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Old 05-20-2009, 08:13 AM   #1  
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Default Hudson Crash FO's Letter to USA Today

Thoughts?

I don't know what Mr. Skiles did before working for USAir, but with all due respect it seems like he may be forgetting what life was like on a regional level. Of course he had greater experience when hired at USAir and of course both CA and FO had ATPs. While higher ATP mins and ATP Certs. required for all crewmembers sounds great, implementation would be difficult as gaining the experience pays worse than a regional by far! It seems to create a catch-22 that pay won't go up until experience increases and experience won't increase unless pay does.

Air travelers deserve highly experienced pilots in cockpits - Opinion - USATODAY.com

Air travelers deserve highly experienced pilots in cockpits

Jeff Skiles - Oregon, Wis.
As the co-pilot of the flight that landed in the Hudson River in January, I can speak to the fact that experience matters in my business ("Air safety is being outsourced to the lowest bidders," Letters, Friday).
Pilots and people in the airline industry have known for some time about the issues brought up by the commuter plane that crashed into the Buffalo area in February.

(Status of commuter flights: Regional airlines carry about one of every four passengers in the USA, according to the Regional Airline Association./ 2006 photo by Al Behrman, AP)

When I was hired at my airline 23 years ago, I had nearly the flying time of both the captain and the first officer of the Buffalo flight combined. That was the norm then. Because of dramatic reductions in compensation over the past 10 years, airline careers are no longer attractive to the best and the brightest. The race to find the applicant who will work for the minimum salary has brought about the pilot with the minimum of qualifications and experience.
The Federal Aviation Administration's requirements to hold a pilot certificate need to be dramatically increased to reflect the vast responsibilities of our profession. The minimum qualification level I suggest would require both pilots in the cockpit, not just the captain, to hold an airline transport pilot's license (ATP), as all pilots do at my airline.
Furthermore, there needs to be a significantly higher experience level than ATP minimum standards to act as a captain in a transport category aircraft. Airline flying is dramatically unforgiving of mistakes. American air travelers deserve experienced, qualified professionals at the controls of their next flight.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:16 AM   #2  
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Makes sense to me, I agree with Skiles.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:18 AM   #3  
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Agreed! Nice letter
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:22 AM   #4  
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I agree with the "why it's necessary" but anyone have any ideas on the "how to make it happen" part?
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:26 AM   #5  
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I agree, I also like the idea that a few people have put on here before that the COMM MULT rating should be harder.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:30 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yb23 View Post
Thoughts?

I don't know what Mr. Skiles did before working for USAir, but with all due respect it seems like he may be forgetting what life was like on a regional level. Of course he had greater experience when hired at USAir and of course both CA and FO had ATPs. While higher ATP mins and ATP Certs. required for all crewmembers sounds great, implementation would be difficult as gaining the experience pays worse than a regional by far!
Mr. Skiles,

THANK YOU!!

I think this is a FANTASTIC idea and have been championing the concept for a long, long time. I truly hope that it gains speed in wake of the tragedy.

YB23,

I don't think the earnings potential while gaining the experience to be employed by a regional is a factor on anyone's radar, only the experience.

Last edited by DeltaPaySoon; 05-20-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:33 AM   #7  
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People with that kind of flight time and experience probably wouldn't be caught dead applying to fly for a regional to make $23 an hour. With that kind of flight time, you can find a Part 135 gig that pays much more. What were regionals paying back when Mr. Skiles was flying for them? Was it much more? I thought the regionals always paid terrible wages. I completely agree with him, but he seems to point out that wages have decreased (which they have at the major level).

How to make it happen? It won't. The NTSB has no influence over the FAA and neither do pilots. These Part 121 and 135 companies lobby to the FAA to get their way just like special interest groups do with the government. Sadly, it will probably take more than this crash to make something happen. I sure hope not!
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:43 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yb23 View Post
Thoughts?

While higher ATP mins and ATP Certs. required for all crewmembers sounds great, implementation would be difficult as gaining the experience pays worse than a regional by far! It seems to create a catch-22 that pay won't go up until experience increases and experience won't increase unless pay does.
Gaining that experience paid FO Shaw more than Colgan did:

http://www.ntsb.gov/Dockets/Aviation...027/417485.pdf

"He reported her finances as stable with no changes other than the significant pay
decrease since she joined Colgan compared to her previous job as a flight instructor for
Sabena Airline Training School in Mesa, Arizona"
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:54 AM   #9  
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I agree with this letter. While I agree with it, I think the change needs to start at the flight schools. You shouldn't be able to leave a flight school as a student with less than 250 hours. 141 Training schools should have students graduating with near 500 hours. Then going on to instruct or whatever to get experience. Getting hired at an airline though should be closer to 2000 hours.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:56 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTSB link above
"Mr. Shaw described her (Jessica) as being head and shoulders above other first officers and even some captains."
Quote:
He (husband) is at peace that she performed flawlessly, as she always did. Her (Jessica) competency is without question.
Give me a break.
What's does a chip detector do again.. oh ya, it detects chips just like the name implies.
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