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BBC Article: How Safe Are US Regional Airlines?  
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 10295 times:

Seven of the last eight fatal commercial plane crashes in the US involved regional airlines.

Blah, blah, blah.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8041213.stm

Surely, it's more of a case of bad luck than anything?

[Edited 2009-05-17 21:04:21]


Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
81 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHaggis79 From Germany, joined Jun 2006, 1096 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10285 times:



Quoting BMIFlyer (Thread starter):
Surely, it's more of a case of bad luck than anything?

well if you read this thread, I wouldn't be so sure about that....

I guess we have arrived at the point where the race to ever more cheaper fares leads to compromises regarding safety....



300 310 319/20/21 332/3 343 AT4/7 143 B19 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 742/4 752/3 763/4 77E/W CR2/7/9 D95 E45/70 F50 F70 100 M11 M90
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10244 times:



Quoting BMIFlyer (Thread starter):
Surely, it's more of a case of bad luck than anything?

Does anybody want a serious answer or just a running argument?

In the last 5 years 800 million people have flown on commuter airlines in the US and 173 have died in crashes. That works out to one in every 4,624,277 passengers who steps aboard a commuter airline will die.

If those odds are not good enough for you, then you are better off driving your car.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17352 posts, RR: 46
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10233 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 2):
If those odds are not good enough for you, then you are better off driving your car.

Definitely better than that NASA death trap  duck 



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineXJETFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10198 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 2):
173 have died in crashes

173 too many! Regional Pilots are even asking for more training time from what I hear.


User currently offlineYellowstone From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3071 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10171 times:

My take on the situation - regional airlines are really, really safe, far safer than most other forms of transportation. Are they quite as safe as mainline carriers? Probably not. In the very rare case that something does go seriously wrong, the extra experience of the pilots could make a difference. But since things go wrong so rarely, it isn't much of an issue.


Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 10140 times:



Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 1):

I guess we have arrived at the point where the race to ever more cheaper fares leads to compromises regarding safety....

Which leads to underpaid and overworked pilots.


User currently offlineHaggis79 From Germany, joined Jun 2006, 1096 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 10108 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 6):
Which leads to underpaid and overworked pilots.

exactly what I meant, yes... Sad



300 310 319/20/21 332/3 343 AT4/7 143 B19 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 742/4 752/3 763/4 77E/W CR2/7/9 D95 E45/70 F50 F70 100 M11 M90
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19415 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks ago) and read 10013 times:



Quoting BMIFlyer (Thread starter):
Seven of the last eight fatal commercial plane crashes in the US involved regional airlines.

Blah, blah, blah.

Safer than driving to the airport. Safer than a root canal. Safer than a lot of things we do every single day.


User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2759 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks ago) and read 9962 times:

Pilots and air crew of regional's are being pushed further and further, wages cut and "other" cost cutting measures are being implemented at every opportunity, there is only so much "fat" you can cut out before something has to give and I think the article touches upon that clearly.It give several examples of fatigue etc that have contributed to the loss of many lives, it's almost if not already criminal and someone should be held to account.

The article also states that pilots are now being hired with only 200/300 hours flying hours, that in my opinion is just crazy and at the end of the day is just asking for trouble. Surly you need more experience than that when you have peoples lives at stake, not to mention having the knowledge to handle any problems that may arise whilst in the air.

There needs to be a big shake in the industry overall before any more lives are lost !



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineFalcon flyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1323 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9931 times:



Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 9):
The article also states that pilots are now being hired with only 200/300 hours flying hours, that in my opinion is just crazy and at the end of the day is just asking for trouble.

Which is ironic for a British-based news outlet considering ab-initio programs in the UK and mainland Europe have been putting low-time, new-hires with similar flight time in the cockpits of regional and flag carriers for years. While the circumstances with regard to training over there may vary, the report still comes across as hypocritical.



My definition of cool ? Not trying so hard to be cool.
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21474 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9886 times:

Sorry, but all this bellyaching is not supported by reality: it's safe.

you can complain about the pay, and claim it's not fair, but there is no support for the leap to "it's causing lack of safety" because IT'S NOT.

So the more people gripe about pay and how it leads to lack of safety, the more they sound like they are just making it up. Crying wolf.

Flying on a regional is still safer than: riding a bicycle, walking in anywhere near automobiles, driving an automobile, riding in an automobile, riding a motorcycle or riding in a watercraft of some kind.

But riding the bus or the train is safer than flying. At least in the USA.

So the only real way to improve safety of "commuter" flights is to replace them with regional train services.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2759 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9869 times:

Falcon flyer

The report never said that things were any better or worse in the UK

The article is about what is going on in the USA with regional carriers, does it not?

American news organizations are free to report on what's happening at any time in the UK or anywhere else for that matter .

Why is it hypocrtical to cover matters of interest in other countries,or is it just because it's about AMERICA, for all you know BBC may well have written/reported about similar goings on in the UK or elswhere.


Why do you feel so threatened by this ??



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineAvion660 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2007, 212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 9821 times:

Aviateur (PS) always has an interesting angle on this....

http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/...9/05/15/askthepilot320/index2.html

http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/...09/04/03/askthepilot315/index.html

Some very useful and informed context on experience and safety.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3535 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9658 times:

Surely, if you take a flight on a regional, particularly if it is a carrier franchised to a major, you expect that it will be operated to a standard equivalant to a major.
Any such franchise arrangement should not just involve the franchisor taking fees in return for very little, the whole point of such an arrangement is that the franchisor imposes their standards and business mantra onto the franchisee, in exchange for a fee.

With regard to the question of pilot seniority, I acknowledge that it has long been the case that seniority brings privileges, and in general this should be so. However it should not entirely outweigh experience, something isn't quite right when seniority results in a pilot with less experience, and a history of failing checks outranking a younger pilot with a better training record and more hours on type.

Finally with regard to 1st officers with only 300 or so flying hours, they have to gain experience somewhere, and if it isn't in the cockpit of a decent sized commercial plane, its probably not very relevant. Might as well have a newly qualified pilot with 300 hours relevant experience, as a pilot with a few thousand hours, most of which has been spent in a Cessna 172 !!!
The only way I can see round this, would be to carry three flight crew until a minimum number of hours had been accumulated, but of course the airlines would then insist that this was unpaid, due to the extra costs involved.


User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1610 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9636 times:

*Pilot selection to a higher standard.
*Training to a higher standard.
*Better work conditions (no more 16 hour days).
*Better pay so that pilots might be able to afford to live where they work. I was based in DCA for a long time and even as a captain really can't afford it there. So anyone who tells me I choose to commute is full of it.

I work for a so-called 'regional' carrier and our training is roughly the same as it was when I worked for LX a few years ago.

US 'regional' carriers are safe, but accidents do happen and some of them can be traced to shortcuts that take place along the way.

But they are no worse than European airlines, some of which think that you can select pilots solely on cognitive tests and train them in a classroom and with simulators and even FTD procedure trainers with very little actual airplane time before putting them online.

Seen both ways - US and European. They both produce mostly very good pilots and let a few others slip through the cracks unfortunately. But to make blanket statements that US regional carriers are unsafe is absurd.



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12345 posts, RR: 25
Reply 16, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9449 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 11):
So the only real way to improve safety of "commuter" flights is to replace them with regional train services.

Your "logic" only holds if the safety of commuter flights can't be improved, or that the safety of regional train services won't diminish as more passengers and trains use the system.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3811 posts, RR: 34
Reply 17, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9371 times:

There's a similar article in the New York Times

Pilots' Lives Defy Glamorous Stereotype

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17352 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 9182 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 17):
There's a similar article in the New York Times

Does anyone really think commuter pilots make any money? I don't think the problem is so much pay as training. These are the"least experienced" pilots in the industry, but they fly the most difficult and demanding routes. A CRJ pilot has a lot less PIC time than a long haul 777 captain, but probably does five times as many takeoffs/landings in the same time period



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineAviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1351 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9041 times:

I am quoted in both the BBC piece and the NYT piece. I also appear in the BBC TV segment that the print article is drawn from.

I will say this: In both cases, the reporters who put these stories together tried really hard to get it right -- both the facts and the overall tone. I spent upwards of an hour on the phone with Dave Helfinger at the Times. Zoe Conway produced the BBC piece. They sent a film crew to my apartment and did the taping right here. She too was very pro about the whole thing.

I don't often say good things about the media's coverage of air travel issues, but they both handled it well.


- Patrick Smith



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
User currently offlineFalcon flyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1323 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8988 times:



Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 12):
Falcon flyer
The report never said that things were any better or worse in the UK
The article is about what is going on in the USA with regional carriers, does it not?
American news organizations are free to report on what's happening at any time in the UK or anywhere else for that matter .
Why is it hypocrtical to cover matters of interest in other countries,or is it just because it's about AMERICA, for all you know BBC may well have written/reported about similar goings on in the UK or elswhere.
Why do you feel so threatened by this ??

Whoa, easy there.
First of all, I never said there was anything wrong with ab-initio programs. If anything, I went out of my way to say that "the circumstances with regard to training there vary", implying that different training may allow the successful implementation of lower time pilots. Second, if you're going to bring up the use of lower time pilots, and be objective in your reporting, why not bring up the fact that it is a common and widespread practice in your own backyard. For all I know, BBC very well may have brought it up in past articles, but it was not mentioned in this particular article. Finally, if you somehow deduced that I feel threatened by this, that's your prerogative and interpretation. You are so barking up the wrong tree. If anything, being raised and educated in Europe, I will always come to the defense of different cultures and alternate ways of looking at things.



My definition of cool ? Not trying so hard to be cool.
User currently offline413x3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8969 times:

There needs to be better general rules protecting all types of pilots, not just ones associated with powerful unions.

User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17352 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8957 times:



Quoting 413x3 (Reply 21):
There needs to be better general rules protecting all types of pilots, not just ones associated with powerful unions.

It'll never happen, because mainline unions will screw over their regional brethren faster and harder than airline managers could ever be accused of doing.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9508 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 8887 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 11):
Flying on a regional is still safer than: riding a bicycle, walking in anywhere near automobiles, driving an automobile, riding in an automobile, riding a motorcycle or riding in a watercraft of some kind.

Is your point that since it is already really safe, that it should not be made safer? If so, tell that to the FAA and stop having them improve safety regulations across the board since their job is mostly over... we are safe enough as is so there is no need to improve. We'll accept a few hundred deaths per year.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12903 posts, RR: 100
Reply 24, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 8494 times:
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Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 5):
My take on the situation - regional airlines are really, really safe, far safer than most other forms of transportation. Are they quite as safe as mainline carriers? Probably not.

Well said.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 8):
Safer than driving to the airport. Safer than a root canal. Safer than a lot of things we do every single day.

The most dangerous part of flying is that drive to and from the airport. I'm not recalling the source, but IIRC, the walk around the parking lot is more dangerous than the flight.  spin 

Quoting Revelation (Reply 16):
or that the safety of regional train services won't diminish as more passengers and trains use the system.

Actually, in the US, too few regional trains are fully 'off grade.' That results in a safety history that is pretty poor. My hometown, LA, has had some nasty Metrolink crashes in the last few years. I'm all for rail, but for now, Regional airlines are far safer!

As to the BBC reporting on US airlines, I have no issue with that. It might even be a 'back door' way to promote scrutiny of the EU regionals without offending their advertisers.  Wink

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 15):
Seen both ways - US and European. They both produce mostly very good pilots and let a few others slip through the cracks unfortunately. But to make blanket statements that US regional carriers are unsafe is absurd.

Well said. All I would add is that this is where the weeding out occurs.  Sad But regional flights are far safer than other US options.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
25 Ikramerica : No, actually I'm right. Logic is fine, but facts are facts. While logically, you could try to make commuter flying as safe as trains, in practice, yo
26 Revelation : I'm saying if you moved all commuter flying to trains, your train accident rate would go up dramatically, probably to the same scale as commuter flyi
27 AirlineCritic : Contrary to the popular opinion on this thread, I do believe that safety needs to improve on the regional airlines. Yes, flying is still safe, even on
28 Pylon101 : I completely agree that regional aviation in US is as reliable as it possibly can be. Or close to that level. At least I feel completely confident whe
29 Bongodog1964 : One thing the BBC doesn't have to worry about is offending its advertisers, as it doesn't have any. All UK owners of TV's have to pay an annual licen
30 Jonjonnl : PGA pilots were recently on strike due to underpayment and overworking. So that makes some sense here in Europe as well.
31 XaraB : I totally agree! While flying in general, including US regionals, is VERY safe, there are still accidents every now and then. As a seasonal worker in
32 XJETFlyer : As a passenger, I would like to see the pilots paid better. If that means me having to pay a few extra bucks, so be it! I want happy wide awake pilots
33 NorCal : Absolutely Correct Where are pilots supposed to get this extra training? At my local airport it costs $80 an hour to rent a Cessna 152 and another $4
34 Cubsrule : At the same time, though, there's a level of cost-benefit analysis that needs to go on. If we got to a point where the airline industry was so safe t
35 Brilondon : And who isn't over worked and under paid? This is just nonsense. Regional flying is as safe as mainline flying. There is just more flights of the reg
36 PGNCS : And regional pilots will screw over their mainline brethren even faster. People are motivated by their perceptions of their own best interests.
37 MaverickM11 : Not likely. That'd be like Guatemala screwing the US on a trade deal.
38 PiedmontINT : Now THAT is a grim and scary statistic, coincidence or not.
39 TVNWZ : I wonder what the rate is per flight. If the commuter death rate per flight (one take off and one landing) is significantly higher on average you may
40 SHUPirate1 : Did anybody else notice their mentions of United Connection and Delta Express in the New York Times article? Now, pray tell, but who is United Connect
41 Bakersdozen : That's not a very good argument and that's a very poor attitude to have. If it can be improved IT SHOULD. Doesn't matter how many/few people have die
42 FLALEFTY : The regional airlines are pushed by the majors to pinch a penny until it screams. If they want a lift contract, they have to be the lowest cost, or lo
43 Brilondon : Or pay them more for the time they are on duty.
44 Otops : So lets sit back and not try to do better at all until flying is less safe than those things. We should also stop fighting crime until the murder rat
45 ADXMatt : Let's not get so wrapped up in the # of hours someone has. The # of hours someone has is not relevent all by itself. Just like statistics you can mak
46 Aviateur : Well, it isn't an indictment of Gulfstream itself so much as an indictment, maybe, of the whole process of appointing ultra low-time pilots to these
47 Aviateur : As I said to the reporter.... " Hours in a logbook are not always the best predictor of skill or performance under pressure. I’ll point out that va
48 NorCal : It isn't a specific indictment of Gulfstream, but of schools like it. They spoon feed the pilots to pass the checkrides and have them gain experience
49 LoneStarMike : Please tell me you meant to write should not be with passengers in the back. LoneStarMike
50 727forever : Judgement is developed regardless of airplane type. A Cessna 172 can get you in trouble very quickly as well and the thought process of getting out o
51 Post contains links FuturePilot16 : Here is another one from msn http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30809955
52 NorCal : whoops, yes I did mean to write should NOT be with passengers
53 Pylon101 : I don't see a 180 degree turn here. I just hope that the Colgan story doesn't represent an overall situation in US regional aviation. NTSB will make
54 Revelation : I can't see how the mainlines would voluntarily do so. Also unions seem ineffective at getting the mainlines to change work rules in terms of safety.
55 NorCal : Highly motivated people learn the material backwards and forwards, lazy people look for short cuts.
56 CARST : Do we have comparable numbers of US-mainline flights? Jus to compare the percent of people not survicing a flight... If the numbers are above are tru
57 Revelation : Sure, but they also don't do a few years of CFI in a Cessna when there's a faster path to their goal. That's not to say CFIs are lazy (your word), bu
58 NorCal : Knowing something and being able to teach it are two very different things and any CFI will attest to this. I think the Gulfstream route is the lazy
59 ADXMatt : When there are ample candidates to fill the # of openings then the regional do look for more time. But when you have more openings then candidates th
60 CARST : After searching the web right now i got the following numbers: About 392 million pax travel on domestic flights in the USA per year, additional 56 mi
61 NorCal : There are ample candidates that can be found at places other than pilot factories like Gulfstream. There are a lot of underlying issues but I think t
62 727forever : Bingo. Gulfstream is nothing but a shortcut. It is a shortcut to a career and the training and experience received are a shortcut. Flying a 1900 arou
63 Revelation : I'm definitely seeing your point of view, but am not sure how we can come up with rules that stipulate the meaningful experience needed before you ca
64 DocLightning : Yup, a regional pilot coming off duty might run you over with her car! But seriously, you are at greater risk of getting hit by a car in the parking
65 Ual777 : Agree. Gulfstream is a joke. Just to clarify they had well over 1,500 hours between them.
66 Post contains links NorCal : I'm mostly agreeing with you, simply raising the minimums doesn't do anything because there are plenty of very good low time pilots out there......I
67 UAL777 : I would extend that to the 90-day "zero to hero" places as well. Those programs are too fast and leave large gaps in these guys' memories.
68 NorCal : There are 90 day zero-hero programs?!?!?!? My god how is that even possible!!! Even with perfect weather and no mx problems that seems ridiculous. Th
69 Post contains links UAL777 : http://www.atpflightschool.com/ Go scroll down to their "90 Day Fast Track" program. They build like 150 multi through a mix of PIC and "safety pilot
70 727forever : The worst part is that ICAO has come up with this MPL business. The only thing that makes it not worse it that it does have a robust curriculum, I th
71 Post contains links Baroque : Sorry to hear you have to have your root canals done every day Doc. But a fair point. How many were killed driving to or from the airport for said Re
72 Post contains links and images Revelation : Perpetual urban myth, made true only when you calculate fatalities per mile traveled. If you calculate fatalities per hour, you get a different pictu
73 Atpcliff : Hi! When the pilot shortage was at it's worst, a year or so ago, the US regionals were very desperate for pilots. They were hiring pilots with less th
74 Goldenshield : A lot of that is that it's just become so damn expensive to fly anymore (and I'm sure you know this already, but this is aimed at the general audienc
75 Baroque : Odd, I had the funny concept that the purpose of travel was to get from A to B where B is some distance from A. But I see the error of my ways, the r
76 Planespotting : Hmmm ... I did not see this happening in 2007. At worst, airlines like Great Lakes and PSA lowered their minimums to 250/25 (I do believe one more lo
77 Revelation : If your chances of an accident were proportional to the number of miles traveled, you might have had a point. However, as per this thread, the real d
78 Post contains links NorCal : It looks like the FAA is cracking down on Gulfstream according to the WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1242...1324544689.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
79 Baroque : As you say both you can do anything with the stats that you want and by and large most fatalities with planes are associated with the plane hitting t
80 Revelation : Yes, tha't's certainly one more way of looking at things. Of course, crashing a car can also be said to be "arriving at an unplanned destination" too
81 TheGreatChecko : I don't think they have used the Part 141 certificate since they closed their ab-initio program (which later became JetU and that recently tanked). T
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