Pilots of large-cabin jets who work as independent contractors complain that former airline pilots and young pilots willing to work for much less are undercutting their normal daily rates.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and its international umbrella group, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA), are calling for the release of the two American corporate pilots who are still being detained in Brazil pending the investigation of the September 29 midair collision between their Embraer Legacy 600 and a Gol Airlines 737.
Helicopter pilots Jennifer Murray, 66, and Colin Bodill, 55, intend to take off on December 5 for a second attempt to fly round the world via the South and North Poles. They will fly their Bell 407 from Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Dallas. They expect
to travel for 169 days, visit 34 countries and cover 36,206 nm.
NBAA and the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing 13,000 American Airlines pilots, have added their voices to the growing international call to bring home the two U.S. pilots who continue to be detained in Brazil after the September 29 midair between their Legacy 600 and a Gol Airlines 737 (see page one). On November 20, NBAA sent a letter to the president of Brazil calling for the immediate return of the two pilots.
While pilots agree that ADS-B is the next big thing for the National Airspace System, with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey describing it as the “FAA’s moon shot,” its implementation process has puzzled many. When Blakey last week launched the program with $80 million in FY 2007 funds, agency bureaucrats were still seeking go-ahead approval from the FAA’s top-level Joint Resources Council.
Lifeline Pilots, a Peoria, Ill.-based nonprofit organization of 525 fliers who volunteer to ferry critically ill and injured patients, organs for transplant and other emergency missions, is marking its 25th year. Representatives at Booth No. 1618 are distributing information about the program and signing up pilots who meet its requirements. Lifeline is also accepting individual and corporate donations.
Last month, the Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (ASAP)–the union representing NetJets pilots– began its “informational picketing,” a campaign that includes this billboard near Teterboro Airport, N.J. The billboard notes that the pilots and NetJets management have been in negotiations for about three-and-a-half years, and suggests that a strike is possible after June 24.
The unionized NetJets pilots, represented by IBT Local 1108, on November 21 overwhelmingly ratified the tentative labor agreement signed on October 8, nearly four years after the pilots’ contract became amendable. Of the valid 1,924 ballots received (about 91 percent of the NetJets pilot workforce), 1,616 (84 percent) voted for the work contract and 308 (16 percent) opposed it.
Salaried pilots who fly air taxis, bush aircraft and crop dusters have the highest occupational death rate–92.4 for every 100,000 pilots–tied with the rate for logging workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency said the aircraft these pilots fly can be “old and the maintenance less stringent than among the big airliners, adding to the danger.”
In the first eight months of this year, the top five fractional operators hired more pilots than they did in all of last year, according to aviation job placement firm AIR of Atlanta. NetJets, Flight Options, Flexjet, CitationShares and Avantair hired 498 pilots through August this year versus 482 for all of last year.