Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

United flight canceled after upset pilot refuses to fly

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

United flight canceled after upset pilot refuses to fly

Old 22nd Jun 2008, 12:13
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: In a far better place
Posts: 2,480
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think a newspaper headline of;

Page 6… “STRESSED OUT PILOT FLIES OFF PLANE IN A FIT OF RAGE SECONDS BEFORE TAKEOFF STRANDING PASSENGERS IN SALT LAKE CITY. “

is a far better read than;

Banner Headline… “BEFORE TAKEOFF FROM SALT LACE CITY, A VISABLY CRAZED PILOT WITNESSED BY HORRIFIED BYSTANDERS IN THE TERMINAL, TAKES HIS PLANE ALONG WITH HIS PASSENGERS TO THEIR FINAL DESTINATION!”

Oh well… tough break for those Pulitzer wannabe members of the fourth estate.
captjns is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 12:29
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: London, UK
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Transactional Analysis

Not for me to comment on the rights and wrongs of the pilots' decision, but I have a question? Is TA something that is covered in the CRM side of training? All the management/team training I have had included it. Sounds like both he and the union guy could have benefited from it and avoided the situation in the first place.
DuncanF is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 14:31
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Wet Coast
Posts: 2,335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by airfoilmod
If I hear anything juicy I'll fill you in. It wasn't a Hat.
Doesn't have to be juicy, I'd like to hear any background about it. Can't believe this was a single out-of-the-blue phone call which caused Capt to go all postal. "Playing games" as someone else said much more likely, games having started some time prior.
PaperTiger is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 14:44
  #64 (permalink)  

Cool as a moosp
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Mostly Hong Kong
Posts: 802
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with #8 here, the similarities to the Papa India accident are startling. I was in the BEA crew room and witnessed the argument, which was union related.

It taught me that if you have just had a violent altercation with someone, don't fly till you've calmed down. You are a walking accident looking for somewhere to happen.
moosp is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 15:09
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boston
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
the wood for the trees

Let me ask, if we take away the incident that perhaps caused the Captains state of mind ( because we know little of the facts) and just say that this Captain felt unfit to fly. Surely, then , inconvenience be damned, IT IS HIS RESPONSIBILITY AND DUTY to remove himself ?

Later, on reflection and perhaps self examination, the Captain can assess , what went wrong and how it could have been prevented to avoid further similar situations in the future.
As pilots, part of the reason that we are respected in our profession, is the ability to make tough decisions. To not be affected by "getthereitis" or any other distracting and irrelevent factors.
Knowing what we know as facts in this case and subject to future revelations we can only and should only base our response on:

A) the Captain deemed himself unfit to fly
B) the Captain removed himself from the task of operation of the A/C that day.

We must stand with him in his decision given only these facts and leave the second guessing out of it.
Thankyou.
flyboymurphy is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 21:45
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Wet Coast
Posts: 2,335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Let me ask, if we take away the incident that perhaps caused the Captains state of mind ( because we know little of the facts) and just say that this Captain felt unfit to fly. Surely, then , inconvenience be damned, IT IS HIS RESPONSIBILITY AND DUTY to remove himself ?
No argument; if Capt feels he is unfit to fly then he doesn't fly.

However I don't think the circumstances of this incident can be excluded, assuming what went on has been accurately reported. The announcement to the passengers was TOTALLY unprofessional and unnecessary; it would seem to have been done solely to make a point in public. Not on in my book and deserving of a bollocking (at least) from the Chief.

Pull yourself off yes, but have the purser or ground agent announce it as "crew incapacitation" or somesuch.
PaperTiger is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 00:00
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
[QUOTE] The announcement to the passengers was TOTALLY unprofessional and unnecessary; it would seem to have been done solely to make a point in public./QUOTE]

Once you make a decision like this,you as the Captain must have the decency to stand up and explain it to the folks you're about to inconvenience.Only then can you hope to earn their respect.You wont get their thanks but you might just get their respect.
Rananim is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 07:37
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Eternal Beach
Posts: 1,086
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree Paper Tiger

The heated phone conversation in front of the PAX, and the PA make me doubt that he he was in fit state in the first place.

The chain of events just compounded his frustration and decision making.

I feel for the guy, and it maybe that his co-pilot did not help the situation by not noticing his stress level rising prior to that incident and making him aware of it.

Incapacitation can take on many forms and at any time.

halas
halas is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 12:06
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Paris
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A wee anecdote (I like anecdotes). A few years ago I went along to one of those Alan Carr stop smoking seminars. Sat through it & emerged hours later as a firm, confirmed non-smoker. 3 minutes later, I had a call from my recent wife. What she said was so preposterous that within seconds of hanging up the phone, I was trying to smoke a whole packet of cigarettes simultaneously. Well, maybe not. I was incandescent for some time and I would like to stress that it takes a hell of a lot of provocation to get me that annoyed. If our gallant captain was suffering from anything like the same leveles of anger/frustration I was going through, then his actions are highly commendable & correct.
One small thought though, I hope that his actions weren't meant to highlight a situation he wasn't happy with. That would seem like more of a sulk to me. Quite prepared to be shot down in flames on the last point.
everynowandthen is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 16:02
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Wet Coast
Posts: 2,335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One small thought though, I hope that his actions weren't meant to highlight a situation he wasn't happy with. That would seem like more of a sulk to me. Quite prepared to be shot down in flames on the last point.
That was my sense of it, from the limited info available to me. Could easily be wrong though...

You wont get their thanks but you might just get their respect.
Or you could scare the **** out of them and/or drive them away from your airline.
PaperTiger is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 16:22
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: It wasn't me, I wasn't there, wrong country ;-)
Age: 78
Posts: 1,757
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Though his application of using a cell phone on the jetway is not excusable, the fact that he took himself off duty is a good call. In hind sight, if the PIC of 'Trident PI' had made the same call, we'd not have seen 'PI' in the middle of the pit at LHR!

Good call and very professional, he considered himself unfit to fly, so he said so, and apologised to the 'pay check paying' punters.


Rant when are going to get English English as the default, not Ameri-English?
merlinxx is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 16:39
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Age: 65
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What is the learning

[non pilot speaking]. I have no problem with the Pilot making the decision, if fact I can not imagine that anyone would have the authority to tell the pilot that he has to go back into the plane and fly. To me, the issue would be around what is being done to help this (and other?) pilots recognise the signs that led to this decision earlier and what processes could be put in place, if needed, to mitigate the effects. In other words, what changed in the moments leading up to the decision that prevented the pilot of making this decision hours previously and giving more time to mitigate the resulting scheduling problems.
Searider is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 17:13
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sonoma, CA, USA
Age: 79
Posts: 143
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
#72 Rant

Maybe it should be English and Ameriglish.
Robert Campbell is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 19:22
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: EU
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
United Pilot

He has been removed from flying...and is no longer on the schedule. Call it as it is, suspension. If he was too upset to fly over a "hat" disagreement then I do not want to be on his plane in an emergency... If he cannot handle a union dispute then how on earth can he handle an emergency.
IFLy4Free is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 20:11
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Poor decision by United.Their judgement cometh and that right soon.
Rananim is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 21:05
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8,571
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Call it as it is, suspension. If he was too upset to fly over a "hat" disagreement then I do not want to be on his plane in an emergency... If he cannot handle a union dispute then how on earth can he handle an emergency.
Yup, my point exactly.
IF the concerned pilot ain't fit, send him home until he is fit...whenever that might be.
411A is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 21:37
  #77 (permalink)  
PJ2
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BC
Age: 76
Posts: 2,484
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IFly4Free, 411a;
If he cannot handle a union dispute then how on earth can he handle an emergency.
Nonsense.

The comparison is ridiculous bordering on the polemical as opposed to the merely-operationally-safe. At least one of you should know that emergencies in the air are heavily trained for and are intended and designed with human factors in mind, not excluding human factors.

Passionate argument does not belong in or around an airplane though heaven knows there are plenty of sources for same in our industry today. It occurred and it was dealt with appropriately.

We don't know the man's history nor the circumstances of the discussion.

If there is a history of wild upset followed by booking off, that needs to be dealt with in a far different manner than respecting the fact that even airline pilots are human at times...

An enlightened organization with a healthy safety culture, (or even a just culture) does not view firing, suspension or other disciplinary measures as solutions. The problem either requires intelligent, informed intervention by trained individuals from the Pilot Assistance program or it requires a discussion with a respected manager to see if there are deeper issues or if the blow-up was a once-off and the individual has learned. The operator certainly has a moral and legal due-diligence responsibility to come to terms with the issue and resolve it as a matter of record. Talk of firing or suspension, especially if it was a once-off with an otherwise good employee is simply old-fashioned chest-beating and a hold-over from bygone days.
PJ2 is offline  
Old 24th Jun 2008, 01:08
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SA
Posts: 33
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wonder who will get the first of the 950 furlough notices.....
Airmotive is offline  
Old 24th Jun 2008, 01:23
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Differences of Opinions in the Workplace

I was reading stuff on the public section of the website of ALPA's United MEC earlier today, and -- for what it's worth -- I noticed this little nugget on the Update/Week in Review, dated June 20, 2008:

Differences of Opinions in the Workplace

There have been several recent reported incidents of differences in opinions that have crept into the workplace and affected our work environment. As pilots, we must remember that our utmost responsibility is to our passengers and to the safe conduct of carriage. Our workplace goes beyond the confines of the cockpit. It begins with preflight planning and continues after the airplane is parked. Differences and diversity are certainly allowed, but must be managed so as to not create conflict anywhere in the workplace. This relates to, among other things, political views and differences in how employees interact with their unions and company, etc. Maintain a safe work environment at all times.
Methinks this may have been prompted by the incident discussed in this thread.
DocSullivan is offline  
Old 24th Jun 2008, 01:52
  #80 (permalink)  
PJ2
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: BC
Age: 76
Posts: 2,484
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DocSullivan;
Methinks this may have been prompted by the incident discussed in this thread.
I don't think there's any "methinks" about it - almost certainly it was as a result of this and it is entirely appropriate.

While some may characterize a pilots' association/union in intentionally disrespectful and even extreme terms, such organizations actually have a huge vested interest in the professional side of airline work as well as the industrial side. That side, and the safety side, are largely unspoken but do good work in keeping the expensive resources working as opposed to off the line. The attitudes expressed here by some are very familiar - heard it, seen it over the past 35 years. Such utterances are signs that the bottom line and profit are ruling the organization and that they have forgotten the business they're in is aviation.

There isn't any way this approach equates to a get-out-of-jail card; professional standards absolutely must be maintained, and watched carefully especially in times of high financial stress and the consequent (for most) emotional stress such circumstances generate. Management has a due diligence responsibility to ensure it's crews are performing safely and are up to standard. But there has been a great deal learnt since firing a pilot was the only response to such issues.
PJ2 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.