Flight Training - July 2020 - 47

ADVANCED PILOT CAREER PILOT

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

THE PANDEMIC UPENDED THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY, BUT THERE'S HOPE FOR PILOTS
BY WAYNE PHILLIPS

WHERE DID I GO WRONG?
ACCORDING TO MY
CORRESPONDENT, I'M NOT
THE FIRST.

DAVID JACK KENNY is an airline transport pilot

and freelance aviation writer living in Frederick, Maryland.

devastated the airline industry in just a few
short weeks.
California implemented the first state
stay-at-home order March 19, and soon
other states followed suit. As airline travel
plunged, two regional airlines, Compass
and Trans States, met their demise. The
major airlines experienced severe financial
turbulence. By late March Delta Air Lines
had grounded 600 airplanes and reduced
its capacity by 70 percent while American
Airlines trimmed capacity by 50 percent,
United Airlines by 65 percent, and JetBlue
by 55 percent. Virtually no name-brand
passenger airline has been unscathed.
Flights that did launch averaged only 20 to
30 percent full. To appreciate the fallout,
on April 2, fewer than 125,000 people
passed through airport security checkpoints-compared to 2.4 million people on
the equivalent day in 2019.
As expected, this predicament has
had its impact on pilot hiring-a shift
that serves as a wake-up call to the
throngs of future professional pilots at
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

aviation colleges, academies, and neighborhood flight schools. For many years,
airlines large and small were scrounging
for professional flying talent. Gone were
the days when the carriers demanded
2,000 hours of total time and 500 hours
of multiengine time to snag a flight deck
seat. If a human could walk, talk, fog a
mirror, and fly an airplane, an airline
flying career was within reach as soon
as the airline transport pilot minimums
were met. How quickly the world has
changed with the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic. Seemingly overnight, newhire classes were postponed or canceled.
Now add several thousand experienced
FAR Part 121 pilots hunting for work
after their airlines shut down.
Engage any retired airline pilot, and
chances are that veteran has experienced an involuntary layoff, in some
instances lasting five years or more.
Although the domestic airline executives had pledged to avoid furloughing
pilots before October 1, internationally
it was a different story. Air Canada
AOPA.ORG/FT  47

LEIGH CAULFIELD

questions: Simulating an engine failure
in flight requires shutting off the engine
master, which does indeed feather the
prop. Relying too heavily on my own piston experience, I didn't think to ask how
closely the practice drill mirrored the real
emergency procedures.
This misunderstanding will be relatively harmless if everyone who buys
a DA42 receives competent transition
training that overrides the misinformation I've helped propagate. But other
aviation myths sharing a similar veneer of
plausibility have been more durable, and
sometimes more destructive. The fantasy
of gaining speed by climbing above your
altitude, and then diving back down
(objectively disproven in flight tests)
doesn't risk much more than making the
perpetrator look silly, plus maybe a mild
rebuke from ATC. But switching fuel
tanks in the pattern does risk a low-altitude engine stoppage regardless of which
checklist contains "Fuel-fullest tank,"
and not everyone so afflicted makes it to
the runway. And the notion that any particular airspeed provides immunity from
stalls has triggered both landing overruns
and fatal low-altitude spins. (To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, angle of attack
isn't everything, it's the only thing-at
least where stall avoidance is concerned.)
Yes, AOA is a difficult concept to
teach. But the laws of physics are implacable, making it imperative that we get
our stories straight. FT


http://www.AOPA.ORG/FT

Flight Training - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2020

Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - Intro
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover1
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2020 - Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - 2
Flight Training - July 2020 - 3
Flight Training - July 2020 - 4
Flight Training - July 2020 - 5
Flight Training - July 2020 - 6
Flight Training - July 2020 - 7
Flight Training - July 2020 - 8
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Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover4
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