low dollars while you build up time and work your way into the majors.

Just to get to the Commercial and Instrument tickets will cost you upwards of $25,000 to $30,000 investment of your own money. That does not guarantee you any kind of a job.

The alternative is to get your license and skills and experience in the military and give them 6 to 10 years of your life at relatively low wages there as a junior officer or a warrant officer.

If you really want to be a pilot, as someone else has pointed out there are plenty more pilots than pilot jobs just like athletes and actors so it's an employer's market right now.

Doug D.
Private Pilot Single Engine Land
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #58
77. Your figures are too low by half....
...the emergence of all glass cockpits (Avidyne, Garmin) in C-172s, PA-44s, SR-20s, SR-22s, DA-40s and DA-42s have dramatically increased the cost of instruction. One flight school/academy is charging $200/hr for Dual in a C-172 and that's closer to the norm than the exception. With the average number of flight hours for PPL certification (forget about that worthless license known as Sport Pilot) at 70 hours (AOPA's figure) one can see that getting the initial license is cost prohibitive.

As for flight instruction being an "apprenticeship" and a stepping stone to the regionals, trust me on this, they are woefully unprepared for the six weeks of initial training at any regional and the washout rate reflects that.

Congratulations on obtaining your PPL, now go get your instrument rating.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #77
81. As I said, depends on where and what equipment.
I took about 70 to get my private license back in 1998.

I worked to get my instrument but stopped back around 2001 due to costs becoming prohibitive and my salary getting stuck. I have all the required hours and trips for the instrument and about 200 hours total but I haven't flown in years because I like living indoors and can't afford it any longer.

Here in FL if you want to go Part 61 there are still a number of places where you can rent a plane for $90-$100/hr. Most Part 141 school are way too expensive and not really worth the extra costs.
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #81
83. PM inbound.
....
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #83
98. PM is cleared for final runway 18.
:)
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
59. K&R. I found the pilot info shocking too, and avoided in TV interviews.
I saw a couple of references to the Dead Peasants Insurance for a few days but haven't seen much since.

But the pilot stuff seems to have been shoved into the "pretend it is not happening" category.

Similar to bringing Republicans like McCain onto TV to give advice on what to do in Afghanistan after they advocated the miserable failures of the past, like the war on Iraq. That's the "pretend they still have credibility" category.

The GOP are Greedy Obstructionist Plutocrats who bankrupted our country with their reckless wars of choice and destructive privatization, yet they are frequent guests on all the news chat shows.

I am not sure how we will overcome the news blackouts.

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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
60. For those who would like to see what pilots earn....
...at legacy, major and regional carriers go here: http://www.airlinepilotcentral.com . Also, read each carrier's contract with their pilots.

This is the exact reason why I don't fly for any carrier and why my former students are so depressed.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
64. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Generic Other.
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
68. I made more as a flight attendant in 1990
than these pilots do today. Absolutley disgusting.
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Fastcars Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
73. I Am In The Same Boat
Anytime you do a job that others would be willing to do for nothing it is hard to get a good wage. I drive for a minor league sports franchise and every day at work I am responsible for the safety of 25 or so people.

There are a lot of sports fans with CDLs that would love to get to hang out with the baseball, hockey, and football teams and get paid to do so. Of course I could go back to trucking and make quite a bit more money. But I can definitely understand the pilots predicament.
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kenfrequed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
80. Blame
There is a lot of it to go around.

The businesses were horribly mismanaged.

They racked up any savings and any incoming money from state and federal government loans and monies as part of their profits to improve how well they appeared to be doing to their shareholders.

The unions were regularly and routinely beat about in order to save money which prevented them from making more rational savings in terms of hubs and routes.


Finally there is the raising cost of fuel which will inevitably make travel by plane an expensive luxury.
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #80
82. Nope, fares are dropping because of the fuel market....
...with the exception of the stupid (Hi, United!) most airlines hedged at the lower costs and fares are adjusting accordingly. Go to http://www.atw.com for the straight skinny.
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kenfrequed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #82
88. Err..
They are cutting their own throats in pursuit of short term gains. Fuel prices will inevitably go up. (see peak oil)
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Aviation Pro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #88
90. They are also reducing capacity by 6%.....
...and some analysts anticipate 10% in the near future. Thus, planes will be packed on profitable routes and the hubs will be served by the regionals. Fortunately, and with the exception of ASA (Hi, guys and gals!), most of the regionals are flying the latest ERJs and CRJs, which are either 70 or 90 seats depending on the type.

Either way, the current fee for flight model that the regionals use has got to be abandoned.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
87. Before you book a vacation flight, phone the airline and ask what
your pilots earned the previous year. If you get no answer or an unacceptable one, travel by rail. Don't leave the country except by ship.

Fuck 'em! Let the vacation destinations dry up. It'll be all the airlines' fault.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
93. The "recovery" is well under way, I tells ya.
This is the New World Order; ever decreasing wages, disappearing benefits, worsening working conditions, deteriorating infrastructure, etc.

But it doesn't matter, the stock market is up.
:dunce:

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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
95. I'm stunned!
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emncaity Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
96. which airlines?
I'm forwarding this around, but I'm already getting questions about which airlines specifically are doing this sort of thing. Mike's got around a hundred responses to this blog entry at his website, and some of those mention companies familiar to the posters, but I'm just wondering who knows what the specific companies are that he's referring to in the blog.
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emncaity Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #96
97. test
test...
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