APA President Provides Perspective on Near Misses

APA President CA Ed Sicher with National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy

APA President CA Ed Sicher was among the safety experts who participated in a roundtable discussion that the National Transportation Safety Board hosted this week regarding near misses at airports.

In his remarks, CA Sicher cited the need to invest in “simple, easy to obtain improvements we can achieve today,” such as increasing the visibility of taxiway markings, which are often hard to see in rainy and low light conditions; installing more runway status lights; and reconfiguring taxiways by adding end-around taxiways to eliminate the possibility of an incursion. On the funding front, he cited the need for proper controller manning with well-trained controllers and manageable workloads, relating his experience of encountering a controller in MIA who was simultaneously overseeing clearance, ground, and tower operations. He likewise emphasized the importance of having two well-rested, well-trained, alert pilots in the cockpit who can trap each other’s errors.

Another priority item that CA Sicher identified is the implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) that are prospective, not retrospective, so the industry can collect the data required to predict where the next errors will occur. On the data collection front, he emphasized that the collection of valid data requires trust between pilots and the reporting system.

“There are no silver bullets,” he said. “The system is under stress, which is why there’s a search for solutions. What we need to do now, with experience levels low and the churn rate in the industry at a high level, is to concentrate on minimizing changes. We need a back-to-basics approach.” The importance of a back-to-basics approach was echoed by ALPA President CA Jason Ambrosi and SWAPA President CA Casey Murray, who were also on hand for the roundtable discussion.

The Washington Post reported that CA Sicher said addressing immediate safety concerns via long-term investments was comparable to a coach looking ahead to a promising recruit in the next season while in the middle of losing a game. “What can we do now?” he said. “There’s no silver bullet for this.”

The Wall Street Journal also quoted CA Sicher in an article on the topic: “Every piece of the system is under stress.”

CA Sicher and CA Murray also participated in an investor conference this week with Wolfe Research airline analyst Scott Group on the state of the industry and the potential for operational problems during the peak summer travel season. American Airlines Chief Financial Officer Devon May was among the other attendees at the Wolfe Research conference.

Contract 2023: Quick Reference Guide and Back Pay Calculator

On Tuesday, the Negotiating Committee published a new quick reference guide highlighting the major agreed-to items between APA and American Airlines management. The committee will continue updating this quick reference guide with additional details and clarifications as appropriate. The Contract 2023 website will reflect when the most recent updates to the quick reference guide were made.

Also, the Back Pay Calculator tool is now available on the Contract 2023 site and enables APA pilots to estimate individualized back pay for 2020-22, as well as back pay and 401(k) non-elective contributions for the three months immediately preceding ratification (May-July 2023).

We encourage you to visit the Contract 2023 site for the latest information.

RSVP for June Special Board Meeting

A special Board of Directors meeting will be held at APA headquarters on June 1 and 2 so the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee can deliver its final report, as required by Resolution 2022-25. Due to limited seating, RSVPs will be required. Please click here if you wish to attend. (A recording of the meeting will be available to all members ASAP.)

Meet Your APA Strike and Tactical Operations Planning Committee

STOP Committee Chair CA Steve Pacheco and Deputy Chair CA Andrea Hoover participated in Concourse Conversations at LGA with Domicile Chair CA Lawrence Cutler (left) and APA Vice President CA Chris Torres (right).

On May 1, APA staged one of the largest pickets in airline history. More than 3,000 pilots showed up across 10 domiciles to support our drive for a new contract. While this show of unity required every single person who took the time to be there, there was also a major driving force behind the pilots: the APA Strike and Tactical Operations Planning Committee, also known as STOP.

As part of our series spotlighting national committees, Communications Committee member FO Shalyn Marchetti wrote profiles of STOP Chair CA Steve Pacheo and STOP Deputy Chair CA Andrea Hoover. Click here to learn more about them.

Replacement Flying That Causes an Illegality

This is the latest in a series of Q&As from the APA Contract Compliance Committee.

Q: I was scheduled to fly a two-day sequence with a follow-on, two-day sequence (four days of flying). The last flight of my first sequence cancelled. I was brought back to domicile on the first available flight the next day (Section 4.C.2.c.(2)), but the Replacement Flying and extension of the first sequence overlapped my follow-on sequence. Why was my next sequence not removed OP? Why am I now responsible for Recovery Obligation for the second sequence?

A: When a sequence is delayed, a reassignment is executed, or Replacement Flying is assigned that causes an illegality with your next sequence, a Replacement Flying Window (RFW) is created to protect the value of the conflict sequence. Section 4.C.3.a.(3) allows for a Replacement Flying assignment that causes an illegality with the pilot’s next sequence(s) and resultant Recovery Obligation for the removed sequence. Section 4.C.3.a.(4) allows the RFW to be extended when the first available flight back to domicile is outside the RFW. If this assignment creates an illegality, the pilot is responsible for Recovery Obligation for the removed sequence.

If the Company does not utilize the first available flight(s) back to domicile, the flying or deadheading is a reassignment. In accordance with Section 4.C.7.c, a follow-on illegality created from this type of assignment should be removed with “OP.” This removal is a paid, no credit, no RO code and, at pilot option, would allow you to “double-dip” and pick up additional flying.

Section 4.C.3.a.(3): The Company may assign Replacement Flying that causes an illegality with the pilot’s next sequence(s).

Section 4.C.3.a.(4): The Company may assign Replacement Flying that is scheduled to terminate beyond the Replacement Flying Window in accordance with C.2.c.(2).

Section 4.C.2.c.: Replacement Flying – Flying that is assigned / awarded by the Company to a pilot whose sequence, or portion thereof, has cancelled.

(1) Replacement Flying Window – (i) The Sequence Footprint plus four (4) hours, or the end of the calendar day, whichever is later, or (ii) the Sequence Footprint, plus thirty (30) hours for Trans Oceanic sequences, including to/from Hawaii, U.S. to South of the Equator.
(2) The Replacement Flying Window may be extended beyond C.2.c.(1) above if the pilot flies or is deadheaded on the first available flight(s) to base. The “first available flight(s) to base” is the flight(s) that arrives at the base the earliest. The flight(s) may be direct or indirect.

Section 4.C.7.c.: Reassigned during replacement flying – if reassigned during replacement flying, and the reassignment causes an unresolved illegality with the pilot’s next sequence(s) at the time of assignment, the pilot shall be removed paid and uncredited from the illegal sequence(s) with no replacement flying obligation for the removed sequence(s).

Navigating Compass Documents

This is a new message from the APA Compass Project.

So, what’s covered in Compass documents? Some guides are THE source guide, like the Reserve User Guide, for example. This is a 73-page document, but pilots don’t need to read it all at once. This guide contains information on how to bid reserve in PBS, RAP secondary bidding, fatigue/sick as a reserve pilot, transitional reserve, plus the everyday contractual provisions that apply to reserve pilots.

Other documents point to where the source document can be found. The Low Time Restrictions Guide is a great example, as it mostly points to the FOM reference for each restriction. But most of the guides provide a high-level summary that points you to the source document. (The Trip Trading Guide is a good example.) If there is confusion on all the ballots and bidding tools available, the Tools & Ballots Guide is a summary of each tool with a link to the tool/ballot itself and to its user guide.

The Compass webpage is organized by main topics (Aeromedical, Bidding, Compensation, FAR 117, etc.) then guides, flow charts, and committees’ webpages listed underneath. Let’s say you’re looking for information on how to list for your deadhead to training. If you don’t like moving your eyes around the webpage, then try the green NAVIGATION box, which contains all the main topics. Training and Travel will most likely be a match for this search. A quick glance at the guides under Training would eliminate this option, then as you move to the Travel section, you’ll find the Deadheading guide. Each guide has a Table of Contents (TOC) containing Fast Reference Links. Also, the upper-right corner of each page has a link to return to the Table of Contents to facilitate navigation within the guide. Looking at the TOC, you’ll find the “Book your Deadhead” link, which shows the most practical way to list for your deadhead.

There is a wealth of information available to you from the Compass homepage. Our documents team works expeditiously to update all user guides. We aim for an excellent product and always appreciate feedback!

The APA Compass Project is an industry-leading pilot mentoring and support program. Compass offers one-on-one support from experienced line-pilot sponsors, as well as tutorial videos and an extensive database of stage-based documents covering a number of helpful topics that are beneficial to all pilots. Click here for more information.

Pigs of the Week

APA commends American Airlines’ hardworking aircraft maintenance technicians for their outstanding work. We believe they are the best in the business. When repetitive problems do arise, they’re often due to managerial decisions that fail to properly prioritize tasks and to management’s decision to outsource a significant portion of the airline’s maintenance to offshore, third-party repair stations.

  • In the last three weeks, A319 aircraft 746 has been written up and been out of service five times for airframe vibrations. It was recently operated under a Special Flight Permit to a maintenance base for repairs and repeated on its first revenue flight, and was last returned to service on May 26.
  • In the last two weeks on B737 aircraft 3AK, the Captain’s stick shaker/stall warning has been written up five times and has been out of service four times. It it was last returned to service on May 25.

Agency Fee Policy for Fiscal Year 2024

APA recently published its agency fee policy for fiscal year 2024. Agency fee payers are non-member pilots who are required by Section 25 of the collective bargaining agreement to pay a monthly service charge to APA for the administration of the agreement and representation of the pilot. Fiscal year 2024 runs from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. APA encourages all non-members to join (or re-join) APA. This continues to be a demanding time with American Airlines, and we must all stand together, strong and united, in our efforts to improve the airline’s operation.

APA Welcomes New Pilots

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

The APA Membership Committee welcomed the following pilots during a casual dinner on May 23: Allan Alfaro, Jarrod Ambrose, Jon Appelt, Joseph Armstrong, Christopher Barragy, Jairo Barrios, Paul Bishop, James Blackham, Joshua Chockley, Leonardo Constant Oliveira, David Coppock, Seth Cox, Bryan Crask, Craig Davidson, Jeffrey Davis, Erich Domitrovits, Fernanda Dos Santos Sousa, Matthew Dudlik, John Echols, Karl Engelskirger, Jessica Farmer, Patrick Foster, Jeffrey Frakes, Kelly Getsinger, Manuel Giraldo Boix, Kerry Hanger, Slayton Harden, Joshua Harrington, Edward Hastings III, Kenneth Hedges, William Huszagh, Brandon Jimenez, Alan Khan, Tor Killi, Hyungkun Kim, Anthony Klein, Daniel Lessin, Farley Mahabir, Jose Martinez, Mitchell Mills, Gordon Morrow, Wesley Ochsenreiter, David Reinbolt, Karen Rodriguez, Tanner Ruschman, Nathaniel Schirle, Joel Schneider, Dallas Shoeneman, Travis Simpson, Aaron Steele, David Stratton, Samuel Van Buskirk, Andrew Vasquez, Charles Vazquez, Reid Watkins, Ibrahim Wehbe, and Joshua White.

APA Welcomes Captains’ Leadership Class

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

On May 24, the APA Membership Committee hosted a casual dinner for the following pilots who were in Fort Worth for American Airlines’ Professionalism, Leadership, and Mentoring class: Dennis Alberts, Gregory Carroll, Jearohan Cordice, Francisco Cubides, Jonah Endsley, Max Forschler, Anthony Glazek, Matthew Grantham, Hal Grothjan, Erin Jackson, Tyler Keltner, Neil Kliebert, Sean Leffner, Joseph Malinchak, Brus Messinger, Enrico Onnis, Albert Policano, Ryan Purdy, Esteban Ramirez, Matthew Schroer, Daniel St. Clair, Frederick Strathearn, Bryan Swenson, John Therwhanger, and William Wilson.

APA Holiday Schedule

APA headquarters, including Contract Administration, will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day. Contract Administration will be open from 0700 to 1900 Central on Saturday and Sunday.

As always, your APA support team remains available 24/7. When Contract Administration is closed, calls will be forwarded to a phone service operated by Contract Compliance Committee and Flight Time/Duty Time Committee volunteers. Please note that call-back times may be longer than normal due to limited staffing. If your call is not urgent, we encourage you to wait until normal business hours resume.

You may also want to consult the pilot volunteers on your domicile’s Contract Compliance Committee. Almost every domicile has one, and some of them have larger rosters than the national committee. Contact your local committee by visiting your domicile’s page on AlliedPilots.org and clicking the “Domicile Committee List” link.

To reach a contract administrator, call APA HQ at 1-800-323-1470 and press Option 3. If you prefer to e-mail your question to the contract administrators, click here. For specific FAR 117/fatigue issues requiring immediate attention, you can also call the Emergency Help Line at 682-738-6670 manned 24/7 by Flight Time/Duty Time Committee volunteers.

Domicile Events

Get more details about these upcoming events at AlliedPilots.org/Calendar:

  • BOS: Boston Red Sox game on June 28
  • DCA: Concourse Conversations on June 15
  • DFW: Texas Rangers game on June 7
  • LAX: Retirement Dinner on June 3; Domicile Meeting on June 21
  • ORD: Galt Airport Pancake Breakfast on May 27
  • PHL: Town Hall Meeting on June 7
  • PHL: Philadelphia Phillies game on June 20; Domicile Meeting on June 23; Retirement Dinner on June 23
  • PHX: Concourse Conversations on July 20

Week in Review

The following messages were sent since last week’s News Digest was published.

Are You Willing to Serve?

Each of these national committees or subcommittees has the indicated number of vacancies:

  • Aeromedical Committee (0)
    • Critical Incident Response Program (1)
    • Disabled Pilot Awareness Subcommittee (3)
    • Human Intervention Motivation Study Subcommittee (3)
    • Pilot Occupational Health Subcommittee (2)
    • Project Wingman Subcommittee (4)
  • Captain’s Authority Committee (4)
  • Communications Committee (0)
    • National Communications Network (6)
  • Compass Project (6)
  • Grey Eagles Liaison Committee (1)
  • Hotel Committee (2)
  • Jumpseat/Non-Rev Committee (1)
  • Professional Standards Committee (1)
  • Retirement & Benefits Committee (2)
  • Safety Committee (0)
    • Air Traffic and Procedures Subcommittee (3)
    • Environmental Sustainability in Aviation Subcommittee (2)
  • Scheduling Committee (8)
  • Training Committee (4)
    • Checkmate (2 on 777 and 1 on 320)
  • Uniform (1 female)

If you would like to serve on one or more of these committees, visit the National Committee Volunteer Portal.

Professional Standards FAQs

What happens with a management referral?
When a committee volunteer and management member are both working the same issue, it is the responsibility of the Professional Standards volunteer to determine if management intends to stay involved or is willing to hand the case over. The Professional Standards volunteer and management will work together to determine if the issue could be completed through the Professional Standards process. If an agreeable resolution is not made, the parties are encouraged to elevate the issue to the National Committee for resolution or guidance. In all cases, Professional Standards will not accept an issue if management remains involved.

To read all of the FAQs, click here.

Professional Standards’ 24/7 hotline: 817-402-2181

If You’re 50, Join The Grey Eagles

Are you a pilot for American Airlines, at least age 50, active or retired? Please join The Grey Eagles for food, fun, and fellowship. We offer cruises, conventions, monthly luncheons, retirement dinners, professional mentoring, and assistance to surviving spouses – all for a one-time lifetime fee.

Pilot Job Fairs and Future Pilot Seminars

Future & Active Pilot Advisors’ next Pilot Job Fairs and Future Pilot Seminars are scheduled for May 27 at HNL followed by June 17 at DEN. Click here for more information.