Both the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) applauded last week’s announcement of new legislation in the U.S. Senate–S.1692, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)–to include cargo pilots in the new Part 117 flight and duty time regulations that take effect January 4 next year. FedEx pilots are ALPA members, while UPS pilots are represented by the IPA.
Data released last week by UK air navigation service provider NATS appears to strengthen Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair in its ongoing campaign to refute accusations that its pilots are subject to undue operational pressure. The NATS data showed that while the all-airline average of carriers whose crews were responsible for altitude busts in Europe as a whole was approximately 6.71 per 100,000 movements, Ryanair pilots busted assigned altitudes only 0.94 times per 100,000 movements.
In response to fleet growth and an uptick in its business, fractional provider Bombardier Flexjet has resumed hiring pilots after ceasing such activity, and then subsequently furloughing pilots, during the Great Recession. It recalled all of its furloughed pilots earlier this year. “We are thrilled to be expanding our dedicated pilot team…and anticipate hiring in the double digits this year and beyond,” said Flexjet vice president of operations Jason Weiss.
Pilots with more flight hours in their logbooks do not necessarily make better aviators, according to a July 17 report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). The board created the report amid significant debate claiming low-time airline first officers are less competent than those with more flight time.
As of August 1, first officers for U.S. Part 121 air carriers will need to have logged at least 1,500 hours as well as meeting other requirements. The new regulations, however, do not address the quality of the logged time, and cargo operator Ameriflight has petitioned the FAA to allow pilots to log more time when flying as second-in-command (SIC) in Part 135 cargo operations where just one pilot is required. The petition was filed in February but just recently went live for public comment.
An airline pilot studying for a Ph.D. wonders why otherwise competent pilots fail checkrides. “Although many quantitative studies have looked at what pilots do wrong, researchers have not previously sought pilot input on why pilots actually make those mistakes,” said Capt. Gary Boettcher. Pilot volunteers for Boettcher’s survey must have repeated a recurrent training simulator proficiency checkride, hold a current FAA medical certificate, be currently qualified and in an active flying bid status.
As the August 2013 date for implementation of the new ATP safety requirement for all Part 121 pilots nears, the FlightSafety Academy announced a new program to help less experienced commercial pilots reach the 1,500-hour mark required to apply for the certificate. Called the Flight Instructor Candidate Opportunity initiative, the program will allow pilots to gain experience as a CFI that counts toward the ATP requirement while earning advanced aircraft ratings at no cost.
Two Air India pilots and a pair of flight attendants have been suspended from duty pending an investigation into an April 13 incident in which both pilots left the flight deck of the Airbus A321 at the same time for 40 minutes of rest in the cabin. The pilots left two flight attendants in the cockpit to monitor the aircraft. The pilots returned to the cockpit only after one of the flight attendants mistakenly turned off the autopilot.
Bristow Academy Mountain Flying Training has taught more than 100 pilots the ins and outs of mountain flying since opening in May 2011. The operation is based in Carson City, Nev., offering pilots the opportunity to hone their skills in the challenging Lake Tahoe region. Pilots from all over the world have traveled to Carson City for the course, which is available in bilingual English/Spanish. The course spans 40 hours of classroom time and 18 hours of flying, including seven hours flying with night-vision goggles (NVGs).
Pilots at Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair voted for organization under the United Transportation Union (UTU) on Thursday. Among the pilots who participated in the election, 80 percent voted in favor of the union. The pilots are now represented under UTU’s transportation division, which represents only one other pilot group–at regional airline Great Lakes Aviation. “We have assured our pilots that negotiations will be made in good faith,” Avantair said.
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