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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.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remembering 911

Ensure that it will Never Happen Again

911: The Day Aviation Changed

Twenty years ago today I was working my second job in Dallas, training Sun Country pilots at American Airlines Training facility. Today I am in Seattle studying A330 systems. My training finally begins October 1st. But I cannot start the day without a prayer for those who lost loved ones during these horrific attacks.  

Twenty years ago was the "day" that changed aviation. That day altered our freedoms. And each year we memorialize the lives lost. We cannot bring them back, but we can ensure that terrorism by aircraft will never occur again. 

Never Again! 

After 911 became a reality we figured out how to keep the terrorists out of the flight deck with heightened security, barrier doors, and operational procedures. But how will we keep them out of the ground-based warehouses, or prevent minimum wage employees from being bought off, or prevent them from hacking into automated systems? 

Imagine if we allow automation to operate our commercial airliners instead of pilots. If we remove pilots from airline operations, every plane in the sky will provide an opportunity for terrorists to take control and fly those aircraft into buildings. We will live this horrific experience again on an unprecedented level. We need pilots on the aircraft to ensure that doesn't happen. 

I pray the public will not allow FAA administrators, aligned with profit centers created by airline management and promised lucrative positions upon retirement, to create legislation allowing pilots to be removed from the aircraft they fly. Not even on the freight operators. Those aircraft will have the same impact. 

Today we have a corporate induced pilot shortage because of the decision to allow thousands of pilots early retirements. Was this decision due to mismanagement and shortsightedness? Or was this simply long-range strategic planning because the current FAA administrator is in place to ensure legislation to remove pilots, and a shortage was the first step? 

The first pilot shortage was due to the FAA's 1500 hour flight time requirement, which was aligned with an anticipated fully operational NEXT GEN industry. However NEXT GEN was behind schedule due to security, so automation was unable to take over at that time. Pilots remained. The second pilot shortage is due to airlines using the pandemic to provide early retirements. What happens next? It's not a conspiracy if it's really happening. 

Please, do not allow another 911 event to occur. If we lose our pilots you can be assured that hacking into our aircraft systems will be the next level of terrorism.  

As long as we don't give up, always strive to be better today than we were yesterday, and work toward improvement we can create a positive change.  This change will lead to a better world. But the change of removing pilots is not a positive step. Do not blindly follow those leaders to a path of destruction. 

Today, take a moment to remember. Then, in honor of all those we lost, do not allow the next level of terrorism to take over. 

Take steps to ensure this won't happen again. 
Do not remove pilots. 
They are your last line of defense. 

Enjoy the journey
XO Karlene

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