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Old 11-08-2006, 01:14 AM   #1
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Default Age 60/65 Compromise

Now that the election is over and it appears that the Democrats will control both the House and Senate, I think that it is safe to say that the legislation to change pilot retirement to age 65, in its current form, is dead. It is highly unlikely that an omnibus appropriations bill will be passed in the 109th and I don’t see HR 5576 slipping through the Senate with S 65 attached as an amendment. I would also say that if it is proposed as phrased in S 65/HR 65 in the 110th Congress, it’s also dead.

I want to be perfectly clear that I am opposed to any change in the current rule unless there will be no decrease in safety. In spite of my reservations, I think that a compromise position can be reached IF the pro-change crowd would alter the proposed change as outlined in S. 65/HR 65.

I suggest that the pro-change crowd push for the following change:
1) Change the rule from age 60 to 62 (minimum age to collect social security). After that has been in effect for 2 ½ years, increase retirement age by 6 months every year until reaching 67, the future full retirement age – we’re kidding ourselves if we think that this change will stop at 65. This proposal would allow those who are financially unable to retire at age 60 to immediately collect social security after retirement at age 62. It also allows for a smoother transition to increased retirement age (slows down movement but doesn’t kill movement) and allows the FAA to stop any increase if they feel that safety is being compromised.
2) No over 60 pilot may act as Pilot in Command. Since there has to be one pilot below the age of 60, it only makes sense that this pilot is the Pilot in Command.
3) Increase medical standards and enforcement of those standards for all pilots, not just over 60 pilots.
4) All over 60 pilots retain their seniority within the company.
5) Restrict all over 60 pilots from flying more than 75 hours per month.

I oppose changing the retirement age because I think that we will be compromising safety. No one can logically deny that, as we age, our physical and cognitive abilities decline. I will also state that age alone is a poor criterion to use in order to decide who has the physical and cognitive abilities to fly commercial aircraft; everyone ages at differing rates. I have looked for but have not found any way to inexpensively or easily test one’s physical and cognitive abilities. While the use of a specific age is a poor measurement within individuals, it is a valid measurement within groups of people. Until a better method of measuring physical and cognitive abilities is devised, an age criterion is the best method that we have to ensure safe operation of commercial aircraft.

An issue that is avoided in most discussions is the economic impact of a change. If the law changes, there will be some winners and many losers. This will not be a positive sum game nor will it be a zero sum game; it is a negative sum game for pilots. The reason that I say this is because pilots’ compensation packages are based on the fact that we retire at age 60. If we (pilots) retire at a later date, there is less reason for our employer to provide a retirement package that will support us until we are eligible for Social Security and Medicare. The fact that the number of active pilots would increase due to an age change will also cause downward pressure on wages – this is Econ 101, supply and demand. I have not crunched any numbers, but I suspect that any pilot under the age of 50 when a change takes place will have lower total career earnings than he would have had without a change in the law in spite of working an additional five years. Make no mistake about it – any change in pilot retirement age will have a negative financial impact on pilots as a group. But the economic aspect of any change should not be a consideration; it is the safety aspect of any change that needs to be addressed.

With the change of power in Washington, it is highly unlikely that there will be any change in pilot retirement age with the 110th Congress. While this issue is front and center for commercial pilots, it is not even on Washington’s radar screen. And don’t hold your breath waiting for the FAA to make a regulatory change. For those that desire to change retirement age, it would be prudent to reassess their position and approach any change from a different angle. If the pro-change crowd tries to have the law change to 65 in one fell swoop and try to retain their position as Pilot in Command, they will face a very tough uphill battle to get a change passed. It may happen eventually, but it is much likelier to happen if they are willing to stake out a compromise position.

Last edited by Andy; 11-08-2006 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Andy View Post
Now that the election is over and it appears that the Democrats will control both the House and Senate, I think that it is safe to say that the legislation to change pilot retirement to age 65, in its current form, is dead. It is highly unlikely that an omnibus appropriations bill will be passed in the 109th and I don’t see HR 5576 slipping through the Senate with S 65 attached as an amendment. I would also say that if it is proposed as phrased in S 65/HR 65 in the 110th Congress, it’s also dead.

I want to be perfectly clear that I am opposed to any change in the current rule unless there will be no decrease in safety. In spite of my reservations, I think that a compromise position can be reached IF the pro-change crowd would alter the proposed change as outlined in S. 65/HR 65.

I suggest that the pro-change crowd push for the following change:
1) Change the rule from age 60 to 62 (minimum age to collect social security). After that has been in effect for 2 ½ years, increase retirement age by 6 months every year until reaching 67, the future full retirement age – we’re kidding ourselves if we think that this change will stop at 65. This proposal would allow those who are financially unable to retire at age 60 to immediately collect social security after retirement at age 62. It also allows for a smoother transition to increased retirement age (slows down movement but doesn’t kill movement) and allows the FAA to stop any increase if they feel that safety is being compromised.
2) No over 60 pilot may act as Pilot in Command. Since there has to be one pilot below the age of 60, it only makes sense that this pilot is the Pilot in Command.
3) Increase medical standards and enforcement of those standards for all pilots, not just over 60 pilots.
4) All over 60 pilots retain their seniority within the company.
5) Restrict all over 60 pilots from flying more than 75 hours per month.

I oppose changing the retirement age because I think that we will be compromising safety. No one can logically deny that, as we age, our physical and cognitive abilities decline. I will also state that age alone is a poor criterion to use in order to decide who has the physical and cognitive abilities to fly commercial aircraft; everyone ages at differing rates. I have looked for but have not found any way to inexpensively or easily test one’s physical and cognitive abilities. While the use of a specific age is a poor measurement within individuals, it is a valid measurement within groups of people. Until a better method of measuring physical and cognitive abilities is devised, an age criterion is the best method that we have to ensure safe operation of commercial aircraft.

An issue that is avoided in most discussions is the economic impact of a change. If the law changes, there will be some winners and many losers. This will not be a positive sum game nor will it be a zero sum game; it is a negative sum game for pilots. The reason that I say this is because pilots’ compensation packages are based on the fact that we retire at age 60. If we (pilots) retire at a later date, there is less reason for our employer to provide a retirement package that will support us until we are eligible for Social Security and Medicare. The fact that the number of active pilots would increase due to an age change will also cause downward pressure on wages – this is Econ 101, supply and demand. I have not crunched any numbers, but I suspect that any pilot under the age of 50 when a change takes place will have lower total career earnings than he would have had without a change in the law in spite of working an additional five years. Make no mistake about it – any change in pilot retirement age will have a negative financial impact on pilots as a group. But the economic aspect of any change should not be a consideration; it is the safety aspect of any change that needs to be addressed.

With the change of power in Washington, it is highly unlikely that there will be any change in pilot retirement age with the 110th Congress. While this issue is front and center for commercial pilots, it is not even on Washington’s radar screen. And don’t hold your breath waiting for the FAA to make a regulatory change. For those that desire to change retirement age, it would be prudent to reassess their position and approach any change from a different angle. If the pro-change crowd tries to have the law change to 65 in one fell swoop and try to retain their position as Pilot in Command, they will face a very tough uphill battle to get a change passed. It may happen eventually, but it is much likelier to happen if they are willing to stake out a compromise position.
Nuts Give it a few weeks
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Old 11-08-2006, 04:31 AM   #3
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Andy,

I do wonder if you ever get any sleep! Especially on the age 60 issue you must have some sleepless nights.

In reference to your "compromise" it would seem very beneficial to me since I am 47. However, your safety argument is once again trumped by the age discrimination issue. Continuing to make pilots retire when they have the abilities to remain employed is just plain wrong. It is interesting that this compromise would seem to give you at 45 all the advantages and none of the risks.
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Old 11-08-2006, 05:24 AM   #4
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I'll say it again, this wouldn't be an argument if the legacies hadn't shelved their own pensions. We'd all be skipping down the yellow brick road hand in hand with Toto and retire quite peacefully.

The ONLY reason this issue is an issue at all is for the above. OV has made it abundantly clear that he will only push for something that directly benefits him. He and others hide behind the word "discrimination" when the only thing coming out of their mouths are $$$ signs.

Democrats in power=status quo. I'm not a raging Democrat fan but am glad to see this thing put to bed. 60 was good enough when you and I upgraded, its also good enough for our future Captains as well.

To those of you who have lost all or part of your pensions, (and trust me I'm one of them), I'm sorry. I have a plan "B" in case Continental reneges on the the pitifull pension they keep pulling out from under me.

Last edited by 757Driver; 11-08-2006 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:30 AM   #5
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2) No over 60 pilot may act as Pilot in Command. Since there has to be one pilot below the age of 60, it only makes sense that this pilot is the Pilot in Command.
I'd be willing to bet that many of the older pro 65 guys would rather retire at 60 than go back to being an FO.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:38 AM   #6
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Andy,

I do wonder if you ever get any sleep! Especially on the age 60 issue you must have some sleepless nights.

In reference to your "compromise" it would seem very beneficial to me since I am 47. However, your safety argument is once again trumped by the age discrimination issue. Continuing to make pilots retire when they have the abilities to remain employed is just plain wrong. It is interesting that this compromise would seem to give you at 45 all the advantages and none of the risks.
No, I don't sleep much. I have multiple projects that I constantly juggle; they involve work, pleasure and family life. No big thing; once you adjust it's pretty easy.
This particular issue does not keep me awake at night; it is merely a hobby.
Now that I log over 100K miles/yr as an airline passenger, I definitely do not want someone over 60 in charge of any aircraft where I'm on board.

The problem is, many age 60 pilots are on the verge of losing their abilities to remain employed. Unfortunately, our current system does not do a good job of screening this out - not the annual checkrides and certainly our current class I physicals.

I see that you wish to make it sound like this compromise would be my wet dream. Wrong. If certain opportunities present themselves, I will quit (retire) United shortly after returning from military leave of absence. I have acquired skills other than simply operating expensive pieces of heavy equipment. (With the way that things are going, bulldozer operators will make more money than 757 Captains). Even if I were to remain at United, I plan on moving to Mexico, Belize, or some other central/south American country with my wife after retirement; the cost of living is low so my savings will be more than enough to live on. By the way, since you're keeping score, I turn 46 in 11 days - I have no veiled agenda here; I am completely open as to my entire background.

I posted this as an olive branch in trying to find a middle ground on this highly divisive issue. I will not be championing a change - not now, not in 5 years, not in 10 years, not ever.
And if you think that the rest of the country is concerned about pilots' mandatory retirement age of 60, I'd suggest that you put down the crack pipe. The general public doesn't care. There are far bigger issues that concern them; they aren't shedding any tears for 'those highly paid' pilots.

Now, back to lunch at my desk.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:39 AM   #7
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I'd be willing to bet that many of the older pro 65 guys would rather retire at 60 than go back to being an FO.
Then it would be more about ego and less about enjoying the job, discrimination or money ... and I wouldn't bet against you on that one.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:54 AM   #8
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Unfortunately, Andy has no authority to broker compromise. I will bet that S.65 will pass in it’s current form, attached to the appropriations Bill, H.R. 5576.

When the U.S. Congress is back in session, it will be busy with Appropriations Bills until the end of this year. Time is running out for bills S.65 and H.R.65 that would amend the FAA’s “Age 60 Rule” extending the retirement age for airline pilots to age 65. It now looks unlikely that these “Age 60 Rule” bills, standing alone will be passed by this 109th Congress. The stand alone Senate Bill S.65 has been on the Senate General Orders Calendar since 30 March 2006, awaiting a chance to be voted upon. We know that there at least 60 Senators would vote in favor of this bill if only it could only come to a vote, but it probably wont, thanks to the "Do-Nothing 109th Congress. Because S.65 by itself now has little hope of being passed before the end of the 109th Congress, this bill amending the "Age 60" rule has thus been attached to an Appropriations Bill as a vehicle to pass it along with essential bills which are needed to fund the Federal Government.

The House of Representatives passed H.R.5576 on 14 June 2006 by 406 Yea Votes and 22 Nay Votes (Roll no. 286). Then on 26 July 2006 Bill H.R.5576(RS) as Reported in Senate would make appropriations and direct administrative provisions for the Departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, and independent agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007. Bill H.R.5576(RS) was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute with Senate Report Number 109-293. The latest major action on H.R 5576 occurred on 26 August 2006 when it was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders Calendar No. 535. One of the amendments that the Senate Appropriations Committee made to Bill H.R.5576(RS) was the inclusion of an Administrative Provision for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Sec. 114, requiring the FAA to extend it's current age 60 retirement rule for airline pilots to age 65. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved Section 114 and so it remains attached to the appropriations bill Bill H.R.5576(RS). No opposition to Section 114 has surfaced. So now the entire amended bill Bill H.R.5576(RS) goes to the full Senate floor for a vote. There is a good chance that the amended Appropriations Bill H.R.5576(RS) will be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bush before the end of the year 2006 and along with it the FAA’s Administrative Provision, Section 114, extending the mandatory retirement age of Part 121 pilots to age 65.


This is what says SEC 114 says: AGE OF PILOTS. (a) Modification of FAA's Age-60 Rule- Within 30 days after the effective date of action taken by the International Civil Aviation Organization to amend Annex 1 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation to modify the international standard and recommended practice for Member State curtailment of pilot privileges by reason of age, as agreed and recommended by Air Navigation Commission at the 10th meeting of its 167th session, following its review of the recommendations of the Flight Crew Licensing and Training Panel Working Group A's report AN-WP/7982, the Secretary of Transportation shall modify section 121.383(c) of the Federal Aviation Administration regulations (14 CFR 121.383(c)) to be consistent with the amended standard or recommended practice--
(1) to provide that a pilot who has attained 60 years of age may serve as a pilot of an aircraft operated by an air carrier engaged in operations under 10 part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, until having attained 65 years of age on the condition that such pilot may so serve only--
(A) as a required pilot in multi-crew aircraft operations; and
(B) when another pilot serving as a required pilot in such multi-crew aircraft operations has not yet attained 60 years of age; and
(2) to eliminate the prohibition against an air carrier engaged in such operations from using the services of a pilot who has attained 60 years of age.
(b) APPLICABILITY- The modification of the Federal Aviation Administration regulations under subsection (a) shall not provide the basis for a claim of seniority under any labor agreement in effect between a recognized bargaining unit for pilots and an air carrier engaged in operations under part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, made by any pilot seeking reemployment by such air carrier following the pilot's previous termination or cessation of employment as required by section 121.323(c), title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as that section was in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
(c) GAO Report After Modification of Age-60 Rule- Within 24 months after the date on which the Secretary of Transportation modifies the Federal Aviation Administration regulations under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure concerning the effect, if any, of the modification on aviation safety.

When passed by Congress, the FAA’s Section 114 of Bill H.R.5576(RS) would override any rule change protocol that the FAA would normally follow to change the current Part 121, Section 121.383(c) and make it law. The new law for FAR Part 121 pilots extending their mandatory retirement from age 60 to age 65 would become effective within 30 days after the date of action taken by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO is expected to make that change effective on 23 November 2006. United States airline pilots could then be allowed to fly up to age 65 before the end of this year, 2006.

If we all did some research, we would find that similar legislation is almost always attached to appropriations bills. There is a general agreement that appropriators should not "legislate" as that is the job of the legislators. However, it is very common especially in the present legislative environment that the Congress now finds itself in that the only Congressional business having a chance of being completed this late in the game are attached to appropriations bills. Certainly this is not the preferred way of “skinning the cat” but I do not think that you can find an appropriations bill in the last 20 years of appropriation bills that did not pass without some policy legislation attached to it.

Extending the retirement age for airline pilots to age 65 is a provision that is germane in terms of jurisdiction and saves the federal government lots of money and thus is likely to pass the “sniff test”. However, it could possibly be objected by a Senator with pockets stuffed with ALPA and APA money motivating him/her to demand a point of order under Senate Rule 16. If a such a Senator makes a point of order on Rule 16, then it would have to then get 51 Senators voting against the point of order to keep the provision in the bill. Since most will agree that there are at lest 60 and possibly 70 Senators who have said that they would vote in favor of S.65, the point of order would very likely be put down. The Senate Rule 16 would likely not even happen because again the experts would agree that the appropriators and the authorizers did agree in conference that it should stay attached to H.R.5576. So the provision would probably not be subject to such a point of order vote. The real motivation going around among Senators, is that going to age 65 for airline pilots could save the government billions a year and thus the appropriation vehicles may be the only flights departing on time before the end of the 109th Congress.

The Bottom line for Andy, NO COMPROMISE!
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:28 AM   #9
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.......................Extending the retirement age for airline pilots to age 65 is a provision that is germane in terms of jurisdiction and saves the federal government lots of money and thus is likely to pass the “sniff test”. However, it could possibly be objected by a Senator with pockets stuffed with ALPA and APA money motivating him/her to demand a point of order under Senate Rule 16. If a such a Senator makes a point of order on Rule 16, then it would have to then get 51 Senators voting against the point of order to keep the provision in the bill. Since most will agree that there are at lest 60 and possibly 70 Senators who have said that they would vote in favor of S.65, the point of order would very likely be put down.
NO COMPROMISE!
OV1D I susppose there are no Senators or Congressman whose pockets are being stuffed with cash from Lobbyists hired by the BIG corporoations??

Please..................Hey by the way, do you know where Former Congressman Duke Cunningham (Rep CA) is these days? What was the name of that Republican guy from Texas who resigned because he was up on Fraud and corruption charges....Tom Delay I think??

Ever hear the name Jack Abramoff ?.......who did he work for again???

Sure ALPA lobbies congress.........but they hardly have the cash that the BIG corporations do. I for one thank GOD everyday that us Professional Pilots have an organization like ALPA (faults and all) looking out for Pilot issues on the hill. Without them we would be mere truck drivers.
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:45 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=OV1D;78432 When passed by Congress, the FAA’s Section 114 of Bill H.R.5576(RS) would override any rule change protocol that the FAA would normally follow to change the current Part 121, Section 121.383(c) and make it law. [/QUOTE]

Provided the courts don't overturn the law. Remember checks and balances? As reflected in your previous posts, you are only looking out for yourself. The rules got changed on you so now you want to change the rules on everyone else. I guess when you don't have a life or family that wants you around, work is all that's left.
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