Contract Airline Services


"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


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.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Retain Senior Pilots

Your Life Could Depend upon It 

When you awaken, be grateful. Then think of those who might not have that opportunity due to an unnecessary aircraft accident. Today, airplanes are breaking at an exponential rate. Even new airplanes are malfunctioning. Doors flying off, engines failing and electrical problems. This is when we need competent, experienced pilots on the flight deck. With this "pilot shortage" and airlines employing anyone who is willing to work for them, or being offered flight opportunities before the individual proves ability, we are headed for a major catastrophe. 

Age 67 Retirement is a Must
For Your Safety

When a junior Southwest Airlines first officer nearly kills everyone on board because he dives toward the ocean and misses impact by 400 feet, and didn't even realize he had a problem, we have a problem. What if the captain was also a new hire pilot? Yes, that could happen. Delta Airlines place a new hire as a captain in NY, in the exact same plane that this SWA event occurred. A year ago, Delta experienced hail damage and the pilot flying was a new first officer getting a line check. 

Delta Hail Damage

On June 9th, Austrian Airbus A320-214 that passed through sever hailstorm while operating flight OS434 from Palma de Mallorca (PME) to Vienna (VIE)


We must retain senior pilots or the next time my be the last time for the crew and passengers on board

Southwest did a Dutch Roll last month with major structural damage. Sun Country diverted due to Engine Failure. KLM 787 Returns to Tokyo with a cracked windshield. Emirates A330 Rejects takeoff due to an engine exploding during takeoff.



American A321 a post flight inspection identifies a Damaged Cowling. Altas closes the Hong Kong runway after experiencing their third incident this year. United Airlines oxygen masks deployed.

Those events are what we see in the news. What you may not see are those hidden events. In May Delta Airlines experienced three major incidents. On May 27, Delta's airbus A350 lost automation, on May 29th an Airbus A330 experienced a total hydraulic failure, and a Boeing 757 had unsafe gear. This month I received the following photos of Delta flights, from disgruntled pilots who don't know what to do. A Captain tells me: 

"Maintenance is a problem and we're going to have an accident
 



Despite everything in the news there is more happening that you never hear about. 

FAA is now investigating Southwest Airlines and four months ago they were investigating United. Honestly, the FAA does not have the resources or time to solve the overwhelming problems within the airline industry. 

A safety protection and the easiest solution is to retain experienced senior pilots and allow them to continue flying to age 67. Their experience could save your life. In the eyes of the government, social security starts at retirement age of 67. Most of these pilots are flying far more challenging aircraft and operations after they leave the airline job.

Unfortunately ALPA is not supportive of this age extension because union representatives are elected positions. This is a political objection, not a safety concern. The airlines' massive employment of young pilots due to the pilot shortage now has tipped the scales to more younger pilots than those of experience. If the union reps don't vote to keep 67 out, they will be voted out. I've already seen this happen. We need public help to address this critical issue before it's too late. Retention of of senior pilots could save your life. 

AGE 67 Is a Must 
For Passenger Safety! 

Enjoy the Journey
Dr. Karlene Petitt

PhD. MBA. MHS.
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

27 comments:

  1. 38 yrs an airline pilot. Never a bent airplane, not a scratch on a single passenger or other crewmember. Healthy and have passed every checkride. It is criminal to force healthy competent pilots out of the workforce because of an arbitrarily determined age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura I could not agree more. The biggest age discrimination travesty there is. These pilots who are forced to leave, often go onto more challenging flying jobs and fly for another 10 years plus. There is no reason they should not keep their job. And improve safety along the way.

      Delete
    2. 100 percent true statement.

      Delete
  2. The grammatical and structural issues with this writeup aside, few of the mentioned incidents described above are the result of pilot inexperience. “An emirates a330 rejected the takeoff after the engine exploded on takeoff.” While this sentence is terrible, it seems like the crews actions were exemplary. All of these incidents were handled successfully, regardless of experience. (The hail damage incident with a new captain conveniently ignores the HIGHLY experienced captain also in the flight deck who was giving him the OE at the time.)
    While there has been an uptick in incidents within the industry at large, Karlene glosses over the massive increases in total flight hours as air travel recommenced, and further ignores the data showing that these incidents are spread evenly throughout the ranks, from newhire to veteran.
    Anecdotally, the worst pilots I fly with are consistently over 60 and lost in the sauce as 2 FOs carry them over the Atlantic for their 3 day workcation they are asking to continue at for 2 more years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there a reason you don't think retaining experience in the flight deck will improve safety?

      Delete
    2. This is a logical fallacy. The “experience” you are worrying about leaving the flight deck is currently there, all the while the industry is experiencing all of the incidents you’ve been mentioning. If we give the 64 year olds two more years at the trough, you argue that the incident rate will come down, yet it’s currently rising as that generation gets older. All this is is a claim that only one generation is worthy of an extended career and the argument itself is a clear depiction of exactly why they need to move on.

      Delete
    3. We all know this is an argument about safety verses seniority. The reality is, some of these senior pilots spent years as flight engineers. They paid their dues. Today's generation of pilots want to jump to the left seat without paying those dues, or gaining experience first. I get that.. they want the money. It's the "I want it now" generation. But as airplanes break, and you only know how to push buttons, there is going to be a huge problem.

      Delete
  3. The hailstorm captain was not on OE, he was receiving a line check.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the correction. He was a new hire on the plane, which typically only entails one line check at the end of OE. First Officers don't get annual line checks... or scheduled line checks as far as that goes. So, safe assumption this was the check to sign him off of OE. Otherwise, why was he getting checked?

      Delete
    2. If he was on line check, then that means there was a check airman sitting next to him. Isn't this check airman also "experienced"? Why did this check airman allow that to happen?

      The fact is: No one was born with experience. Everyone was inexperienced once upon a time, that includes these 64-year-olds.

      If mentoring is what we are after, why not have them work in the training center? Recreate the scenarios that they encountered in the sim? Isn't this a more effective mentoring? But this is not what we do. How many retired captains do you see at the training center? As soon as they turn 65, we couldn't kick them off the seniority list fast enough and the union does not want non-union, non-seniority instructors.

      Delete
    3. Not necessarily. This flight... https://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2023/02/aircraft-fire-unreported.html ... the captain was actually a first officer. So where was the seniority? But I don't know the check airman, and how this happened, but he might not have been one of the seniors.

      Delete
  4. You’re insane and need another psychiatrist evaluation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I probably do!! To speak an opinion, knowing there will be those hiding behind "anonymous" to attack it was kind of crazy, who does that? But then, one day you will be that 64 year old pilot remembering this and wishing, you too, could continue your job that you love. But then if you don't love, then you don't have to work beyond 65.

      Delete
  5. If someone refuses to stand behind their comment by publishing their name, I suggest they are not worthy of debate.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are one of the few industries that has a mandatory retirement age but not a guaranteed pension. Most only have a 401K and everyone’s story is different. It should be up to the pilot, the Aviation Medical Examiner and Company Check Airmen to decide if a pilot should continue to age 67, NOT ALPA. ALPA does not want to do anything that may alleviate the pilot shortage because the present situation serves THEM, not their older members.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could not agree more. As far as this goes if the AME, pilot performance and the check airman say the pilot is healthy and competent, they should be allowed to fly until the day they are not.

      Delete
  7. Karlene, thank you again for highlighting another huge aviation safety issue of extreme importance.

    Believe me, we all hear the incidents from the line and it is not a coincidence that these safety incidents are increasing related to inexperienced new hires.

    Alpa will be complicit in the next accident due to forcing out experienced pilots at age 65 instead of keeping them until age 67 to mentor our newer, less experienced pilots.

    Bill Botella.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, I have heard so many stories from the line and the simulator too. I know there are many fabulous and skilled new pilots, but from those who show up to training and expect to be spoon fed, it's scary the stories that come through. And even those who won't touch anything while working because it's their religious day off, but they show up and sit there. And the new hires who are on OE and texting while they taxi. The stories go on and on.

      Delete
  8. Anyone that posts " anonymous" is a coward.

    Don Linrothe
    777 Sfo
    UAL

    ReplyDelete
  9. I know many retired airline pilots. I watched these people forced out of the cockpit at age 60 (later 65). Each and every one of them wound up in another profession rising to the top. The people I have met reaching the airline pilot age are in better physical shape and much better mental and emotional shape than most of the 20 somethings I have met. The airline industry cannot afford to let go of experienced pilots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dennis, I have seen the same thing. I know of many forced our, who are flying more challenging equipment with tougher schedules and operations, than the airline job. They are thriving. Therefore, why not fly for the airlines? Transporting passengers in the same airspace. Complete and total age discrimination.

      Delete
  10. ALPA and SWAPA sadly have their own agenda making claims of no pilot shortage. The key words and points that these union representatives are dismissing clearly are “qualified, experienced, competent pilots”.
    I just had a 23 year old young man riding my flight deck jumpseat from a competing airline who is flying as a First Officer on A320’s and A321’s with no jet time at date of hire. Hired 3 months ago…Very low total time or instrument flying. No adverse conditions with mostly light single engine VFR.
    I ask, Unions leadership and elected public representatives are okay with this? How about the traveling public?
    Most of us would prefer the experienced 65-67 year old without doubt. We are not asking for 70-90 year old retirement. Unlike many career politicians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe... excellent point. I'm waiting for the VFR captain to pair up with that VFR first officer and they have "one of those nights". We all know there are exceptional young pilots with real flight skills out there. Yet, today the funnel that is producing pilots might not be producing those with aptitude. Experience teaches. Would love to keep them. around a bit longer to help. Hope you are doing well!!

      Delete
    2. Hello Karlene, you certainly make an excellent point ans well. There are absolutely exceptional young pilots with real flight skills. Those are usually the ones who have a passion for flying and airplanes.
      Those who concern me are in it only for the money and no true love of aviation. We have all witnessed some new generation pilots who lack situational awareness and depend on automation to carry them through. I find this relatively alarming.
      All the very best to you and your family……

      Delete
    3. Unfortunately I think that passion is waning

      Delete

Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!