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Old 05-10-2008, 05:07 AM   #1  
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Default SWA & FAA, too cozy ?

Food for thought. Then again, it is from the press.

: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...outhwest_N.htm
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:59 AM   #2  
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Yet another sad commentary on the state of our government and media. The most important aspect of this whole story was left out -


The FAA puts people in charge of an entire airline's operational and procedural compliance that are less qualified than Southwest Airlines new-hires. Why in the world would the FAA expect that an inspector would be able to approve any procedure changes when they know so little about the aircraft and its operation? Ignorance is bliss, and apparently it makes you more qualified to be an FAA inspector.


Hopefully, the government will start paying them better, then not have to worry so much about their employees leaving for better careers. Maybe they can even train them on the aircraft they are assigned to oversee.

Last edited by LuvJockey; 05-10-2008 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:32 AM   #3  
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Maybe they get to have pizza and BBQ's too!
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:40 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvJockey View Post
The FAA puts people in charge of an entire airline's operational and procedural compliance that are less qualified than Southwest Airlines new-hires. Why in the world would the FAA expect that an inspector would be able to approve any procedure changes when they know so little about the aircraft and its operation? Ignorance is bliss, and apparently it makes you more qualified to be an FAA inspector.
Is this a personal statement or something from the press?
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:49 PM   #5  
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A personal statement, maybe too harsh, I don't know.

My certificate number is ###-##-####.

I prefer that the FAA guys on my jumpseat have an airline background, they seem to know what's going on and what's important.


Here's the story from the link:
WASHINGTON — The manager of the federal office that oversees Southwest Airlines accepted thousands of dollars in free pilot training from the carrier under an arrangement that violates rules of conduct, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

The training program had been approved by regional officials and had been in place for years. The FAA has halted the program because it violates its rules, according to spokeswoman Diane Spitalieri. The FAA would not comment specifically on the supervisor's training because the matter is "under investigation," Spitalieri said.

FAA manager Bobby Hedlund, who was promoted last year to head the Southwest office, received months of training in 2005 that qualified him to fly the Boeing 737, according to recent testimony before Congress from three current and former FAA officials. Southwest received a proposed $10.2 million fine in March for safety violations.

FAA inspectors often receive training to stay abreast of changing technology and airline operations, but the training is mostly done at the FAA's expense. The free training highlights the continuing cozy relationship between Southwest and some of the government officials who oversee it, said Robert Naccache, who worked in the Southwest office until he retired last year.

"This is the most flagrant conflict of interest that I have ever witnessed in my 20-year career in the federal government," Naccache said during a hearing last month.

His testimony was buttressed by Michael Mills, the FAA's former Southwest manager, and Bobby Boutris, one of two federal whistle-blowers who first raised concerns about Southwest.

The training Hedlund received would cost a private citizen $15,000 or more, according to the officials and flight schools. It also would enhance a résumé, opening doors for employment at airlines or other private aviation firms. The FAA officials who testified at the hearing called the arrangement a conflict of interest.

The FAA and Southwest have been heavily criticized since a House Transportation Committee hearing April 3 revealed safety breakdowns and attempted retribution against inspectors who enforced the rules.

Hedlund did not return several phone calls seeking comment.

Southwest confirmed that Hedlund had attended courses at the airline but characterized the training as part of his routine duties. "We certainly don't agree" that there are any ethical questions with the training, airline spokeswoman Beth Harbin said.

Last edited by LuvJockey; 05-10-2008 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:49 PM   #6  
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As Mark Twain said- "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed."
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:45 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvJockey View Post
Yet another sad commentary on the state of our government and media. The most important aspect of this whole story was left out -


The FAA puts people in charge of an entire airline's operational and procedural compliance that are less qualified than Southwest Airlines new-hires. Why in the world would the FAA expect that an inspector would be able to approve any procedure changes when they know so little about the aircraft and its operation? Ignorance is bliss, and apparently it makes you more qualified to be an FAA inspector.

Hopefully, the government will start paying them better, then not have to worry so much about their employees leaving for better careers. Maybe they can even train them on the aircraft they are assigned to oversee.
LuvJockey,

I luv the spin, just remember it goes both ways. Am I to understand that Southwest was improving safety by giving free training to the officials overseeing your operations.

You have a good airline, great fuel hedging, great PR department, but I would never rank Southwest high on ethical standards.
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:09 PM   #8  
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Since when does it cost $15,000 to get a 737 type rating? It's too bad he didn't have the G.I. Bill
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:55 PM   #9  
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Honestly, no, Southwest wasn't improving safety by providing the training. I do believe though that the guy charged with oversight of Southwest operations should have a type rating in a 737, the only kind of airplane that Southwest flies.

I do believe that the training helps them better understand what we do, and why we do it. Without that basic level of understanding, it is difficult to understand our Operations Manual. Heck, it's hard enough to understand it with a type rating!
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:58 AM   #10  
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Here's my scenario...

Mr. FAA comes in as the PIO with no clue and says he needs to fully evaluate the new hire training procedures. He sits through the ground school and moves to the sim training. He has an FAA buddy sit in on the checkride and he passes.

Mr. FAA adds the 737 type to his ticket.


The media then blows this out of proportion to make it look like SWA was buying off Mr. FAA who just got a type benefiting himself. They then make up the $15,000 price tag to pile on recent negative press.

It is very important for Mr. FAA to have a working knowledge of the aircraft and the procedures. It is totally understandable for him to go through a new hire class to educate himself. The type rating benefits his ego, not SWA.

Yes ego. Mr. FAA has a cushy government job and is extremely unlikely to bail on that to persue an airline career with his 737 type rating.

Rant off...
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