Moving Parts: Another Airline Story

It’s 94 degrees outside, the ship is full of hot people, the air conditioning cannot keepmoving parts up, thunderstorms are moving in and we’re #43 in line for take-off. It’s rush hour at JFK and I’m the Captain taking 172 people non-stop to San Francisco. We have 5 ½ hours of real estate in front of us – after we wait in the runway queue. The folks onboard probably think the toughest part for them is over; TSA security check-points, time constraints and long lines top their lists. Tonight, they are wrong.

We’ve been put in special penalty box until the bad weather has passed along our route of flight. The ATC system is already at capacity and in addition to those 42 airplanes in front of us there are four of them on a similar routing. We each need 20 minutes of spacing between us. Have you done the math yet?

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Dozing in the Control Tower: The Rest of the Story

Somebody fell asleep in the control tower and a plane full of women and childrenATC were in peril. “Oh, the humanity”. Relax folks, you were never in danger of losing your life – if the pilots in the cockpit are napping when it’s time to land – then it’s time to worry. Trust me on this one; they won’t be.

The recurring questions I’ve been asked lately surround the spate of incidents where an air traffic controller has been caught dozing on the job. Having been a commercial airline pilot for the last 28 years, my take on issue at hand is a little less impassioned and lot more matter of fact. It goes something like this; yes, they dozed off much the same as you have at some point in your life – while on the job, behind the wheel of your car, or listening to your spouse. Like you, they’re human and at times succumb to the frailties of humanity.

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The Final Days of Delta Air Lines

No, Delta Air Lines, Inc. isn’t going under. However, as of November 3, 2010 Delta’sflight attendants staid employee culture will have forever changed. On that day 20,000 flight attendants will find out if they will become unionized or remain as they have for 86 years, non-union.

This is one commentary I would love to reread a few years down the road and admit that I had been overly pessimistic. Unfortunately this event is destined to be a lose-lose proposition for the company because of the parties involved, the emotion and contention surrounding the issue, and the relative impotence company leadership has to orchestrate a desirable outcome; no matter who ends up being the winner.

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The Passenger Bill of Rights: Feckless

This new regulation now compels me to make a decision that is possibly not in

No Way Out

the best interest of my passengers when I approach the newly imposed time limit; continue toward the runway or return to the gate. Remember, Secretary LaHood now has a $5.9 million gun pointing at my company’s wallet and I decide if he gets paid. Under those terms you can guarantee that I will elect to return to the gate. Then we’ll see what those 216 passengers originally bound for Europe really think about their new Passenger Bill of Rights.

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Obama’s Katrina

Imagine a city devastated by a natural disaster where unemployment and poverty reach such levels as to witness lines over a mile long to get meals from community soup kitchens. No imagination needed as it’s happening right nosmeltw in the US and not  just in one city but throughout a large region of one of our most resourced states; California. Years of drought in the Central Valley of the Golden State has produced just such a scenario. Known for its agricultural base it presents an incredible irony in that the silent people standing in these food lines are the same ones that in the recent past grew and harvested over 12% of the nations food and represented our country’s most prolific milk producers. But that was before the government and parochial environmentalists shut their irrigation water off. This is a story of good people versus do-gooders. 

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George Gets It … Kind Of

George McGovern that is.  

McGovern; Economic Renaissance Man

McGovern; Economic Renaissance Man

…. at age 66, after purchasing The Stratford Inn in Connecticut, George McGovern joined the real world of profit and loss business where his own money was at risk. In short order he found out that government regulation and intrusion were a small business owner’s worst enemy.

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Failure Is …. An Option

When the ‘experts’ speak in clichés about being “too big to fail” or “we simply failure had to step in” they attack the whole idea behind the American entrepreneurial spirit, free markets, and the essence of a capitalist system. Let me say it another way; discounting or ignoring the survival spirit of the small business entrepreneurs in a capitalist, free enterprise economy disregards the very foundation on which it is built.

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