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Amy Laboda joins as the guest for this episode. Amy is an aviation writer, Editor in Chief for Aviation for Women, the official publication of Women in Aviation International, and she’s an instrument-rated commercial pilot, and an instructor. Amy lives and breathes aviation and we chat with her on a range of topics.
- EU Warns On Protectionism As Northrop/EADS Drop USAF Bid
- Female WWII aviators honored with gold medal
- Airlines More Likely to Cancel Flights to Avoid Fines
- Unified brand name for Republic, Frontier and Midwest airlines set for April
- FAA Renames GA Magazine, Readies Stand Down
Also, David Vanderhoof has his This Week in Aviation segment, and Courtney returns with a wild Wisky Tango Foxtrot.
Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter, send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message on our listener line: (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/.
[Peter writes in with a question…]
Thanks for a great podcast. It has just the right amount of content and conversation which makes for a very enjoyable weekly presentation. Last summer a friend and I flew to Detroit on Southwest Airlines. I’m a Web developer who is often called on to record meetings for posting to Web sites I manage. Shortly before leaving I bought $1000.00 of professional recording equipment and checked it through to Detroit not knowing how well the Southwest airline baggage gorillas would handle it. Fortunately everything arrived intact.
Upon returning to San Antonio I should have checked the equipment before leaving San Antonio International for home to be sure it was all right. It wasn’t until we packed to fly to Wichita Kansas last November that I discovered that some of the equipment was damaged due to mishandling. And oh yes. This was my reward for buying a second seat for my return flight. Though the timing of the two events was purely coincidental Southwest Airlines is now on our black list. We won’t be flying with them any time soon free baggage carriage or not.
It was this and other incidents that happened over the years that encouraged us to consider private air travel to among other things insure that expensive equipment of this kind is handled and stored in the hold properly… We have had several pilots that learned what happened to me last summer offer to fly my wife and I and possibly a few friends to Dallas to avoid having to travel on the Southwest flying bus. Is there a resource on the Internet or elsewhere to verify a pilot’s credentials i.e. do they have the licenses and ratings they say they have? I’m a frequent visitor to http://www.aircharterguide.com. That site had lots of great information about air charter services World-Wide including their certificate numbers and licensure to provide service to different parts of the World. However I don’t believe they have a resource for verifying pilot licensure. This would be good information to have at times when word-of-mouth, gut feelings, and references from others who used these pilots just isn’t enough…
I’ll look forward to hearing your answer on an up-coming Airplane Geeks Podcast. Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately, what’s printed on a pilot’s certificate means nothing in terms of his professionalism, responsibility, or even current flying abilities. The first step in vetting a charter operator is to ask to see his actual certificate. You cannot imagine how many shade-tree operators …. known in the trade as 134 1/2 operators in ref to the 135 Certificate that genuine operators have …. are out doing business every day with no certificate and no insurance.
The best way to have some assurance regarding an air charter company that is, till now, unknown to you is to choose one that is ranked by one of the industry ranking firms such as ARG/US. You can look for their seal (Gold or Platinum) on the charter company’s website …. or go to the ARG/US website and do a specific check regarding the company you are considering. Referrals from persons you know are good, as are references the charter company should willingly supply. Check them out. The biggest headache the charter industry currently has is the proliferation of un-licensed, fly-by-night operators. At long last the FAA seems to be cracking down, and recently sent several south Florida execs to federal prison over this issue.
Thanks Kim for this good, informed response to Peter’s question.
[More from Kim…]
OK, guys. It sounded this week (well, Rob did at least) as if your might feel there’s no point to reader email unless I disagree with you on some point. Well, here goes …. sort of.
On Rob’s comment that, surely during a long delay, some airline dispatcher should recognize the situation and take it upon himself to bring a plane back to a gate and/or get it serviced …. he assumes facts not in evidence, as they say on Law and Order.
I know Rob flew Part 121, but I can only assume that his dispatch department was better / bigger than the average major airline these days. In the period before I retired in 2005, picture a captain …. concerned with his fuel load or forecast turbulence on the filed route …. standing just outside the main cabin door while trying to get his dispatcher on the jetway phone. Instead, he hears, “Your call is very important to us. Please hold”.
This could and did happen on a sunny afternoon in ATL …. more than once. 700+ DL departures each day in ATL. Can you imagine the situation in dispatch when the wx is going to pot in ATL or JFK, and dozens of aircraft on the taxiways and de-ice ramp are calling into dispatch via company radio? The airlines have cut so deeply that it is entirely feasible that no one, other than the crew, is in place to recognize a train wreck coming and make an attempt to head it off. If you add in the fact that at a hub airport, there is no gate available unless an aircraft can depart, you’re smack in the middle of a Catch-22 situation which no dispatcher …. alert …. taking initiative …. whatever, will be able to cure the situation just because he is willing to take action.
Finally, when ATL or JFK are really in weather hell, then it can be impossible to break out of the taxi line and turn around …. even if everyone at the airline is on top of things. If nobody is moving to the runway, and you don’t happen to be parked next to a crossing taxiway, then you are stuck.
Finally, I wrote in a while back that for the worlds largest airline, delays in excess of 3 hours happened in the double digits out of tens of thousands of departures. I don’t even know why anyone is talking about it.