Vancouver Sun - BUY IT WEDNESDAY! SONIC BLUE SLAMMED......

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Vancouver Sun - BUY IT WEDNESDAY! SONIC BLUE SLAMMED......

Post by Vref plus 10 »

RUMOR HAS IT, THE VANCOUVER SUN IS GOING TO HAVE A SLAMMING ARTICILE FOR SONIC BLUE WEDNESDAY


(IF IT'S NOT IN, IT COULD BE THE DAY AFTER BUT IT WILL BE SOON)
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Shady McSly
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Post by Shady McSly »

they should do a story on the uselessness of TC too.
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classiv
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Post by classiv »

I really hope they bring public attention to the whole "Pay to work for Free" aspect to Sonic Blue.

And not just Sonic Blue, I hope they talk about the other airlines like CMA that pay their pilots wages on par with high school drop out fast food workers. In my opinion they're not much better.

The flying public deserves to know if the guy in whom they are placing their lives, and their family's lives, might be under stress or something because he can barely buy food. That is no exageration.

The flying public knows so little about the reality for pilots in this country, they really should know. When the flying public thinks about pilots, they think Air Canada Captain making 150 grand a year... they don't know about the remaining 90 percent that work for basically peanuts and who are totally taken advantage of by an industry that knows it can because if you won't do it, there are a 100 guys waiting outside the door who will.
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2low
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Post by 2low »

Well said man! Bulls eye.
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Post by Dust Devil »

classiv wrote: The flying public deserves to know if the guy in whom they are placing their lives, and their family's lives, might be under stress or something because he can barely buy food. That is no exageration.
Ya that'll do alot to promote aviation. The only person to blame for a starving pilot is the pilot themselves. No one put a gun to anyones head and told them to be a pilot or work for free.
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classiv
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Post by classiv »

There is some truth in what you're saying, but perhaps if joe public was aware of what goes on in the industry -99 percent of all non aviation people don't have the faintest clue- then the political will necessary to make real positive reforms in the industry might be able to become a reality.

Trying the hide the reality of the industry in the closet may help in the short term; the long term no.

"You can't fix what you don't acknowledge" -Dr. Phil
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Post by duplicate2 »

classiv wrote:then the political will necessary to make real positive reforms in the industry might be able to become a reality.
You still talking about low pay? Because I don't think the government is going to implement a new "pilots-only mimimum wage" that's higher than the rest. Especially not the Tories.
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1LostPilot
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Post by 1LostPilot »

I hope the following contributes to the whole debate...

Having spent the whole evening with a buddy tonight, I am able to give you the following information....

**Edited due to request of confidentiality**

Not the best, but some observations - F/O's are paid (it seems they have been getting paid *something* for a while, as are Captains...)

I will leave yourselves to judge the rest...
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Last edited by 1LostPilot on Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
ronnie up the road
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Post by ronnie up the road »

So you are saying they get paid approx. $800 -$1000 every two weeks????
Well if this is true, I know of F/O's making less then that flying large turbo props. Thats not that bad, What is the average salary right now for living in a fairly large city as an F/O on somthing turbine???????

Ron
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rd1331
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Post by rd1331 »

Sonic Blue FO, monthly, on average:
No that was monthly and that is a damn shame for those pilots who work there and bust there asses for that company. Especially when the boss drives to work in a beautiful loaded convertable mercedes. He is a bottom feeder.
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Sparks
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Post by Sparks »

Have just skimmed through the Sun online (have an electronic subscription) and can't see anything particularly strong in it with regard to the crash, at least nothing that's not already been published.

The only article I could see in today's (Wednesday's) copy is this syndicated piece from a Victoria paper, as below, although there may be a later edition?

Mods: I have no idea if this sort of wholesale quoting is permissable, so feel free to remove if necessary!
Fuel shortage not suspected as cause of Alberni air crash

BY LINDSAY KINES.
Victoria Times Colonist

VICTORIA I The plane that crashed at Port Alberni killing three people likely didn’t run out of gas, the Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

Regional manager Bill Yearwood said investigators have obtained documents showing the pilot took on sufficient fuel for the flight from Tofino to Vancouver.

The Cessna 208 Caravan also spilled fuel at the crash site, Yearwood said.

“So fuel exhaustion is not suspected at this time,” he said. Yearwood said investigators will examine the wreckage to see if anything blocked the flow of fuel to the engine, or whether something else may have caused the plane’s engine to lose power.

The board said earlier that the damage to the plane suggested the propeller wasn’t turning on impact, indicating a power failure. Pilot Edward Huggett’s request to make a “dead stick” landing at the Port Alberni airport also suggests the engine had stopped.

The plane never made it to the airport and crashed on a hill near the town Saturday, killing three people, including Huggett, Terry Douglas, 58, of St. Albert, Alta., and three-year-old Braeden Hale of Tofino. Braeden’s 17-month-old sister, MacKenzie, and 37-year-old mother, Marnie Helliwell, were injured in the crash, along with three other women, including Douglas’s wife, Jill.

The plane was owned by International Express Aircharter Ltd., which operates as Sonicblue Airways and Regency Express Flight Operations.

Yearwood said wreckage removal has gone well, and the aircraft should be in Vancouver by today. Transport Canada suspended the airline’s operating certificate Monday, citing a review of the company’s records and concerns about its ability to exercise operational control, including proper record-keeping and aircraft maintenance.
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Post by rigpiggy »

Here ya go


Former Sonicblue pilot says planes were 'atrocious'
Sonicblue accused of falling short on safety as probe of fatal Island crash gets underway

Lora Grindlay
CanWest News Service


Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A former pilot for Sonicblue Airways accused the company of not making safety a priority as the Transportation Safety Board investigated a plane crash near Port Alberni that killed three people on Saturday.

Shaun Crowe-Swords, 30, who now works for a Calgary-based corporate carrier, said Tuesday the planes he flew during the three years he worked for Sonicblue were in "atrocious" shape.

He says he quit the B.C. airline because safety did not appear to be a priority.

The plane that crashed Saturday was owned by International Express Aircharter Ltd., which operates as Sonicblue Airways and Regency Express Flight Operations.

"One of my last flights with them, I was flying a Piper Navajo, a small twin engine airplane that they operate," said Crowe-Swords from Las Vegas where he was working Tuesday.

"I was going to Port Alberni, I was flying the Canadian Coast Guard up there on a charter and the right engine had such a bad oil leak. The oil was leaking out onto the cowling and actually smoking."

The Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the plane that crashed on the weekend likely didn't run out of gas.

Regional manager Bill Yearwood said investigators have obtained documents showing the pilot took on sufficient fuel for the flight from Tofino to Vancouver.

The Cessna 208 Caravan also spilled fuel at the crash site, Yearwood said.

"So fuel exhaustion is not suspected at this time," he said.

Yearwood said investigators will examine the wreckage to see if anything blocked the flow of fuel to the engine, or whether something else may have caused the plane's engine to lose power.

The board said earlier that the damage to the plane suggested the propeller wasn't turning on impact, indicating a power failure.

Pilot Edward Huggett's request to make a "dead stick" landing at the Port Alberni airport also suggests the engine had stopped.

The plane never made it to the airport and crashed on a hill near the town Saturday, killing three people, including Huggett, Terry Douglas, 58, of St. Albert, Alta., and three-year-old boy Braeden Hale of Tofino. Braeden's 17-month-old sister, MacKenzie, and 37-year-old mother, Marnie Helliwell, were injured in the crash, along with three other women, including Douglas's wife, Jill.

Sonicblue Airways operations manager Nikolas Chapman responded to allegations by saying his company runs a safe operation.

Company owner Ranjit Gill of Surrey couldn't be reached for comment.

Transport Canada suspended International Express Aircharter's air operator certificate on Monday.

Crowe-Swords said current and former employees have long discussed maintenance problems at the company.

"You get on an airline, you think it's going to be regulated and safe . . . this accident was just a ticking time bomb. When I quit there, I quit because I [feared] that they would kill somebody."

Manitoba's Justin Peterson, 25, laid a complaint last year with Federal Labour Program. Peterson said he worked as a co-pilot for the company but never got paid.

"They tell you you are part of an airline transition program and if you want to build time you can act as a co-pilot on their planes," said Peterson Tuesday.

But before flying with the company you have to pay $5,000 to the company as a training fee, said Peterson.

"They were trying to call it training but meanwhile you are flying passengers around the province and they weren't paying anything," said Peterson.

An official with the Labour Program investigated his claims and determined that the company was in contravention of Canada's Labour Code. It was found that Peterson was an employee and was entitled to a wage.

Peterson, who is now a captain with Manitoba Air Ambulance, was eventually paid almost $5,000 for back wages and the company changed its policy.

He also had concerns about the company's maintenance and said they rely heavily on apprentice aircraft mechanics.

Peterson, who was friends with Huggett, phoned Transport Canada numerous times to report infractions.

"We've had gear failures, to flap failures, to turbo charger failures in engines. This is all while in flight. I've had to return to Vancouver on more than one occasion," he said.

-- With files from Lindsay Kines
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Post by Disco Stu »

Atta boy Shaun!

If you are reading this, and I know you are, email me if your address changed.
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Post by sky's the limit »

I'm glad people are speaking out, I'm sad it has taken this to do it, and I'm confused as to how you work for an outfit like this for three years before quitting.

Class IV

You make some good points - but please don't quote that fraud Dr.Phil... He's to therepy what Sonic Blue is to aviation.

The other points about Commuter Turboprop F/O's at places like CMA making $22,000/yr are part in parcel of the same issue. While no-one is suggesting CMA"s mntc is poor - the pay is appaling, and no better than the Sonic Blue situation. Capt's starting at $40?? Are you kidding me? Responsible for 19 people, and they're paying $40... But just think, they'll get on at WJ sooner or later - then they'll get $38....

My company flies me around on WJ frequently, and I usualy let the people beside me know what the starting wages are for their Flight Crew - lets just say the reaction isn't positive.

STL

And a quick footnote on exploitation. The people who are being exploited are often too embarrassed, naive and desparate to either admit it, or take any steps to remove themselves from it.
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Say Altitude
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Post by Say Altitude »

So let's just for a minute suggest that F/O's get a starting salary of around $40k and Capt's $70 - double the CMA's of the world are paying now.

Just how long exactly will the company last using those economics? Not very.

I laugh at all the people who post suggesting that it's the owner's fault for these wages, that they are "out to screw" the employees. Give me a friggin break. Where do you think those wages then get passed on to? How do companies recoop these costs??

The passenger - via increased fares. And how long will it be before the passenger decides that the fares are too high and won't fly? Again, not very.

So before you spout off on how terrible the pay is, let's remember who really drives this program: the passenger. I'm sure you'd find MANY operators who'd be happy to pay their employees more a) if they could afford to and b) if they'd stick around instead of chasing iron.

At the end of the day, everyone has a choice. You don't have to accept the salary, and you don't have to be a pilot. There are many other occupations out there that pay way more. It's all about choice.

Flame away.
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Post by sky's the limit »

Say Alt,

You are partially right. Partially.

We DO have a choice, in that, you are correct. In rotary, any pilot with 1000hrs or more, pretty much won't go to work for less than $300/day. Less than that? We walk away. As an employer, if you want to employ a good, compentent, and safe pilot, you pay for it. The wages go up from there.

Now, where you are wrong, is in saying the passengers dictate the prices and payscales - they do not. As an operator, you have a product to sell, YOU set the price. They problem is, operators are not setting a high enough price, because they're offering too much product. If the seats aren't there to be sold, DON'T SELL THEM at rock bottom prices. It's quite simple really.

If the prices rise, some people will not fly, you are right. We are trying to create markets by LOWERING prices to attract people to the product - it's crazy. If I have an airplane that costs $1000/hr to operate, why would I bother taking it out of the hanger for less than $1500-2000/hr??? I've worked for a couple outfits over the years in both FW and Rotary, who refuse to sell their machines at a rate less than double the direct operating cost per hour - and you know what? They both had the best machines, and the best pay I have experienced.

We in the helicopter industry are always talking about "customer re-education." Getting them to realize just what the machine can legaly do - not what it can actually do, because that's how accidents happen, you push one time to many... The same goes for rates. I'm not saying things are perfect in rotary - they are not, but rotary pilots complain about flying around for $300-$500/day, saying it's too little, FW pilots complain about making $50-$200/day.... or by the sounds of it, less.

My point I guess, is that we don't need all the planes and all the pilots was have now - the market is saturated with both. The paying customer, ie. the travelling public, needs a serious re-education. And you're right, in that we have no one to blame but ourselves.

STL

It's the Walmart Complex, people trained to believe they are entitled to anything and everything. But you have to remember that products sold at rock-bottom prices COST someone - the sweatshop worker in Vietnam, or you the Airline/Charter/Commuter pilot.
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CAL
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Post by CAL »

This is an interesting post that has been born out of a tragedy, our thoughts are with the family, and unfortunately as I have read somewhere else in here it will likely fade away but lets hope not.

Hate to rant and its long but:

Regardless of who you are or what you do, one cant argue that typically speaking on an average, pilots outside of the larger carriers don’t get paid that well (except some corporate). I am sure some captains are going to argue but on an average it’s not where it should be versus the level of responsibility, cost of training, government standardization and licensing, and the deadly repercussions if something should go wrong. This culture of underpaying a profession at this level carries other negativities with it that often spill into other areas that create 'Sonic Blues' etc.

I agree that 'we' the pilots do it to ourselves by saying yes, I will take your s--t money because I want to fly.....but in a Country where without the type of aviation I am talking about didn’t exist so many would have 'no choice at all' (remote business projects/air ambulance/native reserves to say a few) wouldn't you think that maybe the government/labour boards/TC would want to ensure that the people that fly them are ok? The company makes a mint off the medevac and it comes outta the pocket of the guy who moves it after his crap salary and 14 hour day. To say that companies would like to pay more but don’t because the pilot is just going to 'chase iron' isn’t really true in most cases, although I see your point. I think in most cases you leave a company because you get paid more elsewhere...its not that often that you have a choice between an airbus and a Navajo. Owners don’t want to pay themselves less, trust me.

Lets face it pilot salaries, working conditions, terms of employment etc. have not moved in relation to the increase in cost of living and that has happened in other industries but typically in other industries you are starting on a much higher number. Its too easy to just blame the pilot....there is much more to this problem, and it is a problem.

I hate to say it but unions were invented initially for this very reason, is that the answer? If governments don’t want to get involved in a free market problem then unions will.....just have to find a way to get ourselves one....there is something very wrong with a huge section of the industry.

Welcome aboard.
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Post by ivanhoe »

. But just think, they'll get on at WJ sooner or later - then they'll get $38....

My company flies me around on WJ frequently, and I usualy let the people beside me know what the starting wages are for their Flight Crew - lets just say the reaction isn't positive.

First off , 38k is incorrect. Secondly , I'm sure you also point out the various stock and option programs that WestJet offers to its pilots resulting in a salary substantially higher. You should be ashamed at your conduct in slagging the carrier you are flying on to fellow passengers.

You call yourself a professional?
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Post by cyyz »

A former pilot for Sonicblue Airways accused the company of not making safety a priority as the Transportation Safety Board investigated a plane crash near Port Alberni that killed three people on Saturday.

Shaun Crowe-Swords, 30, who now works for a Calgary-based corporate carrier, said Tuesday the planes he flew during the three years he worked for Sonicblue were in "atrocious" shape.

He says he quit the B.C. airline because safety did not appear to be a priority.

Crowe-Swords said current and former employees have long discussed maintenance problems at the company.

"You get on an airline, you think it's going to be regulated and safe . . . this accident was just a ticking time bomb. When I quit there, I quit because I [feared] that they would kill somebody."

Manitoba's Justin Peterson, 25, laid a complaint last year with Federal Labour Program. Peterson said he worked as a co-pilot for the company but never got paid.
Ahhh, Just as good ol' CID pointed out the penny pinchers were "brave" enough to tell the labour board they weren't getting paid...

They talked about it at the water cooler how they're flying unsafe planes...

They even flew them long enough to step up to the next level, and once the plane did crash, they come out of the wood work..

I think it's time for TC to revoke some ATPLs for these guys, since they "knew" they were flying unsafe aircrafts... And did shit all except after the fact and wanted to get their names into the paper....
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Post by otis-dad »

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