Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pilot Sully Has No Pension, Pay Cut by 40%

National Hero, Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger

Suspected Terrorist Geese

More (Possible) Bird Striking News

Weeks after LWOH reported how our own hero, U.S. Airways Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger expertly ditched an Airbus A-320 into the Hudson River after both its engines were knocked out by two suspected flocks of Canada Geese and saved the lives of all 155 passengers onboard, another possible bird strike and engine failure may have also caused a Turkish Airlines jet to crash in Amersterdam today, killing at least nine people and injuring 50.

Before we describe today’s Turkish Air crash, Pilot Sully has testified today (click on above video) that his pay has been cut by 40% in recent years and his pension plan has been terminated. Given the outcome of his masterful and miraculous crash landing, Pilot Sully deserves a lifetime of compensation and benefits. Plus, he has done a great service for the promotion of the Airline.

Surely, the marketers at U.S. Airways can’t argue with the expert product placement.

But with the airlines’ corporate push for profits over people potentially jeopardizing passenger and civilian safety, shouldn’t this be the nation’s wake-up call to reform the airline industry? Pilot Sully explains how the skimping has gotten so bad that he and his peers would not recommend the profession of “pilot” for their children:

“…the terms of our employment have changed dramatically from when I began my career, leading to an untenable financial situation for pilots and their families. When my company offered pilots who had been laid off the chance to return to work, 60% refused. Members, I attempt to speak accurately and plainly, so please do not think I exaggerate when I say that I do not know a single professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps.”

Since 1993, under the greatest assault against educated Americans when the H-1B visa spigot flooded the tech industry, millions of American computer scientists and engineers are now unemployed and vastly underemployed, without benefits and pensions, too. Many now have kids in college who are not in the CS and Engineering departments for the same reason: Corporate greed directed against middle class Americans.

Although Pilot Sully saved the lives of 155 passengers and crew, some onboard today’s Amsterdam crash met no such fate. Airport authorities said the plane, Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, left Istanbul at about 8:20 a.m. and made a crash landing near the airport with 128 passengers and 7 crew members on board. Although the cause of the crash has yet to be confirmed, bird strikes have not been ruled out.

The 737-800, part of Boeing's "next generation" family of aircraft, was introduced in 1998 and is powered by CFM engines produced by General Electric and the French manufacturer Snecma. Turkish officials said the plane was built in 2002. It last underwent maintenance checks in December.

Low-cost airlines including Europe’s Ryanair has an entire fleet of 737-800 models and it along with Southwest Airlines both have outstanding orders for more. The 737-800 could be referred to as the People’s Plane. According to one aviation consultant in Barcelona:

"This is the Ford or Volkswagen of the skies - it is the equivalent of the Airbus A320 - the real workhorse of the current generation of aircraft.”

The fear is that as airlines continue to cut services (Southwest now has the passengers cleaning up the planes, among other things) outsource maintenance and lose their best and brightest pilots, passenger and civilian safety will be increasingly jeopardized.

Let’s hope that these low-cost airlines add mechanical safeguards against the potential for bird strikes and compensate their pilots to reward the best and brightest stewards of the skies.



BF said...

Ryanair is mulling around the idea of charging its passengers for use of the toilet.

2Truthy said...


All I can say is:

With the shoddy condition of most of these skybusses, they'll have to start PAYING ME to use their filthy toilets.

Anonymous said...

Go see Michael Moore's new movie:
Capitalism A Love Story. You'll be blown away, tootruthy!

If this story of our American "hero" doesn't personify the calculated war on American workers, I don't know what does.