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Old 06-16-2010, 09:02 AM   #1  
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Default American Airlines FA replaces FO

(CNN) -- A flight attendant with a pilot's license ditched her normal duties and stepped in for a sick copilot of an American Airlines flight before the plane landed in Chicago, Illinois, airline officials said.
The first officer had become sick with "flulike" symptoms Monday, according to Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American Airlines. "He went back into the passenger cabin," he said. "That's when the captain began to solicit help from any passengers with a pilot's license."
One of the five flight attendants on board flight 1612 from San Francisco, California, told the captain that she is a commercial pilot, and she immediately took over the first officer's responsibilities, Wagner said.
The Chicago Tribune identified the flight attendant as Patti DeLuna, 61. American Airlines confirmed that DeLuna was the flight attendant who assisted Captain Jim Hunter with the landing.
"I was the best available [backup pilot] they had on the plane," DeLuna told the Tribune. "I spent a lot of time in the cockpit looking at the flight deck and asking questions. My first question to the captain was, 'Where are the brakes?'"
DeLuna received a commercial pilot's certificate in 1970. Her experience, about 300 flight hours, involved piloting a small Cessna, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely. The flight's purser also had piloting experience, but the pilot selected DeLuna as the best candidate to assist.
"I felt terrible for the first officer," DeLuna told the Chicago Tribune. "But I was so excited. It was way more fun than serving meals from the galley."
DeLuna assisted Hunter, who has worked for American Airlines since 1977, with the landing checklist, Huguely said.
The plane, carrying 225 passengers and seven crew members, landed safely at O'Hare International Airport at 4:24 p.m. Monday.
"One pilot is fully capable of flying a 767. It's very sophisticated, it's equipped with an array of computers," Huguely said. "However, there's plenty of work for two pilots to do, especially when it's descending into a crowded airspace like O'Hare."
The first officer, who is based in Chicago, was immediately taken to the hospital by paramedics waiting on the ground. He was treated and released and was resting Tuesday, Wagner said.
"The entire incident was handled very well on all accounts," Wagner said.
DeLuna has been a flight attendant for 32 years, with more than 14 years experience with American Airlines. She is based in San Francisco, and the captain in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:11 AM   #2  
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Did she get double pay for the trip (FA+FO)?
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:22 AM   #3  
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The bigger question is "Did she get a senority number and is she in front of or behind the TWA and Egle guys?" Does she get DOH?

So easy, even a flight attandent can do it.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:39 AM   #4  
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Patti Deluna isn't in the FAA database with a pilot's license or commercial rating. Is this PR from AA?
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:32 AM   #5  
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Default Commercial-rated F/A

Flight attendant helps pilot land plane - Chicago Breaking News
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:49 AM   #6  
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Yep, lots of them are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. I know of a few FA's that have Phd's and whatnot. We also have a few that were FA's went to the regionals and now are pilots. Now that is motivation. If they every hire again, I bet they hire her!
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:05 PM   #7  
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Originally Posted by bleedairpacks View Post
Patti Deluna isn't in the FAA database with a pilot's license or commercial rating. Is this PR from AA?
The database only has pilots with active medicals. If she hasn't had a medical in a while (ie, she's not actively flying on the side) she wouldn't show up.

Doesn't mean she doesn't have a pilot's license.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:13 PM   #8  
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Am I the only pilot that would not bring up an ordinary passenger if the captain gets sick? Call me paranoid, but unless it's a jumpseater with an airline I.D. or a flight attendant, I believe it's a security risk. I'm perfectly capable of flying an Airbus by myself.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:18 PM   #9  
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Default Opting Out

Originally Posted by bleedairpacks View Post
Patti Deluna isn't in the FAA database with a pilot's license or commercial rating. Is this PR from AA?
I thought one could opt out of having their FAA info publicly available?
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:43 PM   #10  
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Default Name Change

She may have had a name change since getting her last rating, and may not have updated the information.
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