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Old 07-28-2015, 06:41 AM
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DanH DanH is offline
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Originally Posted by strahler13 View Post
If you have any questions, please contact
Thank you. I believe I will.

ALPA President and Board:

Having listened to your position, I would like to take this opportunity to comment.

The current system has the potential to allow medically unfit pilots into the national airspace, including into airline cockpits. We already self-certify before every flight, professional or private. A medical exam yesterday, last month, or 23 months ago has not proven to reliably predict medical fitness today.

We now have ten years of no-medical flying by the oldest members of the pilot community, operating as Sport pilots. The facts say there is no difference in pilot incapacitation rate between that group and the pilot community at large, including airline pilots.

Right now pilots hesitate to see their regular physician, because of potential effect on their flight medical status. That is again true for the entire pilot community. Are the skies safer because pilots visit a physician every 24 months for a cursory exam, or would medical fitness be improved if pilots visited their physician without reservation for any and all medical concerns?

Flight safety aside, ALPA leadership has made a very bad choice in opposing the elimination of the Third Class medical. You knifed your fellow pilots in the back, and what goes around, comes around. Youíll need support from your fellow alphabets eventually.


Dan Horton
Dan Horton
Barrett IO-390
Old 07-28-2015, 06:51 AM
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DanBaier DanBaier is offline
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Dan ... Excellent.
RV7A (N7101) - Flying 10/2008
Old 07-28-2015, 07:29 AM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
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Originally Posted by DanBaier View Post
Dan ... Excellent.
Ditto that.
Excellent letter Dan.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:30 AM
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DaleB DaleB is offline
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Location: Omaha, NE (KMLE)
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Here's what I just sent them:

Dear Sirs:

In a letter to US Senators regarding the changes to FAA private pilot medical qualifications under the PBOR2, ALPA makes what I believe are some very misleading statements.

"As you may know, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) filed a petition for exemption with the FAA that would give pilots the option of conducting certain operations without having to hold an FAA medical certificate. The FAA has not yet acted on this request."

There is some truth to this statement, although it is misleading not to mention the thousands of pilots who have been flying without medical certificates for over a decade now. Not only the pilots with Sport Pilot certificates; there are many, many more who hold higher class certificates, but have allowed their medicals to lapse and are flying under Sport Pilot rules. I personally know of numerous Private, Commercial and ATP certificate holders who are now legally and safely flying without medical certificates. I would not be surprised to find the number of of medical incapacitation incidents for such pilots is lower than it has been for airline pilots.

"It would eliminate the requirement that these pilots see an aviation medical examiner (AME) at regular intervals for mental and physical evaluation in order to show medical fitness to operate an aircraft.
It may reduce some medical conditions that could disqualify a pilot from receiving a medical certificate and relies on the pilot to self-report when a disqualifying condition is identified. Even if a pilot develops and discloses a serious medical condition that creates risk in the national airspace, the amendment coul
d prevent the FAA from ensuring that the pilot seek treatment. "

While the provisions of PBOR2 would indeed remove the requirement for many private pilots to see an AME periodically, it makes no change to the long standing requirement that every pilot medically self-evaluate before each flight. A third-class medical certificate is certainly no guarantee that the pilot is "fit for flight". That decision is one that each pilot must make every day, with the help of his or her physician. I believe, as do most of us, that education and personal responsibility are more effective that the current medical exam requirements. I also believe that being able to visit your doctor without worrying about your medical certificate would keep more pilots seeing their doctors when they should.

"This has been ALPA's position since 2012 when ALPA submitted comments to the FAA in opposition to the AOPA/EAA petition for exemption (Docket No. FAA-2012-0350) from the third-class medical requirement.
ALPA has engaged with stakeholders to address concerns about medical evaluation processes for pilots who hold a third-class medical certificate and believes that a compromise position can be developed to ensure that added risk to the airspace we operate in is mitigated and the highest levels of safety are maintained. In fact, there are other provisions in the Pilot's Bill of Rights that ALPA supports, and we intend to continue collaboration with our Hill and aviation partners.

Again, ALPA believes that a common-sense solution is within reach, but the amendment as written introduces a level of risk within the national airspace that we cannot support."

There have been attempts at compromise. EAA and AOPA have been asking for such a compromise for years. There have been proposals for what amounts to a very minor expansion of the Sport Pilot rules. The FAA has, however, over the past several years demonstrated their absolute unwillingness to address the issue in any way. While they claim to be "considering" changes, there has been absolutely no action despite a long string of broken promises, deflections and finger-pointing. It has become very obvious that nothing short of Congressional action will result in any changes.

It is telling that the letter mentions comments filed by the ALPA in 2012. Three years later, the FAA has yet to even publish an NPRM on what would have been a compromise position. Statements that ALPA supports any sort of compromise, or that the FAA is willing to take action of any sort, ring hollow. I have trouble believing that the ALPA's position reflects the opinion of the majority of its members.

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Old 07-28-2015, 08:17 AM
Aggie78 Aggie78 is offline
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 367

Tone-deafness to its members is slowly but surely making ALPA a less relevant entity in commercial aviation.

The future for airline unions appears to be going to an independent, airline-specific organization-i.e.-APA at American, SWAPA at Southwest, USAPA at USAir and IPA at UPS.

My understanding is there is an active effort at Delta to peel themselves away from ALPA as well. If so, that would leave them with only one major airline pilot group to represent (UAL)....making them mostly a commuter/small carrier labor representative. I have many, many friends at UAL unhappy with ALPA as well and they are watching the events at DAL closely.

While the failure of PBOR2 is a setback, it may hasten the eventual diminution of ALPA's power as a political entity, as it appears its efforts to torpedo the legislation not only went forward without any broad membership support, but also without the support of any other pilot alphabet orgs. That loss of power can't come quickly enough for those of us outside of ALPA and tired of their heavy and high-handedness when dealing with industry issues.

As a minor conspiracy theorist, I also smell a collaboration between the reptiles at the top of the FAA and the honchoes at ALPA. I think the imminent, probable passage of the act galvanized the Huerta and his fellow mouth-breathers to give the folks at the union a squeeze to come out late in the game against the bill, for some quid pro quo to be quietly granted to the union after the noise dies down.

ALPA, as Dan H has said, has lost many friends in aviation outside of their little world of representing airline pilots, and many inside of it as well. Karma can be a bitch, sometimes, and I am sure that they will reap the whirlwind of this action on their part.

Rob Schroer
Rob Schroer
T67-Hicks Airport, Texas

Last edited by Aggie78 : 07-28-2015 at 08:21 AM.
Old 07-28-2015, 08:28 AM
aerhed aerhed is offline
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Location: Big Sandy, WY
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I just lettered ALPA also. You other guys have tried to reason with them pointing out why reform is good, I've taken another tack. They know everything you've just told them, they don't care. You won't change their mind with logic, its a waste. I threatened them instead. Not with violence, with bad PR. Take off the gloves. Tell everyone just how crappy the airline industry is. Tell the public how the airlines mistreat them and compromise their safety and schedules to make a buck. Tell people that the "bus drivers" don' t even know how to fly. Flip a couple switches and they smack into the ground. Don't even know how to land. Half of them have mental problems their employers know about, but their UNION gets them back in the air again. Also told them that next time I encounter a busted airliner, it can just stay broken. For you decent airline pilots I'm sorry, but its YOUR union. Clean up you own mess.
Actual repeat offender.
Old 07-28-2015, 08:59 AM
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DanH DanH is offline
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Interesting document:

My favorite quote (so far) cuts to the bottom line:

Since 1990, the NTSB has cited pilot impairment due to drugs as a cause or contributing factor in 3.0%, and impairment or incapacitation from a medical condition in 1.8% of fatal US civil aviation accidents. The proportion of accidents for which the NTSB cited pilot impairment from drugs or medical conditions has not changed appreciably over the study period.

1.8%. Think about it.

BTW, "drug impairment" is always a hot button, but for the entire study period, only 2.8% of drug impairments were due to illicit drugs. That's 2.8% of 3%, or 0.084% of accidents. Everything else is over-the-counter or prescribed.
Dan Horton
Barrett IO-390
Old 07-28-2015, 09:31 AM
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ppilotmike ppilotmike is offline
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Default Less educative, more expletive.

My letter was more blunt...

"ALPA President and Board,

Submitting a letter condemning Senate Bill 571, without the support of, nor regard for your membership is the most disgusting act of political brown-nosing I have ever heard of. Your teamís current collective lack of leadership qualities and short-sighted, narrow-minded beliefs will certainly bring about the end of your organization. I emphatically urge you to reconsider your position and/or reorganize, restructure or resign immediately."
Mike Rettig
EAA Chapter 301
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:49 AM
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Mike S Mike S is online now
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Your recent letter to your members;

You made the statement ďALPA's long-standing policy as adopted by its Board of Directors is to maintain the highest level of safety within the national airspace system. As such, ALPA has weighed in on the proposed amendment due to its obligation to the safety of our members in their capacity as airline pilots.Ē

I would like to address the above statement if you please.

First off, I think you need to start looking at all pilots as valuable assets to our nation, and our aviation interests. Yes, I agree you have a duty to represent your members, but please realize we are all pilots here, and as such we are a very small minority of the general population----------and for one group of pilots to attack and try to damage the ability of their brother pilots to fly is simply unconscionable.

Second, your airlines do not own the airspace, it is something that belongs to all pilots.

One of the arguments you postulated was that without a 3rd class medical, there would be more pilots flying with medical issues that will make them unqualified to fly. I submit to you that the exact opposite is more likely to happen--------and here is why. As things stand now, many pilots will not go to their doctors for seemingly minor issues due to potential effect of having a negative impact on their medical when the report the visit, and so they just do not seek medical help when it is actually needed. If the 3rd class medical is removed, the pilots who will be relieved of this burden will become a more healthy group overall.

Ask yourself--------------as far as hazards to airline pilots go, which is greater; the general aviation pilot who is staying away from medical care, or the general aviation pilot who freely goes to his/her medical professional and takes care of their health issues before they become incapaciting???

Please retract your letter to congress opposing the Pilots Bill of Rights--------------your members will benefit from many of the provisions therein, in addition to the above shown greater safety from the elimination of the 3rd class medical.

Lastly, many if not most of your members will continue flying after their airline careers are over, and they will benefit directly from this action.

Thank you,

Mike Starkey
Mike Starkey
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:23 AM
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strahler13 strahler13 is offline
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ALPA needs to think of their current members that will retire from the airlines and will want to continue to fly--like many I know on our field. Oh, but wait...then they won't be dues paying members of the union and ALPA won't give a darn.
Mark Strahler
RV-6 (Purchased flying)
KFFC-Peachtree City, GA

Last edited by strahler13 : 07-28-2015 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Changed from a barrier that impounds water to a hole repaired by weaving thread.
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