Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What happens if...?

Back in late 2007, I wrote this post and this post when A had some serious mechanical problems in the air. It has continued to bother me that I STILL don't know what the procedures are for family notification in the event of a flight emergency. It's a huge component of my (nearly silent, blog complaining) campaign for airlines to recognize the importance of family communication and the impact of family stress on the lives and abilities of pilots. Quite simply, as in any other career, if you are distracted by family issues your head might not be completely focused on the task at hand. And as we all know, distracted pilots can have deadly consequences. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Would it be so hard to put out a brochure or informational email/flyer detailing emergency procedures? Does it need to be top secret info? Is management hiding its head in the sand and pretending it could never happen to them? I've also decided that Airline Pilot, the fabulous (insert sarcasm if needed) magazine put out by ALPA (our pilot union) should have a monthly column for family matters. I can think of all kinds of info for spouses they could write about.

With all that in mind, I am very excited that in June, we'll be making a trip to Houston so that I can attend the Family Assistance Training being put on by the airline. This is the first step to becoming eligible to assist family members in the event of an airline crisis. I'm looking forward to this training very much. Hopefully this will not only give me an opportunity to find out more about the process and push for more communications but also (sadly) to share what I have learned through the last 18 months with others in the same situation. This may give me the opening to discuss with the company my feelings on the need for a more streamlined process for LTD. What we went through was convoluted, difficult to follow and ultimately much more difficult and confusing that it needed to be. I'd also like to bring it up to the union LTD comittee, whom we haven't heard from in months.

Something else that mystifies me- I've been blogging for more than 18 months now about A's cancer and disability. And I have yet to meet another pilot on LTD for illness. That's 18 months of no one to bounce ideas off of or compare notes with. 18 months with no one else who understands and supports my desire for advocacy in the process. Surely there is SOMEONE out there who has made it to the other side.

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