APA News Digest

Dec. 8, 2023

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In This Edition ...

Armed With The Facts

In a new video conversation, APA President CA Ed Sicher and Communications Committee Deputy Chair FO Tami McBride address a range of timely topics, including the status of The Line forums, the card drive, APA’s work on Capitol Hill as the voice of American Airlines pilots, and the importance of information integrity.

“Positive Rate” Episode 18: APA Membership Committee

In the latest episode of our “Positive Rate” podcast, Communications Committee member CA Chris Ferguson speaks with Membership Committee Chair CA Steve Pacheco about the many ways his committee supports APA pilots at every stage of their career.

Each episode of “Positive Rate” features various APA leaders and the subject-matter experts working on the membership’s behalf. The podcast is available through popular streaming services, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify – you can search for “Positive Rate” or “Allied Pilots Association” on your platform of choice to subscribe and download. Your first opportunity to listen will be via AlliedPilots.org/Podcasts.

We welcome your feedback on this format. If you have a question or a comment, please send it to Communications Director Gregg Overman via goverman@alliedpilots.org.

Update on Possible Retirement Age Increase

This is a new message from the APA Government Affairs Committee.

Many APA members have been asking about the status of the proposed mandatory pilot retirement age increase from 65 to 67. The current FAA Authorization had been set to expire on Sept. 30. The House of Representatives approved its version of FAA Reauthorization, which included a provision in Section 330 to raise the mandatory pilot retirement age from 65 to 67, on July 20. However, when the Senate was unable to reach compromise on several provisions of the bill, both chambers voted to extend the current FAA Authorization until Dec. 31 to provide more time for discussion and debate.

As we approach the new deadline, the bill continues to be stalled on the Senate side. It appears that senators may be making progress on ATP pilot training standards and are working through other amendments, including the issue of pilot retirement age. We don’t believe the Senate will advance an FAA bill by Dec. 31, so an extension to the current authorization would be required. The House proposed an extension until March 2024 to allow the Senate to continue its work.

We will continue to update you as soon as we hear of any new developments.

Two Federal Agencies Address Mental Health

On Tuesday, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said his agency has officially established a committee dedicated to breaking down any barriers that would keep pilots or air traffic controllers from addressing mental health issues.

“Just because they’re doing this doesn’t mean they’re going to take action,” APA spokesman Capt. Dennis Tajer told Fox Business. “With this committee being formed we say, ‘Thank you, but you better do something.’”

The FAA plans to name the panel of experts on the Mental Health and Aviation Medical Clearances Rulemaking Committee soon, though it didn’t specify an exact date. Once a panel is named, they will be required to submit recommendations to the FAA by the end of March.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board hosted a “Navigating Mental Health in Aviation” summit in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. APA Aeromedical Committee Chair FO Rondeau Flynn was among the panelists who participated in a roundtable discussion on where the industry goes from here. To learn more about the value that the Aeromedical Committee and its various subcommittees provide to APA members, visit AlliedPilots.org/ArmedWithTheFacts.

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy with APA Aeromedical Committee Chair FO Rondeau Flynn

Do Not Base Your Bids on Listed Hotels

This is a new message from the APA Hotel Committee.

PBS bid packages are built prior to hotel allocations being complete for that upcoming month. Sometimes, the hotel listed on the bid package will not be the allocated hotel for that sequence.

Any layover with an ODL of 17 hours or more should be placed at a long hotel in accordance with the CBA. Layovers that are 13 hours or fewer should be at a short property. There is flexibility between 13 and 17 hours, so placement can vary by market. We recommend that you do not bid for a trip based solely on the hotel listed on the bid package.

Hotel Survey: The Hotel Survey on the APA Pilot app is operational again. We appreciate you taking a bit of time after your overnight to fill out the survey. It is valuable tool that provides key data used to improve the pilot layover experience. Thank you for participating!

For more information, see the QRH – Quick Reference Hotels document, which should answer 99 percent of all hotel and transportation questions while providing helpful solutions. Suggestion: Download this QRH document to your AA iPad for easy access in the future.

Volunteers Needed to Sustain Fini Flight

This is a new message from the APA Family Awareness Committee.

CA Daniel Alexander was honored on Nov. 19 after Flight 133 arrived at DFW from DUB.

Fini Flight is an APA program designed to honor our retiring members. If a pilot chooses to participate, we meet them at the gate after (or sometimes before) their final flight as an American Airlines pilot. We include friends and family, play some music, bring a cake, and make their last flight memorable!

The future of the Fini Flight program is at risk. Due to a lack of volunteers, we were unable to host a few recent requests for celebrations. For more information on how to get involved, email finiflight@alliedpilots.org.

Our thanks to CA Greg Storm for these photos of November celebrations at DFW. See more of them on APA’s Facebook page.

CA Rick Nelson was honored on Nov. 10 after Flight 5 arrived at DFW from HNL.

2024 Internal Revenue Code Limits

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

One of the more frequent questions asked of the Retirement and Benefits Committee is how various Internal Revenue Code regulatory limits interrelate to affect pilots’ 401(k) personal planning. Click here for an explanation of how the 2024 limits can assist with your 401(k) planning.

Get Educated About Our New Contract

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

The Contract Compliance Committee wants to do everything we can to ensure that all APA members are well acquainted with the 2023 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Join us on Jan. 11 in LAX for a full day of training on the new CBA. This training will be conducted in hybrid fashion, with members welcome to participate in person or virtually via Zoom.

Please take a few moments before the training to familiarize yourself with the Electronic Document Index. 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 retain the Index for future reference. During the 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.

Eligibility for Meal Reimbursements

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

Q: I was reassigned on Day Two of a three-day sequence. The Reassignment made us eligible for a crew meal because we did not have the minimum ground time in DFW (70 minutes). Neither the original nor the reassigned sequence was “allocated” to have a crew meal boarded. With no crew meal boarded, I purchased food in DFW. Am I eligible for the Allocated Crew Not Boarded provisions ($30 via Comply365) and/or reimbursement for a replacement meal (up to $30 via Concur)?

A: Referencing the CBA language, a crew member is only eligible for the $30 “Not Boarded Penalty” on segments where the meal was pre-allocated. If a meal was purchased due to the Section 7.B.4.c requirements being met, the meal will be reimbursed for actual expenses up to $30. In this scenario, since neither segment was originally allocated a meal, the pilot would not receive the $30 “penalty.” If a segment/sequence becomes eligible for a meal based on the crew’s actual day, the Company reimburses the replacement meal(s) cost, up to $30 per meal, when accompanied by a Concur Expense Report and receipt.

Please reference the Crew Meal Flow Chart for additional information, including the list of “Non-Catered” stations. “A replacement meal may be purchased prior to or after a flight for which the pilot was allocated a meal,” but should be proximate to the day and location of the missed meal. Also, a turn scheduled on an aircraft with MEL’d chillers or ovens is considered one event for the $30 penalty.

Section 7.B.4.e – Allocated Meals Not Boarded
If an allocated meal is not boarded, a pilot for whom such meal was to be boarded will be reimbursed for the expense of any replacement meal(s) purchased by the pilot, provided the amount is reasonable under the specific circumstances and the pilot submits receipts for the meal(s) to the Company. A replacement meal may be purchased prior to or after a flight for which the pilot was allocated a meal.

(1) A meal is considered not boarded if it is not on board the aircraft, is materially incomplete, or is spoiled.

(2) If a crew meal is unavailable due to the allocated meal being not boarded, the affected pilot will receive $30 increased annually in accordance with the percentage increase calculated in 7.B.1. above. Unappetizing meals are not considered “not boarded” under this provision.

Widebody Fleet Review

Thanks to third-quarter earning results and other corporate communications, we have been able to update fleet counts and order books for American, Delta, and United.

  • AAL: 126 widebodies among 950 mainline aircraft
  • DAL: 159 widebodies among 938 mainline aircraft
  • UAL: 222 widebodies among 922 mainline aircraft

Need to Connect With Your Partner? There’s an App For That

This is a new message from the Project Wingman Subcommittee.

Let’s face it: Relationships are hard, and airline relationships are even harder. Being away 15 to 18 days a month – along with fatigue, job stress, home life and the holidays – can take a toll on what’s normally a healthy, happy relationship. Of course, marriage counseling is always a good avenue to pursue if your relationship is at a critical juncture. But therapy aside, is there a way to enhance the connection to your spouse/significant other while you’re away on a trip? Funny enough, there’s an app for that. It’s called Paired.

Full disclosure: This is not an endorsement by Project Wingman, and we have no connections to the makers of this app. That said, it may be helpful to those who like this kind of thing.

As always, if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, there is no app that’s a substitute for speaking to fellow pilots here at Project Wingman. We are here 24/7, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 817-823-7965, or 848-APA-CREW option 1.

Our Recommended Reading List

This is a new message from the APA Aeromedical Committee.

In an effort to improve our members’ health, we have created a recommended reading list. Each month, we will highlight a book that has helped in the prevention of, treatment of, or recovery from an injury or illness, or has elevated a member’s education. Feel free to send your book recommendations to aeromed-committee@alliedpilots.org.

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

In The Big Fat Surprise, investigative journalist Nina Teicholz addresses the unthinkable: What if everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong? She characterizes the low-fat nutrition advice of the past 60 years as a vast uncontrolled experiment on the entire population, with disastrous consequences for our health.

Disclaimer: This recommendation is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine or other professional health care services. Always consult with your medical provider when making health care decisions.

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 month, the right engine FADEC A320 aircraft 657 has been written up five times, and it has been on MEL and out of service three times. It was most recently signed off on Dec. 7 and is restricted to Class 1 or 2 maintenance stations.
  • UPDATE: Since mid-September, the right engine thrust reverser on B737 aircraft 3NC has been written up 16 times, has been on MEL six times, and has been out of service 11 times. It was most recently signed off on Dec. 8 and is restricted to Class 1 or 2 maintenance stations.

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 Dec. 5: Grant Adams, Antonio Albanese, Jose Aranda Vera, Daniel Barajas Jr., Kooper Bardin, Brandon Bator, Brian Black, Kyle Campbell, Robert Campbell, Fernando Colaci, Jared Donald, Alexander Eshete, Cole Fahey, Bryan Fair, Tyler Fliedner, William Francis Jr., Michael Frey, Joshua Gimre, Robert Haider, Christopher Halle, Jason Haywood, Louis Henry, Matthew Henschke, Shane Hosier, Michael Kaplan, Steven Kester, Matthew Kloby, Matthew Koch, Adam Lechlitner, Emily Lipp, Rafael Lizardo, Mehrdad Maleki, Collin McGeehan, Nathaniel McKean, John McLean, Jonathan Miller, Landon Mitchell, Shane Mitchiner, Javier Montes, Richard Mundy, Shane Obershaw, Yoelkys Perez, Andrew Petering, Blake Peterson, Nicholas Powers, Ted Price III, Yaasca Rahelan, Jake Raju, Danielis Rastonis, Alwyn Rhodd, Jessica Richard, Jason Riggs, Kevin Rosen, Joseph Roy, Anthony Sabos, Bruce Safford Jr., David Saito, Scott Saville, Ryan Scheibe, Yoav Shalev, Jason Shank, David Tippmann, Derek Watson, Everett Watson III, Nicholas Wilhelm, Alexander Wohlwend, and Michael Zamora.

APA Welcomes Captains’ Leadership Classes

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

On Dec. 6, 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: Natalie Bartal, Leroy Benavidez, Jonathan Berroa, Robert Bickerstaffe, Matthew Bonivtch, Robert Burgess, Anthony Carufe III, Randall Chastant, Peter Costas, Shelly David, Dennis Dobkin, Christopher Fowler, Angel Gonzalez-Zeno, Cash Hair, Johnny Hamilton, Benjamin Huffines, Thomas Huggins, David Jung, Steven Longdon, Shawn McLaughlin, Bruce Mcmillin, Edward Molenaar, Kevin Netherton, Richard Nichols, Mircea Pamfil, Douglas Preston Jr., Brett Rawald, Paige Rogers, Mark Thomann II, Ellis Williams, George Wilson, and Dwight Wooden.

Domicile Events

Click the image for a closer look.

About 100 pilots and guests gathered at Topgolf in Miami Gardens on Dec. 2 for the MIA Holiday Social. See more photos on APA’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Visit AlliedPilots.org/Calendar to RSVP for any of these upcoming domicile events:

  • BOS: Holiday Party on Dec. 16
  • CLT: Holiday Party on Dec. 10
  • DCA: Holiday Party on Dec. 14; Washington Capitals game on Jan. 16
  • DFW: Holiday Party on Dec. 16
  • LGA: Winter Warmer on Jan. 26
  • ORD: Domicile Meeting on Dec. 13; Holiday Party on Dec. 14

Domicile Elections

The following CLT pilots have been placed into consideration for nomination as Interim Domicile Chair and have indicated a willingness to serve, if elected:

FO Russ Blackwell
FO Ryan Cianciolo
CA Casey Granger
FO Erik Knauff
CA Dan Scola

The candidates’ resumes were mailed to all CLT pilots on Dec. 5. Nomination Round ballots were mailed on Dec. 6, and they will be tallied on Dec. 28. The three candidates with the most votes will advance to the Election Round.

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 the previous News Digest was published on Dec. 2.

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)
  • Grey Eagles Liaison Committee (1)
  • Hotel Committee (3)
  • Jumpseat/Non-Rev Committee (1)
  • Retirement & Benefits Committee (2)
  • Scheduling Committee (5)
  • 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

How does management or an employee submit an issue to Professional Standards?
Committee volunteers are identified for each domicile on AlliedPilots.org and on each domicile APA bulletin board. Management is furnished contact information for every domicile and national deputy, and they may approach a committee volunteer with an issue. Emails, texts, and detailed phone messages are to be avoided, as the information is not confidential and may not be protected. Telephone contact and face-to-face meetings are encouraged as confidentiality is paramount to the success of the program. You can reach your domicile Professional Standards committee via our phone tree: 817-402-2181.

To read all of the FAQs, click here.

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

Wreaths Across America 

Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit whose primary mission is to fulfill its motto of “Remember, Honor, and Teach” — that is, remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach your children the value of freedom. Part of that mission includes coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each year at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 3,800 other locations.

We are continuing our campaign of American Airlines pilots adopting a national cemetery in each of our domiciles, including BNA, STL, and GSW. This will enable our pilots to give as one group while supporting deceased veterans at their home base.

Please visit www.aapwaa.com and click the link for your domicile. You will find information on this year’s ceremonies and opportunities to help the local coordinators.  There is also a link at the bottom of the main page to find a cemetery near you if you do not live in your domicile and wish to help your local area.

This year’s ceremony will be on Saturday, Dec. 16.

If you have any questions, please contact CA Dave Branzell at dsb81@live.com.

Sharing the Holiday Spirit with Christmas Epaulets

Aero Crew News recently published an article by CA Tim Knutson about how his family got involved in the annual Christmas epaulets effort. 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 Dec. 9 at PHX followed by Jan. 12 at MCO. 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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