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Old 10-26-2010, 10:33 AM   #1  
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Default NTSB urges investigation into regional roles

Federal regulators should review the role played by regional airlines that carry travelers for major carriers, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said.
The link between airlines such as Comair and Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. and carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. “can be confusing,” Deborah Hersman said at a hearing in Washington today. “We need to know more, and the public needs to know more.”
Safety practices at regional carriers, which account for about half of all scheduled U.S. passenger flights, have drawn scrutiny after incidents such as the crash of a Pinnacle Airlines Corp. Colgan flight last year near Buffalo, New York, that killed 50 people.
Colgan operated the flight on behalf of Continental Airlines. Passengers may check in at a major carrier’s ticket counter and see that airline’s name on the plane, only to learn after boarding that it’s being flown by a regional carrier, Hersman said.
The NTSB is holding the two-day hearing to learn what the airline industry and regulators are doing to ensure “all carriers” are held to high safety standards, Hersman said.
Regional carriers have been involved in the last six commercial airline accidents with fatalities on board, the Transportation Department’s inspector general, Calvin Scovel, said in testimony in June 2009.
Pilot Errors
The NTSB said in February that Captain Marvin Renslow of Colgan caused his plane to crash near Buffalo by incorrectly responding to a cockpit stall warning. He died along with everyone on board, plus one person on the ground.
In addition to the Colgan accident, a regional jet flown by Delta’s Comair unit crashed in 2006 in Lexington, Kentucky, killing 49. The pilots erred in choosing a runway too short for a safe takeoff, the NTSB concluded.
A Corporate Airlines flight, on behalf of AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, crashed in 2004 and killed 13 people in Kirksville, Missouri, after pilots didn’t follow procedures and flew too low into trees, according to the NTSB.
Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, presented survey results at today’s hearing showing two-thirds of corporate travel managers say fliers say there are safety differences between large airlines and smaller partners.
About eight in 10 of those fliers avoid turboprop aircraft, according to Mitchell, whose group is based in Radnor, Pennsylvania. He said he surveyed 212 travel managers, agents and other professionals between Oct. 14 and 22.
“A majority of corporations indicate that they would be willing to pay much higher airfares in return for higher safety standards at the regional airlines,” Mitchell said in his survey findings.
To contact the reporter on this story: John Hughes in Washington at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at [email protected].
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:45 AM   #2  
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Man, screw regionals. I'm going to go fly for a major airline.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:59 AM   #3  
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“A majority of corporations indicate that they would be willing to pay much higher airfares in return for higher safety standards at the regional airlines,” Mitchell said in his survey findings.

Somehow I don't believe it . Why would anyone even want to fly for the regionals, it's so unsafe .
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:03 PM   #4  
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Hey don't shoot the messenger. I'm with you. There's no way anybody wants to pay more at anytime for anything. There was a brief (three minute) hysteria after the Colgan crash, but it was quickly forgotten. In the world of sub-contracting, cheap always wins over a higher priced product. And in the regional airline environment, regardless of what Roger Cohen thinks or says, it has been on the backs of the front line workers.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:46 PM   #5  
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ok...now i guess is a good time to ask this. first lemme preface my question by saying im only a dumb sh-t regional pilot...but can someone smarter than me please clarify why i keep hearing and reading since 3407 how regionals and mainline operate on two different sets of rules...arent all flights conducted under FAR Part 121? arent all pilots trained and tested to ATP standards? what am i missing? which rules are different?
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #6  
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which rules are different?
The rule of common sense. Majors don't hire 250 hour wonders from ___ or ____. Skills learned to pass a SIC type ride may not be the same as several hundred hours of single pilot PIC time trying to survive hauling night freight, charter, or ____.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:54 PM   #7  
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ok...now i guess is a good time to ask this. first lemme preface my question by saying im only a dumb sh-t regional pilot...but can someone smarter than me please clarify why i keep hearing and reading since 3407 how regionals and mainline operate on two different sets of rules...arent all flights conducted under FAR Part 121? arent all pilots trained and tested to ATP standards? what am i missing? which rules are different?
Whenever the regionals hire people with an ATP, then you can make your claim that all pilots are trained and tested to ATP standards.

-- break -- break --

OK, I'm admittedly anti-regional when it comes to outsourcing jobs and ruining this profession. That's not the same thing as saying that I think all regional pilots are inferior to us high and mighty mainline pilots. Here's what I believe to be "facts" of this industry:
1. The public will always search for the cheapest ticket, regardless of service, amenities, or safety.
2. Management will always strive to cut costs and provide the cheapest ticket, regardless of service, amenities, training, or safety.
3. Pilots are expected to act as cost shock absorbers whenever fuel price increases or demand decreases.
4. Pilots are their own worst enemies. Thousands of pilots entered this industry thinking that "they" would be the ones that would be able to upgrade to an RJ captain in a year or 2, then get hired by a major in another year or 2. By doing so for the past 10 years, they contributed towards a downward trend of pilot pay. No one single pilot can be blamed, yet the collective actions illustrate the age-old "tragedy of the commons."
5. ALPA can't represent both RJ and mainline groups, but stupid mainline pilots like me and stupid regional pilots like you haven't been willing or able to make ALPA do anything other than improve the lifestyle of ALPA employees.

OK, rant over, flame away.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:14 PM   #8  
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Methinks Ms. Hersman simply likes to hear herself talk.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:01 PM   #9  
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Let me play Devil's Advocate here for a minute.
Are the Regionals as safe as a Mainline Carrier?
If yes, then why should there be any changes to the current system? There are thousands of resumes sitting in every Flight departments office right now. If all of these pilots are as well trained, qualified, etc... and cost half as much while still resulting in being as safe as the Mainline, why change anything?
If the answer is no, then you have a valid economic reason to change the conditions that would attract better and more qualified pilots. Experienced pilots would become more valuable as a hard to replace commodity.
These companies are not going to give you more money, time off, etc... out of the kindness of their hearts. And you can negotiate until you are blue in the face without seeing any real improvements to your QOL if the company knows they can replace you at will with someone who will cost them much less and do the same job. They need to value your experience. The trick is to get them to place a premium on your experience.
For example: Should you find yourself in legal trouble; do you shop for the cheapest attorney available or do you look for one with the most and best experience to get yourself out of trouble? You could hire someone that passed the bar yesterday or you could search for someone who has experience in the nature of problem you are encountering.
I would choose someone with a proven track record. In Law this is measured by years practicing, personal recommendations and win/loss record.
It is true that in our profession, you can create a superior pilot through training alone. And yes, the Navy/Air Force put relatively low time people in extremely high performance aircraft very safely. But currently I know of no civilian flight training available that matches the level of intensity of military training due primarily to cost. So for arguments sake, lets drop that comparison, it is apples to oranges.
I believe the question is "How do you get companies to value your experience and by what yardstick will you measure experience?"
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:59 PM   #10  
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The rule of common sense. Majors don't hire 250 hour wonders from ___ or ____. Skills learned to pass a SIC type ride may not be the same as several hundred hours of single pilot PIC time trying to survive hauling night freight, charter, or ____.

Why don't you go find a female united pilot hired in the late 80's early 90's and ask her how many hours she had when she started. Then re-post your thoughts.
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