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United flight canceled after upset pilot refuses to fly

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United flight canceled after upset pilot refuses to fly

Old 21st Jun 2008, 23:28
  #41 (permalink)  
airfoilmod
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PA and BeachBum

Ops is subject to all manner of human foibles; the foibles will out. The decision not to fly ranks with dozens if not hundreds of similarly mystifying corporate calls on the other side of the jetway. This will unfold. If I hear anything juicy I'll fill you in. It wasn't a Hat.
 
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:05
  #42 (permalink)  
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airfoilmod;
I remember three as well and was the third for a short while - couldn't believe they'd get rid of a 3rd set of eyes, not for airplanes outside for the two guys up front... Today, the RP is worth his/her weight in gold.

Re your remark to River City,
If you "go with knowing when to fly" and "knowing when to step aside and cool down" you'd be a fine pilot.
Exactly...brochures tell everyone it takes only a few hours to learn how to fly....it's learning when not to that takes a lifetime...

It wasn't a Hat.
Of that, I have no doubt. Standing by...


PA-28-161:
Although this pilot seems like a hero to many of you, quitting a flight minutes before it is scheduled to depart full of paying customers is very bad form. In any other industry histrionics like this would result in immediate termination. Either he's an emotional basket case or he's playing some sort of game.
If you're a working, professional pilot, I hope you carefully re-examine your priorities and hone your risk management skills for your, and your passengers' safety.

It is understood by every pilot who chooses the profession that some employers, all well known, will fire pilots for the slightest reason including what you describe as "histrionics" and what a true aviator would describe as an appropriate command decision. If that is the case with your employer, you need to document the issues, take them to the regulator and find another employer.

We have a case in Canada where the employer was known to pressure his pilots until amid complex circumstances as is always the case in an accident, one ran out of fuel, killed people and was eventually criminally prosecuted for his decision-making.

If you're management and you treat your organization's pilots this way, an accident is, for your organization, inevitable.

If you're not yet flying commercially (as perhaps indicated by your handle), read this thread and others on flight safety and SMS carefully and take them to heart if you want to enter the profession and stay alive.

BTW, even if you're not in aviation and an interested observer, learn that the same decision-making priorities apply in all of life and not just in the cockpit. It's what tells others who has cajones and who hasn't, who is to be reckoned with and who isn't.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:14
  #43 (permalink)  
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Airline A

Enters bankruptcy, dissolves pensions, emerges with most wages cut 30 per cent, tries two half hearted consolidations, decides to eliminate 100's of A/C (including crew and support), then thinks it would be a wonderful idea to start a 130 MILLION dollar "benefits and incentives" fund for management. The Union fights back by encouraging flight crew to not wear hats. Does anything I've reported sound familiar?

Airfoil, let the discussion begin.
 
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:36
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

PJ2: Quite a bit of speculation about my role in aviation, all of which are wrong, but your comments are well received. I agree that there's much more to this story than we know.

However, I would like to respectfully add, playing the "The Lives Of Hundreds Of People Rest On My Shoulders" trump card does get a bit tedious. Yeah, we get it, safely piloting an aircraft full of people is indeed a great responsibility, but the notion that we are never allowed to question a pilot's decisions is absolutely wrong.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:47
  #45 (permalink)  
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Questioning anything is great fun, I encourage it. Value judgments flow from decisions that get questioned. Nobody is giving the Pilot a pass. For the fourth time, a command decision. People who don't understand the concept are questioning the concept. Commanders live with their decisions. How ridiculous to obliquely and unwittingly slag the principle because it was actioned by a Human whose judgment you question.

You fly a Piper. Does command rest with you? Whose command was UAL ? PA, read above for background. Post #44
 
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:51
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Airfoil: I think we are in complete agreement.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:55
  #47 (permalink)  
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Thanks PA. Me, I like a high wing. (just kidding)

Regards, Airfoil
 
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 01:08
  #48 (permalink)  
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PA;
Quite a bit of speculation about my role in aviation, all of which are wrong, but your comments are well received. I agree that there's much more to this story than we know.
Thanks... Yes, the story will be interesting. Sorry, don't mean to appear to "lecture", passion notwithstanding...

Last edited by PJ2; 22nd Jun 2008 at 06:27.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 01:15
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Hats off to the guy/gal that was too stress to fly!!
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 01:28
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PA28-161 ..... says it all really. Piper Cherokee !

I employ pilots and thank them for making the difficult decisions. Upset passengers are far easier to deal with than dead ones. Much much easier .... even if the passengers are not smart enough to know it.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 01:32
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WOW! Those United pilots really know how to show mamagement their solidarity.

By not wearing their hats ??!! That will do it.


Another loser idea by the union.

vrsc
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 01:34
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No, CR2, you are not 'missing something', as it were.
The concerned Commander should be relieved of his command, and put back in the RHS where he quite frankly, truly belongs.
He was (and perhaps still is) very childish, in other words, a complete fool.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 02:28
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Medical Standards

This is the rule to follow for issuance of a First-Class Airman Medical Certificate, in the mental part of the pilot. If he was issued a certificate, then he was mentally O.K.

Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
PART 67—MEDICAL STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION
Subpart B—First-Class Airman Medical Certificate

§ 67.107 Mental.
Mental standards for a first-class airman medical certificate are:
(a) No established medical history or clinical diagnosis of any of the following:
(1) A personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts.
(2) A psychosis. As used in this section, “psychosis” refers to a mental disorder in which:
(i) The individual has manifested delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of this condition; or
(ii) The individual may reasonably be expected to manifest delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of this condition.
(3) A bipolar disorder.
(4) Substance dependence, except where there is established clinical evidence, satisfactory to the Federal Air Surgeon, of recovery, including sustained total abstinence from the substance(s) for not less than the preceding 2 years. As used in this section—
(i) “Substance” includes: Alcohol; other sedatives and hypnotics; anxiolytics; opioids; central nervous system stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamines, and similarly acting sympathomimetics; hallucinogens; phencyclidine or similarly acting arylcyclohexylamines; cannabis; inhalants; and other psychoactive drugs and chemicals; and
(ii) “Substance dependence” means a condition in which a person is dependent on a substance, other than tobacco or ordinary xanthine-containing (e.g., caffeine) beverages, as evidenced by—
(A) Increased tolerance;
(B) Manifestation of withdrawal symptoms;
(C) Impaired control of use; or
(D) Continued use despite damage to physical health or impairment of social, personal, or occupational functioning.
(b) No substance abuse within the preceding 2 years defined as:
(1) Use of a substance in a situation in which that use was physically hazardous, if there has been at any other time an instance of the use of a substance also in a situation in which that use was physically hazardous;
(2) A verified positive drug test result, an alcohol test result of 0.04 or greater alcohol concentration, or a refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test required by the U.S. Department of Transportation or an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation; or
(3) Misuse of a substance that the Federal Air Surgeon, based on case history and appropriate, qualified medical judgment relating to the substance involved, finds—
(i) Makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges of the airman certificate applied for or held; or
(ii) May reasonably be expected, for the maximum duration of the airman medical certificate applied for or held, to make the person unable to perform those duties or exercise those privileges.
(c) No other personality disorder, neurosis, or other mental condition that the Federal Air Surgeon, based on the case history and appropriate, qualified medical judgment relating to the condition involved, finds—
(1) Makes the person unable to safely perform the duties or exercise the privileges of the airman certificate applied for or held; or
(2) May reasonably be expected, for the maximum duration of the airman medical certificate applied for or held, to make the person unable to perform those duties or exercise those privileges.
[Doc. No. 27940, 61 FR 11256, Mar. 19, 1996, as amended by Amdt. 67–19, 71 FR 35764, June 21, 2006]

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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 02:45
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I always remember the following:

§ 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

In this case the pilot might have been pressed in such a manner that he considered he was not fit to fly, even considering he has a valid medical certificate to do it. Then he made a decision not to fly, according to his authority. Was it legal that he makes a flight under those circumstances? I do not think so. I think he acted responsibly. Wonder if an accident happens, then the airline and the union, and all of us, would be blaming him for doing his job as some expect him to do even being fully stressed as he was.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 03:17
  #55 (permalink)  
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Kudos for not taking the flight, he is a credit to the profession. Blue320, good post!
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 03:22
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As a second SLF I would like to say that from my perspective, he made the right decision.

Yes it was perhaps stupid to get so worked up over an issue like a hat, but we have all done such things. Think back to your relationships with your significant others. Ever had a fight about stupid things that started off small and ended up heated and angry? I am talking of the perverbial toilet seat kind of things. It happens to even the best of people some times, and it seems to this pilot this time.

One point not raised above is if this is a pattern. If this pilot did this often and regularly over a period of time, then perhpas there is cause for concern. How ever nothing to date suggests this is the case. We have no reason to believe this is anything but a one off case.

It was also said above that he said he needed at least an hour to cool down. Good for him. The flight can wait an hour! Enough other people make F ups all over the airline industry causing much more than one hour delays that this is in the big picture virtually nothing. Even if it took the crew over duty times, then other things can be sorted out.

Would I like it if I was on the plane? No. Would I complain? No. Would I buy him a beer after work? Yes, and add that S happens and to forget about it.

A good decision made.

TME
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 03:44
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Just wondering: to quote you "I employ pilots and thank them for making the difficult decisions." I take it this means that you own an airline business? There seems to be many professional people on this forum but you're the first airline owner I've heard from.

That's what make this forum great, we have both pilots and airline owners, all in one place!
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 07:18
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TeachMe, excellent post.

It's easy to forget, sometimes, that pilots are human and suffer from all the related physical and mental conditions that everybody else does. Yes, if you're a "professional", most of the time you can put that to one side and carry on with SOPs, but rarely, something that seems quite trivial might just prove to be the proverbial "last straw" and leave you unable to concentrate on the job in hand.

The guy in question could have easily said that there was a delay of an hour because of an ATC slot/loading/bags/fuel/tech. problem, etc. No-one would have queried it. Instead he was honest and said he needed to cool down and collect his thoughts for a while before he went flying: he effectively went "tech" for a bit. To recognise this sort of problem within yourself and take remedial action shows great mental maturity and courage. Well done.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 08:54
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Thumbs up A real professional

During my aviation career ( since 1976 - 20 years flying military hardware and the rest in airlines) this is the 8th time of acknowledging a guy with guts.
Good job.
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Old 22nd Jun 2008, 10:00
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To fly or not to fly - whose decision?

In August 2004 I elected not to fly as a co pilot whilst a training captain due to multiple roster changes and feeling very unwell with a poor memory and chronic fatigue.

This is how my airline dealt with me in a letter sent shortly after the incident from the General Manager.

" It is my opinion that you allowed yourself to become distracted by minor issues which then compounded to raise your stress levels such that you were unable to fly safely. Indeed, the captain himself had doubts as to your suitability to operate that day. I would expect a senior captain to behave in a more responsible manner and was disappointed by your actions on XX August 2004. If you have any concerns then I stongly suggest that, in future, you complete your duties and then present a formal grievance so the the matter can be properly investigated and, if substantiated be dealth with.

To simply make a stand as you did does not help. It promotes further roster disruption to your colleagues and does little to help with morale. This company looks to its captains for leadership and to present them as a role models to the rest of the work force."

This is a real extract from a real letter of a leading UK loco carrier.

Around 18 months later, after electing not to fly again, I was grounded due to 'chronic stress'.

In May 2006 I was diagnosed as suffering from 'chronic poisoning' - Yet another victim of contaminated air. I had no idea and nobody ever mentioned it to me.

My sympathy to the pilot who elected not to fly - I did the same three times - I look back on those command decisions as being the best, hardest ones of my life.

If in doubt - DON'T! You will be all on your own; but at least you (and your crew and your passengers) will be alive....

www.aerotoxic.org for anybody who needs assistance.

DB
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