APA News Digest

Oct. 27, 2023

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In This Edition ...

“Those Two Pilots Averted an Absolute Tragedy”

The predominant story in our industry this week was Sunday’s incident on a Horizon Air flight. An Alaska Airlines pilot sitting in the flight deck jumpseat tried to turn off the engines before being subdued by the Horizon crew. According to court documents, the Alaska pilot said he ingested “magic mushrooms” 48 hours before the flight. He pleaded not guilty to 83 felony counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft.

Several media outlets turned to APA Communications Committee Chair CA Dennis Tajer for perspective when reporting on this incident.

When speaking to WGN-AM in Chicago, CA Tajer complimented the two Horizon pilots for their life-saving reaction. “There’s two pilots up there for a multitude of reasons – there’s some talk of just bringing it down to one – but those two pilots averted an absolute tragedy,” he said. “Two human beings up there can make the difference between – I’ll be blunt – life and death.”

CA Tajer explained to KPTV-TV, the Fox affiliate in Portland, Ore., that pilots are required to periodically obtain a medical certificate if they want to keep their jobs. “They go from top to bottom, not only the physical requirements needed to be airline pilot, but there’s also a requirement to evaluate mental fitness,” he said.

He told National Public Radio that the stigma around seeking mental health care has diminished over time, but it has not gone away completely. “You think that your job is at stake, the income for your family is at stake,” he said. “If I don’t have the mental fitness to get this done, I’m going to be grounded, lose my job, lose my home.”

CA Tajer also talked to Fox Business about eliminating the misconception that if a pilot reports to the FAA that they need help, then their fitness to fly will be in question. “It is a normal human condition to be under some level of stress with external things happening,” he said. “It’s the tools you have to get through that that matter.”

Coincidentally, the Communications Committee published a message on Tuesday that highlighted some of those tools: “APA Aeromedical: Focus on Pilot Mental Fitness.”

APA Board of Directors’ Fall Meeting Slated for Nov. 6-10

The APA Board of Directors’ regularly scheduled fall meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6-10 at union headquarters in Fort Worth.

In accordance with APA policy, a 60-minute “Membership and Guest Hour” will take place on the first day of the meeting immediately following the President’s Report. Policy stipulates that “Any APA member(s) in good standing or, with the consent of the Board, a guest of a member shall be allowed to address the board. Allocation of time will be 60 minutes divided by the number of members/guests desiring to speak; however, no individual will be afforded more than 10 minutes, including any questions/ answers by the Board. Members and guests must advise the meeting Chair of their desire to address the Board.” Please email asmith@alliedpilots.org if you wish to address the Board.

The following committee elections are to be conducted during the fall meeting:

  • Negotiating Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee
  • Benefits Review and Appeals Board
  • Financial Audit Committee

Please email your domicile representatives if you are interested in volunteering to serve on one of these APA national committees.

LTD Calculator Updated to Reflect New CBA

This is a new message from the APA Retirement and Benefits Committee.

We recently updated the Long Term Disability Calculator to include the new contractual changes such as the Extended Sick Bank provision and higher pay rates. This calculator is a valuable tool for contingency planning and can be of assistance in evaluating the new imputed income option that, if desired, needs to be selected before open enrollment closes on Nov. 5.

Our Family Navigation Team Needs You

This is a new message from the APA Compass Project.

The Family Navigation program within the APA Compass Project is one of the busiest teams at APA. Volunteers are needed to help our pilot-parents navigate all that comes with preparing for and going out on leave for the birth or placement of their child.

While we wish that these stages of family growth would follow a standard path, we all know every story is different. Family Navigation Sponsors serve pilot moms and dads as a supportive resource, helping them prepare for leave, assisting them with the leave process, finding answers to unique scenarios, and celebrating this very special phase of life. Parents need to look out for one another, and being a Family Navigation Sponsor is one of the best ways to do that.

If you are parent who is passionate about helping others, the Family Navigation Team needs you! There is an extra need for those who have experience with adoption, breastfeeding/pumping, fertility treatments, how to handle postpartum depression, and/or are based in California, Massachusetts, or New York. Anyone interested in helping will be given all the necessary tools and resources needed to ensure our pilots are given the support they deserve.

Volunteers are able to take on as much or as little as they like—any help provided is appreciated. If you are interested in joining our Family Navigation Team, please contact us via FamilyNav@alliedpilots.org.

Training Produces New Cadre of Contract Experts

This is an updated message from the APA Contract Compliance Committee.

Commmittee Chair CA Jason Saxer discusses nuances of the new CBA.

Pilots and all of our Contract Administrators gathered at APA headquarters on Wednesday for a full day of training on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with nearly 450 pilots attending remotely via Zoom.

The next training session is scheduled for 0900 Mountain on Nov. 16 in PHX. Click here to register via Zoom.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the Electronic Document Index before attending training. You must be logged in to AlliedPilots.org for the links to be accessible. This index connects you to a vast array of APA documents that we will reference. It is equally useful in the daily operation as a line pilot, so we recommend you bookmark the index for future reference. During training, it may be helpful to have two screens – one to run Zoom, and one to reference these documents.

Help us help you! The Contract Compliance Committee’s goal is for you – the membership – to be informed, educated, and knowledgeable. Every single pilot should strive to be a contract expert or, at the very least, strive for continued learning and engagement. Knowledge is power, and it will assist you in employing and being a watchdog of your negotiated work rules.

Tech Tip – How Do I Customize My Dashboard?

This is a new message from the APA Information Technology Steering Committee.

Let’s talk about customizing the dashboard and side menu in the APA Pilot app. We want you to be able to easily navigate to any sub-app that you find most important, such as Sentinel for compliance monitoring or Hotels for easily navigating the hotels list by airport code.

How do I customize my dashboard? 

  • Tap the side menu button.
  • Tap the pencil icon.
  • Drag over any cell in the list to the “APPS” section.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • Return to the dashboard to see changes.

Note: Changes made to the “APPS” section will reflect in the “APPS” section of the side menu.

How do I remove sub-apps from my dashboard?

  • Tap the side menu button.
  • Tap the pencil icon.
  • Drag over any cell in the “APPS” section to external sites or APA websites.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • Return to the dashboard to see changes.

How do I customize my side menu?

  • Tap the side menu button.
  • Tap the pencil icon.
  • Drag and drop items in the preferred order.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • Tap the side menu button again to see the changes.

Note: Changes to the “APPS” section will reflect on the dashboard.

How do I hide apps on the dashboard or side menu?

  • Tap the side menu button.
  • Tap the pencil icon.
  • Tap the eye icon next to any sub-app to hide it.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • Tap the side menu button again to see the changes.

As always, you can use “Feedback,” located in the side menu of APA Pilots, to reach us for technical problems and suggestions.

Revenue Production Remains a Shortfall

This is a new message from the APA Economic and Financial Analysis Committee.

Last week, American Airlines reported its third-quarter financial results. Here are our key takeaways:

  • Following generally accepted accounting principles, American reported a GAAP net loss for the third quarter driven by one-time expenses from the pilot contract and much-higher-than-expected fuel prices that unexpectedly surged during the third quarter.
  • Revenue production remains a shortfall of this management team. Demand and pricing power fell for all three airlines (compared to 2022), but the sharpest decline by far was at American. This exacerbated higher cost pressure on earnings, which led to further (adjusted) margin compression.
  • Capacity recovery has stalled again due to what management is calling “underutilization of assets,” which is a fancy way of saying “we have the airplanes, we just don’t have anyone to fly them.” It’s uncertain how much additional profit those extra flights would yield since it’s likely that AA is already maximizing flying on more-profitable routes.

Click here for more analysis.

Do You Back the PAC?

This is an updated message from the APA Government Affairs Committee.

This week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Mike Whitaker as the FAA Administrator, an appointment endorsed by APA because his views align with many of our legislative priorities.

“We are very pleased that Mr. Whitaker has taken a strong stand on comprehensive and rigorous pilot training, the importance of maintaining experience requirements for new-hire pilots, and the need to have a minimum of two well-trained, well-rested pilots on the flight deck,” APA President CA Ed Sicher said in a press release last week. “The FAA needs a confirmed leader, and Mr. Whitaker is the right person for the job.”

Members of Congress have offered amendments to the FAA reauthorization bills that would raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots and lower the number of flight hours needed to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. Your Government Affairs Committee is working hard to convince lawmakers that these measures are unnecessary and unwise.

We are able to have direct access to members of Congress thanks to your voluntary contributions to the APA Poltical Action Committee. Last month, 5,837 pilots contributed to the APA PAC. That number represented 37.5 percent of APA’s active members. Click the image below for a closer look at each domicile’s PAC contribution rates in July, August, and September.

Our Political Action Committee would be extremely well-funded if every APA member contributed as if his or her career depended on it – because it does.

Click here to back the PAC.

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 10 days, the power transfer unit on A319 aircraft 715 has been written up five times, been out of service four times, and been on MEL twice. It was most recently signed off on Oct. 26.
  • Since the beginning of October, A319 aircraft 713 has been written up eight times for a jolt felt during climbout and a loud air noise. It has been out of service seven times. It returned to service today after three functional check flights by line crews.
  • UPDATE: Since the beginning of October, A319 aircraft 837 has been written up 22 times and has been out of service six times for poor flight deck/cabin cooling. At the time of this writing, it remained out of service.

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 Oct. 24: Vito Basso, Cory Behounek, Stephen Bloemsma, Guilherme Brito Gouvea, Kendrick Chumak, Kang Wook Chung, Arthur Ciesielski, Edward Dandaraw, Jose Delgado Fernandez, Taylor Deyton, Christopher Duncan, Kevin Ehrich, John Paul Facey, David Farningham, James Fearon, Richard Hynden, Brandon Jacobs, Dennis Jakubczyk, Glenn Jones Jr., Kireeti Katari, Martin Kelly, Christian Kleemann, Michael Labny, Sean Lawson, Donna Lee, John Lyford V, Derrick Lykins, Franklin Mailey, William Miller, Michael Ness, Luke Pickering, Diane Powell, Robert Reineck, Lee Riehl, Jonathan Rogers, Zachary Rosson, Dustin Sartin, Luke Schwarz, Chad Sears, Margaret Ann Shedden, David Shepherd, Alexander Silverman, Alexander Siregar, Daniel Stein, Adam Stoughton, Alan Struening, Diogo Torres Souza Goncalves, Alexander Weeks, Jacob White, Phillip Wilson, and Patrick Witherell.

APA Welcomes Captains’ Leadership Class

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

On Oct. 25, 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: Joseph Bennington, Graham Bitner, Marcris Buchanan, Raphael Llandro Caballero, Jon Cameron, Kelvin Carvajal, Luis Cummings, Matthew Dixon, Kirk Fugate, G Nathan Galieti, Katerina Golcova, Todd Insalaco Sr., Tommie Johnson Jr., John Karam, Derek Karr, David Knowles, Charles Martin, James Nixon, William Pinter, Miguel Santibanez, Balraj Singh, Richard Smith II, Christopher Snider, Adam Steel, William Terrell, Kim Torres, and Michael Vella.

Domicile Events

See more photos from Wednesday’s DFW event at Chicken N Pickle on our Facebook page.

Despite the torrential rain throughout North Texas on Wednesday evening, more than 150 people made it to Chicken N Pickle in Grapevine for DFW Family Fun Night.

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

  • BOS: Wreaths Across America on Dec. 16
  • DFW: Retirement Party on Nov. 11
  • LAX: San Diego Yacht Club party on Nov. 2; Dave & Buster’s event at LAS on Dec. 5
  • LGA: Retirement Party on Oct. 28; Concourse Conversations on Nov. 15; Domicile Meeting on Nov. 16

FO Jimmy Deragisch, FO Howard Kwon, and FO John Fisher of the National Communications Network hosted Concourse Conversations at BOS on Thursday.

Domicile Elections

CLT pilots will elect an interim domicile chair who will serve through Oct. 31, 2024. Submissions for nomination will accepted on the APA Elections webpage until 0001 Central on Oct. 30.

If you have any questions, contact the APA Elections Department via 817-302-2175 or elections@alliedpilots.org.

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 (1)
    • Disabled Pilot Awareness Subcommittee (3)
    • Human Intervention Motivation Study Subcommittee (2)
    • Pilot Occupational Health Subcommittee (2)
    • Project Wingman Subcommittee (3)
  • Captain’s Authority Committee (2)
  • Communications Committee (0)
    • National Communications Network (7)
  • Compass Project (4)
  • Grey Eagles Liaison Committee (1)
  • Jumpseat/Non-Rev Committee (1)
  • Retirement & Benefits Committee (2)
  • Safety (0)
    • Environmental Sustainability in Aviation (2)
  • Scheduling Committee (6)
  • Training Committee (3)
    • Checkmate (1 on 777 and 1 on 320)

If you would like to serve on one or more of these committees, visit the Member Engagement Portal.

Professional Standards FAQs

Is management required to use Professional Standards?
No. Management is not required to use Professional Standards. However, management is encouraged to refer issues that are most appropriately addressed at the peer-to-peer level. Since 2016, management has been regularly utilizing Professional Standards to assist in resolution of cases for every appropriate opportunity.

To read all of the FAQs, click here.

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

Sharing the Holiday Spirit with Christmas Epaulets

This popular, long-running program benefits the families of our nation’s fallen heroes and young people seeking ways to further their education.

CA John Knutson – U.S. Army veteran and a pilot for North Central, Republic, and Northwest Airlines – lost his battle with cancer in 1997 at age 56. To honor his memory, John’s widow, Mary, decided to start making Christmas epaulets. Mary originally directed all proceeds to the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Scholarship Foundation, since John was a 1959 graduate of Chetek High School. In an acknowledgement of John’s love of country, the proceeds have been shared between the Gary Sinise Foundation/Snowball Express and the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Scholarship Foundation in recent years.

You may buy your epaulets here for $20 plus $5.50 for shipping and handling. They’re also available at Crew Outfitters stores at DFW and IAH. If you have any questions, please contact CA Tim Knutson via info@christmasepaulets.com.

Thank you for supporting this worthy cause.

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 Fair and Future Pilot Seminar are scheduled for Nov. 18 at FLL followed by Dec. 9 at PHX. Click here for more information.

Industry News

For more about what’s happening in the industry, be sure to visit the Industry News page on AlliedPilots.org.

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