AVmail: November 23, 2009

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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Pilot Complaints Send Signal

I invite every airline passenger to follow Matthew Sawhill's lead and write up all airline crews to their employers' customer service departments immediately. That's a great idea, actually! Maybe that will get management's attention, since nothing else seems to work.

I know this is an argument I cannot win, but here's my two cents.

The attitude displayed by Mr. Sawhill is just another data point to add to the already burgeoning pool a data points that clearly illuminate just how troubled the industry is: all parties are unhappy. That is the grand achievement of deregulation.

I know it may seem puzzling, Mr. Sawhill, that people with such a seemingly enviable job as flight crew actually feel a need to complain. Maybe the level of negativity you refer to is a valid indication that something is deeply wrong in the industry. Maybe, Mr. Sawhill, you should spend a year riding around with crews, living their work lives, and listening to their accounts of the insidious destruction of a once-prestigious industry before issuing such a foolish edict. It sounds to me like you need to listen more.

Maybe unhappy employees at any company are the proverbial miner's canary.

Larry Wertsch

I would suggest that [Matthew Sawhill] do his homework. Having flown for a major airline for 26 years, which is no longer in existence, most of my conversations were about how to make it more safe for you to fly while the FAA and the company were trying to make it unsafe. Try the better approach and walk up to a pilot and say thank you for trying to make the airways safer.

Louis Klemp

I take offense to the generalization Mr. Sawhill made concerning the professionalism and attitude of airline pilots. While I agree that pilots should not complain about their jobs in front of passengers, I am extremely offended that he would say that he can "guarantee with 95% certainty" that if there are two or more pilots standing together that we are complaining. Mr Sawhill's characterization of us is so out of touch that I am surprised you would give him the time of day by printing it. If a reaction is what you are looking for, a reaction you will get. I hope Mr. Sawhill that you do not intend on getting on my flight, because I will professionally kick you off my airplane.

I take pride in the job I do every day. I shine my shoes, press my uniform, and do my very best to get my passengers to their destination safely, comfortably, and on time. Do not be so bold as to say that we are all unprofessional. While the pilots of Northwest Flight 188 brought discredit to our profession, do not put us all in that category. I do not assume to know you. Do not make assumptions about me or my fellow professionals.

Daniel Langworthy

Funny, I read Matt Sawhill's letter today about pilots whining in public. Just a few days ago, I heard this riddle from an airline pilot:

Q: What's the difference between a pilot and a jet engine?
A: The engine quits whining at the gate.

Jim Carroll


TSA and Repair Station Security

Give me a freaking break. This is just another one of many government takeovers (in the name of TSA) of private industry; cars, banking, healthcare, aviation (after destroying it). What's next?

This great country is going to crumble under the weight of regulations and government. Thanks, politicians!

Phil Jossi

NextGen Subsidies

Airlines want subsidies for equipment which will give them years and years of fuel savings? Since when is it the taxpayer's responsibility to pay for equipment that improves profits for companies?

Oh, I forgot:

"America's business ... is business."
Herbert Hoover, the man who ushered in the Great Depression

George Horn


Greater Danger

If you want to speak of impact on safety please tell me why overshooting an airport is more hazardous than landing on a taxiway. As usual the media and FAA got it wrong. They should have revoked the certificates of the Delta pilots who can't tell a row of blue lights from white lights at the one airport they see most. The attention should be on that incident, not drilling along in the clear blue.

Perry Barinowski

AVweb Replies:

AVweb Contributing Editor Glenn Pew did address that issue in his AVweb Insider blog on Nov. 1.

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief

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