Thursday, October 22, 2009

Repo Man

Someone sent me this article about a guy who repossesses airplanes whose purchasers fail to make their payments.

It would be fun to fly a variety of different, fairly new, airplanes from a variety of locations, and the article points out that he mitigates his risk by always having a mechanic examine the airplane before he flies it. He doesn't just repossess the aircraft, but also sells them on behalf of the bank.

And when FAILblog (why yes, I am supposed to be updating airline applications) showed me the unfortunate abbreviation on this Women Take Flight hat, I had to find out more about the organization in question. It appears to have been a grant-funded research project involving giving flight instruction to women who had no interest in learning to fly. I think WTF is an appropriate description. I'd say WHY? but the answer is probably "to get research funding and publish a paper."

And this is about me and procrastination, too.


Jimmy said...

WTF indeed! I don't know your background in aviation, but if you were an instructor I'm sure you'll agree the hardest person to teach is one who doesn't want to learn. I can't imagine actively seeking students who don't want to fly. Crazy.

Its sad in a way too. They could've have trained some women who wanted to fly instead. I hope the data they get out offsets that...

Aaron Martin said...

Here is another article about aircraft repo men you might find interesting:

Dave Starr said...

You and I have exchanged some views on this type issue in the past. It's apparent to me that Canada is light years ahead of the US and most other aviation-important countries in the efforts to maintain interest in piloting careers. (for young men or young women).

And I can understand Jimmy's POV also.

Many may not realize that the extremely popular and still talked about W.A.S.P. program in the US WWII effort was not started until 1943, and every WASP displaced a male Service Pilot, some of whom had been flying for the US since the end of 1941.

So certainly one way to look at efforts like WASP or the WTF program today is that they are silly, "affirmative action" style wastes of time that do nothing to really support women, because they makes women appear as if they couldn't do it on their own.

Yet a contrarian view is, that especially in the US, the interest in piloting, especially for women is so abysmal that we need something to help "jump start" the process.

I'm not smart enough to know for sure, but I surely am not going to knock WTF at this stage of the game. Something along those lines is sorely needed.

Interesting piece in today's AvWeb:

The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance over the Pacific in 1937 is a familiar story, but outside of aviation circles, her other accomplishments are less well known. A new film that opens Friday, Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, explores Earhart's life as a pilot, leading up to that famous final flight. The Ninety-Nines, the women's pilot association that Earhart helped to launch, is holding events around the country to celebrate the opening of the film, in hopes that it will help spark interest in general aviation. Swank spent about 19 hours learning to fly after she agreed to take on the role and said last week that she hopes to complete her private pilot training. "It takes all of your senses; you're completely immersed," she said at a news conference last week in New Jersey, where she met with pilots from the Ninety-Nines and displayed one of the Lockheed Electras that flew in the film. "It was exciting to learn something new that really was challenging."

Notice how Hillary 'caught the bug' when she was completely inexperienced before she got into the cockpit as part of her job?

And she certainly had the money to pursue flight training ... she just never saw herself in the cockpit ... which is one of the things I believe WTF might be able to help. Or not ...

Aviatrix said...

every WASP displaced a male Service Pilot, some of whom had been flying for the US since the end of 1941.

I wouldn't say that the WASPs displaced male servicemen any more than Rosie the Riveter types displaced male factory workers. I suppose the WASPs forced the male service pilots into more dangerous flying jobs on the front lines, but from many war accounts I have read, men were eager to go.

Aviatrix said...

Does the US need more pilots?

SwL_Wildcat said...

Good article Aaron. Here is the link to the full article.

dpierce said...

I'd say the overall sentiment in the US is one of discouraging careers in aviation. Messages you hear a lot in the US:

- "Private airfields are being shutdown due to noise / traffic issues"

- "The USAF is moving toward an unmanned model; by the time you get old enough to be steeped in a career, they won't need many human pilots anymore"

- "Unlike the glorious past, today's commercial pilots are poorly paid and live hard lives"

- "Airplanes aren't green"

Messages such as the above weed out all but the die-hard enthusiasts.

Aviatrix said...

That jet repo guy is insane. He makes the other guy's job look like mine.

Sarah said...

Does the US need more pilots?

Depends on what you mean by us. Or need, I suppose. :)

The professional ranks are crowded worldwide, as you are well aware. This may not last forever - there are signs of a mass retirement in 5-10 years opening up the top airline spots.

Private flying is getting smaller, with mostly economic, but some social and environmental ( airport encroachment, 'green' sentiment ) pressures. There is a misperception that flying is for the very rich, and it's "too hard". (There's some truth in both.)

Without a healthy private group, GA will dry up and blow away. Then where will the next gen pros cut their teeth, or instruct, or build time flying smaller airplanes, or ...

I welcome any visibility a celebrity can bring aviation. Need or not, there's strength in numbers.

A Squared said...

Dave Starr wrote: Canada is light years ahead of the US and most other aviation-important countries in the efforts to maintain interest in piloting careers.

Why on earth would the US put any effort at all into developing interest in piloting careers? We ready have people tripping over each other and spending vast sums of money for a chance at a few jobs. Jobs that often pay poverty wages and have miserable work rules. By "Poverty" I mean the government definition of poverty not just hyperbole. The fact of the matter is that pilot employers are able to hire pilots for cheap and treat them poorly because of supply and demand. The supply of pilots far outstrips the demand for pilots. I'm a little unclear as to why, given that this is the situation, you seem to hold the view that the "US" (Not sure whether you're referring to the Federal Government or some other entity.) should be fostering interest in piloting carers. There is already far more interest than there are jobs.

Dave Starr said...

@ Aviatrix: A slight misinterpretation/misunderstanding of terms based on my comment regarding Service Pilots. Especially the word 'service'. It has sever meanings, several of which are contradictory in this discussion.

During World War II the US War Department (later the DoD) established a program that hired, as civilian government workers, "Service Pilots". These folks we, at the beginning, all male ... by government policy. They all also had to be expereinced pilots. Mnay transitioned for the CPTP which ended at the beginning of the war .. another whole chapter of history.

They were men who were not "fit" in some form or another to be active duty aviators for any branch of the armed services.

They performed functions that mainly included flight instruction, ferry flights of new or repaired aircraft, gunnery target towing, etc. within the CONUS and overseas. They wore a uniform but were not members of the military services. Under the Geneva Convention they were "non-combatants" and not allowed under US or International law to be employed in combat.

They were legally US federal civilian employees, if they existed today they would be a member of what we call the federal "excepted' service .. civil service employees sans federal career status .. temp employees so to speak.

In 1943, mainly through the efforts of several noted aviatrixes and first lady Elanor Roosevelt the Women's Air Force Service Pilots organization was formed.

Legally the WASP had the same status of their male predecssors .. non-military government employees. Also, there were nowhere near enough trained woman aviators in the US to make this a practical organization at the time, unlike the male Service Pilot program, ab into candidates were selected as well as experienced female aviators and the organization operated its own, independent training operation in Sweetwater Texas.

I stand by my assertion that very WASP essentially displaced a male Service Pilot. Recruitment of male Service Pilots ceased and remaining male Service Pilots were laid off starting in 1943, essentially with the first qualified WASPs coming online.

Bear in mind I am a supporter, not a denigration of programs like the WASP and the WTF which you seem to feel so negatively about, but the unvarnished truth is, both were social experiments.

Unlike the popular press viewpoint, WASP, creditable as their service was, did not "free up" male pilots for combat duty ... the overwhelming majority of the WASP's mission was already being accomplished by male noncombatant "service pilots"

Curt Sampson said...

Aviatrix asks, "Does the US need more pilots?"

In my opinion, without question, yes.

Now that's not to say the US needs more professional pilots, by which I mean those who intend to make a career out of it. We certainly appear to be oversupplied there.

But I believe that having more people who are pilots, or who have enough interest to at least study what being a pilot is all about (as in my case), would have a beneficial effect on society.

Having more pilots would increase the general population's knowledge of piloting, both through people learning directly how to be a pilot and people learning indirectly from their friends about piloting. This would not only reduce the amount of nonsense about aviation we see in the media, but also, I think, educate more people about risk management, which is an area where aviation (outside of the TSA) tends to excel over other areas of society (including many areas, such as "security" services, where you'd think they'd understand something about risk management), and which is a type of knowledge that I think US society is desperately in need of.