AVmail: Jul. 24, 2006
Professional Pilots' Pay
I would like to comment on the Question of the Week about professional airline pilots' pay (QOTW, Jul. 13):
Do not forget that when you use the term "airline pilot," you include all airline pilots, regionals and the like!
The general public assumes a great deal of money whenever they hear the term "airline pilot. Just to clear up the matter: I am a professional airline pilot for a regional airline (the type of airline that does most of the U.S. domestic flying). I have been with the same company for five years. I gross approx. $35,000 a year. The company wants to impose a new contract that would bring my gross pay to the low $20,000s a year. A new-hire pilot will gross somewhere between $13,000 and $18,000 a year, depending on if he wants health insurance or not. Airlines are trying to do this to their pilots constantly. The general public never hears about us, even though the regionals are what they mostly fly on.
If you are going to report on airline pilots, please talk about the pay rates of all airline pilots, large and not so large.
Name withheld by request
The message here is very clear and simple (AVweb Flash, Jul. 20): Controllers are human and, just like pilots, they make mistakes. If you fly in busy airspaces like southern California without Skywatch or something similar, you are flirting with disaster. Even if ATC was 100% accurate, and you were always talking to them, there are just way too many people out there who aren't talking to anybody. Ask anyone who flies with Skywatch and 100% of them will have a story (or 10 or more) about aircraft alerts from Skywatch without a word from ATC. Fly smart and buy a traffic alert system for your aircraft.
In a recent issue appeared this statement (QOTW, Jul. 13):
"... never landed on anything but tarmac."
Tarmac is a contraction of "tar" and "macadam." The latter is a fancy word for gravel, prepared to a specific gradation (distribution of small and larger size particles). You add hot asphalt (tar) to that and you have hot-mix asphalt pavement. A large percentage of airports have runways and taxi areas paved with (portland cement) concrete, the white stuff. That is not tarmac. So to fly only from tarmac would limit one's airport possibilities considerably. Unfortunately, the word tarmac is incorrectly applied to any airport paving material, which should just be called pavement.
Where does anyone in his right mind think that the LSAs now on the market or soon to be are cheap (Question of the Week, Jun. 22)? Try from $75,000 to $100,000. And why did we have to get them from some overseas area when there were plenty of good planes here, very much like the 140s, the 150s and Pipers? The only thing missing is the weight factor. To me it sounds like the EAA and AOPA were sold a bill of goods and are now trying to make save face and sell it.
You can buy a good 140 or 150 between $20-30,000 and to me that makes more sense if you are trying to promote aviation among the masses. Make it affordable and available, neither of which the present LSA's are.
Heat Warning for Pilots
A word of caution for pilots, especially those headed for EAA AirVenture and those who normally fly in moderate weather conditions:
It is really, really hot out there and Search and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services are seeing extraordinary numbers of heat related emergencies and fatalities. It is very easy to become dehydrated in this heat and thirst is not a good indication.
Pilots are especially vulnerable because we so often try to reduce our water intake ahead of the flight to avoid having to deal with output issues on the flight. This just sets you up for becoming dehydrated faster. So, we often leave the ground 1% - 3% dehydrated. At 5% dehydration your mental faculties are adversely affected. So, you can see there is little margin. Bad decisions kill pilots and judgment is one of the first things to go when dehydrated.
Also, related to this, if your flight ends up unexpectedly short and you are stuck out in the wilderness in high temperatures, you need water, first and foremost! Bad decisions will kill you here as well and lack of water can kill you in short order at high temperatures. Be sure to carry extra water in your aircraft in case you find yourself in a survival situation. A week ago there were two heat-related fatalities involving individuals attending survival courses in this heat. Water is critical to your survival.
Doug Ritter Equipped To Survive
I am a 300-hour private pilot with a pristine 1972 Cessna 150 (a continual work-in-process). I am fortunate to also own a Harley Davidson Road King Custom and a Grady White 22 ft. Tournament. Neither compares to my flying machine. Nothing compares to completing a Sunday morning flight to Block Island or Sky Acres with a few pilot friends.
I read every issue of AVweb cover to cover (page to page?). Once again business responsibilities will keep me away from Oshkosh, but I will "be there" with AVweb. Thanks for your great work. If you need a pair of eyes and a volunteer writer/reporter in the Long Island, N.Y., area, let me know.