Episode 72 – On Board with Heather

Laviator Dan

This week’s guest is Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major U.S. airline who authors the blog Another Flight Attendant Writing. She also writes the Galley Gossip column on Gadling and is working on a book of essays. Find her on Twitter as @Heather_Poole. Besides talking about some of the week’s aviation news, we also learn about laviators!

David Vanderhoof has another This Week in Aviation, and Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast have their Australia Desk report. We also have some mail.

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave us voice mail at (361) GEEKS01.

This episode’s opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. Visit his site at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

14 thoughts on “Episode 72 – On Board with Heather

  1. Sean Boudreau

    Thanks for the shout on and mention of the NWA cockpit photo. Great podcast and Heather should come on more often! She was great.

  2. Mike

    Great podcast this week guys. The best for ages in fact in my opinion. Heather was a fantastic guest and she left me smiling for hours afterwards. It’s really good to have Dan back as well.

    Well done.

  3. Derek

    You guys are great! Another entertaining podcast that helped pass the time in the teacher’s room here in Japan, lol. Keep them coming.

  4. maxflight Post author

    [Kim, who is obviously more than just a casual listener, writes in with this…]


    I am always about a week or so behind in the podcast, so I just heard #71 today, and would like to offer a little info, albeit tardy, on a couple of the issues you alluded to:

    Dan’s shock and awe at the fact that one aircraft can fly under the banner of two different airlines in the same day: this is nothing new in the industry. At least as far back as the 60’s, Delta and PanAm ran just such an interchange. PanAm crews flew a DC-8 from Heathrow to IAD. where Delta crews …. pilots and F/As, took over and flew the plane on to MSY and/or HUB. A PanAm flight number for the ocean crossing and a Delta one for the domestic portion. Later, Braniff did the same thing with a British Airways Concorde, taking it over at IAD and flying it subsonic to DFW.

    On the NWA pilot debacle: Someone (Rob?) tossed out a comment to the effect that they were “already fired”. That is not the case. There will be due process that will run its course for some months before the case is taken to a neutral arbitrator. They will, however, probably be suspended without pay for most of that time.

    Rob commented that defending the pilots on all charges is ALPA’s greatest strength or weakness, depending upon whom one asks. Actually, ALPA …. or any similar union, has no choice. They are legally compelled to defend every member, no matter how grievous his offenses might be. It is Federal law. If you consider it for a moment, no one would want to have the strength of a defense depend upon the optics of the perceived wrong doing. Everyone gets an enthusiastic defense if they so desire it …. or the National Mediation Board would want to know why.

    There was speculation on ALPA basing part of the defense on the NASA ASRS Program. You got the wrong acronym. It is the internal ASAP (Aviation Safety Action Program) that is at issue. This is a contractually defined program that offers immunity to pilots who self report a safety related incident, if that self report is the sole source of information to the company. Such a pilot cannot be disciplined by the company. Obviously, in this case the pilots were not the sole source informing the company that the overflight took place. It seems the whole world was watching …. and commenting.

    On #72:

    I enjoy your guests …. but it can be frustrating when the guest is openly (and incorrectly) speculating on issues that should come under their field of expertise. Heather Poole, a working (apparently union member) F/A should have been informed (or passed on commenting) as to what the AA “mock strike” was all about. It is just another name for informational picketing, an exercise in revving up the troops. Additionally, she is a little behind the times in commenting that the “Delta F/As have always been happy”.

    She was clearly out of her field when she kept insisting that “there are no little bumps” when the subject of seat belt mounted air bags came up. I’m surprised that Rob, a Cirrus pilot instructor, did not know that the airbags in the Cirrus harness are triggered by horizontal g forces, not vertical ones and are certainly not intended for or triggered by hard landings …. unless its hard enough to qualify as an accident.

    A casual check of the NTSB accident database (or a glance at the recap in any Flying magazine) will reveal that many light plane accidents involve injury as opposed to death. I fly often with a pilot who did a night dead stick into the trees with a Cessna single. Typically, after the tail caught in the tree tops, the plane pivoted nose down and hit the ground that way. His injuries included loss of teeth, and only a fluke of bending metal kept him from taking the yoke in the chest. Both types of injury would surely have been lessened by an airbag deploying in front of him.

    Please don’t take this list of comments as an indication that I don’t enjoy the show. I really do. However, there are times when it is risky to drift into speculation (no matter how funny or light hearted) when a significant portion of your audience is probably expert in the subject being discussed. You KNOW every pilot is an expert at something.

  5. Heather Poole

    Ouch, Kim! For the record, I do prefer keeping things light hearted and fun, considering how miserable flying has become for so many.

  6. Mike

    Well, there you go boys, you’ve been told. It’s a good thing that it’s entertainment that motivates me to listen to the Geeks Podcast then.

    If Kim, wants all the “correct facts” maybe other internet sources would be more his cup of tea, such as Government Agency Websites… yawn!

    Now, back to the fun.

  7. Max Flight

    Thanks for the comment, Mike. I actually rather liked what Kim had to say – he seems pretty informed and had thought about what he wanted to point out. He got me thinking about our role as podcasters. We’re not journalists (maybe Rob is on Jetwhine.com) but we’re more than just goofy entertainment (I hope). Certainly I have my own personal code of ethics, but what is our obligation to our listeners?

    I’d be curious what people think.

    Kim also has an interesting history. This is from his sig:

    Ex: Navy pilot / CFI & FBO whipping boy / Beech 18 freight dog / airline pilot
    Current: 135 and corporate pilot

    How cool is that? Kim responded to my email back to him, in part, with this:

    “…I have come to the Airplane Geeks podcast late, having discovered it through Rob’s recent mention at Jet Whine. I downloaded all the episodes and sampled through the earlier ones until getting on schedule a couple of weeks ago. A podcast of pilots talking airplanes is a much better way to spend hotel time than watching TV.

    “Having been in aviation all of my adult life, I have come to enjoy the rare times when one can find informed and fresh discussion on the subject. If I continue to email in comments, I hope you will accept them as just my in absentia participation …. and not as criticism or evidence of a know-it-all attitude on my part.”

    I think we have great listeners: Mike, Kim, and a lot of others with diverse interests, knowledge, and perspectives. We need an episode where all the guests are listeners. I’ll have to figure out how to do that.

  8. Jeremy McMillen

    Now if the TSA is nice why cant some flight crews nice cause they go throw checkpoints more times then anyone. The flight crews should learn from the TSA

  9. Mike734

    Like the podcast but Heather is waaaaay off when she says, “Delta flt attns have always been happy.” Wow. Would you like some more cool-aid Heather?

    Also, can someone please Mr. Vanderhoof how to pronounce Aviation? The “A” in Aviation is not pronounce like the “A” in Cab. It is pronounced like the “A” in Bay.

    Lastly, Dan’s interviews are great. Keep it up.

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