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Aviation subcommittee hearings live

Old 06-17-2009, 07:12 AM
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Default Aviation subcommittee hearings live

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Old 06-17-2009, 09:11 AM
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Default What was said

ATA opening (what ATA recommends)
- FOQA for regional airlines
- ASAP for regional airlines
- AQP program (best practices)
- Centralized database of pilot history
- FAA increased sterile cockpit rule
- Crewmember commuting (look @ FT/DT, but tie it to commuting and science)

RAA opening
- more than 50% of scheduled flights in the US are regional
- 3 out of 4 destinations in the US are served only by regionals
- fatigue awareness management program
- reach out to the industry, including labor
- explore random fatigue testing
- examine the role of commuting
- seek to analyze CVR’s in non-accident investigation

ALPA opening (what ALPA recommends)
- address training
- address fatigue
- get FOQA, ASAP, and AQP for ALL airlines, and limit FOQA and ASAP data so that it can’t be used in litigation

Colgan family opening
- assumption that pilots were CO pilots, not Colgan
- when the public buys a ticket, they assume a safe operation
- lets put the best pilots in the cockpit
- better FAA – not asleep @ the wheel, letting ALPA and ATA run the FAA
- NTSB recommendations, why are only 85% of them implemented, not 100%
----
[Q = senator's question/statement, A = (who answered)]

Q: what’s the pay for a new regional pilot
A: (RAA) average pay is 72K for CA, 32K for FO
Q: What’s the STARTING pay, is there a different standard for regional newhires
A: (RAA) compensation and safety are not related, and the NTSB has never cited pay. The pay is competitive. The training is up to standards.
Q: does it make sense for pilots to commute (Colgan example)
A: (ALPA) As long as bases are opened and closed, the need to commute will continue
Q: There are different levels of experience though
A: (ALPA) Yes
Q: Is pilot record recording good
A: (ALPA) it can be better
Q: Is there a different level of safety in the regionals
A: (ALPA) 1 level of standard, 2 levels of safety
A: (ATA) mainline exceeds the standard more consistently
Q: Congress has asked the airlines to show up for this, but they didn’t show
A: (RAA) airlines will show, just name them and they will show
Q: What can congress do SPECIFICALLY to improve safety
A: (ATA) I made 7 specifics (FOQA, ASAP, AQP, enforce sterile cockpit by monitoring CVR, access to all of a pilots records from day 1, FAA standard needs to be enforced)
A: (RAA) We support ATA. In addition, Congress can mandate PRIA changes ASAP, and CVR needs to be looked @.
A: (ALPA) We’re talking bandaids with CVRs. Let’s look @ training and cost reductions which are leading to
Q: You object to random review of CVRs
A: (ALPA) I don’t, if done in an ASAP program. If it’s protected and used as safety data, ALPA’s on-board.
Q: I’m concened that CVR is a ‘bandaid to you. Is PRIA a bandaid too?
A: (ALPA) If we create a system where pilots go to the easy program to pass, rather than the harder program which fails pilots, which is a better program. Apples to Apples.
Q: Colgan families?
A: (CF) Commuting needs to change, pilots are tired when they commute.
Q: If pay is low, “almost minimum wage”, it requires a second job. As a consequence, the pilot is fatigued. How many times can a failure be allowed (3 strikes and you’re out?) Do simulators replicate emergencies?
A: (ALPA) Sims work well. @ most airlines, it is a 3 strikes and you’re out, it’s just not a formal policy. If you bust twice, you’re likely facing termination if you do it a 3rd time
Q: so this 5 failures for Colgan is an oddity
A: (ALPA) Apples to Apples. He met the standards of the FAA and the company.
Q: IS the standard the same for majors and regionals”
A: (RAA) Yes
Q: Would a major pay peanuts
A: (ATA) pay is based on experience and primarily collective bargaining.
Q: Is there a requirement for a regional CA to fly s certain amount
A: (ALPA) 23 years and 1500 TT. Time is relative, and is not a cure all.
A: (RAA) @ regionals, Average CA is 8500 TT, Average FO is 3000 TT
Q: how many regionals are in operation
A: (RAA) ‘Regional’ is a term of art. There are 31 RAA members, who carry 90% of the passengers
Q: How many are profitable?
A: (RAA) don’t know, but will get info
Q: Cost of ticket is determined by major?
A: (RAA) Yes
Q: How are ‘regionals’ paid?
A: Fee for departure. Some airlines have different business models
Q: Is revenue impacted by amount of passengers
A: (RAA) not really
Q: How many regionals have gone bankrupt
A: (RAA) 2 RAA members have gone out of business that I know of
Q: “Is the regional airline regarded as the training ground for pilots”? You move from regionals to mainline?
A: (ALPA) Yes. It’s not the safest system
Q: Averges mean nothing to me, Mr. Cohen (RAA guy). What would be the minimum salary a pilot could be hired @?
A: (RAA) I don’t know. The averages . . .
A: (ALPA) 16K-18K
Q: And commuting?
A: (ALPA) Yes.
Q: Can a pilot commute from the west coast and then fly immediately
A: (ALPA) Yes, but they can do this by flying the plane from the west coast too. Why is this not being looked @? Is it more restful to sit in coach for 4 hours or drive 2 hours to work?
Q: Can a regional hire a Florida pilot to fly a northern route with no ice training
A: (RAA) No. They’re trained for ice
A: (ALPA) I disagree. A southern pilot met the FAA mins, and they’re legal to fly in ice, even if they’ve never seen it
Q: We’re trying to do this on the cheap. Regionals are a training ground, and this is “very worrisome”, Mr. Cohen (RAA guy).
Q: Mr. Cohen (RAA), you’re on the hot seat. While you were testifying, I asked to get a copy of your last conference agenda. There’s no mention of safety on the agenda till the last day. That was over 3 months ago. IT seems important, no?
A: (RAA) RAA is to promote safety. The directors of safety for each airline meet with the FAA and NTSB during this time. It’s not a public meeting. They meet regularly. Congress, please come.
Q: Pay rates. Why don’t you even know the salary of a beginning pilot? Can you get me this info?
A: (RAA) Yes, I can do that.
Q: You say pay is not a factor in safety. I disagree. I don’t want my police and firemen to have second jobs as mayor. Pay creates quality. Do you honestly think that 22K is adequate for professional pilots?
A: (RAA) the pay @ RAA airlines is the result of CBAs.
Q: That’s NOT my question. Should there be a minimum pay?
A: (RAA) We have good people. We strongly support better training.
Q: Downtime and FAA minimum FT/DT. Are the mimimums too low, for traininig as well
A: (ATA) I think they’re appropriate. We want a science based study, like the ULH rules. We out to look @ commuting as part of the FT/DT process.
A: (RAA) Agree
A: (ALPA) Plenty of science already. Time to move forward and action
Q: Hotel re-imbursement. Will regionals do this?
A: (RAA) Company pays for hotel, and pays per diem while on duty. There’s no difference b/t major and regional
A: (ALPA) There IS a difference, and pilots are not getting enough rest
Q: Were the Colgan pilots given a place to rest
A: (ALPA) No, “without a doubt”
Q: Multiple legs lead to fatigued
A: (ALPA) there’s lots of ways to fatigue. 16 hour flights, 7 legs. Different fatigue, but same degredation.
A: (RAA) Fatigue is @ the top of RAA agenda. Let’s start testing for fatigue.
Q: I’ve read plenty of sleep studies. I don’t need all that. If pilots commute long distances and fly lots of legs, they’re tired. No study needed. FO in Colgan, are regional aircraft more susceptible to ice
A: (ALPA) Yes, turbo props and low altitudes. FO broke sterile, but she told us “Im not comfortable in ice” is valuable. Talking about ice below 10K is not a sterile violations
Q: What can we do to get better ice training
A: (RAA) Our trainining is robust. More training is always good
A: (CF) There is mentoring scheduling software available to pair experienced CA’s with new FOs. Regionals fly lots of TO’s and Landing. Where should the best skilled pilots be, sitting in cruise, or flying in ice and doing TO’s and Landings.
Q: MX. Regionals outsource it. How much is outsourced. What % is going to FAA certified stations?
A: (RAA) 100% is FAA certified. That’s the law. Regionals outsourced less MX overseas than mainline.
Q: I’m sure you’re aware that FAA certification for MX is not required?
A: (RAA) Heavy MX must be FAA certified. I’ll check though.
Q: Good. Why do we have certified repair stations if we’re not required to use them? I’m working on legislation right now on this. The FAA does not have good data on this. Same question, % of certified?
A: (ATA) I don’t have the info, but I’ll get it.
Q: While you’re @ it, get me the % that is outsourced to foreign repair stations too. There are plenty of foreign repair stations in India with no drug and alcohol testing, on the roles for terrorist activity, and we still use them.
A: (ATA) Will do.
Q: Just pulled the Colgan CVR. “I’ve never seen ice, I’ve never de-iced, etc.” What kind of ice training did this FO have if she says this? Time in sims. No stick pusher training, yet the plane has one. Is that a significant deficiency?
A: (ALPA) Every plane is different. Pilots should be trained to proficiency in each safety system. The cost is HUGE, so it comes down to $. Regionals look @ their pilots as “part time help”. Training has been shorted over the last 3 decades.
A: (RAA) Regional training is just as “robust” as mainline. In all my years since 1971, I’ve never seen training decisions made as a result of cost.
Q: Isn’t it likely you have less experience when the pilot is not experienced? The longer routes get the pilots with the most experience. Now all the spokes of a hub-and-spoke’ are commuter. It’s all about $. Do you really think there is 1 standard. ALPA says the enforcement is the issue.
A: (ATA) Mainline exceeds the FAA standard, with FOQA, ASAP, etc. Regionals don’t. That’s why ATA recommends these programs be required @ the regional level.
Q: It’s YOUR name on the side of the regionals. Why don’t the majors ALREADY require these @ the regionals?
A: (ATA) Congress and FAA decided not to have majors enforce rules. FAA should be the enforcer, not major carriers.
Q: Crew rest. I’ve been on plenty of planes where the pilots waste time on hotel transport, eating, etc.
A: (ALPA) Yes, the 8 hour rest needs to happen “behind the hotel door”.
---
I'm not a court reporter, and most of this is SEVERE paraphrasing, unless I put it in quotes ("").
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:23 AM
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Wow, the ALPA guy seriously smacked down the RAA guy. He seems like a corporate shill. Even the real corporate shill, the ATA guy, sounded much more reasonable and dedicated to safety than the RAA. I hope someone Utubes this!
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:34 AM
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For the record, the ALPA guy is Prater, the ATA guy is the head of ATA, and the RAA guy is, obviously, Roger Cohen, the President of the Regional Airline Association.

Big guns only @ this hearing.

I thought Prater (as our rep, whether you're ALPA or not) did well. Cohen, representing the RAA, essentially is forced to defend an indefensible position, given the record of safety @ regionals recently.

ATA also essentially admitted that the ULH rules are good. Makes me wonder why many of the ATA members are opposing them, as well as CAL ALPA (yes, this is my pet issue, CAL ALPA opposing the ULH rules DAL ALPA helped develop).
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:21 AM
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Looking for the transcripts. If someone finds it before me, or has the hearing posted on video, post here.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SebastianDesoto View Post
Looking for the transcripts. If someone finds it before me, or has the hearing posted on video, post here.
Somebody posted it in the thread in the Regional section: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by todd1200 View Post
Somebody posted it in the thread in the Regional section: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Hearing starts 18:50 into the video, FYI.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:58 AM
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Sniper,
Thanks for taking the time. Nice recap
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:09 AM
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Cohen was getting smacked around. I'm glad, because he's full of BS. I liked how he kept dancing around the pay question. And I'm seriously doubting his Average Starting pay. I don't know of ANY Regional CA that STARTS @ $72,000. He's full of it.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by johnso29 View Post
I'm seriously doubting his Average Starting pay. I don't know of ANY Regional CA that STARTS @ $72,000. He's full of it.
He was testifying about the average CA pay, not starting pay (CA's start as FO's 99.9% of the time, so . . .). He was asked to give starting pay, which he danced around, of course - and then got his 'we-we' smacked by a Senator.
He did the same thing when he testified about the average regional CA having 8500TT, average FO has 3000TT (seems WAY high to me, but . . .) We all know that's b/c the only CA's left @ the regionals now are 'lifers' (most of the 4K-6K guys are @ the bottom of mainline and cargo lists), and the FO's can't move up to CA b/c there's no growth today. What was it 2 years ago when most of the FO's were hired and the CA's were upgrading?

Total gross distortion of the issues, but that's what Cohen is paid to do, mislead and deceive.

Last edited by Sniper; 06-17-2009 at 11:24 AM. Reason: spelling (I know, look @ my previous post, it's full of errors!)
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