During my doctoral research I conducted a critical analysis of our aviation industry in order to address the OIG's 2016 concerns as to pilot error, lack of monitoring ability, and a reduction in manual flight skills. If we always blame the pilot, nothing will ever change.
A series of airline crashes, Air France Flight 447, Colgan Air Flight 3407, American Airlines Flight 587, Asiana Flight 214, UPS Flight 1354, Lion Air Flight 602, Ethiopian Flight 302, and Altas Flight 3591 all had a common factor: Safety Culture.
Each of the above accidents can be traced back to Flight Operations and Organizational decisions that placed profit before safety. Safety culture is comprised of just, flexible, informed, learning, and reporting cultures. The issues become further exacerbated under the reporting culture requirement when employees bring forth internal safety concerns to senior leadership, and they are retaliated against for offering such help. They are further condemned as whistle blowers in the media, when all they were doing was trying to improve safety.
Watch the video of the Hearing, where Senator Wicker states an "extensive review" of Captain Dickson's participation in a retaliatory action was conducted. I would disagree that it is possible to conduct an extensive review unless all parties involved were interviewed. In this case they were not. Furthermore, Senator Wicker stated that Dickson was never named in a whistle blower action; however, the whistle blower law "Air 21" is prohibited from naming individuals, but only the organization. Nobody disagrees that Captain Dickson had a lengthy airline and military career, the disagreement is using that fact as that qualification standard to become the FAA Administrator.
The FAA Administrator must put safety before politics and profit. They must focus on passenger safety. They must improve flight attendant crew rest. They must acknowledge that cargo pilot's lives are as equally as valuable as passenger pilots. They must be angry that accidents occurred and enforce training. They must honor the Federal Regulation, Safety Management Systems (SMS), to support the future of NextGen. The above accidents should never have happened. The FAA administrator position must focus on a positive safety culture that will improve pilot training, improve operational practices, improve crew rest, not deviate from policy, not disregard FAR compliance, and support every person coming forward. This position must be filled by an individual who will not retaliate against and/or condone efforts to destroy anyone who has the courage to share information to improve safety.
Captain Sullenberger opposes Steve Dickson's nomination because, as he states, "it is critically important that we have an FAA Administrator who will act with the integrity and independence to protect everyone who flies."
I do not believe Steve Dickson should be the FAA administrator. These are my views and personal opinion based upon my Doctoral research and life experience.
You can still make a difference!
The July 10th vote has only moved this to the next level, where all Senators will vote. That could be any day. You can still voice your concerns with your Senator (or all of them).
Please do so today!
Time is of the essence.
Even if you are a foreign pilot and flying into US Airspace, this decision will impact you, please write to the Senators below. All we can hope is that the Senate will vote for safety and not party affiliation.
"The one thing I wish I had been given when I was learning to fly was spin training . . . .at the very, very first! And upset training as well. I knew that unless I could fly the airplane in all attitudes I would never master flight. I learn fast and soloed in six hours in the Tomahawk." Jim Teachey
The year was 1980, and that was about the time the FAA no longer required spin training. I was fortunate to have had an instructor who said, "Do you want to learn how to spin, even though it's not required?" My response, "Absolutely!" The same year, Jim Teachey had another experience.
"It was December 1980. I had just gotten my license on December 1. I had elected to take my buddy down the street flying. He too was taking lessons, but now I could fly him myself! We boarded the Tomahawk, buckled in, ran the checklists, and taxied to the active. The air was as clear as glass, with 40 + visibility and no clouds. It was about 4:30 pm and a wonderful orange-red glow bathed Smith Reynolds Airport.
Being a college freshman I was short on cash, and only had enough money to fly for 30 minutes in the pattern. So we did touch and goes. The wind favored runway 21 and into the sky we went. One notch of flaps on downwind, carb heat, 1800 rpm, and 500 fpm descent. Base turn, then final. Touchdown, and around we went for a second. But this time I goofed up.
My downwind to base leg was off, and I overshot base to final. It was the classic set up for a stall-spin event. I had stalled the airplane numerous times up at the practice area, turning stalls, power on and off stalls, and my first instructor Chip said I had good stall recognition abilities. I could hear that fuselage oilcan, as well as feel it in the yoke. All my instructors since have repeated the same admonishment . . . “Jim, you really feel the airplane well.”
So, I found myself overshooting runway 21, and began to tighten up my turn. Well, of course the nose dropped, so I kicked some right rudder to bring it back up and pulled back on the yoke. With the nose pointed right I added some left aileron. Then BAM!!!! All of a sudden the airframe shuttered, the nose pitched down, and the left wing dropped. I was entering a spin.
What did I do? We were about 600 feet agl so I slammed the yoke forward to the firewall and aimed towards the ground, entirely opposite of what you would think to do. I was able to recover at about 300 feet, and I cross the threshold with both legs shaking uncontrollably on the rudder pedals.
But you know why I survived?
Because the week before I had read a book on spins. I believe it was Wolfgang Langewiesche's book “Stick and Rudder.” I want to make darn sure I knew what to do in case I got into a spin by accident. At the time I did not know that the FAA had removed spin training from flight training. Only later would my blood begin to boil about this egregious omission in basic flight training.
During this time I was introduced to Richard Bach and his book “A Gift of Wings” where I read “Found at Pharisee” and “School of Perfection.”
This became the foundation upon which I built my flying upon. Of course, as fate would have it, I was not destined to be a professional pilot. I would later learn that I suffer from ADHD (attention deficit) since first grade. Yet even so, I managed to be a safe, and responsible pilot. I never took chances. Twice, I was in doubt over the health of my Lycoming engine, and taxied back to the FBO, frustrated but alive.
Several times weather was the factor, and I refused to fly even after being pressured to do so by friends. I’m as cautious as they come. Why? Because there is no magic button that you can push to interrupt the laws of nature and physics. Flying will kill you faster than anything, and the world’s graveyards sadly prove so.
Last year, I was doing research online and ran across the story of a pilot not unlike myself, similar age, who was flying a Piper Tomahawk. He ran out of fuel, lost power, and spun in. It was a fatal accident. Below is a photo of his airplane. He leaves behind grieving parents and relatives. I began to wonder if this pilot also knew nothing about spins, or had had any spin training. Most likely not . . .
According to FAA records, Michael Joseph Hughes. age 21, the student pilot held a third class medical with student pilot certificate issued on August 24, 2015. Review of pilot records indicated that prior to the accident flight, he had accumulated 13.5 total hours of flight experience, 1.3 hours of which, were in solo flight."
My friend sent me information on the most amazing home for sale in Lynden Washington, just minutes from the Canadian boarder. Location is everything, and this location is nice if you want to escape the country. Seriously, this beautiful Northwest home is a pilot's greatest dream! The hangar is amazing.
This Pilot's dream home is located in Lynden WA and has 50'x46' hangar with 48' automated Schweiss Bi-Fold door & clearance of 12'1'', heated floors, a 1/2 bath, and 931 square foot room upstairs w/kitchen & bath. But there is also a kitchenette and office below.
The house has 5 bedrooms, a theater room, and 3 car garage. The master suite is huge and located on the main floor with direct access the hangar. The floors are amazing Brazilian cherry. Oh... if you love a view... you'll have Mt. Baker out your window. The outdoor covered patio has a gas barbecue with granite counters. There is also a fire pit.
The power of action and an individual's determination never ceases to amaze me. While many people in the world don't make an effort because they think it won't matter... I'm here to tell you it does. Erin Miller is one of those people who took action and created change.
I had the honor to meet Erin at the Women in Aviation Conference a few years ago, and what a delightful person she is. I believe there is a great deal of spirit that runs in their family.
Erin wrote a book on her journey on behalf of her grandmother and all WASPs.
Final Flight Final Fight:
My grandmother, the WASP, and
Arlington National Cemetery
"When Arlington National Cemetery refused to accept my grandmother's last request to be laid to rest there, I refused to let her legacy as a veteran die along with her.
My grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, flew as a pilot with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II. Despite being part of the first group of women to fly for the United States Army, the WASP remained officially unrecognized as members of the military due to discriminatory thinking about gender on Capitol Hill and beyond.
Women flying planes?
Too progressive for the World War II era.
When I was young, I thought of my grandmother's trips to accept awards, or to visit the White House, or to give lectures about her time in the service, as her hobby. I knew what she had done and I knew that in the 1970s they had lobbied Congress to get the veterans' status they had been denied during the war. From that point on, my grandmother shared her story of service with the WASP during World War II with anyone who would listen.
But it was not until after she died that I fully understood why she had spent so many years talking about her service with the WASP. My grandmother's last request was to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Our family was surprised when the United States Army, which managed the cemetery, denied that the WASP, and therefore my grandmother, were eligible for placement in the cemetery.
The Army said 'no'
to the wrong family.
I led our family's campaign on behalf of my grandmother, and all the women of the WASP, across social media, traditional news outlets, and to Capitol Hill to fight for their equal recognition at one of the nation's most well-known cemeteries. My grandmother's final fight came after her final flight - but I was honored to follow in her footsteps to ensure her legacy would not be forgotten." Erin Miller
Last week I posted a request to help rename of the Oakland airport to Maggie Gee. Today's Friday Fabulous Flyer is the woman responsible for this initiative! Tiffany's story and the effort behind her action follows. She has proven that change can happen with effort. Thank you for yours!
"My name is Tiffany Miller. My grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, flew planes for the US military during WWII as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). This group of brave women were the first women to fly US military aircraft.
Growing up, I saw how much my grandmother cared about preserving the history of the WASP. She attended innumerable events for veterans, she spoke at schools, and even responded to fan mail. When she passed away in 2015, we already knew that her last wish was to be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Even in death, she was thinking about what she could do to ensure future generations would have the opportunity to learn about the WASP. She viewed Arlington as a type of museum where people can learn about our country's military history.
We thought that arranging the funeral would not be an issue, so we were surprised when my mother's request was rejected. We found out later that a few months before my grandmother passed away that the Secretary of the Army issued a memo which basically stated that the WASP were not "real" veterans and therefore were ineligible to be in Arlington.
This was devastating for my family and we knew we had to make this right for my grandmother. I ended up posting a petition to change.org which kicked off a campaign that ultimately led to federal legislation being passed which enshrined the right of the WASP to be in Arlington.
While my family and I were working on my grandmother's campaign, my sisters pressured me into getting a Twitter account so that I could help them with the social media aspect of the campaign. I started research information about women aviators and women in the military, anything remotely related to our campaign that I could Tweet to help draw interest to our cause. It was while doing this research that I learned there is an airport in Istanbul, Turkey that is named after Turkey's first female military pilot. I mentioned this to my husband who said,
"Doesn't that tell you a lot?
I bet you can't name a single US airport
named for a woman."
And he was right! I was kind of appalled at myself. This was something I had never thought about.
While my priority at the time was my grandmother's campaign, I immediately thought, we need to make this right too!
Grandma's dearest WASP friend
I thought about my local airport in Oakland and how it is not currently named for anyone. And then I also thought about how Maggie Gee, my grandmother's dearest WASP friend, lived her whole life in the East Bay and became inspired to fly as a child because her family spent Sundays watching planes take off at the Oakland Airport.
I thought of how she was one of only two Chinese American women to serve as a WASP. I thought of how Maggie went on to become a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories after the war. I thought of how she acted as a community advocate for decades, working on fair housing and voter registration initiatives. She was an exemplary human being and, in my opinion, deserving of the honor of having an airport renamed for her.
Since undertaking this campaign, I have learned that almost half of the busiest US airports (27/60) are named for men while none are named for women. Additionally there are almost 20,000 airports in the US and not a single one is named for a woman of color. I also learned about recent efforts to increase female representation among publicly displayed statues in San Francisco and New York's Central Park.
The lack of representation of women and people of color is all around us, but this erasure is so normalized many people are not even aware of it. But this absence perpetuates the misperception that women and people of color have not contributed anything important to our country's history. "
"I think it is far past time for us to right this wrong"
"I think she is most deserving. The WASPs were an important part of our air component during WWII. As a member of the first class of women pilot that were trained in the Air Force I fully understanding the pioneering spirit. As president of Women Military Aviators I fully endorse the naming of a major US airport after one of America's Aviation Pioneers."
Memorial Day: is a U.S. Federal holiday that remembers and honors those who have died while serving their country.
I was told that we should not say "Happy Memorial Day" because there is nothing happy about people dying. While that's true... I'm happy that we have a day to remember our heroes who gave their lives for our freedom.
Help to make history and change the name of the Oakland International Airport to Maggie Gee International Airport.
Maggie Gee passed away at the age of 89 February 1, 2013, but let’s not allow her to be forgotten. The WASPS are passing and a huge part of history is flying on. Notice of passings are identified on a blog titled the WASP Final Flight Blog, and I have reproduced the information about Maggie below. Maggie's passion started at the Oakland airport and her legacy should be carried on.
“Margaret "Maggie" Gee, whose Chinese name was Gee Mei Gue, was born on August 5, 1923 in Berkeley, California, the daughter of a successful Chinese importer and a first generation Chinese-American. Maggie’s grandparents (on her mother's side) had been fishermen who immigrated to the United States to escape the Taiping Revolution and settled in Chinatown, where her parents met and married. However, her father did not want to raise his family in Chinatown, so before Maggie was born, he moved his family to Berkley.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, Mr. Gee had a heart attack on a San Francisco street and died shortly thereafter, leaving behind a wife and six children. Maggie’s formative years were spent witnessing her mother take on greater and greater responsibility, not only raising six children and working, but remaining actively involved in her church and her community.
When America entered WWII, Maggie passed a drafting test and left her first year of college to work at the Mare Island Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. There, she worked as a draftsman for the engineers who were working on classified projects on US Naval ships needing repair.
By 1942/43, Maggie had saved enough money to move to Minden, Nevada, to learn to fly. She paid $800 for six months of training and fifty hours of flying time. After she soloed and flew the required hours, Maggie applied for the WASP flying training program at Avenger Field, Texas and was accepted into class 44-W-9.
In June, 1944, Maggie left her home in San Francisco and boarded a troop train which was filled with soldiers at Berkley, California. For the next two days, she either sat on her suitcase or stood up -- all the way to Sweetwater, Texas. There 107 women pilots who entered the same class with Maggie; however, only 55 earned their silver wings and graduated as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) on November 8, 1944.
After graduation, Maggie was sent to Las Vegas Army Air Field, Nevada, where she served as a tow target pilot for flexible gunnery training for male cadets until the WASP were deactivated on December 20, 1944. She then returned to Berkley and completed her formal education, after which she traveled to Europe and was in charge of a European Service Club in the early 1950's.
When Maggie returned to the United States, she began her life as a physicist/researcher, working and studying at the UC Berkley and at its National Laboratory in Livermore. Her research covered the fields of cancer, nuclear weapons design, fusion energy, and other related fields.
"I’m very optimistic about the world and people... it will be all right...You can make changes. I think just one small person can make a little bit of change..."
Maggie's lifetime passion for politics began in the Truman Administration, and she continued her work by supporting voter registration and fundraising, serving on the Berkley Community Fund, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, and as a board member of the Berkley Democratic Club in Berkeley, CA. She also served on the California Democratic Party Executive Board and Asian Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus.
Maggie's legacy will live on in the lives of all of those she educated and changed with her passionate patriotism and her extraordinary sense of social justice.
Maggie's legacy will live on in the lives of all of those she educated and changed with her passionate patriotism and her extraordinary sense of social justice."
Respectfully written and posted by Nancy Parrish
Feb. 4, 2013
WW II WASP Pilot Maggie Gee - YouTube
Please sign the petition.
Each signature will make a difference.
Help to inspire the future of Aviation
by remembering the past and honoring our aviators.
Imagine the following message being left on a pilot's phone by their union medical advisor. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. But Flight For Truth is underway! Justice will be next!
Flight For Truth
Chapter 10 January 8, 2018
“Hi. It's Dr. Fourberie calling from the ALPO Air Medical office. Hey, I just got a little bit more correspondence on your situation and some information from Dr. Wood. I saw the back-and-forth with you requesting sort of his actual diagnosis from him and also a suggestion for a treatment plan that might get you back to flying, and he defers on the treatment plan because he's correct. As an evaluator he's not in the role of your treating physician, so he would not sort of determine a treatment plan. You would go to your own specialist or provider to manage any condition like that.
The problem is, is that with— you know, the only way back to medical certification is to dispute the diagnosis of a bipolar spectrum disorder. That's disqualifying. And even if you were to say, okay, I'll do a mood stabilizer or some other thing and get into either pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatment or therapy, that's not going to be satisfactory to the FAA because all of the medications for it are disallowed. It's considered a condition that can be treated and managed but is not essentially curable and is always disqualifying, even if it is fairly— you know, effectively treated for the time being. So unfortunately, sort of getting treatment is not going— for a condition like that, I don't think we're going to have any luck with regaining medical certification.
The one option to regain medical certification would be to effectively and completely and convincingly dispute the presence of the diagnosis to begin with. That's the— based on our experience with the FAA that's the one and only way that a bipolar spectrum disorder we can have any sort of success with. So we are, of course, standing by to assist you with this however and whenever we can.
I am here until about 4:00 Mountain time today. I'm not sure if they're going to close the phones up a little bit and cut the staff loose a bit early because it is right before a four-day holiday for the New Year. We are going to be out of the office Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I'm back on Tuesday and then I'm actually out of the office next week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then back the following week. Dr. Max is another flight surgeon, will be filling in for me during the hours that we are here Wednesday, Thursday, Friday next week that I'm gone, so certainly there's someone else standing by to assist you with anything you need immediately.
But that is our next sort of step with this as far as medical certification goes, which is my primary function in assisting you here, is to try to get an independent evaluation that would very, very effectively counter Dr. Wood’s conclusion of a bipolar spectrum disorder, and that's going to be tricky because Dr. Wood is sort of a big gun with the FAA. You'd have to convince the FAA that he's totally wrong and that you do not have any sort of bipolar spectrum disorder, and that would be a difficult situation. But I think I gave you Dr. Brody’s name and number. She's certainly a good person for you to talk to and explain your situation to, and she would probably be the best next step. As I stated, she would read your report for free and tell you if this is hopeless.
But as I say, we are here standing by. I'm here for a little bit longer, at least, today and a little bit next week and Dr. Max is also covering for me next week. So if you have any questions or want to talk strategy on that, please feel free to give us a call. Thanks.”
Only the names were changed
to protect the guilty.
Hard to believe.
Start the Series Now! Be ready for the next two novels.