Saturday, July 11, 2009

Unqualified Immigrants Fixing American Planes?

I found this gem It has some relevant issues for OFWs from the Philipines .. especially those working in Aviation Maintenance ....

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Calls to investigate the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are growing after media outlets revealed that immigrants with inadequate certifications may be working on American airplanes. In many cases, according to reports, mechanics who don’t even speak English are replacing qualified American workers.

"We just have to bring them before Congress and ask them what they're doing,” said Texas Rep. Ted Poe of Houston. “I will ask Congressman Oberstar of the Aviation Committee to hold hearings with the FAA regarding this whole situation."

WFAA-TV in Dallas and Fort Worth exposed the problems with an investigation in early July. “Reporters found that aliens are being brought into the country so that they can be paid less than American workers,” the TV station noted on its website. The investigation also charged that the immigrants' experience and credentials may be in question. Quoting insiders, the station claims “the companies that are importing the mechanics are so eager to save money, they’re overstating their qualifications. The result may be a threat to safety, abetted by lax enforcement of immigration law.”

The foreign mechanics working at San Antonio International Airport were mostly here on temporary permits called TN visas, a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) designed to allow licensed professionals to work in other countries. Citing documents obtained from Mexican mechanics, the report found that many were not licensed anywhere, though they may have attended airplane repair school in Mexico. Other workers came from places like the Philippines, Chile, and a variety of other Asian and Latin American countries.

"The more experienced mechanics, we would get paired up with either one or two of these guys,” said a former mechanic with San Antonio Aerospace who was laid off. “They would watch us for a month or so. And that’s how they would get their training.” According to a former administrator, as soon as the American employees were let go, the foreign workers would arrive.

"They’ve employed over 200 since I left,” alleged Jada Williams, a former employee of Aircraft Workers Worldwide. The contracting company provided workers for companies owned by Singapore Technologies (ST) Aerospace, the largest aircraft repair company in the world. "And I know we had over a hundred when I was in there, just in Mobile,” she added, referring to Mobile Aerospace Engineering in Alabama, which like San Antonio Aerospace is controlled by ST Aerospace.

But Chye Kiat Ang, the president of the Singapore-based company, defended the firms’ actions. “They are as good as any American worker,” he said, explaining that between 10 percent and 15 percent of the employees were immigrants. “No one is working in a situation where they are forced to accept a lower wage,” Ang noted, adding that the company had found it difficult to recruit qualified Americans, who are required to be certified by an FAA-approved company.

The foreign workers also defended the companies. One of the Mexicans working at the San Antonio airport explained that mechanics in Mexico learn in English using English manuals. Another, Ruben Ramirez, said, “I can prove my skills with my documents.” The director of quality for San Antonio Aerospace added that the workers were very skilled and professional.

A spokesperson for the FAA, which is in charge of regulating the industry and frequently inspects the San Antonio facility, said the firm is not currently under investigation. But a former employee at the company alleges that before inspectors arrived they were given a one-hour warning. “A lot of guys who were not able to read English, they would hide those guys or send them home for the evening," he said.

Many of the foreign workers apply for Social Security numbers under their visas and stay longer than they are allowed to — sometimes forever. NAFTA has created a myriad of problems and hazards for the United States, and this is simply another example. NAFTA should be abolished so the United States can set its own responsible policies. And if it turns out that unqualified mechanics are really fixing our planes, there should be severe consequences for those responsible.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

‘Beyond crisis, Philippine Aviation Sector can grow’

WITHIN the next 10 to 20 years, there will be a demand for 100,000 pilots worldwide and more than 1 million in associated jobs such as aircraft mechanics and cabin crew to service between 35,000 and 40,000 aircraft.
The Philippines would be in a position to grab a bigger percentage of this work force if the government and the civilian-aviation sector would this early unite and plan a course of action that would ignite interest in aviation among the populace.
Avelino Zapanta, Zest Air CEO who is also lead organizer of the new group Aviation Society of the Philippines (ASP), disclosed this, saying “statistics have indicated” such a situation, in his opening remarks at the first conference of the group at the Air Force Museum in Villamor Air Base over the weekend.
Despite the gloomy economic outlook at present, airlines around the world have already given their orders for new aircraft to either Boeing and Airbus, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, Zapanta said.
“That’s why we have to rally those aviation institutions, like in education such as the Philippine Aviation Training Schools and others, because they need to expand,” he said, adding that local flying schools can hardly turn out 150 pilots a year.
“I don’t think we’re producing more than 150 pilots a year. We have to create more flying schools, and the government should dip its finger into it. They are the No. 1 beneficiary,” said Zapanta.
There is also a need to interest the public in the sector if the needed students are to be had, he added.
The president of ASP, Danilo Augusto Francia, concurrent manager of the Cebu-Mactan International Airport, said it is the duty of the new organization to help the government spread the virtues of modern aviation, noting the lack of local interest in this sector.
The guest speaker, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, said, “In the aviation industry, competition is the name of the game. We must avoid the pwede na [that’s good enough] mentality; many accidents have happened because of this attitude, and I think it’s time that the Philippines shed, throw away and consign perpetually to the dustbin that kind of attitude.”
He added the ASP can be a forum to espouse excellence in the aviation industry.
Zapanta’s estimate is in accord with the forecast of Boeing that there is a $3.2-trillion market for new commercial airplanes over the next 20 years, taking into account the industry’s near-term realities, including a global economic recession, declining passenger and cargo traffic and unpredictable fuel prices.
The Boeing 2009 Current Market Outlook released in London in June foresees a market for 29,000 new commercial passenger and freighter airplanes by 2028.
The rest of the aircraft requirement worldwide is supplied by Airbus of the European Union, and smaller aircraft manufacturers in China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The report, now on its 45th year of public release and widely regarded as the most comprehensive and respected analysis of the commercial aviation market, reflects the extremely dynamic situation the industry is facing today.
“While the commercial aviation industry is facing a significant downturn, it is cyclic and has a long history of declines and upturns,” said Randy Tinseth, Boeing vice president marketing. “Over the past 30 years, through both tough and good times, traffic growth has averaged more than 5 percent per year, demonstrating the resilience of the market. The long-term outlook points to the next 20 years as being a time in which we see fundamental underlying factors supporting a strong need for new airplanes.”
Boeing expects passenger traffic to grow at an average rate of 4.9 percent each year for the next 20 years. Demand globally remains strong for new, more efficient commercial airplanes in response to high fuel prices, aging fleets and environmental concerns.
Boeing predicts that airlines will grow by responding to their passengers’ preference for more flight choices, lower fares and direct access to a wider range of destinations. This means they will focus on offering more flights using more efficient airplanes, rather than on using significantly larger airplanes.

Phlippines DMIA posts 21% increase in passenger volume in 5 months

The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) continues to attract more passengers as the airport posted a 21-percent increase in international passenger volume in the first five months of 2009 despite the global downturn in the aviation industry caused by the economic slowdown.
Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano made the announcement during the eight leg of the 2009 DMIA Product Update held at the CAMP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center in Camp John Hay, Baguio City on Tuesday.
Luciano said that the DMIA posted a 21-percent increase in international passenger volume from the period January and May this year compared to the figures posted in 2008 in the same period.
Based on a report by the CIAC Corporate Planning Department, 251,719 international passengers passed through the DMIA from January to May this year compared to 208,858 in 2008 in the same period, or a difference of 42,861 passengers.
The report also showed a significant increase of passenger volume in the month of January alone by as much as 27 percent with 53, 068 compared to the 41,944 January 2008 figure proving that DMIA is one of the busiest airport in the country.
“I am happy to report to you that despite a 16-percent slump in the first five months of 2009 in the entire aviation industry in the Asia Pacific Region caused by the global economic recession and more recently the A (H1N1), the DMIA posted a 21-percent growth over the first five months of 2009,” Luciano told some 200 participants of the DMIA product update.
Luciano stressed that DMIA being the Premier International Gateway of the Philippines have remained strong and continues to attract passengers saying that “the CIAC Road Show is a big boost to the airport’s thrusts in the promotion of international flights especially in the North Luzon.”
“We are here to invite you, the leaders of the travel agencies, the hotel industry, the chambers of commerce, the Rotary Club and the Jaycees, among others, to come to and fly in and out of Clark,” Luciano stressed.
“People of Northern Luzon, Baguio and Central Luzon this is your airport, Clark is your airport.”
“We want Baguio to be the focal point of the growth of DMIA,” Luciano added.
The road show had covered the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and the Northern Luzon area such as Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and the summer capital of Baguio City in Benguet Province.
DMIA is hosts to foreign and local carriers such as Tiger Airways that flies via Clark-Singapore, Air Asia via Clark-Kuala Lumpur and Kotakinabalu, Asiana Airlines via Clark-Incheon in South Korea with connecting flights of the US, China and Japan. Local carrier Cebu Pacific Air also flies via Clark-Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and Bangkok, South East Asian Airlines (Seair) and Zest Air via Clark-Caticlan to the world famous Boracay Beach.

Philippines - Albay solon wants immediate probe on CAAP ‘militarization’

A legislator is seeking a congressional inquiry into the “militarization” of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) due to a big number of retired military officials and personnel allegedly hired as consultants by the agency.
In House Resolution 1181, Nacionalista Party Rep. Al Francis Bichara of Albay warned the country might not regain Category 1 status from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) if the CAAP could not address the organizational problem and “demoralization” among its rank and file.
The demoralization, Bichara said, jeopardizes efforts by the Philippine government to pass the FAA audit slated at the end of the year. “Confounding the situation is the hiring by the agency of several retired military personnel as consultants. This has resulted in demoralization of the CAAP employees,” Bichara said.

Bichara said the presence of several retired military personnel at the CAAP has created an impression that it is under “militarization.” He said the failure of the agency to approve the staffing pattern and plantilla positions has made it difficult for management to recruit and hire qualified technical civil-aviation personnel. “The delay in the approval of the staffing pattern and plantilla positions had caused widespread unrest at the agency,” Bichara said. “If CAAP management will fail to solve the problem, there is a strong possibility that it will not be able to comply with the proscription of the FAA for it to regain its Category 1 status,” he added.
Bichara said Republic Act 9497 establishes the CAAP principally to address the deficiencies of the Air Transportation Office, its predecessor.
Bichara said the main objective of the measure is to carry out the comprehensive reorganization of the aviation sector to include training of technical personnel, appointing inspectors and pilots, hiring new qualified officials and computerization of some departments, especially the documents pertaining to issuances or requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization

THE HOUSE of Representatives has been asked to probe retired military appointees in the newly created civil aviation authority in light of complaints among the regulator’s employees.
House Resolution (HR) 1181, filed by Albay Rep. Al Francis C. Bichara (2nd district), directed the committee on good government to probe the management and operation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
In a statement yesterday, Mr. Bichara said he sought the probe in response to a letter sent to the House on June 2 signed by 63 officials and employees from CAAP’s flight standards inspectorate service department.
CAAP officials were unavailable for comment.
"According to the complainants, CAAP chief and former Air Force Gen. Ruben Ciron brought along some of his trusted people, friends and military classmates to join him in the CAAP," he said in a separate telephone interview.

Monday, July 6, 2009

PROPOSED FAA REGULATION (NPRM)

No pilot or pilots, or person or persons acting on the direction, or suggestion, or supervision, of any pilot or pilots, may try, attempt to try, or make or make any attempt to try, to comprehend or understand, any or all, in whole or in part, of the herein mentioned Federal Aviation Regulations, except as authorized by the Administrator or an agent appointed by, or under the supervision of, the Administrator.
If any pilot, or group of associated pilots, becomes aware of, or realizes, or detects, or discovers, or finds, that he, or she, or they, are, or have been beginning to, or are about to, understand the Federal Aviation Regulations or any of its provisions, (he) (she) (they) must immediately, within three (3) days of such discovery or awareness notify, in writing, the Administrator.
Upon receipt of any such above notice of impending comprehension, the Administrator shall promptly cause said Federal Aviation Regulations to be rewritten in such a form and manner as to completely and totally eliminate any further possibility of comprehension by any pilot or pilots.
The Administrator may, at his or her option, require any pilot, or pilots, who commit(s), or attempt(s) to commit, or exhibit(s) any propensity to commit, the offense of understanding or comprehending the Federal Aviation Regulations, or any part thereof, to attend courses of remedial instruction in said Regulations, until such time as said pilot, or pilots, demonstrate that they are no longer capable of exhibiting any comprehension or understanding of anything.
The Administrator

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Philippines Airport Caticlan (Boracay) gets new Air Traffic Rules

Landings and takeoffs at the Philippines' Caticlan airport have been restricted pending the lengthening of its runway and the flattening of a hill that obstructs one of is approaches.

Aircraft can only use runway 06 for landing and runway 24 for taking off, says the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The move comes after a Xian Aircraft MA60 turboprop operated by Zest Airways overshot the runway while trying to land on runway 24. Nobody was hurt in the accident.

Jose Saplan, chief of the aircraft accidents investigations board at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, tells ATI there are plans to lengthen the runway by 100m and flatten the mountain obstructing runway 24.

He says the landing and takeoff restrictions will remain until the expansion project is complete.

The project has been tendered, but negotiations are still necessary with land owners who may be affected by the plan, he adds.

Caticlan airport sits across a narrow strait of water from the resort island of Boracay.

Sustainable Bio-Fuel Aviation Performs

The Boeing Company and a team from across the aviation industry just released high-level elements of a June 2009 study that shows that sustainable biofuels analyzed in a series of pioneering test flights performed favorably in comparison to petroleum-based fuel.

According to the study, Bio-SPK, a series of laboratory, ground and flight tests conducted between 2006 and 2009 indicated the test fuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based Jet A. The testing included several commercial airplane engine types using blends of up to 50 percent petroleum-based Jet A/Jet A-1 fuel and 50 percent sustainable biofuels.

This is the most AMAZING Demonstration of Radio Controlled Flying I have ever seen

You have to watch this, absolutely amazing ....
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