Are the Passengers...
Not the Slides..
Allegiant was in the news again. This time 60 Minutes addressing safety issues and numerous aircraft malfunctions and unscheduled malfunctions.
The greatest safety issue is a safety culture
that prevents pilots from coming forward
and speaking out.
These pilots fear for their jobs because the airline fired a captain for making a decision to evacuate. Allegiant's mistake... beyond firing this captain for doing his job... was also the thought process that deploying slides were more important than passengers.
Smoke and Fire!
This is not initial training...
But real life!
One thing I can say for an airline with such an "aggressive business model" and maintenance issues such as Allegiant, is that these pilots are more than likely to be some of the best in the industry. The rest of of us only see these malfunctions during initial training (once in a lifetime), or recurrent... and that's in a simulator!
While the startle effect is extremely difficult to train, Allegiant pilots are always on guard because they never know what to expect, and they must always be ready for something. What this means is an Allegiant pilot operates with an abnormal amount of stress, but this also would make them extremely alert.
With all this said, on behalf of Captain Kinzer's decision to evacuate, he made the best decision possible, especially based upon the maintenance history of the airline. Captain Kinzer knew the history of maintenance at his airline, and the numbers of issues that prevailed daily. Based on this knowledge, his doing anything less would have been criminal. Safety first.
Congratulations to Teamsters
and Captain Daniel Wells
for standing up to safety!
Allegiant is not the only carrier that lacks a safety culture. Fear is rampant among many pilots, as speaking out results in many retaliatory tactics beyond being fired, and there are unions who look the other way. Safety Management Systems (SMS) are now mandated by the FAA. However, without a positive safety culture... And that means a reporting culture... SMS will be worthless.
Anyone who has been fired,
ordered to a mental health evaluation,
or simply harassed by line checks
for reporting safety...
Reach out. You are not alone.
Help is within reach.
If you See Something. Say Something!
Enjoy the Journey!