AA Pilot disciplined for taxiing too slow

Nick

Well-Known Member
Leading by Example

Don't taxi too slowly out there. Never know who's behind you ready to whip out their cell phone with the hand that's not steering the plane! :eek:




http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/09/american-airlines-pilots-at-od.html

American Airlines, pilots at odds over taxiing incident


In May, a management pilot at American Airlines was taxiing his airplane behind that of a pilot at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and decided the Los Angeles-based pilot was deliberately taxiing too slow.

As a result, the pilot in front has been suspended 15 days without pay, and the pilots' union, the Allied Pilots Association, is all in an uproar.

An American spokeswoman Tuesday defended the disciplinary action, but the incident has union officials yelling foul.

"The facts are undeniable," the Miami-based APA officers told their members in an email. "The resolution of this incident by a morally devoid Flight Management team should send a chill down everyone's spine."

"In my 30 years of employment with American Airlines I have never witnessed anything so blatantly ridiculous," the Chicago-based APA officers wrote, adding: "Make sure everyone you know has the opportunity to read and understand just how low our once great airline has fallen and to what extent the management of American Airlines will go to disparage and belittle it's employees."

The St. Louis union officers wrote that the incident "shows you the depth of poor labor relations here at AA and the lack of moderation on the part of the company when it deals with its pilots."

For details, keep reading.
First, American spokeswoman Tami McLallen didn't discuss the particulars, but sent this statement:

As you know, we take safety issues very seriously. Saying it is our number one priority isn't just an empty slogan, it's what we focus on each and every day. So when we see actions that we believe may compromise safety, it's our responsibility to investigate and take corrective action if needed.
As this is an internal personnel matter, we won't comment on the specifics, however in a message to pilots yesterday, Vice President-Flight Mark Hettermann said "Typically, the flight department doesn't comment on disciplinary cases. Proper protocol dictates that this matter remains as private as possible between the pilot and his manager. While we disagree with the APA's decision to publically discuss the details of this case, it's especially disappointing that they haven't provided full disclosure of the facts."


And here's the long explanation from the Los Angeles-based union leadership:
By now you have probably heard of the incident in DFW on May 30th that involved one of our LAX-based pilots was accused by Captain Jeff Osborne (Managing Director of Flight -System) of taxiing too slow across a runway. Captain Osborne (B737) was clearing runway 18L behind our LAX Captain (S80) and Captain Osborne felt that our LAX Captain did not clear the runway fast enough. For some unknown reason Captain Osborne was very concerned for his own safety even though he was crossing a departure runway for which no other aircraft had been cleared to take-off or land.
Captain Osborne was so concerned about this incident that he used his cell phone while actively taxiing his aircraft (in violation of both Federal Aviation Regulations and Flight Manual Part 1) to contact SOC and have our Captain removed from the trip.


Captain Osborne later directed LAX Director of Flight Captain Bob Bush to conduct a Section 21 hearing regarding the incident. Our LAX based Captain was placed on "Paid Withheld" status (PW) for three months while the LAX Flight Office conducted the investigation demanded by Captain Osborne.

The Investigation

Upon first receiving the directive from Captain Osborne to conduct a Section 21 hearing, Captain Bush conducted an investigation and found no cause to pursue the issue. Captain Bush actually called the LAX Captain and apologized for even bringing this up, but explained that Captain Osborne was insisting on a Section 21 hearing regardless of the facts.

Two separate hearings were held, and in both cases there was no documentation or charges ever produced from the FAA, DFW Tower, or DFW Ground. Based upon this fact alone we can clearly see that the only one who had a problem with this situation was Captain Osborne.

The only evidence that we had been given was:

The written statement of Captain Osborne claiming "a blatant disregard for flight safety" and an intent "to cause an inconvenience to our local and connecting customers, intentionally disrupt our operation, and harm our company" An audio recording of the DFW tower frequency in which no safety problem is noted by the Tower controllers A video of the ramp arrival of the LAX flight which shows only normal ramp traffic A statement from an AA Ground School Instructor who was jump-seating on Osborne's flight, a statement which was dated two months after the incident. This statement notes that Captain Osborne's aircraft was on runway 18L for only a "few seconds", and that upon arriving at the ramp, Captain Osborne then encountered a long delay because his gate was occupied.

The Verdict

During and after both hearings that we conducted, Captain Bush stated several times "I can not find anything here...there is no reason to discipline...this was ops normal" and proceeded to communicate this to Captain Osborne, but Captain Osborne was not going to allow this to pass without some sort of punishment for his perceptions.

As a result of this Kangaroo Court our LAX Captain has been given 15 days off with no pay, based solely upon Captain Osborne's statement and a Ground School Instructor's letter dated 2 months after the incident.

The Double Standard

There has been no action initiated by the FAA against our LAX pilot, and no reports on this incident were ever received from either the DFW Tower or DFW Ground Control. Captain Osborne insisted on discipline even after he was told repeatedly that the Section 21 hearings were showing no evidence that supported his claims. Captain Osborne uses his cell phone while taxing an airplane (in violation of FARs and AA company policy) and our LAX Captain gets 15 days off without pay. Rest assured that the FAA was notified of Captain Osborne's cell phone use.

At this point we don't know what is more disgusting to us--that Captain Osborne insisted on punishing this pilot regardless of the facts, or that Captain Bush has issued the letter of discipline after apologizing initially and then stating several times in hearings that "I cannot find anything here...there is no reason to discipline...this was ops normal".

What This Means to You

We can only conclude after sitting through this whole joke of a process that our pilots are in jeopardy simply for coming in contact with the Chief Pilots, and that you should avoid any conversation with them except that which is absolutely essential to your duties. Idle chitchat with the Chiefs should be avoided, because anything you say to them can be used against you or another pilot in a disciplinary hearing.

If asked to engage in conversations politely inform them that your Union speaks for you.

As for Captain Osborne we would imagine his "do not pair with" list is growing by the minute in DFW.

One Final Note

This is not the airline of days of old when your Chief Pilot is sometimes your advocate and could solve minor issues without interference from DFW Flt. Dept. management. In this day and age, all the Chief pilots are just messengers with rubber stamps. Employee Relations writes the Hearing Notices, and Captains Osborne and/or Hettermann determine the results of hearings in advance. We cannot understand why under these circumstances anyone would want to be a Chief pilot, or why they have not all quit under this current VP of Flight.

APA will fight for this Captain with all of the resources we have. All of us need to stand behind this Captain and stop this abuse. We have seen this management team assault our contract, and compromise our safety time and time again. Enough is enough!
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Re: Leading by Example

Complete horsecrap. I certainly hope the FAA looks into the cell phone issue.
 

phoenix 23684

Well-Known Member
Re: Leading by Example

Wow, that's unbelibable, I hope Osborne gets actions against his certificate by the FAA, what a tool. People like that just look for reasons to be unhappy in life.
 

the_dmn8tr

New Member
Didn't see a thread on this, so I thought I would bring this up:

http://www.alliedpilots.org/Public/PublicRelations/Hotline/hotline.asp

This is APA Vice President Captain Tom Westbrook with the APA Information Hotline for Monday, September 8.
LAX CAPTAIN RECEIVES 15-DAY SUSPENSION: APA received notification over the weekend that AMR management has decided to impose a 15 day suspension on an LAX captain based on an allegation made by Managing Director of Flight – System, CA Jeff Osborne. LAX Chairman FO Mike Karn and Vice Chairman FO Steve Conlon wrote an excellent synopsis of the case which was sent to you by your local representatives and can be viewed on the members’ home page of alliedpilots.org by clicking on the yellow box labeled “Chief Pilots.”

The disciplinary letter sent to this LAX captain accused him of violating Part One Section 5.14 (Runway Incursion Prevention Measures), and Part One Section 10 paragraph 9.1 A 6, and concludes with the following statement:
This letter serves as warning that failure to comply with American Airlines policies and procedures will result in further discipline up to and including termination. Future actions of this nature or any other nature that exhibits a lack of good judgment and places your crew or passengers in harms way will proceed directly to termination.
The accusation that this pilot exposed anyone to “unnecessary risk” is not supported by the evidence provided by AMR management. That evidence includes a recording edited by management of the DFW West Tower frequency on which a busy controller was distracted from his duties by CA Osborne’s radio call inquiring “is there something wrong with this 80 in front of us?” Osborne had been cleared to cross RWY 18L behind the MD-80 and the tower controller had just cleared another aircraft to taxi into position and hold—no takeoff clearance had been issued and the controller was unconcerned with the LAX pilot’s taxi speed or Osborne’s presence on the runway. No runway incursion report was filed by the controller and no ASAP or other safety report was filed by CA Osborne.
A recent HI-6 message ignored this “pertinent fact” as well as the deliberate violation by CA Osborne of both FAR and Part One guidance regarding the use of his cell phone while taxiing across the Alpha taxiway bridge. Also ignored was the company’s use of ACARS data to produce an analysis of this captain’s ON to IN performance for the previous six months—produced as “evidence” during the hearing in direct violation of Letter C (3) of the contract. The HI-6 also ignored the pertinent fact that CA Jim Kaiser, Manager Flight Ops Quality Control had sent an HI-6 message in late January warning of Flight Attendant injuries due to excessive taxi speeds.
Both the disciplinary letter and the HI6 message accuse this Captain of putting his passengers at risk and threaten his career for simply operating the aircraft at a safe taxi speed in accordance with company guidance and his legal authority as Pilot in Command. APA is actively pursuing several responses to management’s attack on this LAX captain, including cooperating fully with inquiries from government agencies and aggressively pursuing all options to clear this pilot’s name. In the meantime, we are asking all pilots to consider using both engines during all taxi operations and to use caution during taxi operations in order to protect yourself from any accusation by management of creating a risk to your passengers. First Officers paired with chief pilots should act with courtesy and professionalism, but should protect themselves by refraining from non-operational conversation. Any pilots observing chief pilots violating FARs or company policy should use the FAA Safety Hotline or contact the APA Safety Committee immediately.
I may not be a huge pro-union supporter, but this is definitely a matter that pilots should be protected in. Not only does the reporter distract the controller in this situation, but he uses his cell phone to report the guy while taxiing? Geez.:panic:

*Edit:There is a thread, I didn't see it, my bad.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
You know what, I'm definitely pro-union. And, I believe that this should be protected.

That being said, I'll bet you $1000 that he was creeping along extra-slow, trying to over-block. I see it daily, and it's not cool.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
There are so many contract and regulatory violations by the accuser and the company on this one that it probably won't even proceed to arbitration before the company backs down in grievance. I'm sure he'll receive full back pay and removal of the letter from his file. This is absolutely absurd. And as for Mr. Osborne, no longer deserving of the respectful title of "Captain," I hope the APA members make his life as difficult as possible on the line. #### you, Mr. Osborne.

I did love all of this by the APA, though:

" In the meantime, we are asking all pilots to consider using both engines during all taxi operations and to use caution during taxi operations in order to protect yourself from any accusation by management of creating a risk to your passengers. First Officers paired with chief pilots should act with courtesy and professionalism, but should protect themselves by refraining from non-operational conversation. Any pilots observing chief pilots violating FARs or company policy should use the FAA Safety Hotline or contact the APA Safety Committee immediately."

Well played, gentlemen.

That being said, I'll bet you $1000 that he was creeping along extra-slow, trying to over-block. I see it daily, and it's not cool.
It is "cool" when your company refuses to bargain in good faith and needs a little reminder about who it is that keeps their operation running smoothly. Don't you work for ASA? If so, that contract that you enjoy right now was achieved by actions like this.
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
No. I'm pretty sure Doug works for Delta.:D
Aren't you that guy that likes USC :) :) :)

:banghead: Who can forget that NJC faux pas. Apparantly I was confused by the fact that there was more than one non-doug black guy at the '06 LA meet.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Aren't you that guy that likes USC :) :) :)

:banghead: Who can forget that NJC faux pas. Apparantly I was confused by the fact that there was more than one non-doug black guy at the '06 LA meet.
:laff::laff::laff:

This keeps getting better!:D
 

mjg407

Well-Known Member
.



It is "cool" when your company refuses to bargain in good faith and needs a little reminder about who it is that keeps their operation running smoothly.
You mean the customers? The ones who are paying the company to pay you, to get them where they are going? The ones who will miss their connections because you aren't happy with the company you work for.
 

granlistillo

Well-Known Member
And as for Mr. Osborne, no longer deserving of the respectful title of "Captain," I hope the APA members make his life as difficult as possible on the line. #### you, Mr. Osborne.
PCL128,
For the record I am with APA on this one.

However, guys that run their mouths like you bring disgrace on this profession. Last week, you were hoping someone slashed some guys tires. This week you are advocating a breakdown in CRM by the creation of tension and difficulties in the cockpit of a transport aircraft. The cockpit is not the place for infantile stunts. You come across as an unruly child or a nutjob. If you want to be a man of influence, choose your words wisely.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Evil Landlord Capitalist
You mean the customers?
No, I don't mean that. The customers don't keep the operation running smoothly. The employees do. The customers provide revenue. The company needs to keep the employees happy so they'll keep the operation running smoothly, leading to happy customers who will continue to provide revenue. Herb understood this. Very few other airline managers do. Most of them need some reminders from time to time.

The ones who will miss their connections because you aren't happy with the company you work for.
I feel sorry for them. Really, I do. They're stuck in the cross-fire, and that's unfortunate. But we have no other weapons at our disposal. This is just the reality of airline labor relations.
 

Toonces

Well-Known Member
You know what, I'm definitely pro-union. And, I believe that this should be protected.

That being said, I'll bet you $1000 that he was creeping along extra-slow, trying to over-block. I see it daily, and it's not cool.
I think we have someone vying for a management pilot position. Between this post and the "pro pilot scam" posts, I would say you are managements wet dream.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Jeeze. Isn't anything faster than a brisk walk supposedly too fast in the FAA's eyes?? I haven't heard anything on a 'correct' taxi speed since my private pilot training so I really don't know the official word. In any case you can never go too slow, this thing is BS. Let the captain decide the proper taxi speed for his/her aircraft.
 
Top