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SWA Dispatchers Vs. FAA Over SAL Mx Flights  
User currently offlineA340Spotter From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1980 posts, RR: 24
Posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 7246 times:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/s...&newsId=20090623006403&newsLang=en

Interesting how there's a lack of response to their concerns. Usually any concerns about new services or specific types of flights are answered prior to flights beginning so that there aren't any questions. Not often that you'll see this happen.

JSD


"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUAXDXer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 765 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

TWU Local 550 members also have been disturbed by what appear to be "an ongoing close relationship between the FAA and SWA." The FAA has worked with Southwest to grant waivers for the Central America-bound flights, but the agency has not been forthcoming in answering dispatcher questions about safeguards and regulatory compliance. The agency's lack of response to dispatchers, who are charged with FAA compliance and essentially serve as an airline's safety officers, has become so absurd that the local union has resorted to putting a display on its Web site with the number of days without a response --20 days at the time of this release.

Didn't SWA and the FAA both, just recently, get into a lot of hot water for "Pencil Whipping" things?



It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 7168 times:

1 - Unknown
2 - Flights operated under FAR 91 are operated as a 91 operation. The dispatcher provides an information release, so the crew can operate, fuel, get a flight plan, etc., but the crew is solely responsible for the operation - just like the PCL crew that operated their CRJ in a regime that they shouldnt have, and ended up with a loss of control at altitude. Remark them as "PART 91 OPS - FPLAN INFO ONLY"
3 - An MX ferry permit, under OpSpecs D84, is required if the aircraft is otherwise unairworthy. When we, at DL, ferried our 767s to HKG, they didnt operate under a ferry permit westbound unless they were otherwise unairworthy (overflew an MEL, busted an inspection limit, etc)
4 - No, for there are many parts of the world where ASD is unavailable and 121 ops go on in that airspace all the time. When I was at AWE, we operated all over Mexico without ASD - flights were just required to make position reports, to dispatch. However, these were 121 flag ops...
5 - See 4
6 - See B050 of your own OpSpecs,.looking at the boilerplate text of A030 (Supplemental Ops), it does say that its use is limited to areas listed in B050. Your B050 should reflect that you can go deep south, in fact, under the boilerplate text of A030, it would have to.
7 - Unknown, but we did them at DL for our B767s at HKG. Test crews just provided the OOOI reports to flight control after their test hop was completed.
8 - You should have those set up, we did at AWE for our ops down to Mexico. Does SWA even have OpSpecs B029 issued?
9 - Dispatchers ALWAYS have the right of refusal, just like the captain.
10 - See 9
11 -Under Supplemental rules, we all know that the dispatcher is just a flight planner, and that once airborne, has no operational control responsibility, as supp rules define the Operational Control responsibility as between the DO and PIC.

I'd love to see the 84 page memo alluded to Connor's email....



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offline0NEWAIR0 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 939 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 7073 times:

Is it just me or is this really a "non-issue" and the union is trying to make it one?


"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 6866 times:



Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 3):
Is it just me or is this really a "non-issue" and the union is trying to make it one?

Without seeing the 84 page memo that their union website talks about, I cant say; however, I think this couldve been handled better on both sides.

However, I think its at least somewhat a new union flexing its "Dont forget about me" muscle.



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6716 times:



Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 3):
Is it just me or is this really a "non-issue" and the union is trying to make it one?



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 4):
Without seeing the 84 page memo that their union website talks about, I cant say; however, I think this couldve been handled better on both sides.

However, I think its at least somewhat a new union flexing its "Dont forget about me" muscle.

I think about the only thing I can say on this matter is that the issues (plural) are not as simple nor as obvious as they might appear from an exterior vantage point. I trust that they'll all be successfully resolved soon...


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6620 times:



Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 3):
Is it just me or is this really a "non-issue" and the union is trying to make it one?

Seems like it. If you read the posting from the TWU, it seems to be mostly about pay and little else.

The memo asks the question:

"Why would Southwest operate these flights under a single level of safety (CFR Part 91) rather than the dual level of safety (CFR Part 121) as we do for all of our flights today?"

The answer to me seems self-evident. "Because there will not be any passengers on board the aircraft." The FAR regulations are primarily written to protect fare-paying passengers. That is why the level of regulation is considerably less on GA flights.


User currently offlineApodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6601 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 6):
"Why would Southwest operate these flights under a single level of safety (CFR Part 91) rather than the dual level of safety (CFR Part 121) as we do for all of our flights today?"

That's just the thing. At my carrier, we operate all flights under 121 rules even if they would fall under part 91 for this very reason, that way there is no misunderstanding and everything is much simpler.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week ago) and read 6488 times:

From the "outside-looking-in" I see one glaring statement that says the dispatchers DO have an agrument... and a very good one!

...the Southwest Airlines ATOS Manager has claimed you are not liable, but he wouldn’t put his name on the release...

That's all one needs to know to understand that something is definitely "not right" with the proposed method of operations. When a government official verbally says you are safe, but will not put that in writing.....

Good Luck OPNLguy.... you're going to need it. I strongly recommend you post "INFORMATIONAL USE ONLY" and "NOT A LEGAL RELEASE" all over your paperwork should you be "assigned" to "dispatch" one of these flights. Even then, you know the government will come after you if there is ANY kind of "incident" on one of these flights.  sorry 



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineFltplanr From United States of America, joined May 2004, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6350 times:



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 8):
I strongly recommend you post "INFORMATIONAL USE ONLY" and "NOT A LEGAL RELEASE" all over your paperwork should you be "assigned" to "dispatch" one of these flights. Even then, you know the government will come after you if there is ANY kind of "incident" on one of these flights.

I agree. I usually put a statement on the release such as "Reposition Flight - operated under FAR part 91 flight rules", "MX Ferry - operated under FAR Part 91 flight rules", or "Flight to be operated under FAR Part 121 Supplemental regulations". That way there should be no question that we are not operating the flight under FAR 121 Flag or Domestic, and the dispatcher, who is not legally required for these types of flights, is there to provide support if needed.



It's all ball bearings nowadays!
User currently offlineFxra From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 705 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 6348 times:



Quoting Fltplanr (Reply 9):
I agree. I usually put a statement on the release such as "Reposition Flight - operated under FAR part 91 flight rules", "MX Ferry - operated under FAR Part 91 flight rules", or "Flight to be operated under FAR Part 121 Supplemental regulations". That way there should be no question that we are not operating the flight under FAR 121 Flag or Domestic, and the dispatcher, who is not legally required for these types of flights, is there to provide support if needed.

While I agree that operating under Part 91 or 121 Supplemental by FAR relieves a dispatcher of legal responsibility, I find it hard to believe that if something happens on said flight the FAA isn't going to call you to the carpet and want to know why you did or did not do something. Possibly to the point you'll have to get an attorney to fight an LOI, and I doubt the company is going to come to your rescue.

Based on just reading this thread and attached links, I think the biggest issue the SWA folks have is the training based on an assumption that since y'all do little to no int'l operations. Of course I could be wrong on that, but I don't think a day or two of classroom training would be unreasonable. Are the flight crews getting anything special to operate these flights?



Visualize Whirled Peas
User currently offlineFltplanr From United States of America, joined May 2004, 19 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5540 times:



Quoting Fxra (Reply 10):
While I agree that operating under Part 91 or 121 Supplemental by FAR relieves a dispatcher of legal responsibility, I find it hard to believe that if something happens on said flight the FAA isn't going to call you to the carpet and want to know why you did or did not do something. Possibly to the point you'll have to get an attorney to fight an LOI, and I doubt the company is going to come to your rescue.

That could be where the argument comes into play. Legal responsibility for the flight. It's a grey area where the information flight plan is sent to the flight crew by a dispatcher and the dispatcher does the flight following. However, based on the regulations, the dispatcher does not share 50/50 responsibility with the captain for the flight's operation when it is operated under Part 91 or 121 Supplemental rules. It is probably something the FAA needs to address for all carriers and not just WN. It could just revert back to the type of operating certificate the carrier has where the FAA is concerned, and that the dispatcher is 50% responsible for the flight regardless because the carrer's certificate is 121 Domestic and/or Flag.



It's all ball bearings nowadays!
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5118 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5391 times:

Following the Pinnacle ferry accident, the NTSB put a fair number of folks on the griddle about why ferry under part 91, and I believe that Pinnacle agreed to modify its practices to make all flights under part 121, including ferries. Obviously, it would have taken complicity by unsympathetic dispatchers to permit a Part 121 ferry to fly at 41000, and the (I think) unspoken point is that this would be unlikely to have happened. Of course, so should the joyride by those guys, but that extra margin of sensibility by someone not Woo-Hoo-ing in the cockpit ("Dude"), might have saved their lives.

User currently offlineKohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5110 times:



Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 12):
it would have taken complicity by unsympathetic dispatchers to permit a Part 121 ferry to fly at 41000

While I agree with your point in general, there's really nothing wrong with taking an empty CRJ2 up to FL410. At least there wasn't back in the days I dispatched them..


User currently offlineKellmark From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 691 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 month 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4510 times:



Quoting Fxra (Reply 10):
While I agree that operating under Part 91 or 121 Supplemental by FAR relieves a dispatcher of legal responsibility, I find it hard to believe that if something happens on said flight the FAA isn't going to call you to the carpet and want to know why you did or did not do something. Possibly to the point you'll have to get an attorney to fight an LOI, and I doubt the company is going to come to your rescue.

There is a point to this. I am aware of just such a case. A dispatcher did the pre-flight work for a flight into South America, and the flight later had a problem with improper information to the crew, which was provided by the co to the dispatcher and then to the crew. The FAA did go after the dispatcher but later dismissed the case when it was shown that it was in fact a supplemental flight, not a scheduled, flag flight. The dispatcher had no legal responsibility. It was the responsibility of the PIC and the Director of Ops.

But, regarding the Southwest case here, it seems poor form for this to have made it into the press and here to airliners.net. It is a very common practice, and is normally approved by the FAA to allow maintenance ferry flights to operate under part 91 only. But it also depends upon what is in the air carrier's ops specs and General Operating Manual. Also, with the Pinnacle accident, the crew were foolish to do what they did. And I don't think that a dispatcher could have prevented that. They are not in the cockpit with the crew, just like controllers are not. The crew is flying the airplane. Most dispatchers doing flight watch have a workload such that they wouldn't even notice a deviation of altitude, especially on a ferry flight with no passengers. The best procedure would be to have such a flight be assigned to a chief or supervisory dispatcher, who would have few if any flights assigned to them. But even then, I doubt they would notice a deviation in altitude. People are busy in these offices.

Also, ASD (aircraft situation display) is not available in most areas of the world, where position reports by ACARS or voice are substituted. What did SW dispatchers do before ASD was available?

I think some Southwest people who are having these issues should visit some other carriers to see how they do it before they make it such a major issue. Particularly, picking a fight with the FAA over this in public seems like not a productive strategy.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22731 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (5 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4351 times:



Quoting Kellmark (Reply 14):
It is a very common practice, and is normally approved by the FAA to allow maintenance ferry flights to operate under part 91 only.

Is it even possible for them to operate flights to SAL (revenue or not) under 121 if they don't have a flag certificate?

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 12):
Obviously, it would have taken complicity by unsympathetic dispatchers to permit a Part 121 ferry to fly at 41000, and the (I think) unspoken point is that this would be unlikely to have happened.

I'm confused. In an aircraft with a service ceiling of 410, if the dispatcher files a flight plan that has the flight cruising at 330 (for instance) and the ride is bad there, can't the PIC unilaterally ask ATC to clear him to 370?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineNws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 883 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4232 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 15):
'm confused. In an aircraft with a service ceiling of 410, if the dispatcher files a flight plan that has the flight cruising at 330 (for instance) and the ride is bad there, can't the PIC unilaterally ask ATC to clear him to 370?

Yes, but theoretically the dispatcher should notice the altitude change, look into the weather, and rework the fuel numbers.


User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4153 times:



Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 16):
Yes, but theoretically the dispatcher should notice the altitude change, look into the weather, and rework the fuel numbers.

Provided, however, he is advised by the crew. We are working other flights, and other than seeing an individual blip on my ASD screen, I usually dont have the time to verify that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Most carriers have a rule that requires certain contacts and reports made from a crew to flight control/dispatch, one is usually (depending on airline) if the crew is flying at 4000' or more in variance from the flight plan. However, under a 91 operation, I cant see this report being made.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 15):
Is it even possible for them to operate flights to SAL (revenue or not) under 121 if they don't have a flag certificate?

That depends on how their OpSpecs A001 is issued. They have never done even transborder before, so I can see them as having only domestic and supplemental authority in their OpSpecs A001.



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22731 posts, RR: 20
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3960 times:



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 17):
Most carriers have a rule that requires certain contacts and reports made from a crew to flight control/dispatch, one is usually (depending on airline) if the crew is flying at 4000' or more in variance from the flight plan.

...which means that it's pretty easy to imagine a situation in which the 9E pilots wouldn't have had to notify dispatch that they were going to ascend to 410.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineNws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 883 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3907 times:



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 17):
Provided, however, he is advised by the crew. We are working other flights, and other than seeing an individual blip on my ASD screen, I usually dont have the time to verify that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Good point, that's why its important for dispatch and the crew to work together. The dispatcher is a crew's best resource, not a mother to watch and make sure they are doing what they are told.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3896 times:



Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 19):
Good point, that's why its important for dispatch and the crew to work together.

Yes...

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 19):
The dispatcher is a crew's best resource,

Yes...

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 19):
not a mother to watch and make sure they are doing what they are told.

Wrong...


User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5118 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3886 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 18):
...which means that it's pretty easy to imagine a situation in which the 9E pilots wouldn't have had to notify dispatch that they were going to ascend to 410.

Well, if they had stabilized at FL370 and then carefully planned their ascent to FL410, it would likely have been a different story for them. But that's not what they did, and that's one reason that it was a bad day for them. As you probably know: (1) they used the autopilot to control ascent above a level at which it is presumed to do so properly; (2) they greased it up to FL410 and arrived way behind the power curve.

What's more frightening about the training that they got at Gulfstream was that they didn't even seem to realize the implications of this, or even to be aware of it, reflecting really poor airmanship at the end of the day.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22731 posts, RR: 20
Reply 22, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3813 times:



Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 21):
Well, if they had stabilized at FL370 and then carefully planned their ascent to FL410, it would likely have been a different story for them. But that's not what they did, and that's one reason that it was a bad day for them.

That's why I'm confused how the dispatcher is implicated in that accident. If they called the dispatcher before pulling this stunt, the dispatcher likely would have advised them either

1) that it was a bad idea, or
2) that they needed to do it in a safe manner.

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 21):
What's more frightening about the training that they got at Gulfstream was that they didn't even seem to realize the implications of this, or even to be aware of it, reflecting really poor airmanship at the end of the day.

Completely agreed, but, again, that's not a dispatch issue.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3801 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 22):
If they called the dispatcher before pulling this stunt, the dispatcher likely would have advised them either

1) that it was a bad idea, or
2) that they needed to do it in a safe manner.

The only thing the dispatcher could have done, whether part 121 or not, is say whether going to FL410 is allowed, or not, per the SOP. It is the PIC's responsibility to ensure that the aircraft is operated in safe manner, and that the SOP is followed. If Pinnacle at the time allowed flight at FL410, then, with respect to the safe operation of the aircraft, the dispatcher really could care less, because it was allowed per the SOP, and it's the PIC's responsibility.

Where the dispatcher would come in (part 121 only, since with respect to part 91, the PIC is on his own) would be whether going to FL410 would hinder the safe operation of the FLIGHT, i.e.; if there is a stronger headwind, if the fuel required would burn signifigantly into reserve, etc.

[Edited 2009-06-27 07:25:39]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22731 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (5 years 1 month 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3779 times:



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 23):
If Pinnacle at the time allowed flight at FL410, then, with respect to the safe operation of the aircraft, the dispatcher really could care less, because it was allowed per the SOP, and it the PIC's responsibility.

IIRC, it was permitted (though, as a practical matter, I'm not sure a CRJ on anything but a ferry flight can get there).



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
25 Goldenshield : Even with the modified B engines (hot and highs) that my airline uses, FL370 is rare even on the best of days.
26 Cubsrule : Might that be a reason for 9E not seriously to have considered their service ceiling? If pilots exhibit good airmanship, there shouldn't really be an
27 Goldenshield : This is only my opinion, but I think their reasoning was that they KNEW that the plane could never reach FL390 or FL410 during revenue flight (or eve
28 Wjcandee : Was it "permitted"? It was pretty clear at the hearing that if they had told the Chief Pilot they were going to do it, they would have been told "No y
29 Cubsrule : Yes, that was clear to me too-- which is why (again) I don't understand why anyone even considered blaming the dispatchers. Don't the -700 and -900 h
30 Goldenshield : The -200 has the CF34-3(A/B)1. The -700 has the -8C5B1, and the -900 has the -8C5, which are the same engine, but the -700's FADEC derates it. While
31 Cubsrule : I don't think anyone else did. IIRC, a lot of -200 carriers weren't covering it in ground school.
32 ADXMatt : getting back to the original topic of the Southwest Airlines international flights for MX... In the news article there is a link to the Unions website
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