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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Positive Space Tickets for Commuters?

Pilots and Flight Attendants, will you do me a huge favor and fill out this commuting feedback questionnaire? Click Here for Survey  

Only 17 minutes to complete... and time well spent.

Lori Brown, a Professor at Western Michigan University College of Aviation, is seeking to enhance their curriculum, plans on publishing her research, and is asking for your help. 

Lori Brown
Lori wasn’t always professor, but a pilot. She was originally from Seattle, but spent most of her flying years in Micronesia, based on Guam for Continental Express, then Saipan for Pacific Island Aviation. She had 6000 hours and had been commuting between Chicago and Miami for several years when she decided to stay home with her then two-year-old daughter. Managing the family with two pilot parents, traveling and leaving her daughter, were a challenge, so she changed professions. But she didn’t give up the passion of the industry or the desire to make it safer. She's been teaching for ten years now.

NAS—National Academy of Science— is conducting a mandated study which may be used for regulatory recommendations, and will take into consideration "all" information regarding commuting. Lori intends on presenting a view from crewmembers. This is your chance to be heard. She will also be presenting the results at the WATS—World Aviation Training Symposium— conference in Orlando.

She wants to try and make things better for future pilots.

Thoughts for the day…. What would happen to the industry if regulations stated that we could no longer commute? Do you think that could ever happen? Could we be told where to live? What about mergers and the housing crisis—If your airline goes away, and you get bumped out off your plane and are forced to commute, and you can’t sell your house... then what? 

More likely, what if Airlines were mandated to provide positive space tickets for employees to work? Wouldn't that reduce a huge amount of stress. Fill out the survey. Lori needs you. The industry needs you. We need to do something. 

Thank you! 

Enjoy the journey! 
~ Karlene


  1. This is fascinating, Karlene. Can't wait to see the results. Sounds like SOMETHING needs to be done to make sure people in these crucial jobs are supported well.

  2. Thanks Karlene! This has been something that's been tugging at my mind for some time now, more-so now that I'm finally slowly beginning the path back toward an aviation career. With a family, residence in Chicago with a mortgage and such, I always worried what would happen when it came time to work for an airline and having to commute. All those questions are good and are the issue must be addressed. The starting pay already sucks, add in the stress and issues with commuting or being forced to relocate and it's not a positive recruitment standpoint. Looking forward to the results of the study.

  3. Bravo Lori! It is time for change in the industry and power to those who are fighting to make that change a positive one!

  4. Thank you Linda. Yes, something needs to be done. And... it will! We hope.

  5. Thank you Andrew. Share this with as many people you can. I'm hoping we can make it great for all the new pilots...and reduce the stress of the current pilots, too. You will have a great career!

  6. Thank you Heather! So much change happens that isn't we need to fight for the good stuff. We must tell administrators,"Change is good." Especially this kind of change.

  7. Well, here's one person with a Masters in Air Transport Engineering and a commercial pilot's license who is not, and will not be employed as a pilot, at least until I'm done with making money to pay the bills from the wireless networking industry. Couldn't take the pay reduction, stress and all the other issues related to starting over. The industry is broken. It used to be good. I hope this type of study can help to mend it.

  8. Not to rain on the parade, but the way I see it, pilots commute long distances to their base because they CAN. Non-rev and jump seat privileges make it possible to do so. In most occupations, to accept a job one needs to relocate to where that job is.

    I understand that another of the differences is that the commute is not a daily one. Most 'trips' are for multiple days. However, it seems to me that fatigue issues and quality of life issues would be much better if pilots were required to live near base.

    If the relocation is not palatable, perhaps you can't accept that position.

  9. Thank you all for particpating! Students in 4 year aviation programs are now graduating with over $150,000 in student loans...Are we setting them up for success or failure here? With starting salaries around $25,000, and poor working conditions, many of the brightest and best are leaving the industry.

  10. The survey is great. Check the link, though. I had to delete some extra gobbledegook before the true URL to get to the survey.

  11. Hi DB... hopefully this study will help make things better. I'm thinking so. This is one of those industries that you have to love it, to live it.
    Thanks for the comment!

  12. Hi Dan, Thanks for your comment. In theory... you are right!

    And guess what... "All" pilots want to live near in base. The problem is the instability of the industry and the job.

    When I got hired by Braniff, I didn't make my husband quit his work and move my family to Kansas City to follow the job. Good thing! Braniff filed bankruptcy and onto the next airline. Arizona. New York. Guyana.... how many moves could we make?

    It took me 23 years to have enough seniority to be based at home. And if my base shrinks, and I'm bumped out and "forced" to move to Detroit, or Atlanta... what do I do?

    Have my husband quit his job? Try to sell our house in a depressed market? Move away from the kids and grandkids? Leave my husbands elderly mother? And then I get bumped out and the cycle begins, again.

    One of the best things in the world is to be based at home. If there was a guarantee that a base wouldn't close, a merger wouldn't happen, the airline wouldn't go away... yes, we could all make that commitment to live where we're based.

    The only guarantee is instability. The only thing we as pilots can do for our families is give them some stability in their lives by not continually uprooting them.

    It's tough. But worth it. And just like the trip I'm on now... it started with a commute to Atlanta. But with a positive space ticket. Very nice.

  13. Hi Lori, you're right. But at the end of the game... it's worth it. I'm also realizing a lot of students graduate with $150,000 loans and can't get a job. Or they do and they're earning potential is capped at moderate rate. It's a tough world out there. I hope we can get many people taking this survey.

  14. Thank you CJH! I just fixed the link. I couldn't even access the page. Spread the word!


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