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Posted March 1, 2013
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I have been involved in aviation since 1981. Starting as a glider pilot and attaining my private pilot’s license. My first aviation job was that of a ramp attendant, loading and unloading aircraft and grooming them. For most of the past 31 years I have been an aircraft dispatcher and an operations agent.
Capt MacDonald’s book provides an inside look at how airlines operate from the viewpoint of the flight crew. I can attest to many of the pressures put on pilots, and how the margin of safety has been reduced. His observations of the cargo pilots duty day not being taken into account as those of the passenger airlines is one example of reducing equivalent levels of safety. The entire issue of pilot duty day limits is one being driven by the carriers themselves as they pressure the regulatory authorities to help them with their bottom lines. Crews are being pushed into longer days across multiple time zones that directly affects passenger safety. No carrier WANTS an accident, but the sad reality is that ALL airlines have a contingency for mortality as a cost of doing business. The old adage of the drive to the airport is more dangerous than your flight is still mostly true; however the margin has been greatly reduced because of economic concerns, low cost carriers, and a singularly focused bottom line mentality.
Capt MacDonald raises the spectre from the position of being in the hot seat. This book should be read by all airline operational and management employees to see how many instances of "that happened here" they come across. As a professional Airline Dispatcher those number of instances was indeed disturbing. As a passenger you have a right to know how much flight crews are being pushed. This book lays it out for everyone to see.
Tony Lamont, Professional Flight Dispatcher