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Fred Lewis

Rebuttal Of The Fred Jones Column In The March/april 2013 Issue Of Helicopters

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Hum, That post never came across how I wanted it! Guess that's why I don't write here often.

 

Anyway I didn't show up in this industry with 10000hrs, I was that 100hr guy trying to make it so I know how hard that is to say no.

 

Do I want better tours? YES

Do I want better money? YES

 

I am sure we all do! My point was not that I want to see things stay in 1967 mentality, rather that maybe some personal responsibility of how we each manage the fatique issue is needed not just some big brother hard fast rules.

 

That's it, that's all I got. Back to being a lurker.....

 

Didn't mean to come down on you specifically, Putz! I'm sure you're a standup guy!

Don't be a lurker, the more we talk about it the better :)

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Hey Putz, sometimes it take s a few tries to get our thoughts across as we intended, don't hide away. We only have a forum if we have people who will post.

Personal responsibility? Sure that would be nice but you know how long you would last if you said no... You would just be replaced, buck the system and you will be replaced, be a "trouble maker" and you will be replaced. If there is one thing that owners/managers drill into you from an early stage is that we are worthless and expendable and if we won't do it, someone can be found by simply picking up the phone. "i have a stack of resumes` on my desk..." Bla, bla, bla...

We need rules for length of tour and for flight and duty times because if we don't owners/companies will squeeze till they extract every last drop from us. Just like a teen with no speed limit, he or she will drive as fast as the car will go with no regard for safety or how their driving impacts others. We need rules, new rules that reflect the times and protect not only flight crews lives but their quality of life.

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Hey Putz, sometimes it take s a few tries to get our thoughts across as we intended, don't hide away. We only have a forum if we have people who will post.

 

Personal responsibility? Sure that would be nice but you know how long you would last if you said no... You would just be replaced, buck the system and you will be replaced, be a "trouble maker" and you will be replaced. If there is one thing that owners/managers drill into you from an early stage is that we are worthless and expendable and if we won't do it, someone can be found by simply picking up the phone. "i have a stack of resumes` on my desk..." Bla, bla, bla...

 

We need rules for length of tour and for flight and duty times because if we don't owners/companies will squeeze till they extract every last drop from us. Just like a teen with no speed limit, he or she will drive as fast as the car will go with no regard for safety or how their driving impacts others. We need rules, new rules that reflect the times and protect not only flight crews lives but their quality of life.

 

Whitestone,

 

I should note that, while I've worked for a few operators of the type you describe, there are several employers out there who do in fact respect the judgement of their pilots in these, and other regards. My employer, and I'm sure a good number of other quality operations, has and will certainly stand behind me if I make the call not to fly due to weather, fatigue, or if I ground a machine due snag.

 

While I understand that your beef is with the "lowest common denominator", and I agree that the regs have to be made with these operators in mind, you do tend to paint your arguments with a fairly wide brush. This likely puts off a lot of people who may otherwise have been receptive to your points.

 

Just food for thought...

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Rewriting the rules for the lowest common denominator is what is wrong not just with government, but this industry and our whole society. As was said before, no matter what the rules are at some point a pilot will have to learn how to man up and say no. Does anyone think that rewriting the rules to protect them from this is a solution?

 

As others have said, without a direct connection between accidents/incidents and fatigue, a drastic rewrite of the rules in such a draconian manner is not appropriate.

 

For example: 1200 annual down to 1000 annual is ok because nobody flies that much. Really, that's a reason? Or an excuse.

 

Another: Reducing FDT according to sectors, but a sector is an airline term being applied to a completely different industry. Is the act of taking off and landing that much more tiring than staright and level, or a low-level survey, or long-lining? Give me a break.

 

Until there is a credible study done that looks at our industry, then it's just opinion and hearsay.

 

As far as labour code, most of what we and our employers considered flight duty isn't even considered work, so there is absolutely no alignment to be had there. That research I've already done.

 

The ultimate rebuttal, for me, is taking advice on duty times from an industry (medical) that routinely puts their own people on duty for DAYS at a time (24+ hr shifts), in conditions we would not even consider, and it is just the way it's done. These people are then making life and death medical decisions, but we wouldn't be let near an aircraft.

 

Whitestone, I'm not really trying to make a personal dig, but I believe from what I've read on here elsewhere, you are new to the business. I say this because many things have improved over the years. Even in my few years I've seen more equal time rotations vice 2:1 or worse, more flexible rotation times, and an overall understanding that a work/life balance is a good thing.

 

These improvements came from supply and demand, market forces, and changing societal values, not the CAR's.

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And here I thought I'd cleverly skirted the issue by saying "I agree that the regs have to be made with [the lowest common denominator] in mind", rather than them being made for the lowest common denominator.

 

Because I do agree with you, we can't go full-bore policy state style rules, but neither can we rely on an open ended "y'all need to man up" statement.

I don't know what the solution is... obviously somewhere in the middle (duh).

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I'll be brief:

 

FDT regs are there to ensure safe operations. I think that has to be the focus for any changes. 42&5 is frankly outdated (and IMHO unsafe for most pilots) and I've refused to do it since the day I hit 1000 hours. Before that my employer forced those kind of tours upon me and I didn't have any choice but to comply.

 

That being said, any changes have to focus on safety, and not on getting better pay and better working conditions. These are two very separate issues. I think if we do that, it would be possible for all parties (even Fred) to come to some sort of consensus. Improving working conditions for pilots and engineers is a whole other ball of wax I think, and I don't think we'll ever reach a consensus on FDT otherwise...

 

Fire away ! ;)

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I certainly don't agree with all of Fred Lewis's opinions, but shorter tours for me have certainly been the key to enjoying this industry a whole lot more. My worst experience was back to back 42s with 2 of the 5 days off travel days. For the last 6 yrs, 2 and 2 have been a delight. I don't mind big hours and long days knowing I'm out of there in two weeks or less! My 2 cents

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I certainly don't agree with all of Fred Lewis's opinions, but shorter tours for me have certainly been the key to enjoying this industry a whole lot more. My worst experience was back to back 42s with 2 of the 5 days off travel days. For the last 6 yrs, 2 and 2 have been a delight. I don't mind big hours and long days knowing I'm out of there in two weeks or less! My 2 cents

 

Couldn't agree with you more, but like I said, we have to differentiate between what we like and what's in the best interests of safety. Personally, I enjoy 3 & 3 and when we're busy, 3 & 2 is fine. Would I feel safe flying 4 & 2 ? Sure. But that has nothing to do with safety. I wouldn't go back to those tours myself, but I know plenty of guys who prefer flying 4 & 2 during the summer when it's busy and then take a few months off in the winter (pussies who don't like the cold I say... :P ).

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My apologies Whitestone. I obviously don't know you, and didn't take the time to hunt around in the threads to be sure.

 

Agreed Skidz. Too many people yell safety when pushing for something just to have their idea heard.

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