Release #12.39
August 9, 2012

Delta Air Lines Crew to Receive ALPA’s Superior Airmanship Award
Pilots Recognized for Safely Overcoming Low-Altitude Aircraft Control Problem

WASHINGTON―Delta Air Lines pilots Capt. Rodney DeWeese and First Officer Paul Skluzacek will be recognized by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), for their extraordinary skill in overcoming physically challenging control issues to successfully stop their aircraft from an uncommanded roll caused by a flight control system malfunction. The pilots will receive the Association’s Superior Airmanship Award on August 9 at ALPA’s 58th Air Safety Forum Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C.

“The safety of our passengers is our first priority as professional Delta and ALPA pilots,” said Captain Tim O’Malley, chairman of the Delta council of ALPA. “Capt. DeWeese and First Officer Skluzacek exemplify the high standards required and training accomplished to react appropriately and successfully in dangerous and time-critical circumstances. Every pilot is trained for events that we hope never happen, but no amount of training can prepare for every situation as this event demonstrates. That’s when professionalism and raw airmanship developed over a career can make the difference. The Delta MEC recognizes and thanks Capt. DeWeese and First Officer Skluzacek for their commitment to the safety of our passengers and heroic actions.”

On the night of October 4, 2010, Capt. Rodney DeWeese and First Officer Paul Skluzacek were operating Delta Flight 1152, bound from Honolulu to San Francisco. As the airplane took off and began to climb, Capt. DeWeese tried to roll out of a normal right turn, but couldn’t. One of several spoiler panels on the right wing, a panel that deflects upward from the wing to assist in making normal turns and stopping the aircraft after landing, had failed and was stuck fully in the fully extended position.

The airplane was rolling past 45 degrees of bank when Capt. DeWeese stopped the roll by using full left aileron and full left rudder. Using these extreme control inputs enabled Capt. DeWeese to level the wings, but the aircraft was buffeting and descending toward the ocean below. The pilots were able to stop the descent and got the heavy airplane climbing again. Leveling off at 3,000 feet, Capt. DeWeese and F/O Skluzacek discussed the best way to control the airplane for a return to Honolulu.

To reduce the rollout control problems, Capt. DeWeese flew the approach manually with 10 degrees of rudder trim and no aileron trim but differential thrust. At 1,000 feet above the runway, they set zero rudder trim to ensure a stable rollout on the runway. The landing was uneventful, and all passengers and crew arrived safely at Honolulu.

“On October 4, 2010, Capt. DeWeese and F/O Skluzacek demonstrated the consummate skill and extraordinary professionalism that characterizes all airline pilots and reaffirms the importance of the highest standards of training in all areas, including manual flying,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “I congratulate both pilots for setting a model of excellence for the airline piloting profession.”

Capt. DeWeese lives in Spearfish, South Dakota. F/O Skluzacek resides in Afton, Minn.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada.


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