Top Letters And Comments, December 30, 2022


Apollo 8 Remembered

Yes, 1968 was memorable in mixed ways, but this moment replayed for us here was so thrilling that it raised the hair on the back of my then nearly 20-year-old neck. The perspective of Apollo 8 taking that required first “giant leap” enabling Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong’s first “one small step” is so accurate that it assures, as you say, Apollo 8’s unique “major landmark in space flight history”. Thanks, Paul, for the reminder.

John K.

Great story, thank you. That was one of those days where you remember where you were. I was on Christmas break, home from college. We sat in my parent’s den and wondered at the sight of the moon close up and hearing those words being read. It gave all Americans a sorely needed lift after a tough year. It also reaffirmed the commitment that JFK’s promise to land a man on the moon by 1970 was actually going to happen. Merry Christmas, Paul. I hope you are doing well after another tough year for your home state.

John Mc.

Indeed. Watching the TV feed from orbit around the Moon is much stronger in my memory than watching the lunar landing. I too had the sense that Apollo 8 tested and proved the major issues of the future missions, and even of out-and-return interplanetary flights which are only now becoming more than feasibility exercises.

Great article, Paul.

KckC K.

Short Final: Landing Fees

Many, many years ago, we (my wife and I) were flying into JFK for our daughter to connect to a flight to Europe. I had properly filed for our C-R182, and as we complied with ATC routing, we were ‘cleared to land’ on runway 22R. Having been cleared to land we progressed on our approach, and it was then I heard, “SpeedBird xxx ready for takeoff”; tower responded, “hold short, landing traffic”! A BA-Concorde had to wait for our C-R182 to land and clear before it could be off to Europe! Loved it!

Steve C.

Years ago, I was scheduled to speak at a publishing conference in NYC. Upon investigating various airports, I determined that even with the then $150 landing fee at LGA, it was still my best option when considering the cost of ground transportation once on the ground. So I filed for LGA in my Bonanza. All went well on the way in. Upon my return to LGA to come home, I paid the fee at Signature and started up. Mine was the only propeller swinging among a conga line of 737s. Eventually it was my turn for takeoff. I quickly climbed away from the runway. The tower handed me off to departure with a final comment of: “Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?”

Tom H.

Poll: ALPA Says There’s No Pilot Shortage, Regionals Say There Is. Who’s Right?

  • Plenty of pilots want to work for the majors for big bucks. And they are hiring as many as they can get! Regionals have drastically improved their terms and conditions, offered hiring bonuses and negotiated flow-through schemes with their code-sharing majors, all in an effort to fill those quickly emptying pilot seats vacated by newly hired major airline pilots. There have always been plenty of pilots up until the airlines began acknowledging that future retirements and increasing demand are going to leave the understaffed in a very precarious business position. Regionals that aren’t owned by their code-sharing masters are going to be in dire straits.
  • The fact that airlines of all stripes are reducing schedules because of pilot staffing difficulties proves there is a shortage. The 1500 hour & FO ATP rules are to blame. We saw this coming 7 years ago. There is NO reason to require an ATP for First Officers. This was a solution in search of a problem when it was implemented and has proven of no benefit, (except for pilot rating mills). This was a grasp-straw for politicians looking to do something (anything) in response to an accident where the fix would have had NO effect on the cause, had it been in effect at the time.
  • Certificate count doesn’t say it all. Not all Commercial/ATP-rated pilots get the rating for an airline job. The real question is, how many comm/ATP pilots would WANT an airline job at any pay.
  • Its all cyclical. Maybe the regionals are suffering because the airlines have picked up qualified pilots out of their programs but the regionals have not had enough influx to replace the loss. And then there’s time required to train new hires leaving the Regionals in a temporary deficit.
  • ALPA is interested in pay and benefits and is not unbiased. The current ATP rules need revision and ALPA’s opposition is hurting safety.
  • There are plenty of pilots out there but not enough that are willing to do the job for the expectation being presented.
  • When you add to the question the number of qualified (certificated), capable (class 1 physical), and current (CFRs), the answer is a firm no. ALPA is deftly dancing around the issue.
  • Does it really matter to anyone other than aspiring airline pilots? My career as a corporate pilot was a choice and I never even considered the plight of airlines and their need for pilots.
  • There are tons of pilots that have quit for various reason, from COVID to politics to bad bosses and misjudgment to low pay and reduced safety.
  • Not enough EXPERIENCED pilots.
  • ALPA should put the surplus into cockpits.
  • If there were enough, then why is the military in an aviation retention crisis?
  • Might be a shortage now, but when FedEx and UPS go to single pilot (automation), that will free up a lot of pilots for the airlines.
  • Not enough willing to work with bad schedules.
  • Both are only serving their own vested interests.
  • Enough pilots; not enough ATP rated, willing to sacrifice QOL.
  • Not enough qualified pilots.
  • It’s not just pay. It’s the whole package which doesn’t appeal to enough people. It’s also not just the unions, management, and FAA. The answer won’t be found by polls.
  • While they have ADEQUATE staffing for pilots NOW, the new regs regarding qual will have a significant negative impact on staffing in the future – no way around it.
  • There is exactly the right number of pilots. Signed, The Market
  • Not enough truly qualified pilots. Many young pilots are “magenta pilots”, lacking essential aeronautical skills. Also, their mindset is a handicap, they are careless and sometimes “tune out’. I employ some of them in our pipeline patrol business.
  • As someone who will go to almost any length to avoid commercial air travel, I can see only one way for ALPA and RAA to resolve this issue: Handbags at dawn!
  • BTSOOM (Beats The Snot Out Of Me)