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What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:34 am
by ukair
I always wondered what happened to pilots who made major blunders which resulted in the loss of life and the loss of the plane in terms of their careers being over ... or not. Like for instance the pilot of the Philippines 747 who took off on the wrong runway some years back resulting in huge loss of life.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:42 am
by juventus
Depends on the country. In the US, you call the union, and 9 out of 10 times, they'll get you out of trouble. In Asia, you're screwed. They usually don't tolerate mistakes. Most likely you'll get fired. If you're lucky, you get downgraded to copilot or suspended. Not sure about Europe or Latin america.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:57 am
by F9Animal
Good chance that they die. Not much in room for mistakes when flying.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:04 am
by C133
It all depends on the circumstances, but no air carrier is going to offer a second chance to kill more people, and don't forget the FAA, either. Basically a guy's career is over if he's at fault in a major incident/accident. Alcoholism could be a different story in our politically correct society.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:10 am
by ltbewr
After an incident and if upon investigation the pilot or FO are the ones whom made a major contribution to the cause of it, they may be fired or suspended for a significant amount of time. Of course, often immediatly after an incident, a pilot/co-pilot will be suspended until a preliminary investigation is done, then the unions or government labor agencies will get involved with the deeper investigation if the pilot/co-pilot's acts are a major factor.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:13 am
by MHO
Quoting C133 (Reply 3):
Alcoholism could be a different story in our politically correct society.

How is alcoholism politically correct? There are 2 ex-America West pilots in prison in AZ because of alcohol. Their career is pretty much at a standstill right now.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:12 am
by 747hogg
Northwest.... The Worlds Greatest Airline.... Had a command 747 pilot do federal prison time for flying drunk. (story was on 60 minutes) After his time was up NWA president Dasberg hired him back and let him work his way back up the ladder starting with desk jobs, then flight sim duties, then after lots of legal work, a 747 pilot again! Dasburg was from a broken home and took pitty on drunkards. At the end of the story the now retired pilot was flying medical chairity hops in his 182. Truly a great story with a happy ending! Dasberg put his ass on the line for this guy, and came out a hero. "Only in America" folks!

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:19 am
by aviateur
There's an interesting article on this topic here:

http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2006/07/14/askthepilot194/

It discusses the incident in New Zealand in which a Dash-8 captain was brought to trial. Plus the Singapore crew at TPE.

You can also read a story on pilots & alcohol here...

http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/...004/06/11/askthepilot89/index.html

As the above poster points out, the story about the NW captain is a memorable tale of redemption.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:04 am
by dc10rules
Are the 2 pilots from WN involved in the MDW runway overrun still on leave or were they canned after the CVR was released?

I do not recall reading about their fate. My apologies if it has been mentioned.

Cheers.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:44 pm
by C133
Quoting MHO (Reply 5):
How is alcoholism politically correct? There are 2 ex-America West pilots in prison in AZ because of alcohol. Their career is pretty much at a standstill right now.

I mentioned the FAA, and being caught drunk in the cockpit is going to (and should) land you in the slammer. My comment was poorly worded. The thought isn't worth explaining, so please disregard.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:22 pm
by kaitak
It really does depend on the airline.

If the action is judged to be unsafe or a departure from procedures, but which doesn't damage the aircraft, the pilot can sometimes be taken off flying duties and put back in the sim; this happened to a Cathay pilot who had a "sporty" landing at HKG on a 747. The same airline, however, fired an A330 captain who let his main gear taxi onto the grass while taxying in at Penang.

If a BA pilot is involved in a serious incident, for example the infamous incident where the aircraft flew very close to the Heathrow Penta (now the Renaissance) on a failed ILS approach - and if that's down to the pilot's error, the pilot would be asked to resign from the airline; if he doesn't he's sacked, but at least resigning allows the pilot to get another job somewhere else. (Tragically, in that case, it didn't).

In most cases, however, the pilot is fired if he messes up badly; it doesn't need to be a fatal accident either; if an aircraft is seriously damaged or written off and that comes down to pilot error, then he will be pushed out.

In the case of alcoholism, there will be criminal charges as well; the NWA pilot mentioned above would be very much an exception to the rule.

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:40 pm
by N839MH
Just last week there was a Shuttle America flight from LGA to DFW...when
it arrived at the gate...a DFW ops agent pulled up to the Jet Bridge and came up to the aircraft and waited for the captain to come off the aircraft and told him he need to contact the FAA tower immediately.

Captain said this is not good when "airport ops" meets you on arrival and hands you a phone number of the FAA and tells you to call immediately.

Not sure what that was all about....but a possible "screw up!"

RE: What Happens To Pilots Who 'screw Up'

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:30 pm
by ual777
Quoting Juventus (Reply 1):
Depends on the country. In the US, you call the union, and 9 out of 10 times, they'll get you out of trouble. In Asia, you're screwed. They usually don't tolerate mistakes. Most likely you'll get fired. If you're lucky, you get downgraded to copilot or suspended. Not sure about Europe or Latin america.

Wrong. If you screw up badly (i.e. break regs. or get people killed) then you are done. The FAA will revoke your certs. and the airline will fire you and the union can do NOTHING because it is pilot error.