PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - ?thank you 60 minutes. do we agree with this?
Old 10th Mar 2010, 18:03
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: North America
Age: 60
Posts: 364
The amazing double edged sword of aviation that I would love to unleash elsewhere....

I watched the MSN video link and read through some of the posts and the related discussion that ran at the time of this event. Here are a few ancillary things to point out to the “spotter’s balcony”.

Thousands of aviation regulations are in place. However, an operator/airline can apply for an “exemptions” a license not to comply with the regulation. If an operator can justify not complying with a rule they can petition to be exempted from that rule, if the reasons are good enough the petition is granted. Sruprised?

Virtually everything this crew and company did in relation to this flight will be brought out in the open and analyzed in detail; just as it should be.

As pilots, and a condition to continued employment, we have to certify medically every six months (Captains). If we do not pass the medical examination we are finished flying. Our backgrounds are reviewed by the medical and civil/federal authorities and any hint of substance abuse/addiction or trouble with the law (driving while intoxicated or other anti-social behavior) will result in the removal of authority to fly. Our blood and urine is analyzed, and breathalyzer exams administered-often randomly while at work.

On the job every word uttered is recorded as is every radio transmission, once by the jet and then again by the controlling air traffic facility. My phone conversations with the company flight operations center are all recorded. On the aircraft itself Flight Data Recorders (FDR) document sometimes hundreds of parameters simultaneously; virtually every switch, lever or pedal I move is digitally inscribed in memory with exhaustive detail.

As pilots we will be randomly inspected and our work directly observed, sometimes several times a year by, by government aviation inspectors and company designated examiners (Ramp & Line Checks). Each year, during annual recurrent training (for me this is 5 days), we are expected to demonstrate our flying ability under normal, abnormal and emergency conditions. We must be familiar with changing policies & regulations and possess a thorough mechanical knowledge of the airplanes we fly, the regulations we operate under and the policies commanded by the company along with all the changes therein. You could think of this in terms of sitting for (defending) your PHD, MD, Certified Public Accountant or other professional license exams each year, every year, throughout your working professional life.

I don’t complain one iota regarding the exhaustive oversight I work under. Other than astronauts and a few specialized instances in the military, your commercial airline pilots are likely the most scrutinized, observed and regulated working population on the planet; exactly as it should be.

When this accident investigation is complete the facts will be laid bare; the good, bad and ugly in a way that is unique to aviation. The passengers involved, the public and media will have access to virtually all the unadulterated evidence.

How I wish I could unleash the same level of transparency, accountability and public scrutiny along with the identical threat of jeopardy (we pilots face) on every elected members of my government, the Judiciary, the Law Profession and every Federal/Civil/State/County/Municipality/Public Works or City employee I am required to work with. What a different world this would be.

Last edited by Northbeach; 11th Mar 2010 at 05:44.
Northbeach is offline