FAA Finalizes Rest and Duty Rules!

Airline pilot restingThe FAA has finally published their new rest and duty rules!  You can download your copy here:  Final Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Rules

There are some very notable changes and exclusions!  Such as:

  • Max duty day 14 hours
  • Max flight time is now 9 hours!
  • Cargo operations are completely exempt!  We guess its because all the cargo pilots have superhuman powers?

We look forward to hearing your comments and opinions!  Please discuss the new rules in our forums here: FAA Rest and Duty Rules Forum

A Better Captain

CaptainThe difference between the left and right seat is only a few feet, but it is many miles difference in terms of responsibility. As a new captain of a regional aircraft you will most likely feel that the fourth stripe is a pass to the good ol’ boys club, you are in charge now, you get to set the tone, you get to call the shots; as the saying goes, it is good to be the king. However, because training is being cut to the FAA minimum you might feel a bit overwhelmed when everyone is looking to you for every little answer, I am here to say this is normal. If you are reading this then you are probably looking to make yourself a better leader/captain; no matter what, your experience level may be, that is a good thing.

When you put humans in charge of other humans three things can happen for those not ready for real leadership:

  1. they focus on their own interests, needs and concerns.
  2. focus less on others .
  3. act like the rules don’t apply to them.

I have no doubt that as a Captain you will encounter one or even all three of these tendencies, we have all flown with good Captains and bad Captains; It is up to you to determine what type of Captain you want to be.

A great leader will always try to put the needs, interests and concerns of his or her underlings ahead of their own. There is not one magical thing that will make you a good captain; it is the little things that you do as a Captain that will add up, and ultimately set you apart. I always will do the first flight of the day walk around and any walk around that it is raining or snowing, not just the sunny/70 degree ones. If a crew member, that works a flight with me, is trying to make a commute I will do the last leg walk around or clean up and cross seat belts in the back to let that crew member shave off a few minutes and get going. If the trip gets delayed and we are running behind with no time for food, I will make it a point when I pick up the release to also get a slice of pizza or something for the first officer. All of these little things help to build a rapport with the crew and say we are here as a team; the better we work together the smoother the operation will go.

The best advice I can give to a new Captain is: act as if you are always being watched, because you are. It has been documented that in a tribe of baboons every member of the troop will look over at the alpha male to see how he is acting, to see how they should be acting. If he is nervous and scared they will find shelter and start to run. If he is calm and collective they will keep doing their job. You set the tone from the second you arrive. Being the first in the hotel lobby, shirt ironed, pants creased sends a message to the crew that you are there to work. With this, you will have to read each individual situation to feel how high you are setting a bar. Tommy Lessora, manager of the Giants said, “managing is like holding a dove in your hand, you hold it too tightly you kill it, you hold it too loosely it fly’s away.” You don’t want to set a tone that you are never bending and have lost touch with what it is like to be human, however you have to also let everyone know that rules have been put in place to prevent us from getting into a bad situation. This type of managing is described as being perfectly assertive, you are able to turn up the volume and go, or back off and let be at just the right time.

Being a Captain is more about the relationships with the people that you interact with and less about the flying. It is assumed that you know how to fly an airplane, now you are being paid to manage and ensure the operation is running as efficient as possible.

By Bart Adams – Line Check Airman/APD

Works Cited: Sutton, Bob. What great leaders do. Stanford University, Stanford Technology Ventures program. 11 OCT 2010. Keynote speaker.

Stuck In My Seat

Stuck In My seat!?I had many responses to my previous article about obtaining as much experience as possible while waiting for hiring to resume.  Many of the responses were similar in nature so this is an attempt to answer your concerns.  For those who missed my earlier article, I encouraged those who are stuck in the regionals or at a corporate job to try to pick up another type rating to make themselves more attractive to the hiring managers.  I explained that the competition will be quite fierce once the majors start hiring again.  It is important to separate yourself as much as possible from everyone else and one way to do that is to gain as much experience as you can.

There’s good news! It appears that we may soon see some hiring trends in the majors which will free up spots below and make the whole system start to hire.  In other words, once the majors start to hire, the regionals will then need to backfill.  Once the regionals need to backfill, they will take from the schools and small operators.  Those in corporate jobs looking to go elsewhere will also start to pick up positions and the need will arise to backfill those spots. We have seen Jetblue start to hire, Airtran has brought the furlough back and is hiring, and Delta is slated to hire 300 starting in August.  But, as I mentioned, the competition will be fierce.  Let’s look at Delta. Out of the 300, some will be taken from the flow-through program with Compass.  It is anyone’s guess how many slots will be left for those applying outside of Delta.  However, with so many experienced pilots from the majors out on the street, you know it will be very competitive.

Continue reading Stuck In My Seat

Spirit Pilots Reach Deal with Management

spirit airTentative Agreement Ends Strike, Pilots to Receive Double-Digit Pay Increases

WASHINGTON – Spirit pilot negotiators, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have reached a tentative agreement with their management. If ratified by the Spirit pilot group, the resulting new contract would include improvements in pay, benefits, and work rules that recognize and reward the pilots’ contributions to the company’s success.

“We’re pleased to have a tentative agreement that acknowledges the sacrifices each of us made to ensure the success of Spirit Airlines,” said Capt. Sean Creed, leader of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “This agreement provides increases in pay and retirement benefits, protects our work rules, and ensures our job security at Spirit. After four days on the picket line, this agreement also gets this pilot group and this airline back where it belongs—in the air.”

On Saturday, June 12, the pilots went on strike, forcing the company to cancel all flights and call a standstill to its operations. The pilots’ and management’s representatives reconvened on Tuesday, June 14, and met for 24 hours of intense negotiations facilitated by the National Mediation Board. After this effort, negotiators late Wednesday reached a tentative agreement that will allow the airline to restart flights as early as Friday, June 18. Specific terms of the agreement will be released to the members.

After four years of fruitless contract talks, the NMB released the two parties from mediated bargaining on May 12. This release triggered a 30-day cooling-off period that ended at 12:01 a.m. on June 12, after which time both the pilots and the company were free to engage in self-help, including a strike or lockout. After two extensions and a full-out effort to reach an agreement, the pilot leadership was forced to call a strike at 5:01 a.m. on June 12.

“Our leadership strongly believes that this is the fair and affordable agreement that our pilots asked for back in 2007 when we started negotiations with the company,” continued Creed. “Thanks to the efforts of our negotiators and the support of our international union, we were able to reach a fair and equitable agreement. I am proud not only of our negotiating team, but also of every single Spirit pilot who walked the line and refused to accept any agreement that did not treat us as valuable partners in Spirit’s continued success.”

ALPA, Spirit pilots’ 53,000-member-strong union, backed their negotiations every step of the way. Earlier this year, ALPA members gave Spirit pilots a $2 million grant from the association’s Major Contingency Fund to support their strike preparations. Over the past months and during the strike, many hundreds of ALPA pilots demonstrated unwavering solidarity with Spirit pilots by joining the picket line at the airports in Spirit domiciles in Ft. Lauderdale, Detroit, and Atlantic City, and at LaGuardia Airport.

“Spirit pilots felt the unqualified support of their union during these negotiations, and our pilots stood strong and united against company demands for concessions in the face of extremely robust profits,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “The pilots know that their union will continue to stand behind them.”

The tentative agreement must be ratified by the entire Spirit pilot group. The Spirit pilots’ leaders will hold road shows to meet with their pilots in the coming weeks. The agreement is expected to be brought for a vote to the entire Spirit pilot group in July.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.

What Can I Do to Wait Out the Downturn?

iStock_000007650797XSmallMany of my candidates have contacted me recently in frustration wondering if they are the only ones not out interviewing.  Some are old friends who are at the Regionals, others are working for corporations, or the Fractionals, and still others are instructing.  They all have the same questions and frustrations.  The most frequent question I am being asked is what they can be doing to make themselves more marketable.  Everyone is looking to be somewhere else.  It is quite amusing to observe from the sidelines: Regional pilots are trying to go the corporate route, while corporate pilots are trying to land at the regionals, etc.  While this is interesting for me, it is evident how difficult it is trying to make it through one of the worst downturns this industry has seen.  I thought I would try and lend some advice as to what you can be doing in the meantime depending on where you are and what your situation may be.
Continue reading What Can I Do to Wait Out the Downturn?

Ask the Counselor

talk_iconWFFF in cooperation with Aviation Interview Prep LLC is happy to offer a new free service to our visitors! We have started a new section in our pilot forums called “Ask the Counselor.”

Ask the Counselor” is your resource for all of your interview questions. We hope that our visitors make full use of this new forum to ask the experts questions about pilot interviews and how to advance their career. Your questions to the “The Counselor” will be answered by one of Aviation Interview Prep LLC’s team members. With this new service available to you, we look forward to helping your career take flight!

Updated Pilot Forums

wfff pilot forumsWe have recently updated our pilot forums section of our website.  We are sure that you will find this new updated version to be easier to read and very user friendly.

Unlike many other pilot forums websites, ours is still FREE!  We hope that you take advantage of this excellent resource.

To help jump start our new forums, we are offering a free membership to one of our forum members that makes a post this month.  We will randomly choose one member from all the members that post in the month of October.  Each post will count as another entry, so the more you post the more opportunities you have to win!

Visit our new forums today at http://www.willflyforfood.com/pilotforums/

I have sent a bunch of resumes out and still haven’t heard anything!?

istock_000000474575xsmallIs this something that has happened to you?  Are you constantly scrolling through the job postings at Will Fly for Food and feeling like you aren’t getting anywhere?  In this article, I will try to help you identify potential challenges and make progress in this tough process.

First, consider having a professional resume service review your resume for you. It is not uncommon to miss obvious mistakes on our own resume, and these mistakes can actually cost you the opportunity to interview.  Remember, the recruiters and Chief pilots are looking for any reason to start trimming the stack of resumes on their desks.  Don’t let yours be the one that is passed over.  You want yours to be as close to perfect as possible, so that you increase your chance of obtaining an interview.
Continue reading I have sent a bunch of resumes out and still haven’t heard anything!?