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Pilot Discusses NASA Repot on Air Safety
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Pilot Discusses NASA Repot on Air Safety

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Pilot Discusses NASA Repot on Air Safety
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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

For more on this story, we're joined by Joe D'eon. He is a commercial pilot and a sometime contributor to DAY TO DAY.

Joe, welcome back to the show.

Mr. JOE D'EON (Pilot): Thank you, Alex.

CHADWICK: The rules for speaking with you, we can't name your airline but we assure our listeners you do fly for a major airline and you blog about being a pilot.

Mr. D'EON: That's correct.

CHADWICK: All right. Let's talk about this particular survey we've just heard about. And indeed the whole idea of surveying pilots, because in fact NASA gets to hear from you pretty often, right?

Mr. D'EON: Well, that's true. There is an ongoing program of incident reporting that pilots participate in with NASA. And it goes like this. Say you're a pilot out there and you're flying a trip and you make an honest mistake, say you don't fly to the correct altitude at a certain time. You can submit a report to NASA and you can say here are the circumstances that resulted in me missing an altitude. And now that pilot is granted a certain amount of immunity from disciplinary action for having made that mistake. So it works in favor of the pilot and it works for NASA as well because they get good information. And pilots are happy to participate also because we do want things to be safer for us out there.

If pilots are not being trained well enough, if pilots are being hired with too low a qualification, if pilots are fatigued because they're flying too many hours, I definitely want the public to know because I want - I would want something to be done about that.

CHADWICK: But you don't want the public looking at the raw NASA reports, the results of interviews with pilots about incidents that may have happened.

Mr. D'EON: Well, there are a few concerns there. One is that that individual pilot, for example, may have the divulged enough information in that interview to identify him, even though his name might not be associated with it. He might be concerned that there might be disciplinary repercussions for him. So that's one concern. And the other concern that I have is that if the raw data are made public, that inexperienced people will take a look at that data and make incorrect conclusions about it.

CHADWICK: Joe, those are valid concerns. Still, doesn't the flying public come away - with the information that's come out in the last day - come away believing flying is more risky than the airlines have been letting on?

Mr. D'EON: If that is true, if it turns out that the public has been deceived, then I'm all for making this information public to rectify that. And to be honest, I don't even know whether or not that's a true statement. I don't even know. I know that my cockpit is safe. And I believe that I run a safe operation. But if there are disasters looming on the horizon that we could prevent, then I would be all for releasing this information.

CHADWICK: Joe D'eon is a commercial airline pilot and a contributor to DAY TO DAY. And he's working the holiday.

Joe, Happy New Year.

Mr. D'EON: Thank you very much, Alex. Happy New Year to you.

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