As I sit in my St Matthews office, I hear the flight patterns of two Louisville airports.
Bowman Field, which is minimal, and SDF and the big birds taking off at the midnight hour.
Every 4 minutes, a UPS MD-11 or 747 flies overhead, off to their destination filled with cargo carriage.
My thoughts are not those of “its too loud” or normal complaints of residents in the flight pattern. No. My thoughts turn to “who is flying tonight” or “what are they carrying” or “how long have they been flying today”.
You see, once you know the life and times (pun intended) of a pilot, your perspective changes.
I can personally say I know these men and women and what they face each day.
Now, think that there are a few passenger flights mixed with the outgoing, coming in from all over, filled with travelers. I just happen to be in the outgoing flight pattern, so I get about half the traffic that is actually there.
You can search “flightaware” dot com and see who is in the air by carrier name, or which airport by name. It will show you the traffic on the skyway, not unlike the news will in the morning rush hour. It is a picture worse than any day in spaghetti junction tonight.
Now imagine you are on I-65 at rush hour morning traffic. It’s a mix of us, the commuters with kids or off to work. And in the other lanes are the semi-tractor trailers passing through, state to state, and the bus drivers carrying tourists along beside us.
So what if, the semi drivers are well rested per the DOT regulations for “over the road “ drivers, and of course, we are as commuters. Pretty safe conditions, right?
Because the DOT did not mandate that the tour bus driver rest for 8 hours in the day he has been working.
He’s traveled many miles, on little sleep.
He crosses the median. Runs that bus into head on into rush hour traffic.
And causes a major accident with numerous fatalities.
Who is to blame?
The driver for not resting and doing his job transporting his passengers, or the government officials who said he is exempt from rest because of what type of equipment he is driving and who is he carrying?
Do you care what he is driving if your family member is the one who died here?
I think not.
Well, for every one of the passenger planes that pass over Louisville, be assured that those pilots are “rested” per the FAA’s new rules.
And be also assured, that the aircraft carrying your parcels, passing by you in the air, over your home, and at the airport is being operated by someone the government said “did not have to rest “ like the others.
Feel safer now?
I think not.
But the businessmen who run UPS, FEDEX and other cargo carriers overlooked the safety to us, and took their quarterly net of $1.6 Billion dollars (UPS) , went to DC and made sure, via money power, that their airmen did not have to rest before flying like passenger pilots do.
Sound crazy? You are right, it is. But its big business, and until we, you, us, speak out to our statesmen, these same fatigued pilots will fly on the same airspace highways as you do, over and through our towns and its all unsafe.
The new legislation and mandates finally passed after a passenger plane, a small Embrarer regional plane, flight 3407, went down in a neighborhood, killing all 50 passengers, crew and the man living in the house it hit on impact in Buffalo NY.
The crew was exhausted, and made errors leading to the crash.
What’s to say it cant happen to just a cargo plane? Nothing.
So what can you do? Tell your government reps to recognize one level of safety procedures for all pilots, regardless of their cargo.
Be it parcels or persons, the end result of an accident are human casualties.
Feel safer now?