03 October 2012

Seats Coming Off Tracks On Two American Airlines Boeing 757's

Passenger seats come loose on an American Airlines flight


What is with full seat sections coming off track after an aircraft has come out of maintenance?

Well American Airlines has been having it's fair share of issues as of late. Two separate incidents of full seat sections becoming dislodged or flat out coming out of the seat tracks while the aircraft is performing a live revenue flight is not a good thing. American Airlines said that improperly installed clamps caused seats to become loose on two planes during flights. Later inspections of Boeing B-757's by American discovered that other planes had similar issues that needed to be fixed. 

"American Airlines said that improperly installed clamps caused seats to pop loose on two planes during flights and an inspection turned up four others with the same problem. The airline said Tuesday that it inspected and fixed the seats on 36 of its Boeing 757 jets and planned to check 11 other planes."
(Read Full Story Here)

American has been going through labor issues with the possibility of merger talks with US Airways looming in their rear view mirror.

Pilots have been accused of writing up more maintenance issues than normal as a form of work slow down which is not unheard of in the airline world. Everything from flying faster and burning up more fuel to knit picking mechanical problems in a station where contract maintenance is the only available support at an inflated cost. Timco Aviation Services and American crews might have installed the seats incorrectly as stated by David L. Campbell, the airline's vice president of safety. Only further investigations of their past work on the aircraft will reveal if this is a isolated incident from a particular maintenance station or is this something more sinister. (Like a work slowdown to get managements attention.)

So is contract maintenance a good or bad thing here in this case? It's a part of the industry that airlines just can't get around do to cost and practicality so it's some what of a necessary evil depending on who you talk to. During my flying days I have seen and used contract maintenance in out-stations and it was not a choice in the matter depending on the severity of the problem. Some days the problem was fixed and we blasted off but other times we cancelled and mechanics from our airline were flown to us and the problem was fixed by company mechanics. However when you have flights outside the U.S. you sometimes have to trust what and who you get if you want to get the passengers on their way.

Labor issues can be a very volatile aspect in a negotiation when the work groups have this ability to affect the operation so directly. It happens and it will continue forever but hopefully not at the cost of passenger safety. This incident definitely scared some people and it does make them (the passengers) aware of any internal issues at any given airline. No airline is exempt from this, it's just a part of doing business. Hopefully this is the last of such incident but I doubt it!

Passengers should watch the news to see what's going on with the airline they are planning to fly to see if there is anything they should be concerned with especially when it comes to labor or union issues. Not just the pilots can slow things down but flight attendants or ground agents can cause delays and or cancellations too! So don't think for one minute that the agents loading the bags or the crew members serving the drinks can't cause a stir. Pilots are just usually the ones who can have the fastest affect on flight operations that make management stand up and take notice. Now I'm not saying it's right but it can be effective in a stalled labor negotiation.

So I hope in the near future this is a thing of the past and not the precursor to what is yet to come. Good luck American Airlines!

"Be Proactive Not Reactive And Enjoy Your Flight!!!"

08 September 2012

First African American Woman To Fly For The U.S. Coast Guard.

Lt. J.G. La'Shanda Holmes Getting Pinned
She is the first African American woman to ever fly helicopters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Lt. J.G. La'Shanda Holmes is the pride of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Holmes is a success story from the foster care system; she grew up in with more than a dozen siblings.
"I didn't grow up with a silver spoon and it wasn't perfect for me," says the young pioneer.
The 25-year-old pilot works on search and rescue missions in southern California, and inspires others through her work. 

Photo courtesy of Holmes family.

"I am the most junior pilot here, I have a lot to learn," says Holmes, indicating that she has new barriers to break and challenges to overcome. Los Angeles is Holmes' first duty station and was in fact, her first choice. Her pioneer status was highlighted in JET magazine. Out of 1,200 pilots in the Coast Guard, only 85 are female. Colleagues believe that Holmes will serve as an inspiration for other young women.

 Photo courtesy of Holmes family.
“I know I’m the first, but nothing has sunk in yet. People may have expectations, but for me, mainly, it is about taking on responsibility and knowing I have something to prove [as a pilot]. I just want to keep flying well and working hard to make my community, family and sisters proud of me.”

"If you don't put a limit in what you want out of life, and you just keep dreaming and going for things anything is possible."

(U.S. Navy photo by Ens. Ryan Trespalacios)
Read the full story here