Maybe you caught the Bill Maher show this month when he had Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger on as a guest. We remember him as the pilot who successfully landed a passenger plane on the Hudson River a couple years ago after having his engines cut by bird strikes. The media, politicians, and public alike all praised the outstanding pilot as a hero. And he is rightly called a hero. His superb piloting skills, unflappable nerves and cool thinking undoubtedly averted a terrible event and saved many lives.
It’s a good thing airline pilots are so handsomely rewarded with generous pay for their unending responsibilities for the safety of the passengers and public. Or are they generously, or even fairly, compensated?
Remember the fatal crash near Buffalo in February of ’09? Sully told us the first officer of that flight earned $16 thousand a year and had to sleep on the floor the night before the flight because she couldn’t afford a motel. He also informed us the captain of the flight had no training to prepare him for the dive the aircraft took when ice had built up on the plane.
From the AP:
The training by the airline — Manassas, Va.-based Colgan — for the Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier, a twin-engine turboprop, didn't include a demonstration or simulation of the stick-pusher system, sources said.
A stick-pusher automatically kicks in when a plane is about to stall, pointing the aircraft's nose down into a dive so it can pick up enough speed to allow the pilot to guide it to a recovery.
However, when Flight 3407's stick-pusher kicked in on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport the night of Feb. 12, Renslow pulled back on the plane's control column, apparently trying to bring the aircraft out of the sudden dive by raising the nose up. Pushing forward to gain speed is the proper procedure.
The activation of a stick pusher can be a jarring experience for any pilot, especially if the pilot has never experienced it before, said William Waldock, an aviation science professor at Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, Ariz. The natural response is to pull back unless you've been trained through repetition to push forward, he said.
I guess we should take comfort in knowing the CEO’s and shareholders didn’t have to make any sacrifice.
Ever wonder how Sully’s income and pension are doing? Well, Sully has lost 40% of his pay. Sully’s first officer had just taken a 60% pay cut. Sully said his pension was “terminated, gone”. He was sad to report that he could never encourage a younger person to follow him in a career as a commercial pilot.
The sacred bottom line is revered and served over the public’s safety. The public interest and general welfare of the American people is being subverted. The American Dream is ending in a nightmare. But don’t worry, be happy. Big Business is doing just fine.