Leadership From the Cockpit
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Robert A. “Bob” Hoover died Tuesday at the age of 94, a pioneer who paved the way for the future of aviation. Widely regarded as the “pilot’s pilot,” Hoover flew 58 missions during World War II before being shot down and spending 16 months as a prisoner of war. He escaped from the POW camp, stole a German FW-190, and flew back to Allied territory.
After the war, Hoover trained as a test pilot and was backup for Chuck Yeager during the testing of the Bell X-1’s push to break Mach 1. He later became an aerobatic pilot—first flying a P-51 Mustang and later his trademark Shrike Commander—thrilling millions over five decades with his flight maneuvers and “managed energy” routines, including single-engine and engine-out aerobatics. In his memory, ALPA pilots submitted their reflections and personal stories of the late Bob Hoover.
Capt. Paul Ryder, ALPA’s national resource coordinator, told the Alaska Dispatch News this week that there isn’t currently a lack of pilots in the United States, but rather an issue with airlines offering competitive pay.
ALPA pilot groups across the country received significant media attention this week after industry announcements were covered by the press.
In Atlanta, Delta Air Lines pilots sent a strong message to management with the opening of a strike center. Capt. John Malone, chairman of the Delta MEC, cautioned that “while we are fully committed and have dedicated all necessary resources to reach an agreement this summer, we are preparing for any eventuality allowed to us under the Railway Labor Act, including efforts from informational picketing to a legal strike.”
Meanwhile, in Hawaii, pilots and frontline employees at Hawaiian Airlines were awarded top honors by Skytrax for having the Best Airline Staff Service in North America this year. This award was particularly meaningful for these ALPA pilots, who are also nearing a possible strike after stalled negotiations.
Capt. Hoon Lee, chairman of the Hawaiian MEC, reiterated that, “This recognition is further proof of the value of frontline employees in the financial success of our airline. At a time when Hawaiian is experiencing historic success, there is no reason for management to continue to ignore the role that pilots play in ensuring that our airline continues to lead the industry.”
Visit www.alpa.org for further information on issues affecting today’s pilots.
On Friday, December 11, Wasaya Airways Flight 127 went missing north of Pickle Lake, Ontario. The Cessna 208 aircraft was operated by one pilot and was flying cargo out of Pickle Lake on its way to Wapekeka First Nation. Canadian Forces Search and Rescue teams reached the cargo aircraft late Friday night, and it is with great regret and sadness that the pilot was found unresponsive and could not be resuscitated. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire Wasaya pilot group.