Sleeping_manMany airlines do not provide sleeping quarters for their off-duty pilots, yet the pilots are expected to get the required amount of sleep in order to function during their next flight often in an away-from-home city.

Some pilots make as little at $17,000 a year and so are forced to sleep in cheap “crash pads” or in “crew rooms” where there isn’t even a bed or decent place to lay their heads.

Click here to view a slideshow from ABC News of some of the uncomfortable and/or unsanitary places pilots and crew-members are forced to sleep due to lack of funding and the airlines’ refusal to pay for decent accommodations for its employees.

Avantair airplaneAvantair locked its doors to employees June 26 and ceased all operations. Now, less than two months later, executives have also been locked out, this time by the courts.

Florida bankruptcy courts have allowed creditors to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy against the airline. Judge Catherine McEwen appointed a bankruptcy trustee to oversee the case and has granted the trustee’s motion to prohibit all access to the premises and cancel all access cards to the airline. The trustee filed the motion due to an inspection in which it was noted that offices and other areas had been emptied.

Avantair had until Aug. 6 to respond to the filing of bankruptcy but have asked for and been granted a week’s reprieve by Judge McEwen. A hearing, which was scheduled for Aug. 9, was also postponed until Aug. 16.

In filing for the reprieve, Avantair said it “has aggressively pursued and continues to aggressively pursue sources of financing and negotiations with potential plan sponsors. Although the company has not yet been able to reach a deal, these negotiations continue on a daily basis. Accordingly, the company is in need of additional time.”

Avantair continued, saying “[Avantair] is not operating and, if it is unable to develop a viable alternative to liquidation in the next week, it will likely consent to the Chapter 7 filing.”

In mid-July, Avantair announced its plans to move forward and resume flights in early August with a new name, “NewCo.” The plan never went forward due to owner resistance.

The plan would have required owners to pay a one-time fee of $25,000 that the company stated was necessary for repairs, as well as a 40 percent increase of management fees to be paid monthly. Owners have remained adamant that they will not provide the airline with any more funds and are seeking to get their airplanes back from the airline.

Aviation_CockpitWASHINGTON – The crash landing of a South Korean airliner in San Francisco has revived concerns that airline pilots get so little opportunity these days to fly without the aid of sophisticated automation that their stick-and-rudder skills are eroding.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, is a long way from reaching a conclusion as to its probable cause. While the focus of their investigation could still shift, information released by the board thus far appears to point to pilot error.

Read the complete story at the Associated Press.


In their final approach for union representation, the pilots of Avantair, Inc., successfully touched down on the SMART Transportation Division runway.

The Feb. 14 vote brought 224 Avantair pilots under the SMART umbrella. Among the pilots who participated in the representation election, 77 percent voted in favor of SMART.

“Our ability to represent transportation employees was one of the key factors in their choice of UTU/SMART,” said SMART Transportation Division Director of Organizing Rich Ross. “They had specific questions and wanted answers about union representation and we were able to accommodate their needs. Now we have to get down to business to get them a contract.”

“These pilots fly everywhere and anywhere at any time of the day. We set up a lot of conferences calls at all hours of the day in this campaign,” Ross said. “Some of these guys are working 80 hours a week.”

“I once again extend my sincere appreciation to International organizers James “Mike” Lewis and Calvin Studivant, and to International staff member Cara McGinty,” Ross said.

“I also want to thank the pilots’ group that initially approached us. They were the key to making this a successful campaign.”

Avantair is an aircraft fractional ownership company, headquartered at Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A.

With fractional jets, some customers may buy a share of a plane rather than an entire plane. Their fee is pro-rated and the cost of an aircraft is spread among a number of investors. They then have access to a plane for a specified number of hours or days per year on short notice.

The company operates of fleet of Piaggio Avanti P180 aircraft.

Your help is needed, as will be explained in the following article.

Imagine an election for Congress where the number of eligible voters NOT voting is added to the vote total of the candidate receiving the fewest actual votes, thereby making the election’s loser actually the winner.

As confusing and foolish as that sounds, it is precisely what some in Congress want to happen with airline and railroad union representation elections conducted by the National Mediation Board.

As one cannot assume that those NOT voting in a congressional election would have voted against the winner, Congress cannot assume that those NOT voting in a union-representation election would have voted against the union.

As the winner of congressional elections is determined by those actually voting, so should union representation elections be determined. Not to do so turns democratic principles on their head.

And this leads us to another election — an election on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives next week in which House lawmakers will consider legislation to tilt the scales against airline and railroad unions.

The bill, H.R. 658, has a provision specific to airline and railroad representation elections. It requires that the number of eligible voters who do NOT vote be considered to have voted AGAINST union representation. That’s union busting, pure and simple.

An amendment will be offered on the House floor to strip that provision from H.R. 658, assuring airline and railroad representation elections follow the same democratic process as elections for Congress, the White House, the local PTA, and virtually every other election in America.

UTU members and retirees can assist in gaining support for the amendment to H.R. 658 by contacting your representative and asking them to vote in favor of the amendment to H.R. 658.

To contact your House member, click on the following link, and then type in your address and zip code to receive the name and direct office phone number of your representative:

Here is some background on why the amendment should be adopted:

  • Foremost, the amendment has nothing to do with so-called “card check,” a process whereby unions would be deemed winners of a representation election solely based on signed application cards. Airline and railroad representation elections will continue to be conducted by secret ballot.
  • The amendment assures a 2010 decision by the NMB — to modernize its representation-vote procedures — will remain intact so that airline and railroad representation elections are conducted by the same democratic procedures as every other American election.

Why did the NMB modernize its representation election procedures in 2010?

  • To assure the democratic principle that elections be decided by those actually vote.
  • Because the 75-year-old previous procedure — to demonstrate to employers that their workers overwhelmingly preferred an independent labor union to a company union controlled by management — is no longer valid given that company unions are now unlawful.
  • Because the 75-year-old previous procedure — to guard against racial discrimination and better assure access to ballots by African-American workers — is no longer valid given the subsequent enactment of civil rights laws.
  • Because substantially improved reading comprehension skills and ubiquitous methods of communication now assure workers understand the meaning of a representation election. The majority participation requirement no longer is necessary to spur “spreading of the word” and education of workers as to the issues.
  • No longer is there a credible concern that a handful of Communist agitators might use intimidation to limit voting, control the outcome and then engage in militancy.

Changed times and circumstances require that airline and railroad representation elections follow the same democratic principles as congressional and all other elections. Passage of the amendment to H.R. 658 will assure this.

Again, to contact your House member and ask them to support the amendment to H.R. 658, click on the following link, and then type in your address and zip code to receive the name and direct office phone number of your U.S. House representative: