I'm looking pretty seriously at MAPD right now, and the Freedom Air situation is REALLY important to me. The admissions office told me that going to a class at Freedom is an option for MAPD grads on a "volunteer" basis--that there would still be options for classes with regular Mesa if you didn't want to fly for Freedom. They also indicated that interviews w/Freedom would be much easier for MAPD grads than regular Mesa--no sim rides, just talking (to see if there would be "personal conflicts"). To me, it sounded like the option of going to Mesa was still there (they just sent a bunch of grads to a regular Mesa class) but they're trying to get MAPD folks to head towards Freedom.
I was looking into the program and I asked Doug's question. They told me that all current Mesa pilots (based on seniority) would be given the option to fly for Freedom first, then as needed, other spots could be filled by students.
The thing that scares me about "Freedom Air" is that it's being formed as a strictly non-union carrier without the regular protections of a binding pilot contract.
I flew for an airline without a pilot contract and they'll go on and on about mutual respect but when it comes down to the bottom line, you'll be flying over your scheduled vacation, looked at harshly for putting anything in the logbook and the rules change almost on a daily basis.
I'd highly reccomend that any MAPD graduates avoid Freedom Air like the plague. Believe me, it looks glamorous, but I've "been there, done that" in terms of flying for a non-contract carrier.
If anyone gets the "Freedom Air Welcomes You!" sell job, by all means, ask "Freedom from what?" and email or post their answer.
Doug, it's kind of scary how powerful the Unions are. I was reading some information on Freedom Air, and it looks like they are threatening the new Mesa Union, represented byALPA. It looks like if you are a Freedom pilot, you could be blackballed by the industry. I know I'll stay away.
It's a little scary though.
Don't get me wrong, I do understand the unions have done incredible things for pilots, not the least of which is safer working conditions and the ability to live a normal life....all reasons that I want to change my career.
I guess my concern is that there are pilots out there who will go to work for Freedom because they really need a job...but then, no airlines will allow them to jumpseat, etc....
Hopefully everything will get worked out though.
I don't think anyone is getting blackballed that goes to work for Freedom, but Freedom was formed as a separate Mesa carrier to serve airlines that wanted to get around labor contracts and scope clauses.
Now if they were paying industry standard wages, it wouldn't be so bad, but the top level RJ-90 captain is going to be making appreciably less money than a similarly sized aircraft at other airlines.
What's scary about flying for a non-union carrier is that you have zero protections. If they want you to fly a broken aircraft and you refuse, you might as well pack up your flight kit and turn in your ID. You have no recourse.
*The following did not occur at Delta Air Lines*
For example, I know a guy who was being pushed to fly VFR into an airport that had no operating control tower and the weather was 500 foot overcast with no functional IFR approach because the NAVAID was down. The flight was diverted to another airport (serviced by the same airline) with an fully functional instrument approach and they landed in 1/2 vis with blowing snow after a successful ILS approach.
Good judgement? I'd think so. But a 19 year old ramper said that the weather didn't look as bad as the flight service reported and they could have probably spiraled down over the airport and visually picked up the rotating beacon.
Guess what, the crew got called into the chief pilots office and severely reprimanded for not flying VFR into the airport, based solely on what a non-pilot ramper's observations were and luckily since they had a bunch of "atta boys", they weren't going to be terminated as they previously planned to.
wow! It's amazing how screwed up corporate management is these days. I'm sure it's always been there, but it's now exemplified by the Enron's and the Worldcom's....needless to say, it's management who drives employees to have to join unions.
Doug, is there any way you can get somebody to take a picture of you carrying a picket. I think it would be a great addition to the website...to show people the life of an airline pilot. Actually, I think it would be kind of funny.
By the way, how many pilots do you expect to show up. Do you think it will be a major event?