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A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:51 pm

Heard this piece on NPR this evening during the afternoon commute today. It's about a CO 1st Officer who was furloughed after September 11, 2001 and his eventual return to the cockpit. In the description from the NPR web site, "...Berman describes how, against the odds, he managed to find his way back behind the controls of a 737 at Continental."

Thought it may be of some interest.

Godspeed Ben,
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:08 pm

Jeff, thank you for that link. Although we have all heard a lot of 9-11 stories, not many are as this is. Again, thank you..

Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:03 pm

Heart-warming, Jeff - SO glad he made it back to flying. A lot didn't, though, evidently.

I suppose I have a 9/11 story of my own. At the time I had a flight to the USA booked to visit friends/relatives in early October - Melbourne-New York via LAX, a side-trip to Norfolk VA., then a stopover in LA on the way back.

The first thing that happened was that the travel agent rang up and said, "I suggest that you cancel your flights - you can do it without charge." I said, "To hell with that, I'm still going." He replied, "I guessed that - thing is, though, I can rebook you again straight away on pretty well the same flights for about $200 less......."

That done, I rang my brother's family in Manhattan Beach to confirm my 'booking' for their spare room. My sister-in-law answered - I can still hear her saying, "You're FLYING? At THIS time....?"

I'll never forget the nation-wide, maybe even worldwide, panic that gripped the 'flying public' after 9/11. I never thought it was logical - what chance that Al Queda could whistle up ANOTHER twenty-odd suicidal maniacs with flying training and US visas, and do the same thing over again at short notice?

I never realised, before that article, though, just how huge the human cost was, in terms of airline jobs.....
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:12 pm

Man, good for him. That's a great story. I particularly enjoyed this part, at least in terms of the narrative (the subject matter is not so pleasing!):

Then on September 27, I flew my last flight, to Raleigh-Durham and back, through a sky that was as clear and blue as on September 11. Usually we swap the duty of flying the airplane, but on this day the captain let me fly both to and from Raleigh. Back in Newark, we shut down the engines at the gate and I trudged up the jetway, dragging my flight bag of company navigation charts and airline manuals. I was grounded indefinitely, so the bag felt much heavier than usual. The chief pilot gave me an exit interview the next day. He took my charts and manuals, and when he escorted me out of the terminal, the flight bag that I wheeled behind me was much too light.

It must be terrible to walk away like that from something you love -- I doubt I'll ever understand it. But I'm glad he made it back, and I wish him and his other furloughed colleagues the best of luck.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Wed Apr 20, 2005 4:43 pm

Great story. I'm not a pilot but I can relate, I jost my job (and my airline) on September 12 as Midway ceased operations. Bad time for all.

[Edited 2005-04-20 10:09:47]
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:37 am

I do not really know what "furlough" means.

Are staff who are furloughed receive any or all pay, do they gain seniority, are they obliged to return to their "old" employer or can they get a job elsewhere.
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RE: A Furloughed Pilot's Story

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:35 am

No pay... no gain in years of service...

We have some Northwest, TWA/American, USAir, and Delta furloughs flying with us waiting to be called back. Some of them never will be recalled... or their rights will be given up for recall (some carriers only have recall rights for a certain number of years).

Thankfully my airline has allowed them to keep their seniority numbers with their previous employers.
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