COMPLACENCY IS NOT AN OPTION
BY CAPTAIN RALPH J. HUNTER, APA PRESIDENT
An oft repeated observation goes something like this: A in everything that we do as professional pilots. Again, we must
professional pilot’s true value is not measured when the set aside the distractions of the environment, focus on our
weather is good and the f light goes as planned. The true responsibilities, stick to our training, and bring our aircraft,
value of professional pilots is measured by their ability to our passengers, and yes, our company safely home. Make no
remain calm and focused in the most daunting of emergencies, mistake, APA Safety will continue to identify and pursue the
to follow their training, and to bring their aircraft and initiatives that we believe will lead to a safer operation. We
passengers safely back to earth. The difficulties we routinely will continue to press management to make the appropriate
face today are no longer just the unexpected events on our changes to the safety culture of this airline. However, the
individual f lights. The threats today also include the many final responsibility and authority for a safe operation rests
storms that have engulfed our individual careers and the with you and me.
pilot profession as a whole. For roughly three years now, our Each of us needs to conduct an honest and thorough self-
profession has been buffeted by one “emergency” after another. examination. How well do we demonstrate a commitment to
Terrorist attacks, an economic downturn, war, excessive safety to our fellow pilots? Do we find ourselves accepting
government taxation and interference, fuel price spikes, and “close enough” as “good enough?” How prepared are we for
cutthroat competition have weighed heavily on all of us. We each f light? Are we focused on knowing and following
are, at times, distracted and frustrated. Nevertheless, as we well-established procedures the way you historically have?
mentally prepare for whatever additional challenges that Do we operate differently when there is a check airman on
2005 holds in store, our mission is largely the same on and our flight deck? Character is sometimes described as what we
off the f light deck - keep our focus, adhere to our training, do when nobody’s looking. When the f light deck door is
and help bring ourselves, our fellow employees, our company, closed, are we upholding the historically high standards of
and our profession safely back to earth. the pilot profession?
Our future and that of American Airlines remain inextricably Notwithstanding APA’s strong commitment to safety, we
linked. To enjoy the full potential of our careers, American must also acknowledge that some pilots will find themselves
Airlines must survive and prosper. Many of us who had in the uncomfortable position of defending their actions
assumed our careers were safely on autopilot have discovered when metal gets bent or someone gets injured. In these cases,
that the “f light” is not turning out the way we had planned. APA must also uphold our duty to defend pilots who may be
We face complications that we never expected, and we naturally disciplined for an operational error while at the same time
dislike what we cannot control. As a result, many of us are promoting safety. While seemingly contradictory, I don’t
experiencing varying degrees of consternation, resentment, and believe that one obligation must come at the expense of the
even anger at our undeserved and unforecast circumstances. other. For example, APA recently raised significant objections
While there is an understandable desire to fix responsibility to the Flight Department’s handling of an operational incident.
elsewhere in our attempts to deal with adversity, we must not In this particular case, APA focused on certain premature and
be lulled into a belief that we are without the power to control punitive actions by the Flight Department that we believed
our fate. We must always remember the one thing that we, were largely driven by the appearance of “doing something”
and only we, can control: our attention to the details of our about safety, rather than actually trying to learn something
daily operations. Let’s all be brutally honest with ourselves. that would make American Airlines a safer operation. As this
AA’s once industry-leading safety record is now industry- issue of Flightline goes to press, the Flight Department has
trailing in many respects. In addition to the tragedy of lost responded affirmatively to some of APA’s objections, but we
lives and serious injuries, we are quite possibly a single hull remain at odds on other pieces. Although we’ll disagree at
loss from bankruptcy and oblivion. It is easy to blame times as to the appropriateness or severity of any discipline
management, ATC, the government, or even market forces associated with an incident or accident, APA has a long and
that pressure us to operate with lesser margins for safety. proud history of representing the interests of our pilots and
However, only we can stop that increased pressure from an equally rich tradition of advancing safety in our cockpits and
resulting in an accident or incident. We cannot simply wait line operations. With your continued support, we’ll continue
for someone else to fix this problem. We must fix it everyday to do both!
Flightline 2 Winter 2004/2005
from the VICE PRESIDENT
BY FIRST OFFICER SAM BERTLING, APA VICE PRESIDENT
TURMOIL CREATES OPPORTUNITY. As I sit here in
my office in early January and reflect, I want to take a moment and thank you, the membership and wish all of you the
best for 2005. During our first six months in office, the National Officers have attended domicile meetings in almost every
domicile and have been heartened by your response. One question I’ve been asked is what is my biggest frustration
as vice president. My response is the difficulty showing the membership how doing business with management has
changed. At the National Officer level, we see it quite frequently, but at the line pilot level, it is not nearly as evident.
Unfortunately, change is generally slow to occur, especially if you’re talking about a corporation as big as American
Airlines. Typically, people overestimate what change can happen in a short period of time and underestimate what
change can happen in a long period of time. Since signing the last contract, we have seen the implementation of a
few things showing a different way of doing business. The Multiple Jumpseat agreement, an enhancement to our
Commuter Policy, the TTOT “green light” project and several other small enhancements to our contract. These are
not lightening bolts. They are not restoration of pay rates, recall of furloughed pilots or seat advancement, but they are
tangible improvements to our contract and our quality of life. Does this mean that there is no discord between the
union and management - absolutely not! But we do seem to get things done in a much more productive and less
rancorous fashion. And, so far, it has been a better approach for the membership. To recognize this, you simply have to
ask yourself, “How many of these items would have been accomplished if the old management style was still in place?”
These incremental changes are important because of the change that is all around us. I had hoped that by now
there would be a more clear view of the future of our industry. But just as things settle down, another hiccup occurs,
creating a dynamic and ambiguous environment. In this turmoil, though, lies opportunity.
As I said in my first column there is a real chance to shape a better future for the APA and the membership. Grasping
that chance means taking risks and taking action. We must explore ideas and experiment. Asking questions like:
• Do we need a new reserve system? What does it look like?
• What is the long-term viability of our pension, what are our options and should we pick any of them?
• Are there better ways for pilots to control their schedules?
• What are options for the sub-100 seat aircraft?
• Should we continually improve the contract or hold everything until Section 6?
We must explore alternatives because standing still in this environment is not an option and will not lead to the
results we want. If we complacently wait for a cataclysmic event to propel us into action, we will be too late and will
be forced to make distasteful choices. If we are unwilling to engage, we will be left wondering what happened as the
world transforms around us. That is not where we want to be. It is far better to attempt to shape the environment
than react to an environment after it has formed.
One of the biggest environments to be shaped this year will be in the U.S. Congress. There will surely be activity
in a number of areas near and dear to all of you. We expect that, at a minimum, debate will occur on: mandatory age
60 retirement; pension reform; foreign ownership; and safety and security related issues. The Legislative Affairs
Committee, at the direction of the BOD, is crafting a strategy to work on all of these. Your participation, though, is
vital. You must help shape the environment and debate by:
• Understanding the issues and the APA’s position and talking points on each of them;
• Participating in coordinated APA campaigns by contacting your congressional representatives when asked;
• Contributing to the APA Political Action Committee. Right now, a mere 15% of the pilots participate. If you never
thought it was worth the $5-$10 a month (that’s 17 to 34 cents a day!) before, take a look at the issues listed
above and see if you can’t find the return on your investment now.
This environment will not reward the timid or non-creative. The willingness to explore options and implement
the best ones will help us define the debate and create solutions that best serve each of us. Thanks again for being
involved and informed. As FDR said, “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”
Winter 2004/2005 3 Flightline
BY FIRST OFFICER JIM EATON, APA SECRETARY-TREASURER
“BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD”
S E C R E TA RY-T R E A S U R E R
As I write this column, I am sadly reminded that with the New Year comes additional furloughs. That will
bring the total number of furloughees to 2,778. That’s 2,778 too many.
One of the duties of the Secretary-Treasurer is to be a member of the three-person Furlough Loan Board
of Governors. There are two other pilots on this board with me, Captains Henry Cochran and Bob Garrett.
We are assisted by APA staff member Ms. Jean Little. Our only function is to review loan applications from
I have to say that this is perhaps the most depressing part of being Secretary-Treasurer. Don’t misunderstand.
I enjoy being a participant in a program where pilots are helping pilots. And for those of you who are
contributing to this wonderful program, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to disburse money that
helps people in need.
What gets me down is reading the applications, knowing that these are real people with serious issues, and
but for the grace of God we could all be in their shoes. Our fellow pilots need money for a number of things:
job searches, training, paying mortgages, paying medical bills and recently, recovering from hurricanes.
Let me share with you a couple of recent applicant quotes. “Help pay my mortgage and health insurance for
a year. Savings is almost depleted.” “Purpose of loan is [for] training required for [job certification]. I have a
job offer upon completion. The sooner I receive a loan the sooner I become employed.”
In reviewing applications, one can see how many children a pilot has and how much they are paying for
child-care. A classic trap is where one applicant was paying 20% of gross monthly income for child-care so both
spouses could work. It is also easy to see how some pilots have had to run up credit card debt and then transfer
balances just to keep their monthly payments affordable.
I didn’t start writing this because I planned to ask you for money. I was simply looking for an outlet to vent
after reviewing five or six applications. In the off chance that you do decide to dig a little deeper, thank you,
thank you, thank you.
Flightline 4 Winter 2004/2005
I N T H I S I S S U E O F FLIGHTLINE F E AT U R E S
6 GUEST FEATURE: Q&A With Vice Admiral John G. Cotton
8 FEATURE ARTICLE: The “A” Plan: Some Straight Answers
to Convoluted Issues
Flightline is the official publication
16 GUEST FEATURE: Aviation Language Proficiency of the Allied Pilots Association,
Standard Promotes Global Safety representing the pilots of
Captain Denny Breslin (LAX), Chairman
FO Jessica Brightman (BOS)
Captain Russ Dennis (MIA)
FO Fred Mueller (LGA)
Captain Keith O’Leary (SLT)
Captain Linda Pauwels (LAX)
C O M M I T T E E S / D E PA R T M E N T S
20 PENSION: The B Plan: Unit Accumulation and
Editorial Services Manager
Lump Sum Distribution
22 AEROMEDICAL: How a Full Body Scan Saved My Life Design & Layout
Stacey Hull, Graphic Designer
22 AEROMEDICAL: Full Body Scans Have Downside Printing Services Manager
23 SAFETY: The 2004 Line Operations Safety Audit
SUBMIT ARTICLES TO:
24 PILOTS MUTUAL AID: Pilots Helping Pilots Flightline
Attn: Lynne Bowers-Clark
Editorial Services Manager
27 TASC: How to Use the SEP Tools: The Conflicted Pick-up Allied Pilots Association
and Generic Bid O’Connell Building
14600 Trinity Boulevard, Suite 500
Fort Worth, TX 76155-2512
800.323.1470, ext. 2251
(DFW area: 817.302.2251)
SUBMIT CLASSIFIEDS TO:
Flightline Classified Ads
Attn: David Dominy
REGULAR ITEMS 800.323.1470, ext. 2269
(DFW area: 817.302.2269)
Flightline’s editorial content must be generally
consistent with Association policies. The guiding
34 BOOK REVIEW: RATTLER by Captain Chuck Gross (ret.) principle governing all submissions is respect for
one’s fellow pilots and for the Association.
Submitted articles should address issues pertinent
34 FINANCIAL MATTERS: Pension factors and stock options to the Association and its pilots, and must avoid
references of a personal or political nature.
34 IN MEMORY All articles, including guest editorials, should
conform with policy positions of the Association, as
established by the APA National Officers, Board of
35 APA CONTACT INFORMATION Directors, Constitution and Bylaws, and Policy
Manual. The responsibility for monitoring editorial
consistency is shared by the National Officers,
members of the Communications Committee, and
the Director of Communications. The President has
final authority over all content.
Winter 2004/2005 5 Flightline
G U E S T F E A T U R E
Q&A WITH VICE ADMIRAL
JOHN G. COTTON
BY GRETEL C. KOVACH, SEPTEMBER 26, 2004
(Reprinted with the permission of The Dallas Morning News)
‘My friends were murdered. conflict now has been shortened. We quickly respond to
So I’m doing it for them.’ conflict around the world within 10 days, so you need to
Former American Airlines be ready to go. But really, the big thing in the Navy is
pilot sets out to make the we can’t look at each other as stovepipe organizations -
Navy ‘one team’. active component, reserve component and all the
Vice Admiral John G. civilians. The culture needs to be changed everywhere
Cotton, an American Airlines as “one team.” A reservist isn’t a second-class citizen.
pilot originally from Dallas,
became chief of the Naval Question: What about the differences in training
Reserve in October. Since between active duty Navy and the reserves?
taking the helm, he has pushed for some of the Answer: In the future, what we would like to do is
deepest changes in the Reserve’s history. From his put all sailors through full boot camp and put all
base at the Pentagon, Adm. Cotton says he aims to sailors through full training. The reservists might
remake the citizen sailors into a leaner, faster force have a different contract. It might be one year active
more integrated with Navy operations. duty to get through training, then six years in the
After a recent visit to an officers’ symposium at the reserves. But we need to think of ourselves as a
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, continuous service.
Adm. Cotton spoke with Dallas Morning News staff
writer Gretel C. Kovach about today’s changing Question: So are the days of the weekend warrior
military. Here are excerpts: really over?
Answer: They’ve been over a long time. Since
Question: How did you come to take a four-year Desert Storm, the reserve components have been so
leave of absence from your job and eventually integrated that the number of man-days has
become chief of the Naval Reserve? increased astronomically. Every component has
Answer: I’m doing this because I really believe we missions that active duty and reserves do together.
need to change for the better. We need to transform We are more “joint” than ever, and that’s where we
our force as one Navy, not two separate Navy and need to be in the future.
Navy Reserve. But more importantly, I was an
American Airlines pilot, and the events of 9-11 Question: What will happen to the Fort Worth
impacted me like every American. I was based in Joint Reserve base in the next round of military
Washington, D.C., so the people on that airplane base closures?
were my friends. My friends were murdered. So I’m Answer: Navy planners have decided that VFA-201
doing it for them. is a very important asset. [VFA-201 is the reserve
Hornet squadron that served in the Iraq war.]
Question: You say the Naval Reserve is going It will stay here in Fort Worth, which is a model
through a period of profound change? base. It is what we’re going to have in the future all
Answer: We’ve looked at every billet, at every unit, at over the country. It is the best value for the taxpayers’
every capability in the Navy Reserve to provide better investment to have multiple services using the same
war-fighting wholeness. The response time to any world-class facility. As far as base realignment and
Flightline 6 Winter 2004/2005
G U E S T F E A T U R E
closure, that will depend on the department - and on Question: A group of area cargo-handling Naval
the politics. And there is certainly an election coming reservists left recently to work for the Army in Kuwait.
up. But in the meantime, we in the Navy, we in the Are we going to see more of this kind of operation?
military services, appreciate this great base. Answer: Absolutely. They’ll train together before
they deploy. And once they get into theater, whether
Question: What role are North Texas reservists it’s delivering mail, or unloading ships, no matter
playing in the war on terror? what their uniform says, they’re all “us,” they’re all
Answer: For every person we have in theater, there United States. We’re in this together. Because I firmly
are many others in supporting functions, whether they believe if we don’t win this away game, it will
are out at sea or back here in the United States. And become a home game again.
I’ll tell you, war has gotten so digitized, that right here
in the great state of Texas, you have some intelligence Question: The size of the Navy and Reserves will
operation centers that can link to other centers all shrink in 2005. How is that affecting the changes?
around the country, all around the world. So you Answer: We are not downsizing, we are becoming
have people who are at war right here in Texas. more effective with the expenditure of the taxpayer
dollar. We are looking at our Cold War structure in
Question: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld many places and saying “We don’t need that anymore.”
has asked, “Why have a Reserve if we’re not going We need to be more agile, more responsive, more
to use it?” But are we overworking our reservists by forward deployed. We used about 80 percent of our
treating them like full-time military? equipment in the last three conflicts. And we used
Answer: We don’t want to have the model of the maybe 80,000 people to do that. Well, the Chief
past where we just sat and waited for war. Taxpayers Navy Officer asks: “What are the other 300,000 people
want some return on the investment. The Secretary of doing in the Navy? Now, can we do it with a few less
Defense has said our reservists should plan on being people?” We probably can.
utilized one year out of every six.
Question: What is spurring these changes? Is it the
Question: You have had to juggle your civilian war on terror, or overdue post-Cold-War adjustments?
career with military duty. What are we doing to Or personalities like yourself and Sec. Rumsfeld?
help these sailors make a similar transition? Answer: All of the above. I would say that 9-11 was
Answer: We want to give them a little bit of warning. a wake-up call for the country. We are fighting a foe
We think about 30 days is right. And then once they we have never seen the likes of. This will be a long
get into theater, we want to make sure they have the conflict, like the president says.
same pay and benefits, a single system for all services. We have about 140,000 military in Iraq, 40 percent
We have plans to do that in a couple years. We want of them Guard or Reserve. I don’t know if that is
Americans operating jointly, with no second-tier going to increase or decrease, but they are performing
reserve system. magnificently.
Would we all like to see them come home?
Question: Why are Naval reservists often Absolutely. Do I think they’re going to be there for a
deployed for only six months, whereas the while? Yes, I do. I think we’re going to help that
National Guard and Army reserves generally serve country get back on its feet. And then there are other
a year or more? places in the world that might demand our attention.
Answer: It really depends on the skill set and how We live in a very interesting world.
long that skill set is needed in theater. But in the We have to adapt to this new warfare. It’s terrorism,
Navy, we have a six-month culture. We have found the third -ism we have fought in the last century.
it’s a little less impact on the employer and the family. We fought and beat fascism. We fought and beat
And we have to think about them all the time. communism. And now for the rest of my life, and
Especially the family. probably yours too, we will be fighting terrorism.
Winter 2004/2005 7 Flightline
A R T I C L E THE “A” PLAN: SOME STRAIGHT
ANSWERS TO CONVOLUTED ISSUES
BY CAPTAIN JAMES SOVICH, (BOS) DOMICILE CHAIRMAN
Editorial note: The following is based on a letter
sent to his base by CA Jim Sovich, BOS Domicile November 3, 2004
Chairman, in November. Fellow Pilots:
Let’s be clear, up-front. At this point The purpose behind my letters to you on this pension has been to:
in time, nobody at AMR is talking 1. Educate, and
about A Plan termination or delaying 2. Start an internal discussion on what we want to do on the pension issues.
The information I have provided is based on the most current facts available which
required plan payments. AMR did,
I ran past our Director of Benefits and ERISA attorney.
however, take advantage of Deficit It is certainly in our best interests that we learn just what all our options are honestly
Reduction Contribution (DRC) relief on this critical benefit. As you will see, when it comes to pension, there is good news
afforded them under HR-3108. That, and there is bad news.
in and of itself, should be enough to
raise a red flag. An outside consultant reviewed our pension funds in 2002.Based on their estimate
Currently, AA is solvent and our A at that time, we were funded at the PC-3 levels used for all pilot examples in my
Plan is arguably much better funded Pension II letter and the PBGC maximum was still the safety net for PC-4 pilots. Based
on the fact that AA has made all their mandatory pension payments since then, it would
than that of our colleagues at United,
appear that PC-3 PBGC levels remain funded at PC-3 levels. Again, all pilot examples in
Delta and US Airways. Just how much Pension II are viable. As the over-used disclaimer goes, however, past performance is
better funded on a Termination Basis, not necessarily a measure of future growth.
we don’t know. The BOS resolution to approach AMR to put in place an ongoing program to establish
Many of you have asked some A Plan funding levels passed unanimously last week. I am confident we can get this
done in the very near future and you will be provided the most current information in
common questions about the state of
F E A T U R E
a usable way.
our pension. I hope this letter provides
you with some insight, additional Bad News:
The fact that today’s funding levels should be adequate for PC-3 level annuities
education, ideas and suggestions. I
provides no comfort level concerning future funding, and emphasizes our need to come
am certain you have all read with to some consensus on pension structure.
interest what is going on in the Legislative attempts to eliminate the lump sum take on an even greater importance,
pension arena. It is not possible to if it was not a critical issue already.
overemphasize the importance of As pilots, we like constants. Very little in the pension arena is not a variable.
By next spring, the fight will be on in Washington, D.C., relevant to pension funding
keeping yourselves educated on all and age 60. I am planning once again to set up a contingent to go to our nation’s Capitol,
aspects of pension plans, funding and as well as setting up a user friendly way to get your views to our local politicians. I have
alternative approaches. The following posted this hypothetical situation to several local politicians already:
answers to questions you have posed is If you view lump sums as bad public policy, what do you think will be the reaction
of American Airlines pilots if you passed legislation that eliminated such option on
based on the most current information January 1, 2007? My opinion? Several hundred former senior captains will be home,
available and was approved by our newly retired for Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2006 with their lump sums. Numerous
Director of Benefits and ERISA attorney. B-777, 767, 757 and A-300 aircraft will be parked and many voters will not be able to
Many terms used (see definitions box travel home for the holidays.
Not surprisingly, the common response to date has been, “We hadn’t thought of that.”
on next page) will be the same and
As APA members, we have a lot of work to do in 2005. If you don’t give at least
hopefully provide ease of reading. $5 per month to the APA PAC, please start today. Call APA at 1.800.323.1470 and sign
up or send in the card found in the next issue of Flightline. Too many bad decisions are
Q1. Does a company have to be in being made in Washington due to bad information. Let’s at least educate lawmakers so
that if they make bad decisions, they do so fully informed.
bankruptcy to terminate a pension plan?
A1. No. The plan can be terminated by: Fly Safe!
• Voluntary Standard Termination. CA Jim Sovich, (BOS) Domicile Chairman
The plan must be funded to
Flightline 8 Winter 2004/2005
cover plan liabilities. (In effect, funded at is the date that a Plan participant can retire with no
termination level. This is actually the most early retirement reduction. Thus, if the FAA retirement
common way it’s done, but you never hear age changed, a pilot could still retire at age 60 with
about these!) no early retirement penalties under the A Plan. Pilots
• Distress Termination by the Company. The plan who continued to work would still continue to earn
is not sufficiently funded to cover liabilities. benefits under the A and B Plans since the IRS Code
• Involuntary Termination1. The PBGC views prohibits a plan from ceasing either accruals (in the
continued administration by the plan provider case of the A Plan) or contributions (in the case of
as posing an increasing risk to the PBGC and the B Plan) based on attainment of a specified age.
forcefully takes over. (Rarely done.) Thus if you continued to fly under a new FAA age
According to PBGC published reports, a total of limit, you would continue to earn a pension benefit.
1,271 plans were terminated and submitted to the (However, you should carefully consider the value of
PBGC during 2003. Of these, 1,119 were voluntary the lump sum at age 60 compared to the additional
standard terminations and only 152 were distress accruals beyond age 60. In many cases, a pilot would
terminations or involuntary terminations. receive a higher present value in his A Plan lump sum
The PBGC guarantees the benefits of qualified DB by retiring at age 60 compared to working to a later
plans only, and generally does not seek to take over retirement age.) (continued on next page)
a pension plan. PBGC is on the financial hook if the
plan is a DB plan qualified under ERISA. In the case DEFINITIONS
of United Airlines, the PBGC is fighting United in
court to keep from taking over the DB plan as a DB Plan – Defined Benefit Plan (A Plan)
Distress Termination. DC Plan – Defined Contribution Plan [B Plan or 401(k)]
In the case of US Airways, the PBGC participated PBGC – Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
in the court proceedings to take over the pilots’ DB
Qualified Plan – Complies with ERISA rules for
plan as a Distress Termination.
preferential tax treatment
It is also possible, hypothetically, for a plan spon-
sor to subsequently take back control of a terminated DRC – Deficit reduction contributions; additional catch-up
contributions required by law from plan sponsors
plan that has been turned over to the PBGC under
certain conditions or get approval to initiate a new HR 3108 – House Bill adopted last year providing
qualified plan. This occurred at US Airways, which
now is threatening a 30% reduction to its new pilot CLB – Current Liability Basis
DC Plan through court action. TB – Termination Basis
FASB (pronounced Fasbee) – Financial Accounting
Q2. Does a company in bankruptcy always terminate Standard Board
its pension plans?
IRC 401(k) / IRC 415 – Separate Sections of the Internal
A2. No. As mentioned with United, the PBGC is Revenue Code
fighting termination. In the case of TWA’s first BK in
PC 6/5/4/3/2/1 – Priority category grades used by the
1991, and again in 1994, changes were made, accruals PBGC to determine guaranteed benefit levels
frozen, and DC contributions actually increased on a
ERISA – The Employee Retirement Income Security Act
percentage of salary basis. However, TWA remained
of 1974, as amended
plan sponsor and continued to maintain the frozen
TWA DB Plans. It was not until January 2001--almost Section 1113 Filing – Section of the Bankruptcy code
companies or creditors use to get a court to set aside labor
10 years after their first BK--that TWA sought to
terminate the plan.
FAE – Final Average Earnings
Q3. If Age 60 changes, how does that impact our pension? LOS – Length of Service
A3. The pension plan document specifically defines BK – Bankruptcy
the Normal Retirement Date (NRD) as Age 60. NRD
The provider of a DB plan qualified under ERISA currently contributes an insurance premium to the PBGC equal to (1) plus (2)
where: (1) $19/year for each plan participant and (2) a variable-rate premium equal to $9 for every $1,000 of unfunded vested
liability as of the end of the prior plan year. This was intended to provide the necessary funding to cover plans that terminated and
were not adequately funded. This has proven to be grossly inadequate to provide such funding.
Winter 2004/2005 9 Flightline
A R T I C L E
Q4. What does a Qualified Plan mean to me? “something” is calculated using our A Plan formula
A4. ERISA was put in place to protect certain workers’ in the plan document modified by the PBGC, as
benefits. Pension is the largest piece of the act. The explained later, or by using the minimum benefit
PBGC was established by ERISA to ensure the calculation contained in our plan document,
benefits provided by qualified DB Plans. In addition, whichever is greater. Only in the case where that
PBGC acts somewhat as a funding and solvency “something” has a net present value of less than
watchdog. If a pension plan qualifies under ERISA, it $5,000 at the point of plan termination will the PBGC
allows the plan sponsor to fund it with pre-tax cash you out with a lump sum. No other lump sums will
dollars and ensures the monies placed in trust for be paid, period. Here’s a slightly more technical answer:
participants are tax exempt until retirement. It also The amount that you would receive would
means those trusts cannot be attached by creditors in depend upon:
a BK proceeding. • TB funding level at the time of plan termination,
A Qualified Plan provides other protections as well. • PBGC maximum guaranteed benefit at that time,
Notably, a Qualified Plan ensures accrued benefits • Date that you start your pension benefit payments,
could not be cut retroactively, absent new legislation. • Your accrued benefit at that time, and
(Last year, APA successfully fought legislation that • Whether you are PC-3 or PC-4.
attempted to change lump sum calculations. Our The 2004 maximum is $28,851/year for a 60 year-
membership support was critical especially to old and $44,386/year for a 65 year-old. If you retire
Senator Judd Gregg, who chairs the Senate committee before age 60, the amount would be actuarially
which oversees pensions.) reduced further. Here are a few examples:
In 1996, we bargained changes to the pension
Active Pilot A - 28 years old with five years LOS
plan to ensure all our retirement money remained in
and FAE of $60,000/year for those five years at point
a Qualified Plan in response to a legislative change
of termination would get the following benefit
made to the IRC. We were proactive, and successful, based on our A Plan’s Minimum Benefit Formula:
by design and effort.
A Plan Benefit under Minimum Formula
United has limited success using a different
for Accrued Benefit
approach. They sought to maintain the same level of (This is Independent of the Standard Formula
benefits owed them by maintaining their Qualified LOS-1x1.25% x FAE - the plan compares
F E A T U R E
DB plan, status quo, and instituted a new Non- the two and pays whichever is greater)
Qualified top-hat plan to make up the penalty the LOS-1 x $1,500 A Plan’s Minimum Benefit
IRC change would have imposed. The PBGC has no 5-1 x $1,500 = $6,000/year
responsibility to consider the top-hat portion of the
$6,000/year would be the annuity benefit
benefit owed to current or future United retirees if owed at age 60 for life since it is well above the
United walks away from their plans. benefit accrued under the standard formula.
Q5. What if AA walks away from their plans? The PBGC will run a net present value (NPV)
A5. Your contract currently prevents this absent Section function on that money stream starting at 32 years
1113 Filing (see definition on page 9) under the BK hence to determine if it exceeds $5,000 NPV. If it
processes or an Involuntary Termination by the PBGC. does not, they clear the pilot off the books with a
lump sum. If it does, that pilot is entitled to
Q6. What would happen to me if our A Plan is ever $6,000/year beginning at 60.
turned over to the PBGC? This pilot was in PBGC category PC-4. Everyone
A6. We know what the procedures would be. We that has at least five years is in PC-3 or PC-4 and,
know what the rules would be that would govern depending on funding, could receive additional
PBGC’s calculation of your benefit. We don’t know, benefit as PC-5 or PC-6.
however, exactly what your benefit would be. But we
can get you in the ballpark by telling you about the Q7. What are PC-3, PC-4, PC-5 and PC-6?
PBGC’s minimums and maximums. Here is how it A7. The PBGC places Plan participants and their
works in a nutshell: benefits into priority categories (PC) when they take
PBGC minimum – if you are vested (this is date of over a plan. If you are vested (date of hire plus at least
hire plus five years) you are owed something. That five years), you would be at least in category PC-4. Once
Flightline 10 Winter 2004/2005
all employees are prioritized and a modified, accrued group benefit will be determined. Every vested pilot
PBGC benefit computed, they then look at the funding not in category PC-3 will receive a PC-4 benefit.
to determine if it is sufficient to pay that modified, The same formula (LOS-1 x 1.25% x FAE) is used to
accrued benefit. The PGBC does this in stages. calculate the accrued benefit except for those who are
actually owed more through the minimum benefit
Q8. How does the PBGC compute a modified benefit? (like our 28 year-old - Pilot A).
A8. First, the PBGC determines if PC-3 levels are In the case of PC-4, however, there is no three-year
reached. (We are starting with PC-3 since Categories look-back in LOS or correction for FAE. For this
PC-1 and PC-2 are not applicable to the A Plan entire group, the benefit under PC-4 at age 60 would
because they cover employee contributions and there be the lesser of your accrued benefit at point of
are no employee contributions to the A Plan.) For termination or the PBGC maximum. (If your full A
our purposes, pilots currently retired or those 53 Plan benefit would have been more than the PBGC
years of age or older who have at least 13 years of maximum, that amount over the maximum could be
service would be entitled to PC-3 benefits. Since the paid as a PC-5 benefit, if there is enough money in
vast majority of our retired pilots took the A Plan as our A Plan when it terminates.)
a lump sum, we will move on to a discussion of how
this will affect active pilots. Appendix C (see page 15) Active Pilot C - 50 years old with 21
contains examples of the effect on retirees. years of service and $140,000/year FAE at
The other group, besides retirees, included in PC-3 the point of plan termination.
are those 53 and older with at least 13 years LOS who
are still flying. The PBGC would compute the benefit Accrued Contract Benefit
with a three-year look-back as if they had actually 21-1 = 20 x 1.25% x $140,000
retired at that point in time and taken an annuity 2. = 25% x $140,000
= $35,000/year accrued benefit
Active Pilot B - 55 years old with 24 years of service and
$160,000/year FAE at the point of plan termination whose FAE was
At age 60, Pilots C will be owed:
$140,000 three years before plan termination.
• The minimum payment for this
Contract Benefit PBGC PC-3 Benefit PC-4 pilot will be the PBGC
24-1 = 23 x 1.25% x $160,000 21-1 = 20 x 1.25% x $140,000 maximum, currently $28,851/year;
= 28.75% X $160,000 = 25% x $140,000 • The maximum payment will be
= $46,000/year accrued benefit = $35,000/year PC-3 benefit $35,000/year if funded at full
At age 60, Pilot B will be owed:
• The PBGC modified benefit would be $35,000/year;
• The maximum payment would be $46,000/year starting at age 60 if Most of our older pilots are
the plan was fully funded at termination level. also more senior. If the A Plan is
• If the plan is not well enough funded to fully pay all benefits at the funded well enough to pay all
PC-3 level, then the benefits will be pro-rated based on the available PC-3 benefits, they will get an
assets, but Pilot B will always be entitled to at least the PC-4 accrued benefit above the PBGC
guaranteed amount, which is discussed below. maximum, even after the PBGC
adjustment (Pilot B). If the A Plan
If necessary, all our A Plan’s assets can be is not well funded enough to pay all PC-3 benefits,
exhausted on PC-3 before any PC-4 individual is the amount of funds available will first be used to
considered. However, the funds will not be used to pay as much of the PC-3 benefit as possible, even if
pay above their PC-3 benefit unless there are more that depletes all the Plan’s assets. The PBGC is still
than enough assets from our A Plan to let PBGC pay responsible for paying the PC-4 benefits, even if
out more than PC-3 and PC-4 benefits. there are not any Plan assets left. If the Plan is not
well enough funded to pay all PC-3 benefits, the
The PC-4 category PC-3 pilots will get their pro-rata share of their PC-3
After the PC-3 benefits are calculated, the PC-4 benefits. (continued on next page)
No early retirement penalty occurs unless the pilot starts his payout prior to age 60. See Appendix B for that factor.
Winter 2004/2005 11 Flightline
A R T I C L E
For example, if the A Plan has enough assets to pay
90% of PC-3 benefits, the PC-3 group will each
receive 90% of his or her PC-3 amount. The PBGC PBGC Maximum Payouts
maximum is the backstop PC-3 benefit even if there
2004 Reduction Maximum Maximum
are virtually no funds available. The pilots most at
Age Factor Guaranteed Guaranteed
risk are those less than 53 with more than 13 years
Annual Benefit Monthly Benefit
LOS since they indeed would be capped at the PBGC
maximum unless funding exceeded PC-3 levels 70 1.66 $73,681.29 $6,140.11
regardless of their accrued benefit. Everyone would
69 1.49 $66,135.62 $5,511.30
lose the lump sum if the A Plan terminates.
If your accrued benefit was less than the PBGC 68 1.34 $59,477.67 $4,956.47
maximum, you are owed that lower benefit at age 60 67 1.21 $53,707.45 $4,475.62
from the PBGC as a PC-4 benefit.
66 1.1 $48,824.95 $4,068.75
If a pilot elects to take a payout before his 60th
birthday, his payout will be reduced by: 65 1 $44,386.32 $3,698.86
• The dollar value shown in Appendix A (see right) 64 0.93 $41,279.28 $3,439.94
shows the amount owed if the PBGC maximum
63 0.86 $38,172.24 $3,181.02
• The accrued benefit actuarially reduced for 62 0.79 $35,065.19 $2,922.10
starting payments before age 60 (see below). 61 0.72 $31,958.15 $2,663.18
The reduction factors shown in Appendix B are the
60 0.65 $28,851.11 $2,404.26
A Plan’s early retirement reduction factors. They are
also actuarial reductions so the PBGC reductions 59 0.61 $27,075.66 $2,256.30
table should be pretty close to those factors. 58 0.57 $25,300.20 $2,108.35
Similar to Social Security, if you are owed the
57 0.53 $23,524.75 $1,960.40
PBGC maximum and elect to defer payment beyond
age 60, your payment would be based on the age 56 0.49 $21,749.30 $1,812.44
you begin taking the benefit. 55 0.45 $19,973.84 $1,664.49
F E A T U R E
54 0.43 $19,086.12 $1,590.51
If the plan were terminated today (locks in PBGC 53 0.41 $18,198.39 $1,516.53
maximum of $28,851 at age 60 and $44,386 age 65), 52 0.39 $17,310.66 $1,442.56
and if were you owed the PBGC maximum only and
51 0.37 $16,422.94 $1,368.58
took no action initiating payment until age 65, you
would be owed $44,386/year at that point, even 50 0.35 $15,535.21 $1,294.60
though you were younger than 60 at plan termination. Applied if your accrued benefit is equal to or
If you elected to start payments earlier than age 60, greater than PBGC maximum and you elect early
the PBGC maximum annuity is likewise reduced. or late initiation of payout.
Early Retirement Reduction Factor per A Plan Defined Benefit Plan Document
59 .9165 .9235 .9304 .9374 .944 .9513 .9583 .9652 .9722 .9791 .9861 .9930
58 .8418 .8480 .8542 .8604 .8667 .8729 .8791 .8854 .8916 .8978 .9041 .9103
57 .7746 .7802 .7858 .7914 .7970 .8026 .8082 .8138 .8194 .8250 .8306 .8362
56 .7142 .7192 .7243 .7293 .7344 .7394 .7444 .7495 .7545 .7595 .7646 .7696
55 .6596 .6642 .6687 .6733 .6778 .6824 .6869 .6915 .6960 .7006 .7051 .7097
54 .6102 .6144 .6185 .6226 .6267 .6308 .6349 .6391 .6432 .6473 .6514 .6555
53 .5654 .5692 .5729 .5766 .5804 .5841 .5878 .5916 .5953 .5990 .6028 .6065
52 .5247 .5281 .5315 .5349 .5383 .5417 .5450 .5484 .5518 .5552 .5586 .5620
51 .4875 .4906 .4937 .4968 .4999 .5030 .5061 .5092 .5123 .5154 .5185 .5216
50 .4537 .4564 .4592 .4621 .4649 .4677 .4706 .4734 .4762 .4790 .4819 .4847
Applies if your accrued benefit is less than the PBGC maximum at point of termination and you elect early payout (retirement).
Flightline 12 Winter 2004/2005
PC-5 Category maximum if the accrued benefit is above it. The PC-4
If the funding of the plan is greater than that reservoir is always filled to the PBGC maximum
needed to bring all participants up to their PC-3 and guaranteed benefit if the accrued benefit is equal to
PC-4 benefits, calculations are then made of the or greater than it.
benefits that would have been considered “non- If there is extra fluid (money) available, you call
forfeitable” had they been paid by the A Plan without out the truck which continues to pump in the fluid
a termination. until PC-3 and then PC-4 are 100% full (accrued
“Non-forfeitable” is defined as benefits for which benefit under the A Plan). If there is still some fluid
you have met all the entitlement conditions. For left, it can fill up the auxiliary tank (PC-5 and
example, remember that $11,000 that was cut off unvested PC-6 pilot) - [Full Termination Funding].
Pilot B’s annuity because of the three-year look-back? The individual’s level could only be lower if it is real
That money would be thrown into the PC-5 bucket. cold outside (early retirement reduced benefit per
Was your PC-4 benefit a cutback from the benefit Appendix A).
you would otherwise have received like Pilot C? The At this point in time, we do not know, on a
difference between what you would have received termination basis, how well our A Plan is funded and
from the A Plan and what you received as a PC-4 there is no federal requirement to report it.
benefit is also a PC-5 amount. All of the PC-5 NOTE: The point of Plan Termination is important
amounts are totaled. If there is not enough money to because all calculations start there and the PBGC
pay all of the PC-5 amounts, here are the priorities: maximum is indexed for inflation. Your maximum
1. Amounts that were cut because of the PC-3’s benefit is frozen at the point of termination. TWA
three-year look-back are paid first (and pro went from 1991 to 2001 and was entering its third BK
rata, if there isn’t enough to pay all of them); before the plan was terminated! The 2001 PBGC
2. Amounts cut back to the retirees (again, maximum number was therefore the limiting benefit,
pro rata if there isn’t enough money to pay and much, much higher than what was in place in 1991.
How do we start to determine how well funded we are?
PC-6 Category STEP I : Determine where we are now.
PC-6 benefits are paid if enough assets exist to allow Federal law requires AMR to file a Form 5500
all pilots to collect all of their actual accrued benefits every year. Schedule B of that form provides the
owed under the plan at point of termination. PC-6 information on the funded status of the A Plan on a
benefits are those that were “forfeitable” under the A current liability basis, but not on a termination basis.
Plan’s normal rules. A good example is a pilot with
less than five years of service. That pilot would not STEP II: Determine what AA can do to make us
have vested in any benefit under the A Plan, but if more secure.
there are assets left over after all the “non-forfeitable” Obviously, if our A Plan was fully funded on a
benefits have been paid, that non-vested pilot would termination basis, every penny owed to us would be
receive some pension payment. there every day. It is NOT there. Almost nobody funds
If all of that can be paid, the termination would like that, and AA does not have the cash to fund it like
have been a standard termination under which all of that even if they were so inclined. There are several
the plan’s obligations as of date-of-termination are legal issues governing pension plan funding that
satisfied and all benefits to which participants are need to change in order to allow (better yet, require)
entitled at date-of-termination would be paid. If the plan sponsors to increase their contributions during
incredible occurs and there is still money left, it the good times, and not put additional financial
reverts to the plan sponsor. burdens on them during the bad times.
A Primer on PC-3/4/5/6 For Pilots STEP III: Determine what can we do.
I like to view PC-3 and PC-4 as reservoirs with We should get AA to sit down with us. It is in their
stand pipes that fill other reservoirs, which also have interest to prevent a run on early retirements due to
one-way, check valves. The minimum level for concerns about the A Plan in the future as you see
dispatch has the PC-3 reservoir filled at least as far as happening at Delta today. They cannot afford to have
the plan’s assets will fill it, at or above, the PBGC 200 777 Captains retire in December, or January, or
Winter 2004/2005 13 Flightline
A R T I C L E
February, etc. We should also seek through lobbying WHEREAS, a reduction in risk to pension security may
efforts the changes cited in Step II above, as well as be in the best interest of all our pilots; therefore
lobbying to raise the IRS 415 limits. BE IT RESOLVED, that the APA Board of Directors
directs the APA National Officers and APA Pension
Revisit our pension philosophy. Committee to approach AMR with the specific intention
Our B Plan has been viewed as your equity of discovering the current A Fund funding on a termination
portfolio and our A Plan as your bond portfolio. In basis, and securing an agreement on access to such data
fact, most B Plan money managers invest mainly in in the future.
equities and the A Plan lump sum acts like a bond BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the APA Pension
fund, (i.e., interest rate sensitive, pays a fixed Committee develop and assess alternative approaches
amount, responds to the vagaries of the markets, towards pension preservation that maintain AMR’s
etc.). This might make sense if we were certain all obligation while decreasing the AA pilots risk.
funding levels would be sufficient at retirement. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a report be
I remember growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s. provided by the APA Pension Committee, and presented at
If anyone had suggested that Bethlehem Steel, the Winter Board of Directors meeting.
Pan American Airways or American Motors would
ever go out of business, they would have been Stay informed.
accused of having too many Blatz beers. My first car Ask yourself again these questions:
in high school was a 1959 Studebaker Lark. It was Are you convinced AA is as solvent today as the
unthinkable to believe these companies could day you were hired?
simply go away. Corporations like that had the Are you convinced your A Plan will be there as
money to take care of you, cradle to grave, and the surely as you were the day you were hired?
labor unions would make sure it happened. Do you want your Union to look into alternative
Deregulation and low cost carriers hit us along with approaches?
high foreign oil and no shortage of corporate raiders As your Chairman, I view it as due diligence to
masquerading as managers. Creative accounting and ensure you remain fully informed concerning all
government approved under-funding exacerbated aspects of this vital benefit program. We should all
F E A T U R E
the problem. Defined benefit plans that we now are plan on being retired for a long, long time. It is up to
concerned about as risky were once as sound as the your union to do all we can to ensure you have the
U.S. dollar. Thus far, the government answer has not financial security to enjoy it!
been to fix the under-funding, but rather reduce the
obligation so that funding now appears adequate. Endorsed by
the APA Pension
Resolution mitigates risk.
At this point in time, there has been no talk of
terminating the A Plan, but there is no really current
information on how well it is funded if it were
terminated. My intent has been to initiate discussion,
debate, and study of the pension problems facing us
while it is not a crisis, and we do not have the
antagonistic backdrop of Section VI negotiations. It
remains my view that this problem will not go away
and mitigating risk is possible and may be desirable.
I plan on bringing the following resolution to the
Fall Board of Directors meeting on behalf of all
Boston pilots. [ The resolution passed 17:1]
WHEREAS, Defined Benefit Plans are currently under
funded throughout corporate America; and
WHEREAS, many of our colleagues have their plans
under assault by their respective managements; and
Flightline 14 Winter 2004/2005
Retirees who took the A Plan as an annuity and have been retired more than three years would only
have that annuity adjusted if the annuity had been improved by contract and the benefit increased in the
last five years. In our case, pilots received credit for furlough in their LOS as a result of the TWA agreement
in 2001. In this hypothetical situation, such retired pilots would not get that part of their annuity as a
PC-3 benefit (although they might get it as a PC-5 benefit; see explanation of PC-5).
E.G. Pilot D - retired with 29 years of service four years ago including four years credit for furlough,
$200,000/year FAE and took an annuity for the A Plan. A Plan benefit computation = LOS-1 x 1.25% x FAE.
Contract Benefit PC-3 Benefit (Excludes 4 yrs. Furlough)
29-1 = 28 x 1.25% x $200,000 25-1 = 24 x 1.25 x $200,000
= 35% X $200,000 = 30% x $200,000
= $70,000/year accrued benefit = $60,000/year PC-3 benefit
The retiree’s annuity would be reduced $10,000/year. (That $10,000 might be paid as a PC-5 benefit,
assuming our A Plan’s assets are sufficient to cover all PC-3 benefits, and depending on whether the
Plan had enough assets to pay any PC-5 benefits, as discussed earlier.) Retirees who took the A Plan
as an annuity, who have been retired less than three years, will be subject both to reduction for this
contract improvement (if applicable) and will all have their annuities recalculated with a reduction
of three years to their LOS regardless of any other adjustment. (Very few pilots have elected an annuity
since the lump sum physical for the A Plan was removed through successful negotiations.)
E.G. Pilot E - two years ago and had the same career path as pilot D.
Contract PC-3 Benefit (Adjusted PC-3 Benefit (Adjusted for
Benefit for Furlough Only) Furlough and <3 Yr. Retirement
29-1 = 28 x 1.25% x $200,000 25-1 = 24 x 1.25 x $200,000 22-1=21x1.25% x $200,000
= 35% X $200,000 = 30% x $200,000 = 26.25% x $200,000
= $70,000/year accrued benefit = $60,000/year PC-3 benefit = $52,500/year PC-3 benefit
Assuming our A Plan’s assets are sufficient to pay all PC-3 benefits.
• The minimum payment for Pilot D would be $60,000/year; if the plan isn’t sufficiently funded to
pay all PC-3 benefits, Pilot D would get his pro-rata share of the plan’s assets, but not less than
the PC-4 amount;
• The minimum payment for Pilot E would be $52,500/year; if the plan isn’t sufficiently funded to
pay all PC-3 benefits, Pilot E would get his pro-rata share of the plan’s assets, but not less than
the PC-4 amount;
• The maximum for both pilots would be their total accrued benefit of $70,000, but that totally
depends on how well the plan was funded on a termination basis.
Winter 2004/2005 15 Flightline
Aviation Language Proficiency
Standard Promotes Global Safety
By Marjo Mitsutomi Ph.D., University of Redlands
Many pilots and air traffic controllers on interna- language of world-wide aviation, but it was never a
tional routes know that communication and mutual mandated expectation. Consequently, international
understanding can often be a challenge. Although crews would be faced with situations where their
crews all over the world have been trained to use the counterparts might be able to communicate with them
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the same language; it was never a given, however.
phraseology in their radiotelephony communications, The above recommended practice was modified last
misunderstandings occur routinely. With almost two year when ICAO adopted annex amendments which
billion of the world’s people using English to some require an English language proficiency minimum
degree daily, it is not surprising to encounter many for flight crews and air traffic controllers working
different sounding varieties of the language. Stories international flights.
and anecdotes regarding communication problems Inadequate language proficiency has been ruled to
abound especially among those whose duties lead be the cause of some major high profile accidents as
them into international aviation contexts across well as numerous other incidents and near-misses.
national and linguistic boundaries. The ICAO Journal edition of January/February 2004
To facilitate efficient air-to-air and air-to-ground reports that in one member State’s review, 70 percent
communication, ICAO many decades ago developed of the problems in 28,000 cases involved some
an impressively large repertoire of prescribed radio- aspect of communication. The same Journal also
telephony phrases (also known as ATC phraseology). states that between 1976 and 2000, language played
These phrases were coded to be used for routine a critical role in accidents which resulted in 1,100
procedures and some predictable emergencies. They passengers and crew losing their lives.
were designed to make the communicative function Although most flight operations go according to
between the ground and aircraft as concise and brief plan, there are times when things go wrong.
as possible. The beauty of ATC communication is Communication problems are implicated in three
that all parties know what is expected of them in well known airline accidents. In one of the worst
terms of their performance-related procedures, both aviation disasters ever, KLM Flight 4805 in 1977
technical and linguistic. crashed into a Pan Am plane on the same runway
Even with all pilots and air traffic controllers adhering due to a Spanish controller and a Dutch pilot failing
to this phraseology, situations arise that cannot be to communicate critical information. In 1990 Avianca
handled within the context of the phraseology. In Airlines Flight 052 crash was ruled to have been caused
unexpected cases crews must resort to the use of by the flight crew being unable to communicate the
“plain” or “general” language to establish mutual seriousness of their fuel emergency to air traffic
understanding. When pilots and controllers share control. In the case of the 1995 American Airlines
the same language, they may communicate with each Flight 965 to Cali, the Spanish-speaking air traffic
other in their native language. However, when the controller was not able to properly communicate to
language of the ground station is not shared by the the English-speaking crew that their position seemed
airmen in question, potential problems arise. to be seriously off course.
Until March of 2003, English was the recommended Recognizing the significant role that language
Flightline 16 Winter 2004/2005
plays in flight operations, the ICAO Air Navigation is used solely for communication purposes in the
commission in 1997 mandated a thorough and aviation context. It is, therefore, just another tool -
detailed review of the provisions dealing with albeit a very critical one - to “get the job done.”
all voice communications. The Proficiency What marks speakers at the Operational Level is
Requirements in Common English (PRICE) Study their ability to think in the target language. They can
Group, an international group consisting of aviation manipulate the language purposefully so that they
and language experts, was formed and commissioned can deliver their desired message in an original way.
in 2000 to review the existing provisions and to Speakers at this level are not restricted to a memorized
identify the deficiencies and shortcomings of the set of phrases or sentences but are free to create with
current system. the language to satisfy the communicative needs of
During the review process, the experts turned their the moment. In other words, pilots and air traffic
attention to language competency itself. The team controllers at the Operational Level are able to
recognized that when there is no prescribed ATC converse spontaneously with one another; they can
script for a new set of circumstances, airmen must “talk through” the situation at hand outside of the
possess sufficient verbal skill to address the emerging confines of the ATC phraseology. And, that can
situation quickly, accurately, and precisely. This calls bridge the difference between life and death.
for competency in the home language of the station, To the casual observer it may seem that nonnative
which can still be used when it is understood by all speakers of English will be the most affected by
the crews in question. In addition, the PRICE team the implementation of the ICAO standard.
concluded that all airmen – regardless of their native Communication, however, is a two-way street; the
language – must possess basic conversational ability message is negotiated between the one who sends it
in English, which is to be available as the common and the one who receives it. The burden of successful
language of the international sky. The purpose of this communication is placed on native and nonnative
strengthened provision is for language to function as speakers of English equally. The very definition of
an additional safety net in critical situations. the ICAO standard requires that proficient speakers
The newly revised ICAO Annexes 1 and 10 require of English “use a dialect, accent or variety which is
pilots and air traffic controllers on international routes intelligible to an international community of English
to demonstrate a clearly specified level of proficiency language users.”
in speaking and understanding English. All member The ICAO proficiency scale is unique in that it
States are to be in compliance with the language does not measure nonnative speakers against native
proficiency standard no later than March 5, 2008. As speakers. It puts all English speakers in the same
welcome as this regulation change is in standardizing category of “English users,” requiring everyone in the
language competency, it causes much anxiety for system to be careful and considerate users of the shared
those crews who do not routinely use English in their language. Native speakers typically have more language
professional or social contexts. Anyone who has ever facility than nonnative speakers and, therefore, need
seriously attempted to master a language knows that to be especially vigilant in their language use habits.
it is no simple task. For example, native English-speaking controllers and
The ICAO English proficiency scale is a detailed pilots should avoid all regional and colloquial expres-
six-level matrix (see page 18), with level 4 (Operational sions at all times. They should enunciate their words
Level) being the lowest acceptable level of competency with care to minimize the effect of their particular
required of pilots and controllers in order to engage accent. And, if they are still not understood by the
in their respective aviation operations safely. other crew, they should paraphrase the intended
The proficiency requirement focuses on linguistic message; repeating the same thing or getting louder
competence rather than knowledge of culture; the does little to resolve the already tense situation. In
structure and vocabulary of the English language other words, if nonnative (continued on next page)
Winter 2004/2005 17 Flightline
Guest Feature (continued from previous page)
speakers must engage in the time-
consuming and costly effort to ICAO LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY RATING SCALE
master English better than ever
before, then the least that native
LEVEL PRONUNCIATION STRUCTURE VOCABULARY FLUENCY COMPREHENSION INTERACTIONS
Assumes a dialect and/or Relevant grammatical structures and
speakers can do is to meet them accent intelligible to the sentence patterns are determined by
“half-way.” aeronautical community language functions appropriate to the task
Communication is always a
EXPERT Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, Both basic and complex Vocabulary range and accuracy Able to speak at length with a Comprehension is consistently Interacts with ease in nearly all
negotiation of meaning between 6 and intonation, though grammatical structures are sufficient to communicate natural, effortless flow. Varies accurate in nearly all contexts and situations. Is sensitive to verbal
two or more parties. Nowhere is it possibly influenced by the and sentence patterns are effectively on a wide variety of speech flow for stylistic effect, includes comprehension of linguistic and non-verbal cues, and
more critical than in the global first language or regional consistently well controlled. familiar and unfamiliar topics. e.g. to emphasize a point. Uses and cultural subtleties. responds to them appropriately.
variation, almost never Vocabulary is idiomatic, nuanced, appropriate discourse markers
aviation context. As international interfere with understanding. and sensitive to register. and connectors spontaneously.
aviation continues to grow, language
EXTENDED Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, Basic grammatical structures Vocabulary range and accuracy Able to speak at length with Comprehension is accurate on common, Responses are immediate,
capability beyond the established 5 and intonation, though and sentence patterns are are sufficient to communicate relative ease on familiar topics, concrete, and work related topics and appropriate, and informative.
pilot-controller lexicon is a must. influenced by the first language consistently well controlled. effectively on common, concrete, but may not vary speech flow as a mostly accurate when the speaker is Manages the speaker/listener
Contracting ICAO States, all 188 of or regional variation, rarely Complex structures are attempted and work related topics. stylistic device. Can make use of confronted with a linguistic or situa- relationship effectively.
interfere with understanding. but with errors which sometimes Paraphrases consistently and appropriate discourse markers tional complication or an unexpected
them, last year agreed to adopt the
interfere with meaning. successfully. Vocabulary is or connectors. turn of events. Is able to comprehend
new language provisions. They sometimes idiomatic. a range of speech varieties (dialect
agreed to put aside all nationalistic and/or accent) or registers.
notions about language for the sake OPERATIONAL Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, Basic grammatical structures Vocabulary range and accuracy Produces stretches of language at Comprehension is mostly accurate on Responses are usually immediate,
of common safety. In linguistic and LEVEL 4 and intonation are influenced and sentence patterns are used are usually sufficient to an appropriate tempo. There may common, concrete, and work related appropriate, and informative.
aviation history this is no small by the first language or regional creatively and are usually well communicate effectively on be occasional loss of fluency on topics when the accent or variety used Initiates and maintains
variation but only sometimes controlled. Errors may occur, common, concrete, and work transition from rehearsed or is sufficiently intelligible for an exchanges even when dealing
accomplishment. interfere with understanding. particularly in unusual or related topics. Can often formulaic speech to spontaneous international community of users. with an unexpected turn of
unexpected circumstances, but paraphrase successfully when interaction, but this does not When the speaker is confronted with events. Deals adequately with
Dr. Marjo Mitsutomi with a Ph.D. rarely interfere with meaning. lacking vocabulary in unusual prevent effective communication. a linguistic or situational complication apparent misunderstandings
or unexpected circumstances. Can make limited use of discourse or an unexpected turn of events, by checking, confirming,
in Applied Linguistics from Ball State markers or connectors. Fillers are comprehension may be slower or or clarifying.
University is full-time faculty in the not distracting. require clarification strategies.
School of Education at the University PRE-OPERATIONAL Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, Basic grammatical structures Vocabulary range and accuracy are Produces stretches of language, Comprehension is often accurate on Responses are sometimes imme-
of Redlands in Redlands, California. 3 and intonation are influenced and sentence patterns associated often sufficient to communicate but phrasing and pausing are common, concrete, and work related diate, appropriate, and inform-
Dr. Mitsutomi has been actively by the first language or regional with predictable situations are on common, concrete, or work often inappropriate. Hesitations topics when the accent or variety used ative. Can initiate and maintain
involved in pioneering English language variation and frequently not always well controlled. related topics but range is limited or slowness in language is sufficiently intelligible for an exchanges with reasonable
interfere with understanding. Errors frequently interfere and the word choice often processing may prevent effective international community of users. ease on familiar topics and in
standards for aviation in the US. A with meaning. inappropriate. Is often unable communication. Fillers are May fail to understand a linguistic predictable situations. Generally
native of Finland, she was appointed to paraphrase successfully when sometimes distracting. or situational complication or an inadequate when dealing with
by the FAA to serve on the ICAO lacking vocabulary. unexpected turn of events. an unexpected turn of events.
PriceGroup (Proficiency Requirements ELEMENTARY Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, Shows only limited control Limited vocabulary range Can produce very short, isolated, Comprehension is limited to isolated, Response time is slow, and
in Common English) Linguistic Sub- 2 and intonation are heavily of a few simple memorized consisting only of isolated memorized utterances with frequent memorized phrases when they are often inappropriate. Interaction
influenced by the first language grammatical structures and words and memorized phrases. pausing and a distracting use of carefully and slowly articulated. is limited to simple routine
group, which defined and wrote the or regional variation and usually sentence patterns. fillers to search for expressions and exchanges.
recently adopted English language interfere with understanding. to articulate less familiar words.
standard for global aviation.
PRE-ELEMENTARY Performs at a level below the Performs at a level below the Performs at a level below the Performs at a level below the Performs at a level below the Performs at a level below the
A private pilot herself, she serves M.I. 1 Elementary level. Elementary level. Elementary level. Elementary level. Elementary level. Elementary level.
AIR flight school as Vice President.
Note – The Operational Level (Level 4) is the minimum required proficiency level for radiotelephony communication. Levels 1 through 3 describe Pre-elementary, Elementary, and Pre-operational levels of language proficiency respectively, all of which describe a level of proficiency below the ICAO language
proficiency requirement. Levels 5 and 6 describe Extended and Expert levels, at levels of proficiency more advanced than the minimum required Standard. As a whole, the scale will serve as benchmarks for training and testing, in assisting candidates to obtain the ICAO Operational Level (Level 4).
Flightline 18 Winter 2004/2005 Winter 2004/2005 19 Flightline
I N F O THE B PLAN : UNIT ACCUMULATION
AND LUMP SUM DISTRIBUTION
BY CAPTAIN HENRY COCHRAN, (DFW), MS, MBA, CPA
CA Cochran served for seven years on the Pension Committee
Have you ever wondered about the process which The current year’s adjusted unit values were
goes into the building of your individual B Plan units reported as follows:
and, ultimately, the distribution of their value upon JAN 2004 ..............$ 99.603
retirement? Many of our pilots probably have a good FEB 2004 ..............$101.781
handle on the necessary calculations, however, some MAR 2004 ..............$ 95.948
of the finer points may have been lost along the way. APR 2004 ..............$ 94.004
Hopefully, this article will provide a better under- MAY 2004 ..............$ 94.837
P E N S I O N
standing of the mechanics which go into that final JUN 2004 ..............$ 96.874
determination. JUL 2004 ..............$ 93.633
It should be noted, first, that the B Plan represents AUG 2004 ..............$ 93.633
the total value of all the units held by the pilots in SEP 2004 ..............$ 96.041
the Plan. Every pilot holds a certain amount of units Notice the drop in adjusted unit value in MAR
which, based on the unit value, gives him or her a 2004. This is primarily because of the adjustment
certain asset value of the Plan. It’s hard to say what which increases the number of units in every pilot’s
the average pilot will take with him upon retirement account by 6%, with an offsetting decrease in unit
from American Airlines because the B Plan ownership value. Another factor which affects the MAR 2004
consists of members who were all vested at different adjusted unit value is the 12/31/03 audited unit
times in their professional careers. When you consider value calculation which takes into account all prior
that participation in the plan will be shorter for those year accounting activity.
pilots who were formerly with TWA, Reno, and Air It should be noted that the year end audit of the B
Cal, it’s easy to see why there is no “average” pilot. Plan takes place after the close of the year, therefore,
However, if we look at all of our pilots who retired in the audited unit value will not be calculated for a few
2003, we find that those who retired with 15 years of months after the 12/31/03 year-end close, and will not
service had accumulated an average of 3,269.598 be reported (i.e., included in the adjusted unit value)
units worth $257,457, while those who retired with until MAR 2004 and for the 11 months following.
23 years of service had accumulated an average of Also worth mentioning is that since the early
7,830.279 units worth $602,892. 1980’s, a pilot could walk away at his Normal
Very simply put, the individual pilot’s B Plan value Retirement Date or Early Retirement Date with his
is equal to the number of units that he has acquired lump sum in hand (or in his account) provided he
throughout his career multiplied by the unit value has given the Company at least 120 days advance
which he locks in at retirement. You may have seen notice of his Early Retirement Date. This gives the
reference to two different types of unit values. The Company the time necessary to ensure that all
audited unit value is calculated at the end of each Optional Contributions are stopped and that all
M O R E
calendar year and is used to determine the number of administrative activity necessary to having the pension
units the company will purchase for each pilot (based check ready on the pilot’s benefit commencement
on his annual compensation) during the coming date are completed. On the occasion where 120 days
year. The adjusted unit value is calculated each advance notice is given, the Company uses estimated
month, reflects the investment earnings within the pay for the last few months to enhance the check
plan, and is used to determine the lump sum amount preparation process. Pilots who retire early without
to be distributed to each retiring pilot. giving the required 120 day notice, will not have
To illustrate the concept of B Plan unit accumulation their lump sums on their retirement dates since their
and ultimate lump sum distribution, let’s use current benefits will be determined using actual pay. These
figures as reported by the B Plan. The last two years’ pilots will have their B Plan benefit paid using the
audited unit values were reported as follows: unit value for the month in which their notice of
12/31/02..........$72.676 early retirement is given to the Company. Since in
12/31/03..........$92.707 this case, payment is based on actual pay, the lump
Flightline 20 Winter 2004/2005
sum is not available until final payroll is processed, of the 6% adjustment. If he had opted to retire under
generally 60 days following the date of retirement. the annuity option, however, there would have been an
For years, retiring pilots have been locking in the unit increase in his unit total due to a proration equal to
value, trying to maximize their B Plan distribution. 4% (8/12 multiplied by 6%). Eight months multiplied
During periods of decreasing adjusted unit values, by $11,000 per month equals his 2004 compensation
they would lock in a value during a prior month, of $88,000. The company contribution of $9,680
thus assuring themselves of a higher unit value than (11% of $88,000) divided by the 12/31/03 audited
the one which would otherwise be used. Conversely, unit value of $92.707 equals 104.415, the number of
if adjusted unit values were increasing, they would units to be added to his account in 2004. Captain
want to wait until the last possible moment to lock Smith’s account will then have 5,104.415 units. At the
in the unit value, and, if they were to continue flying JUN 2004 adjusted unit value of $96.874, his B Plan
all the way to age 60, the adjusted unit value for the units and, ultimately, his lump sum distribution will
third month prior would then be used to determine be worth $494,485.10. The Company will have his
the lump sum value. check ready for him to pick up on or about
For the purpose of illustration, assume Captain November 1.
Smith has been with the company for 20 years and In the last example, let’s assume Captain Smith
will command an annual salary of $132,000 (at a rate decided to retire May 1, did not give 120 days advance
of $11,000 per month) for the year 2004. At the end notice, and locked in an adjusted unit value for FEB
of 2003 he had 5,000 units in the B Plan. Examples 2004 at $101.781. Once again, he does not get the 6%
covering three different scenarios will be offered to increase in units, but as before, he receives the benefit
further show the concept of unit accumulation and of having shares accumulate due to his having worked
lump sum distribution. In the first example, Captain four months. There is one slight difference, however.
Smith will work the entire year of 2004 with plans Since he locked in an adjusted unit value prior to the
toward continuing his employment into the following 12/31/03 audited unit value being calculated, he
year. No activity will take place within his account must use the audited unit value for 12/31/02 to
until the end of the year, i.e. his number of units will determine how many units he will accumulate in
not be increased during any month throughout the 2004. Four months multiplied by $11,000 per month
year. At the end of the year 2004, two things will equals his 2004 compensation of $44,000. The
happen. First, any units he will have had in his company contribution of $4,840 (11% of $44,000)
account for the entire year (5,000) will be increased divided by the 12/31/02 audited unit value of
by 6%. As a result, his account will now have 5,300 $72.676 equals 66.597, the number of units to be
units. In addition, an amount equal to 11% of his added to his account in 2004. Captain Smith’s
compensation will be used by the Company to account will then have 5,066.597 units. At the FEB
purchase units for his account for 2004. The units to be 2004 adjusted unit value of $101.781, his B Plan
added are calculated by dividing the aforementioned units and, ultimately, his lump sum distribution will
contribution by the 12/31/03 audited unit value. In be worth $515,683.30. The Company will have his
this case, the contribution is equal to $14,520 (11% check ready for him to pick up on or about July 1.
of $132,000) and the audited unit value is $92.707. This information has, hopefully, been helpful in
The additional units to be added equals $14,520/ portraying how specific calculations within the B
$92.707, or 156.622. Captain Smith’s account will Plan are performed. It goes without saying that no
then have 5,456.622 units. At an assumed adjusted one should be more interested in how the B Plan
unit value of $100 at year end, his B Plan units would builds value than YOU. As you near retirement, it is
be worth $545,662.20 as of JAN 2005. paramount that you understand exactly how the
In the next example, let’s assume Captain Smith process works so that, just like those before you who
decided to retire September 1, did not give 120 days availed themselves of this very same information,
advance notice, and locked in an adjusted unit value you will also be able to maximize the distribution
for JUN 2004 at $96.874. He does not get the 6% that you receive from your share of the B Plan.
increase in units, but does get the benefit of having
units accumulate due to his having worked eight
months. (Note: Because Captain Smith is opting for Endorsed by
the lump sum distribution and has locked in his the APA Pension
retirement in the current year, there is no proration Committee
Winter 2004/2005 21 Flightline
HOW A FULL BODY
SCAN SAVED MY LIFE
BY CAPTAIN RICHARD LINDEKENS (LAX)
For my 57th birthday, I decided that a full physical revealed I had a five centimeter-sized renal cell
examination and body scan was in order to assess the carcinoma located in my left kidney. My doctors
state of my health. As a commercial airline pilot, I have referred me to UCLA Medical Center and one week
always tried to stay physically fit. I knew about body later, I was in surgery.
scans. I had heard about controversy over whether My choice to have the body scan to celebrate my
body scans were useful or not. As I found out, my birthday could not have been more timely. Even
decision to have one quite possibly saved my life. though I had no symptoms to suggest I had any
The scan itself was pretty easy - the procedure took medical conditions, the tumor was threatening my
about five minutes and I was done. I spent the next life. If the cancer had gone undetected, within
45 minutes of the appointment reviewing with the months, it would have spread from my kidney
doctor a virtual tour of my body. The analysis was throughout my body. No less than five doctors told
better than any anatomy class I had ever attended. me the tumor was discovered just prior to it being
The doctor showed me my lungs, heart, liver, muscle released into my body. Undoubtedly, if I had not
and bone structure. The review was going smoothly. elected to use a body scan the results could have
However, once he examined the part of the scan been life-threatening.
showing my left kidney, the doctor identified what I am sharing my experience in hopes that it might
could be a large tumor. He recommended that I go to help a fellow pilot who may be considering whether
my doctor for an immediate follow-up and further tests. there is value in a body scan. For me, the choice was
The next day I found myself undergoing extensive a life-saving decision!
lab tests and more specific x-ray exams. The tests
Full body scans have downside
BY CAPTAIN RANDY POPIEL,
CHAIRMAN, APA NATIONAL AEROMEDICAL COMMITTEE
If you are contemplating the use of a Body Scan as an additional tool in the evaluation of your
medical health, please keep the following in mind. While results such as the one being mentioned
here are positive and a scan has the possibility of identifying a critical issue, in a large number of
cases the following occurs. The scan data identifies a problem or concern area, which after additional
testing and follow-up is found to be of no consequence or health risk. This is a particularly vexing
problem for the professional pilot. Almost any abnormal finding warrants additional testing and
triggers the possibility of additional FAA-mandated testing and submissions of data to the FAA.
During the period of evaluation, a pilot’s medical certification is put in jeopardy. Undue stress, anxiety,
testing and medical expenses are caused unnecessarily. An asymptomatic pilot should carefully weigh
the decision to use the body scan.
If you are considering the scan, always research the facility’s medical qualification and the
technology it uses. Also beware of facilities that use aggressive marketing practices. Scans produce
high revenues and some providers used high pressure tactics to entice upper income individuals.
Flightline 22 Winter 2004/2005
C O M M I T T E E
THE 2004 LINE OPERATIONS
BY CAPTAIN RICH CUNNINGHAM, MANAGER, FLIGHT SAFETY PROGRAMS, AA SAFETY DEPARTMENT
The 2004 Line Operations Safety Audit, involving 303 cockpit observations by a team of 20 observers from
American, the Allied Pilots Association, and the FAA AMR Certificate Management Office, concluded on Oct. 31,
2004. The 2004 audit focused on the MD-80 fleet due to the transition of former LLC airplanes to the AA f leet
and the large number and types of destinations. Areas of interest included the following: findings from the
2003 Safety Focus Audit where corrective action was applied, areas of interest to the MD-80 fleet support team,
procedural changes to FM Part I that resulted from Operation Streamline, and other performance indicators. The
results are encouraging, actually dramatic. There was a decrease in the number of non-standard findings in all but
one area previously audited. Some areas improved fivefold. The one area that had received the most emphasis
from Flight Training, Stabilized Approaches, improved to standard on 97.7% of observed flights. I would like
to thank all the crewmembers who graciously received the audit team members into your cockpits. LOSA
contributes toward improved procedures, more focused training, and a safer, more efficient airline. I would like
to extend my personal thanks to the audit team and to Captain Hettermann for making the audit possible.
NUMBER OF AUDITS AUTOMATION LEVEL INSTALLED IN AIRCRAFT
S A F E T Y
NUMBER OF AUDITS
2004 Audit Results Comparison w/ 2003
Question Text Percent Percent Percent +=Positive
Standard Non- Non- trend
Standard Standard -=Negative
F/A briefing accomplished. 90.0% 10.0% 7.4% -2.6
Jumpseat briefing accomplished. 93.3% 6.7%
Captain manages workload during preflight phase to assure logbook review 98% 2.0%
and flightplan crosscheck concerning MEL items is thorough and complete.
Takeoff briefing accomplished at gate. 81.7% 18.3%
No head down procedures performed while in ramp area while taxiing. 94.7% 5.3%
Airport Diagram in use by both pilots while taxiing out 93.3%6.7% 93.3% 6.7% 25.3% +19.6
Captain manages workload during taxi in a manner that prevents possibility 98.0% 2.0%
of runway incursion
Pressurization checked after takeoff, cleanup 85.9% 14.1% 29.0% +14.9
(continued on page 26)
Winter 2004/2005 23 Flightline
PILOTS MUTUAL AID
PILOTS HELPING PILOTS
BY CAPTAIN STEVE THOMAS, (DFW), PMA CHAIRMAN
Long before there was an Allied Pilots Association there excess of the amounts being contributed. While the PMA
was a Pilot Mutual Aid (PMA) Plan. The 1953 directive stated Board of Governors was monitoring this situation and
in part, “PMA was originally started to benefit the pilot’s planned to address it in the Spring Board of Directors
widow who was left destitute when her husband died meeting, PMA reserves and contributions were not
and…later modified to assist pilots who were ill or injured sufficient to cover the monthly disability benefits in May. In
and disabled for an extended period of time, and included a order to remain solvent, the Board of Directors approved a
death benefit for use to help defray burial costs, and supply loan request from PMA.
immediate cash when joint funds might be restricted.”
This directive established PMA’s purpose, which remains What Caused the Problem?
to this day, “Pilots Helping Pilots.” PMA is an exceptional There are three primary causes for the rapid decline in
program that has worked well for over 50 years. Today, PMA PMA funds.
pays a benefit in the event of death ($5,000) or when you First, the number of furloughed pilots has reduced
are disabled and have exhausted all of your paid sick and the number of contributing members by approximately
vacation time. 1,600 since the beginning of 2003. Currently, there are
Recently, PMA has experienced a significant increase in approximately 7,184 contributing PMA members; down
the number of claimants and a significant decrease in the from 8,860 in January 2003.
number of contributing members. This combination has Second, there has been an increase in the number of
required the APA Board of Directors to approve an increase claims since January 2003. In January of 2003 there were 47
in the PMA contribution from $10.75 to $23.00 effective with disability claims paid; in October of 2004, there were a total
the June payroll deductions. The following is an explanation of 79 disability claims paid. Monthly benefit payments
of the reasons for this increase. have increased from $87,133 in January 2003 to $148,600
in October 2004 with most of the increase occurring in
How Is PMA Funded? 2004. The chart below shows the benefits paid compared to
PMA operates as a separate, stand-alone program, outside contributions received since October 2003. The large rise in
of the dues monies paid to APA. Prior to 1997, the claims contributions reflects the increase of June 2004.
and expenses paid during the month were divided equally
PMA Benefits and Contributions
among the pilots participating in PMA. Thus, while all pilots
paid the same amount, this amount varied each month. In
1997, PMA was changed to set a monthly contribution rate
sufficient to cover expected benefits and expenses for the
coming year. This rate was to be reviewed and adjusted, as $100,000 Benefits Paid
necessary, each year. The 1997 PMA contribution was $10 a
month. It was lowered to $6.35 in 1998, but reserves went $50,000
below the level necessary to sustain PMA. In January 2001,
the contribution amount was changed to $10.75. This Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
03 03 03 04 04 04 04 04 04 04 04 04 04
process worked well until last October.
The trend was cyclical and showed that payouts were Finally, the period of time that a participant collects
basically equal to contributions with the reserves running disability payments (“Duration”) has increased from 8.6
about $400,000. Since October 2003, this trend has months to 11 months. The participant is staying out longer
significantly eroded. PMA has paid out monies well in by almost 2.5 months.
Flightline 24 Winter 2004/2005
Comparing other Airline PMA Plans.
Below is a chart comparing Southwest’s, Delta’s, and APA’ s Pilot Mutual Aid Programs.
PILOT PMA PROGRAM COMPARISON
Company Eligibility Contribution Other
Duration, Offsets, etc.)
Southwest Date of Hire $18/mo. Amount: $1,000/mo. ($5,000 after exhausting There is a provision
banked sick time and prior to LTD payments) to reduce benefits if
Payments Begin: (later of) assets are insufficient
• 30 days after disability; to pay claims.
• Exhaustion of paid sick
Duration: 12 months
Death Benefit: $5,000
Delta Date of Hire $.47 per $100 of Amount: 42%-22% of average earnings for prior Benefits reduced for
gross monthly 12 months based on earnings (75%-92% of pre other disability pay
earnings. disability pay between PMA and Company LTD).
($47.00 for a Duration: 12 months per disability; 24-month Company benefit
$10,000/mo. lifetime maximum 50% average monthly
Pilot) Death benefit: $15,000 paid within 48 hours of earnings over last
death (5-6 deaths per year) 36 months
APA Within first $23/mo. Amount: $2,000/mo.
5 years of Duration: 12 months
active service Death Benefit: $5,000
Delta PMA has a greater benefit scale but the amount per month is double that of the APA Plan. The Southwest Plan
decreases in both contributions and benefits. The APA Plan is comfortably situated between the Southwest and Delta Plans.
Benefit Distribution by Code.
This chart shows the amount of money distributed by disability. Code 1 is Accidents, Code 8 is Cancer. I have chosen not
to label each column due to sensitive illnesses. These illnesses include AIDS, Alcohol, Drugs, Mental and Nervous disorders.
AMOUNT OF MONEY DISTRIBUTED BY DISABILITY
Month Code 1 Code 2 Code 3 Code 4 Code 5 Code 6 Code 7 Code 8 Code 9 Total
Jan-04 $22,600.03 $7,933.43 $16,400.12 $16,000.00 $34,200.21 $2,000.00 – $8,866.81 $8,334.21 $116,334.81
Feb-04 $21,733.42 $8,000.00 $19,933.43 $17,266.73 $47,000.25 $2,000.00 – $6,000.00 $6,466.69 $131,000.38
Mar-04 $22,000.00 $6,000.00 $20,800.04 $13,733.42 $54,000.23 $2,000.00 – $6,000.00 $6,466.69 $131,000.38
Apr-04 $21,426.74 $6,000.00 $21,133.39 $14,200.01 $62,267.08 $2,000.00 – $6,000.00 $8,000.00 $141,027.22
May-04 $20,000.00 $6,000.00 $20,000.00 $16,000.00 $68,333.75 $2,000.00 – $5,733.45 $8,000.00 $146,067.20
Jun-04 $18,933.48 $3,600.08 $19,133.39 $16,600.13 $71,866.96 $2,000.00 – $6,000.00 $4,333.35 $142,467.39
Jul-04 $17,266.73 $2,000.00 $21,866.76 $20,600.13 $73,333.70 $2,000.00 – $6,000.00 $4,400.12 $147,467.44
Aug-04 $18,266.88 $2,000.00 $21,266.73 $20,533.46 $79,133.59 $2,000.00 – $7,600.08 $4,666.70 $155,467.44
Sep-04 $13,933.43 $133.34 $22,000.00 $17,200.16 $84,400.12 $2,000.00 – $7,466.74 $7,800.09 $154,933.88
Oct-04 $14,000.00 – $22,000.20 $14,466.79 $84,200.01 $866.71 – $6,000.00 $7,066.72 $148,600.43
Nov-04 $14,000.00 – $23,666.95 $13,600.08 $80,133.54 $6,000.00 $8,733.47 $146,134.04
Dec-04 – – – – – – – – – –
Totals $204,160.71 $41,666.85 $228,201.01 $180,200.91 $738,869.44 $18,866.71 – $71,667.08 $73,801.35 $1,557,434.06
What Does this Mean to Me?
PMA contributions have always been set as the minimum amount necessary to pay the benefits and expenses. Unlike
other plans, PMA does not use your contributions to build a large reserve. While this keeps the contribution rate as low as
possible, it means that contributions will fluctuate as needed to pay the claims and expenses. Thus, while the current rate
is $23.00 per active member per month, if claims or expenses are lowered, the contributions will be lowered accordingly.
The Board of Directors will again review the performance of PMA in the annual Fall Board meeting in October 2005.
(continued on next page)
Winter 2004/2005 25 Flightline
PILOT MUTUAL AID (continued from page 25) completed five (5) cumulative years of Active Service with
We realize this is a significant increase in your monthly American Airlines.
contributions. We ask that all of you remember that this is Whatever resolution we find to this matter, be it
a program of Pilots Helping Pilots and only pays disabled maintaining the current contribution or a combination of
pilots who have exhausted all of their paid sick and contributions and benefits changes, please remember this is
vacation time and surviving family members following the an inexpensive way to help out your fellow pilots in their
death of a pilot. We would also like to remind you that times of need, and hopefully you won’t become one of
if you are considering dropping PMA and you have those whom this program continues to help.
completed more than five (5) years of active service, you One last important note, Captain Terry Cecil resigned as
will not be allowed to re-enroll. Chairman for the Board of Governors of PMA during the
A special note to the St. Louis Domicile: If you were a Fall APA Board of Directors meeting. Captain Cecil faithfully
member of the ALPA PMA plan, you did not automatically and diligently served the pilots of American Airlines for over
roll over to the APA PMA Plan. Check your pay stub under 20 years as a member and Chairman. He was instrumental
“After Tax Deductions.” If Pilot Mutual Aid is not listed as a in the many changes that took place in order to keep PMA
deduction then you are not enrolled. You may also call the about “Pilots Helping Pilots.” This organization and the
APA Benefits Department to confirm your enrollment. Allied Pilots Association owe a great debt of gratitude to
Former TWA pilots are still able to enroll having not Captain Terry Cecil.
THE 2004 LINE OPERATIONS SAFETY AUDIT (continued from page 23)
NUMBER OF AUDITS
2004 Audit Results Comparison w/ 2003
Question Text Percent Percent Percent +=Positive
Standard Non- Non- trend
Standard Standard -=Negative
Crew maintained fuel log 89.4% 10.6% 20.7% +10.1
With FMS, verified with other pilot before executing 83.3% 11.7% 19.0% +6.3
Donned O2 mask above FL250 when required 83.5% 16.5% 27.1% +10.6
Approach briefing accomplished (timing, content) 98.3% 1.7% 6.1% +4.4
Stabilized approach, met all criteria 97.7% 2.3% 10.3% +8.0
Touchdown point (centerline, touchdown zone) 98.7% 1.3% 7.9% +6.6
On visual approach, used all available navaids 99.6% 0.4% 2.3% +1.9
Airport Chart out and referenced while taxiing in 84.2% 15.8% 30.4% +14.6
Crew takes time to ensure equipment clearance is adequate during gate arrival 99.7% 0.3%
Sterile cockpit procedures utilized throughout taxi, takeoff, climb, descent and landing 93.7% 6.3% 12.4% +6.1
“Point and Shoot” used for all altitude changes 90.0% 10.0% 10.6% +0.6
Read back of all clearances per Flight Manual Part 94.7% 5.3% 6.1% +0.8
Captain manages workload during heading/altitude changes in a way that minimizes 100.0% 0.0%
possibility of TCAS RAs.
PA announcement to flight attendants when approaching or entering turbulence is 90.4% 9.6%
specific and standard in accordance with procedures
Single engine taxi utilized when appropriate 89.0% 11.0%
1-3 min 3-5 min Over 5 min not done
Time for external power to be plugged in … 87.0% 9.0% 0.0% 4.0%
Time for external air conditioning to be plugged in* 18.0% 8.0% 3.0% 72.0%
*NOTE: Ambient temperatures throughout October were quite mild, which probably
contributed to the low use of external air conditioning.
Thanks to all of the LOSA Auditors, whose dedication and professionalism made this study possible: From AA – CA Rick Ash, CA
E.D. Crowe, CA David Culbertson, CA Bob East, FO Brad Ewing, FO Howard French, CA Randy Klaus, CA Mike Leone, CA Ted
Osowski, CA Jay Schwartz. From the FAA – John Cowan, Thomas Daniell, Walter Garrard, Eugene Hill, Willard McMillen, Lonnie
Ramon, Michael Spencer, Robert Teer, Robert Whitley.
Flightline 26 Winter 2004/2005
C O M M I T T E E
HOW TO USE THE SEP TOOLS: The
Conflicted Pick-up and Generic Bid
BY FIRST OFFICER RICHARD G. “DOC” MILLER, (DCA), TASC & JSC
The Schedule Enhancement Period (SEP) is a line- dropped (traded) based upon a predetermined
holder’s first opportunity to interact with Open Time. hierarchy, as follows:
It is the only part of our TTOT system that is seniority- • First the programming looks at the legalities. If
based. The most senior pilots have the distinct there are clear conflicts with the return/departure
advantage of being able to go into the SEP knowing of any of the two trips and the pick-up sequence,
what trips are available for possible trade or pick-up. that specific two-day will be eliminated from
All the rest of us know from experience, the open time consideration.
mix changes dynamically as the SEP run progresses • Programming also looks at the RED/REDDER
down the seniority list. rules for each of the sequences on my schedule
SEP provides two tools that are often misunder- and will eliminate any trade that would not
stood – the Conflicted Pick-up and the Generic Bid. meet the TTOT rules.
While the Conflicted Pick-up is a useful tool for all, • If both sequences are still in the running for the
the Generic Bid is less likely to be needed by the pending trade, then the following will determine
most senior pilots but is a very useful tool for those which sequence I drop:
with less seniority. The one with the lowest projection;
Then the most legs;
SEP CONFLICTED PICK-UP Then the highest time away from base (TAFB);
The Conflicted Pick-up, under most circumstances, Then the latest return time;
is essentially a trade. I offer the following example And if both sequences are still the same,
schedule for the week of the 10th: the trip that is latest in the month.
The programming will try to complete each of my
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Conflicting Pick-ups in the order I have selected. If
10027 10126 one is successful, it now counts as my one allowed
Pick-up and Drop and the program will stop processing
In this case my schedule has two two-day trips, my SEP Ballot.
and there are several three-day trips open on the I could study each of the possible trades involved,
12th. I wish to pick-up one of the trips on the 12th relying on my knowledge of contractual and other
but realize I have possible conflicts with my current FAA regulations and list each of the six possible
schedule. The obvious conflict is a seven-day problem. trades that I determine are legal and in the specific
The less obvious possible conflicts are “30 in seven,” order I prefer. But since I don’t have any overriding
exceeding MMAX + five, or time off between preference, other than getting one of the three open
sequences (return/departure legalities). If there are three-day sequences on my schedule, I’ll let the
three known three-day sequences open on the 12th,
I could make six separate SEP entries where I try to
programming do the mental gymnastics for me.
In some cases, there might not be a conflict. If,
T A S C
trade each of my two-days with each of the three instead, I had chosen to go for several two-day
open three-days. Or, I could just make three SEP sequences open on the 13th, I could end up with all
entries using the Conflicted Pick-up. The three SEP three trips on my schedule. In other words, if I placed
entries for this situation appear below. a Conflicted Bid on my SEP ballot, yet no conflict exists,
and the pickup is awarded, I may still drop another trip
into open time with an entry further down my SEP ballot.
HISEP/#/P/10022/12/C One final note on the use of this tool. The trip to
be “picked up” in a conflicted pick-up transaction
I listed the three open sequences in the order I must have a specific sequence number and date. Generic
prefer for pick-up. The computer programming will “conflicted pick-ups” are not currently permitted.
then determine which of my two-day trips gets (continued on next page)
Winter 2004/2005 27 Flightline
C O M M I T T E E
SEP GENERIC BID discuss the optional entries individually then put
Depending on how junior you are, you may have them together with varying scenarios.
often found when you tried to pick-up or trade for a The next two fields I might need allow me to
specific sequence that was open before SEP ran, the specify scheduled Departure and/or Return windows,
results of your SEP Ballot returned “SEQ NOT based upon the departure and return times of the
OPEN.” That simply means someone senior to you flights that define a sequence.
got your request. What to do? Try the Generic Bid.
The Generic Bid is designed primarily for picking up
or trading for non-specific sequences but it is also Here I have specified I want the program to search
useful for minimizing the number of bids a pilot needs for 2D2P trips departing on any day between the
to make. (There is no such thing as a Generic Drop.) 10th and the 16th that depart (not sign in) between
First, we need to explore all the separate entries. 1000 and 1600 on each of those days. I also specified
There are both mandatory and optional entries. The that they must return between 1500 and 2000 (not
mandatory entries are order specific and appear below. including debrief). Again, because of limited character
For a Pick-up: spacing, only whole hours may be used. In either
HISEP/#/P/xDxP/date or date range field, if you enter a specific time, i.e., “D08,” then it
will only consider trips that depart exactly at 0800L.
For a Trade: Another useful aspect of these entries is that you
HISEP/#/D/your seq/date/P/xDxP/date or date range may invert them to eliminate a departure or return
window. If I were to enter “D10-07,” then the program
You determine the unknown “x” entries as you fill will first look for departures between 1000-2400,
in the bid. In this instance, the xDxP is an entry then 0000-0700 on each of the dates I specified. It
unique to the Generic Bid and represents number of will exclude all departures in the 0700-1000 window.
Days and number of Duty Periods you are looking The same applies for the return window. For those
for in an open sequence. It is important that pilots who wish to avoid commuting to the airport during
understand the differences between days and duty rush hour, this inverted entry might work well.
periods. Days are simply the number of calendar days Besides the operating times, I might also wish to
a trip covers. Duty Periods refers to the number of narrow the choices of which airports are involved.
periods on duty. Multiple Duty Periods are separated The CITY field (xxx) has three alternate options. I could
by a layover. A typical two-day domestic trip is a 2D2P, either specify my Departure (by default, the same
whereas a typical LHR trip is a 3D2P. Anytime you return) airport, or my Layover airport, or Eliminate a
wish to verify the number of days and duty periods city from departure, arrival or layover consideration.
associated with any sequence use the HIQUAL entry. If no CITY entry is used, then everything is in play.
Among other information, this entry will specify the The examples:
number of days and duty periods. Remember duty
periods run 0000-2359.
HIQUAL/seat/seq #/date HISEP/#/P/2D2P/10-16/D10-16/R15-20/LMSY
If I am using the Generic Bid to look for a trip on HISEP/#/P/2D2P/10-16/D10-16/R15-20/EEWR
a specific day, then I’ll only enter a specific date after
T A S C
the xDxP entry. This is the calendar date of departure. In the first example, I am LAX based and I have
If I am looking for a sequence over a date range, then specified I want my trip to depart and return to Orange
I’ll enter it using the format “10-16” or “10-16JAN.” County, John Wayne Airport. All other sequences
The program recognizes any of the conventional date that fail this requirement will not be considered. The
ranges. The only time the month (MON) must be second example specifies I want the trip to have a
used is when you are in a contractual month that has New Orleans Layover. The third example would
two dates with the same number, like the contractual either eliminate any trip that lays-over at Newark
month of February, 01FEB-01MAR. Due to limited airport or, if I were LGA based, would then only
character spacing, only a single date or date range search for JFK and/or LGA departures and returns.
may be used per Generic Bid. Specifically, for pilots based at Domiciles serving
Unlike the mandatory entries, the optional multiple airports the D and E city fields can be used
Generic entries have no specific order and may be to fine-tune your search.
used as needed. All the optional entries are the same Another tweaking I might wish to specify is what is
for either a Generic Pick-up or Generic Trade. I will the minimum time I want from my Generic bid. Take
Flightline 28 Winter 2004/2005
this Generic trade entry: Not knowing what sequences will populate OT when
HISEP/#/D/10021/10/P/2D2P/10-13/12H SEP gets to you doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark.
By a careful mix of all the optional entries, you
Here I am looking to trade my 10-hour, two-day should be able to zero in on any specific sequence on
on the 10th for any 2D2P on the 10-13th that is any day or number of days throughout the month.
worth a minimum of 12 hours. Simple enough. Take the following DFW S80 Sequence for example:
Again we must use whole hours because of the Let us assume, for whatever reason, I would like to
The final optional entries
are for First Officers. The
multiple crew positions, FO,
FB, FC are always associated
with different sequence num-
bers despite the possibility
of having the same flights in
the sequence. Currently, there
are four possible Generic Bid
entries: FO, FB, FC, or no
entry. For International FOs,
you need to understand how
the programming is set up. If
you are in an International
bid status with multiple
crew position options, know
that when using the Generic
Bid without one of the FO/FB/FC designators (the no trade one of two trips for this specific sequence. I
entry option), the program will first search for all FO don’t know if it will be open when the SEP run gets
sequences that meet your specifications. If it finds down to me or if it is, on which day. My line is dis-
none, it will then search for any suitable FB, followed played in the example below and the two trips I
by suitable FC sequences that fit your criteria. If you would like to consider for trade are first the one on
want the search to only look for FO sequences, then the 10th and then the one on the 15th. To cover all
your bid would look something like this: the possibilities I could make multiple entries for
each day and each specific trip I wish to trade. If I
wanted to try to trade sequence 10027 on the 10th
Here the bid is a generic trade, dropping sequence for any day 7-12, I would need to make six separate
10101 on the 4th and looking to pick-up any 3D2P SEP entries. Alternately, if I wanted to try to trade
FO sequence between the 1st and 31st. If I had specified sequence 10126 on the 15th for this three-day
FB instead, then the programming will only look for between the 12 and 17th, I would need an additional
FB then FC sequences. If I specified FC, then only FC six SEP entries – 12 in all. (see below)
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
10027 10027 10126 10027
sequences would be considered. Most importantly, Or I could get by with just two Generic Bid
remember that if you are in such a bid status, leaving SEP entries:
it blank or no entry will allow the program to
search for any crew position you are qualified
for in this specified order: FO, FB, and then FC.
Okay, those are all the possible optional entries. I have made very narrow use of the optional
So what? Well, if you are not a senior line holder, you entries for the Generic Bid. Essentially, I have limited
know from experience that you have little way of my results to this one specific bid. The program will
knowing what will be available in Open Time take care of checking for all the proper legalities and
through SEP when the run gets down to your seniority. the RED/REDDER lights and will make the trade if the
Most likely, the trips you eyed before the run began sequence is available. The narrow departure and return
were picked-up and traded by pilots senior to you. windows, along with the AUS (continued on next page)
Winter 2004/2005 29 Flightline
C L A S S I F I E D S T A S C
layover specification probably was specific enough, At TASC we have learned that some pilots at
but I added the time limit just in case. American find these tools to be very powerful and
Here is another example. A senior SFO-based pilot are getting positive results from their SEP bids. We
who only wants to pick-up a turn during the month have also discovered that there is much confusion
to fill up to MMAX might use this one final example. and hesitation concerning what may result with
their employ. Hopefully, this article broadens your
knowledge sufficiently so that more of you will take
advantage of the tools available.
One last reminder…Posted Trips can only be
The first SEP bid is most narrow and asks for a Picked Up. You can never trade, use the Conflicted
pickup anytime during the month, out of SFO worth Bid, or use the Generic Bid to interact with a Posted
a minimum of 6.00 hours. This is followed by a Trip. Good luck and be sure and use the TTOT & SEP
broader search for any turn other than an Oakland help e-mails. If you have any comments or questions
departure (SFO or SJC) with no minimum time e-mail us at TTOT-HELP@ALLIEDPILOTS.ORG or
specified. Finally, if there is no success on either of SEP@ALLIEDPILOTS.ORG
the first two bids, include OAK (no city entry), but
with a minimum of 7.00 hours.
CLASSIFIED AD GUIDELINES
Flightline accepts classified advertising based on the I Minimum 20 words per ad; maximum 100 words I A 10% discount is available on classified ads that
following guidelines: per ad. No artwork or logos, please. run for three or more consecutive issues.
I Ads may be placed by APA members in good I APA reserves the right to refuse advertising deemed
I Ads will be accepted in typed format only. To ensure
standing and their spouses only. unsuitable for publication. No advertising will be accepted
complete accuracy, no handwritten ads, facsimile
on behalf of candidates for any APA elected office.
I Cost is $1.00 per word (“a,” “an,” “the” and transmissions or telephone dictation will be accepted.
telephone numbers each count as a word). Include a phone number where you can be reached I You may mail, fax or e-mail your typed ad copy; and
in case we have any questions. mail your check or money order to: David Dominy,
I Must be prepaid with check or money order, made Communications Coordinator; Allied Pilots Association;
payable to “Flightline Classified Ads.” Include APA I Due to U.S. Postal Service regulations governing 14600 Trinity Boulevard, Suite 500, Fort Worth,
member’s employee number on check for reference. non-profit organizations, we cannot accept any Texas 76155-2512; Fax 817.302.2249; E-mail
NOTE: APA waives the fees for all furloughed AA advertising relating to airlines, credit cards, insurance firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please contact
pilots for the duration of their time on furlough. or travel agencies. Mr. Dominy for renewals or changes to your ad.
For more information, call APA Communications at 817.302.2269 or 800.323.1470, ext. 2269.
1–2–3 AS SIMPLE A SYSTEM AS FOLLOWING 5% TO 15% NET, MONTHLY RETURNS WITH A HUGE OPPORTUNITY IN A HOT INDUSTRY!
A FLIGHT PLAN. You could be making $5K+ THE OPTIONEER SYSTEM. CONSISTENTLY! As a pilot with seniority, you have the time to
monthly potential in your free time. Working from Optioneer is a very clean, simple program that make a great income while not flying. Join The
anywhere. Learn how to market vacation-business teaches you to safely trade Index Options on Growth Coach, the fastest growing small-business
conferences. Secure your financial future today. 24 foreign and domestic markets. Simple and easy to coaching franchise in North America. Most small
hour info. 800.430.5983
learn, the Optioneer System lets you take control business owners are in need of a proven, strategic
1st CLASS LEASE AT COACH PRICES. of your investment portfolio. coaching process that helps them concentrate their
Nationwide service. Any make or model. New or • Earn remarkable and consistent returns, month efforts on high-return actions. That’s where The
used. Lease or refinance. Save money with your car, after month. Growth Coach comes in. Our business is perfectly
truck or airplane. Fellow AA pilots working with suited to your flight schedule and can be operated
• This is not day trading.
you to earn your trust. www.airlineautogroup.com
part-time or full-time. You set your hours. No coaching
888.655.3273. Call for your free, no hassle quote. • It takes only five minutes a day.
• The Optioneer staff is dedicated to your success, experience required. Training provided. Call today
25% SPRINT PCS DISCOUNT. AA employees! and provides unparalleled support and assistance. 888.292.7992 www.TheGrowthCoach.com
Sign up with Sprint and get a 25% monthly The Optioneer System simply works. Airline discount
discount. Plans start at $26.25 for 300 anytime AA BOS FURLOUGHED PILOT can provide you
20%. Testimonials available on request. Forty-five- with complete real estate services in the Seacoast/
minutes. Sign up for our most popular “2 Phones
Share Plan” and Sprint will bill you only $75 for day money back guarantee. Call 800.825.2502 Great Bay New Hampshire area, and — as part of a
2,000 “Shared” anytime minutes and two FREE or visit www.optioneer.com Optioneer Systems: national network — nationwide referral. As a Coldwell
phones. Sign a two-year agreement on any plan Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Return. For more info Banker Residential Brokerage sales associate,
and get free phones, unlimited PCS to PCS calling, e-mail Jeff@optioneer.com the services I can offer you include buying,
unlimited nights & weekends, and nationwide selling, relocation, insurance and mortgage.
10% DISCOUNT ALL FURLOUGHED,
long distance. Add up to four additional lines to Contact Shannon Curry at 800.581.7110 or
most plans for only $15 additional per month. UNEMPLOYED PILOTS. The flight surgeon,
Call the number below and Sprint will ship your Gabriel Fried, MD MPH. Full-time senior AME.
pre-activated phone overnight. Beverly Kerby – 13740 Midway Road, Ste. 610, Dallas, TX 75244. AA FURLOUGHEE NOW REALTOR...SHOCKER
your authorized Sprint representative Mobile 972.361.0155. By appointment, Monday – Friday My wife and I are Realtors and we specialize in the
888.987.7727 or Office 866.321.3307. 9AM – 4PM, work-ins available. DFW metroplex. If you’re moving to or relocating
Flightline 30 Winter 2004/2005
R E V I E W A Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s War Story
By Captain Chuck Gross (ret.)
(University of North Texas Press, www.unt.edu/untpress)
Rattler One-Seven puts you in the helicopter seat, to see the
MONTHLY PENSION FACTORS
war in Vietnam through the eyes of an inexperienced pilot as The following shows the interest discount rate for computing
he transforms himself into a seasoned combat veteran. lump-sum payments under the Fixed Income Plan (A Plan) and
When Chuck Gross left for Unit Value for the Variable Income Plan (B Plan).
Vietnam in 1970, he was a
FIXED INCOME PLAN (A PLAN)
nineteen-year-old Army heli-
Lump-Sum Interest Estimated Age 60
copter pilot fresh out of flight Rate For Retirements Lump-Sum Factor*
school. He spent his entire
8/1/04 5.42% 12.74
Vietnam tour with the 71st 9/1/04 5.41% 12.75
Assault Helicopter Company 10/1/04 5.22% 12.98
flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. 11/1/04 5.06% 13.18
Soon after the war he wrote 12/1/04 4.90% 13.38
down his adventures, while his 1/1/05 4.86% 13.43
memory was still fresh with VARIABLE INCOME PLAN (B PLAN)
the events. Adjusted Unit Value As Of
Rattler One-Seven (his call 5/31/04 $94.837
sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along 6/30/04 $96.874
with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset 7/31/04 $93.633
he had while in Vietnam. During his tour Gross flew Special 8/31/04 $93.633
Operations for the MACV-SOG, inserting secret teams into Laos. 9/30/04 $96.041
He notes that Americans were left behind alive in Laos, when 10/31/04 $97.986
B O O K
official policy at home stated that U.S. forces were never there. *The lump sum benefit from the Fixed Income Plan is determined by multiplying your annual
Rattler One-Seven will appeal to those interested in the lifetime annuity by a conversion factor. This conversion factor, shown above, varies by the
Vietnam War and to all armed forces, especially aviators, who applicable interest rate, which changes monthly, and by age at retirement.
have served for their country. It is the inaugural book in a new IMPORTANT NOTICE TO RETIREES RECEIVING MONTHLY ANNUITY UNDER THE B PLAN:
series called “The North Texas Military Biography and Memoir As of your April 1, 2004 payment, your monthly payments will be based on the December 31,
2003 Audited Unit Value of $92.707.
Series”. It was also picked by the Military Book Club as a
recommended read. (Note: We publish the new rates and factors in Flightline as they are received.)
Chuck Gross logged more than 1,200 hours of combat
flying and achieved Senior Aircraft Commander status. After 1997 PILOT STOCK OPTIONS
the war he became a commercial pilot and recently retired Activity since inception as of October 2004
from American Airlines as a 767/757 Captain. Gross is also an (Post SABRE Stock Split)
instructor in the martial arts and has published a self-defense
video course. He lives in Gallatin, Tennessee. Total number of pilots who have exercised some or all shares 9,775
Average exercise price $28.717
Average number of shares exercised 1,769
Average amount (per pilot) $19,676
IN MEMORY (NOTE: This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide advice
regarding the exercise of options under the program.)
We honor the following AA pilots and extend
deepest sympathies to their loved ones.
Ret. CA William T. Newkirk 08/13/04 Have you updated your personal
Ret. CA John “Jack” Myronuk 08/29/04
Ret. CA Robert P. Gormly 09/10/04 information with APA?
CA Eddie Valdez 09/18/04 Help us keep our APA membership database accurate. When you change your
Ret. CA Rodger Lochhead 09/24/04 address, phone number, e-mail address, etc., please advise us as soon as possible.
Ret. CA Richard G. Brown 09/28/04 (Changing your information with the Company is a separate procedure.)
Ret. CA Miles G. Burford 09/30/04 To update your information in the APA database, you may contact APA’s
Ret. CA Travis A. Hinson 10/06/04 database administrator via:
Ret. CA Thomas R. Urban 10/12/04 I E-MAIL email@example.com
Ret. CA Charles “Chuck” Wilson 10/17/04 I WEB SITE www.alliedpilots.org (click ”UPDATE MEMBER PROFILE”
on the Member’s Home Page.)
Ret. CA Walter J. Hawker 10/19/04
I PHONE 800.323.1470, ext. 2248
Ret. CA W. W. “Bill” Wing 11/07/04
FO Gregory D. Sten 11/07/04 I FAX 817.302.2119
Ret. CA Freeman “Irby” Cobb 11/19/04 I MAIL Attn: Database Administrator
APA, 14600 Trinity Blvd., Suite 500
Ret. CA Joseph “Milt” Coppage 11/19/04
Fort Worth, Texas 76155-2512
Flightline 34 Winter 2004/2005
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION
14600 Trinity Boulevard, Suite 500
PA I D
Fort Worth, TX 76155-2512
Permit No. 269
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED