Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sea King makes emergency landing at Victoria airport

A Sea King helicopter from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron made an emergency landing at the Victoria International Airport Tuesday, Dec. 2 following an unscheduled water landing.

Major Dale Arndt, operations officer for the squadron, says they are hosting a Sea King operations unit from the east coast this week and next and the incident occurred during a training sortie south of Victoria.

“A student pilot in training inadvertently conducted a water landing in our operational area south of Victoria,” he explained.

While the aircraft are designed to land in and take off from water, Arndt said this landing was not part of the training plan at the time.

The helicopter took off from the water, Arndt continued and the instructor ended the training session and declared an emergency. The Sea King flew back to the Victoria airport and landed without further incident.

Arndt added no one was injured and the aircraft was not damaged.

Arndt said the squadron’s Sea Kings, while designed to land in water, are more than 50 years old. They do not regularly perform this type of landing, he continued, as sea water has an impact on the aircraft.

Flights are suspended for the rest of the day but training was expected to resume this week.

Arndt said there will be an investigation into what happened on that flight, looking into the causes — both from  aircraft and human angles.


Human Skull Found In Business Near Oakland International Airport (KOAK)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A human skull was found in a business near the Oakland International Airport, police said Wednesday, the second human skull found in less than a week in the Bay Area.

Officers who responded to a report of a human skull that was discovered at a business on 98th Avenue near Doolittle Drive at 10:42 a.m.  Tuesday secured the skull and notified the Alameda County coroner’s bureau, police said.

The coroner’s bureau took custody of the skull to initiate their portion of the investigation and homicide investigators have been called in, according to police.

A spokeswoman at Pacific Panels Inc. at 74 98th Ave. said company officials have been told by Oakland police not to comment on the discovery of the skull on their premises.

The company manufactures aluminum honeycomb panels for commercial applications.

Oakland police said their investigation into the matter is ongoing and anybody with information should call their homicide section at (510) 238-3821 or the tip line at (510) 238-7950.

A skull was found by a dog in rural Lake County Friday.

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Black Hawk down and safe in precautionary landing in field near Jim Hamilton - L.B. Owens Airport (KCUB), Columbia, South Carolina

A South Carolina Army National Guard helicopter on a routine training mission landed in an open field off I-77 around 4:18 p.m. Wednesday in what is being called a “precautionary landing.”

The UH-60 Black Hawk chopper is assigned to the 1-111th General Aviation Support Battalion, Maj. Cindi King of the S.C. National Guard said.

The three crew members on board at the time of the landing are safe, she said.

The field is just off Bluff Road, near Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.

Emergency crews from Cayce were dispatched to the scene, said Lt. Jeff Simmons of the Cayce Department of Public Safety. Cayce annexed that portion of Richland County south of downtown Columbia several years ago.

The cause of the emergency landing is under investigation, King said.

The field is not far from the Jim Hamilton - L.B. Owens Airport, Columbia’s municipal airport near the Rosewood neighborhood.


Glasair Aviation Glastar, N265EP: Accident occurred December 03, 2014 at Firstair Field Airport (W16), Monroe, Washington

NTSB Identification: WPR15CA053  
4 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 03, 2014 in Monroe, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2015
Aircraft: STAFFORD WAYNE H GLASTAR, registration: N265EP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the airplane landed on centerline, immediately pulled to the left, and quickly left the runway. It continued until encountering a swampy area at which time the nose wheel dug in, and the airplane nosed over. The left wing strut and wing sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion and encounter with terrain.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. —  A plane crashed Wednesday afternoon in Monroe, Washington.

The crash occurred near 13812 179th Avenue SE in Snohomish County.

There were no injuries as a result of the crash, according to officials. One person was in the plane.

An investigation into the cause of the plane crash is underway.

Allen Kenitzer, with the FAA, said the airplane, a Glasair, crashed at the Monroe Airport at around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon.

Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating the crash, with the NTSB as lead agency, according to Kenitzer.

A pilot was uninjured after a small plane flipped at the end of a Monroe airfield runway Wednesday afternoon.

The plane crashed at Firstair Field, a privately owned airfield, according to Monroe Fire District 3.

Monroe police officers are at the scene.

Red-tailed hawk injured in collision at Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK) released (with video)

RINGWOOD – The red-tailed hawk swooped up from Beth Gunderson's arm but didn't go far.

It hopped from tree to tree, branch to branch, likely figuring out where it was and with a mouse for breakfast, in no great hurry to move on.

The hawk was on its own for the first time since colliding with an airplane at the Lake in the Hills Airport on Aug. 26, McHenry County Conservation District spokeswoman Wendy Kummerer said.

About 11,000 collisions involving animals were reported at 650 airports in 2013, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The vast majority of these involved birds.

The district's Wildlife Resource Center had cared for the bird while it healed from a fractured left wing and injured toes, and after a 14-week recovery period, the staff confirmed that it could hunt on its own and was ready to be released into Glacial Park.

The hawk — an immature male born this past spring but no longer reliant on its parents — isn't likely to stay in the park because other hawks live in there, Wildlife Resource Center Manager Sara Denham said.

"He's out where he should be so that's a good thing," she said.

"We're always happy when they can go back to the wild," said Beth Gunderson, Wildlife Resource Center specialist.

The Wildlife Resource Center, which is near Wonder Lake, runs a very small rehabilitation program, emphasizing species of conservation concern and sometimes birds since permits to work with birds aren't as common among rehabilitators, Gunderson said.
The staff also works a lot with turtles, in particular Blanding's turtle, an endangered species in Illinois.

The Wildlife Resource Center applied last month for a $2,500 grant that would cover the installation of a secure outdoor enclosure for its Blanding's turtle head-starting program.
The conservation district began the program in 1993, collecting and incubating eggs and then raising the hatchlings before releasing them in an effort to increase their numbers, according to district documents.

Aside from turtles and permanently injured birds, the staff is also caring for a bluebird with a broken wing.

"It would be ideal if we never saw an injured animal," Denham said. "We would much rather they be out where they belong."

To keep the number of injured animals down, Denham and Gunderson recommended property owners keep their cats indoors, make sure there aren't holes in their roofs and don't feed wild animals.

More tips are available on the McHenry County Conservation District's website,, and questions on what do about an animal that is suspected to be injured can be directed to the Wildlife Resource Center at 815-728-8307.

Story, photo gallery and video:

(Sarah Nader) 
A red-tailed hawk flies to a nearby tree after being released at Glacial Park in Ringwood Wednesday, December 3, 2014. The hawk was recovering from a fractured left wing and injured toes after colliding with an airplane at the Lake in the Hills Airport in August. The hawk was born in the spring and so hasn't grown its red feathers yet.

Carol's Airport Cafe to close at Floyd Bennett Memorial (KGFL), Glens Falls, New York

Sandi Bapp works as a waitress on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, at Carol's Airport Cafe in the Warren County airport in Queensbury. Bapp has worked at the Airport Cafe for five years and will continue to work at the cafe's new location in Hudson Falls.
-Megan Farmer

QUEENSBURY -- Warren County airport will be without a restaurant in the coming months because the proprietor of Carol’s Airport Cafe has chosen to close her eatery as the airport’s operator prepares to build a new one.

Carol Twiss will close the airport eatery on Sunday and re-open her restaurant on Wednesday in the former Fish Fry Cafe location on Main Street in Hudson Falls.

That will leave the airport without a restaurant until at least the middle of next year as the airport’s fixed base operator, Rich Air, run by developer Rich Schermerhorn, goes forward with construction of a new eatery on the Warren County-owned property.

Schermerhorn said he hopes the new, expanded restaurant would be open by mid-summer.

“We were really hoping she (Twiss) would be the one to take it over,” Schermerhorn said.

He said construction will start on the new restaurant in the coming weeks, and he hopes it will open mid-summer next year. Until then, the airport will have food service.

Twiss said a number of factors played into the decision to move.

She said Schermerhorn didn’t want the new eatery to serve breakfast, that he planned to put operations at the new restaurant “up for bid” and that he wanted the new restaurant to serve alcohol.

Carol’s Airport Cafe is renowned for its breakfasts and does not have a liquor license.

“I’m 70 years old. I didn’t need to apply for a liquor license,” she said.

Schermerhorn said he planned to have the new eatery run as a “full-service” restaurant, where patrons may want a drink with their meal, and that Twiss was given the right of first refusal to run it.

Twiss’ departure concerned some Warren County supervisors, who worried that the restaurant was a popular spot for breakfast and with recreational pilots who fly there specifically to eat at the cafe.

It could hurt the county’s revenue if fewer pilots are flying in, they said.

“She had really garnered a lot of loyal customers. Everyone at the airport is sad to see her go,” Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott said.

Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe said he hoped the new restaurant would serve breakfast.

Queensbury resident Travis Whitehead questioned the wisdom of selling alcohol at a county-owned airport. But airport manager Ross Dubarry pointed out it’s common for small airports like Warren County’s to have a restaurant that serves alcohol.

While the new eatery is being built, Schermerhorn said the old restaurant next to the terminal that Twiss is leaving will be converted to office space over the winter.

The county will have to rework its contact with Rich Air in light of the changes to restaurant use, county Attorney Martin Auffredou said.


A sign for Carol's Airport Cafe is shown on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, at the Warren County airport in Queensbury. The cafe will be relocating next week to Hudson Falls. -Megan Farmer

Prosecutors Waiting For Report: Macedonian Police Mi-17V, MAP-7712, accident occurred July 10, 2014 in Eastern Macedonia

After almost five months since the crash in Strumica, when four pilots lost their lives, the Inter-sector committee, formed to investigate the reasons for the fall of the helicopter, has not completed and submitted the report, reads

Inter-sector Committee formed to investigate the helicopter crash is still preparing the report that refers to all pre-investigation actions taken in relation to define the details of the death of four MOI pilots killed in the helicopter crash in Strumica. After almost five months of the accident the relevant authorities have no answer for the reasons why it happened.

Prosecution say they still have not received the report upon which the public prosecutor of Strumica will have to decide on the further course of the procedure.

“Competent prosecutor is undertaking investigation and collecting the necessary facts and evidence for the case. The Report from Commission for investigating aviation accidents is expected. Based on its analysis public prosecutor's decision on the ongoing process will be made”, reads the response of the prosecution.

The report should include an analysis of the executed expert evidence, that the investigating authorities have collected for about ten days at the location of the accident.

The Sector of Internal Affairs-Strumica informs that all documentation related to the experts’ work performed with respect to the investigation of the accident, is being sent to them, but they are immediately forwarding it to the competent prosecutor. They claim they are just the link between the investigating authorities and the prosecution.

Five months ago the Prosecutors announced that according to the sales contract for the aircraft black boxes will listened to in the Russian aviation administration in the Interstate Aviation Committee in Moscow.

The recorded conversation of controllers in the Air Traffic Control and the pilots, as well as the black box of the aircraft should reveal what pilots in the cockpit talked about before the accident, and whether there were any problems with the plane.

Pilots Dragi Micev Marjan Trajkovic, Tode Oreskov and Ilija Lopaticki were the top staff of the helicopter’s unit. They were experienced pilots with countless hours of realized flights in different conditions and in different actions.

The accident happened on July 10 around 10 p.m. near Strumica.

Pilots performed night flight simulator flight and the helicopter they operated hit an aerial pillar of the Macedonian Broadcasting Company, 120 meters tall.

Helicopter "MI 17-V5" was owned by the Macedonian Ministry of Interior. It was on a flight route Skopje - Kavadarci - Valandovo - Strumica Berovo - Delcevo and back. It was regularly serviced and during the flight during which night vision gadgets were used the pilots did not complain of any problems.

Immediately after the accident Commission for investigation of the crash of the police helicopter composed of experts from different fields was formed in order to ascertain the reasons for the same.

Eleven member Commission led by the Public Prosecutor, is composed of experts from the Ministry of Interior, MOI Branch of Strumica, criminal technique and the helicopter unit. According to the legislation, there is no specific deadline for submission of the report. Prosecution informed that pursuant to the Criminal Procedure they are not tied with deadlines to submit the report.

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Pilots sue Buffett's NetJets over labor, privacy

Dec 3 (Reuters) - A group representing more than 2,700 pilots in contentious contract talks with NetJets Inc has sued the luxury aviation unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc over alleged violations of federal labor and privacy laws.

The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots accused NetJets of impersonating a pilot on Twitter, baiting pilots to conduct work slowdowns, even as the company threatened to fire pilots who did. It also accused NetJets of publishing photos of pilots engaged in lawful picketing.

NetJets was also accused of illegally infiltrating a password-protected, confidential message board for pilots.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Columbus Ohio seeks a halt to the alleged improper conduct, which it said violated the federal Railway Labor Act and Stored Communications Act, plus compensatory and punitive damages.

NetJets did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company specializes in "fractional" aircraft ownership, which lets individuals and companies buy shares of private jets.

This allows executives like Buffett, the world's third-richest person, to travel on short notice, with greater privacy than on commercial aircraft.

Tuesday's lawsuit was filed roughly 1-1/2 years after talks began on a new labor agreement for the pilots.

While NetJets has returned to profitability after a $711 million loss in 2009, and is expanding in markets such as China, it has said it must be better prepared for economic slowdowns.

It has said it wants to reduce its budget by 5 percent, obtain benefits concessions, and have at least 200 crew members voluntarily give up their jobs. (

Pedro Leroux, president of the NetJets pilots group, said the alleged conduct underlying the lawsuit was a means to extract concessions from pilots. The group said both sides are "far apart" in negotiations.

"NetJets is trying to destroy the union and to force pilots to give in to their concessionary demands, two things that will never happen," Leroux said in a statement.

The company has operations in Columbus. Berkshire is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

The case is NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots v. NetJets Aviation Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, No. 14-02487. 

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Brazilian disabled woman crawls up to aircraft, airline fined

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 3 (IANS/EFE): Brazilian aviation authorities have questioned Gol Airlines and airport operator Infraero for allowing a disabled woman to crawl up the stairs to board a flight.

The inquiry began Tuesday into the case which occurred the day before at the airport in the border city of Foz do IguaƧu.

The airlines and the airport operator have been fined up to $116,000 for not paying attention to the needs of the passengers.

Katya Hemelrjik da Silva, who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, boarded the plane by crawling up the stairs as the airport did not have an elevator used by handicapped passengers to board aircraft.

The airport also lacks aero bridges to connect the terminal with the planes which forces passengers to use the steps.

According to Brazilian media, Gol Airlines offered the woman alternatives, but due to her medical condition she chose to crawl up the stairs on her own.

Hemelrjik da Silva wrote on her Facebook account that the company offered a team to carry her to the aircraft.

But she added that it was risky to be carried by other people, even her husband, on inclined stairs with a wet aluminum floor.

"Due to the lack of safer alternatives to board the aircraft, I had to use the stairs, because I was on the floor with no risk of falling, and the movements were under my control (and) I know my physical limits," she said.

The National Civil Aviation Agency has given two days to Gol and Infraero to explain how the incident was allowed to happen.

Hemelrijk da Silva said she had no intention of suing the airline and added that the crew was very helpful.


Air India pilot made to fly after 26-hour detention

NEW DELHI: An Air India pilot was recently forced to walk straight out of detention and operate a long international flight back home — and freedom! In the process, AI reportedly violated safety rules by sending an unrested pilot from detention to the cockpit.

This unprecedented situation arose when an AI 155 touched down in Moscow on November 7. According to sources, the immigration at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport detained the commander of that flight on charges that he had 'falsified' his passport. They confiscated his passport and detained the captain at the airport. The commander wanted to be sent back home on the plane he had flown into Russia but the aircraft had by then taxied out.

The Russian immigration doubts against the AI pilot were misplaced. The senior captain had got his Russian visa on October 29 and operated a Delhi-Moscow flight that very day and commandeered an incident-free return flight.

"I was contacted by the commander's relative and informed about his wrongful detention. I asked our operations to do the needful to immediately secure his release," said AI chief Rohit Nandan. After Nandan's intervention, some Indian officials went to Moscow airport but could not satisfy the authorities there about the veracity of his papers.

As a result, the pilot had to spend 26 hours in detention. AI then asked him to fly back to Delhi by operating flight number 156 on November 9. "AI should have sent an extra pilot to operate AI 156 on that day and have the commander fly to Delhi as a passenger as he was in detention and did not get any rest there apart from suffering tremendous mental agony," said a source.

The commander, on return in Delhi, told the airline that he barely had any sleep during the 26-hour detention and by asking him to operate the long Moscow-Delhi flight, AI reportedly made him violate flight safety norms that require only fully rested pilots to fly. The commander is learnt to have asked AI to inform the directorate general of civil aviation that he had violated "flight and duty time limitations" norms by operating that flight under instructions from the airline.

Despite this alleged violation, AI is learrnt to have issued an appreciation letter to the pilot. The airline did not respond to a query on this alleged violation.

AI pilots are upset at the fact that the commander had to spend such a long time in detention at Moscow airport and that the state could not come to his rescue despite his having all genuine papers. They are angry with the airline for making such a harassed man operate a long flight back to India.

Moscow, incidentally, has become a hotspot for AI crew. This September, the cabin crew of a Delhi-Moscow flight had to cool their heels in detention at Domodedovo Airport for close to 18 hours before being allowed to enter the city. The air hostesses had been granted Russian visas effective from the next day but the airline had sent them a day earlier. 

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Persian Gulf Airlines Groom New, Global Flight Crews: Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Attract International Employees, Criticism for Some Labor Practices

The Wall Street Journal
By Scott McCartney

Dec. 3, 2014 5:43 p.m. ET

Abu Dhabi

To drill the importance of innovation into its class of 30 flight attendants from five continents, an Etihad Airways employee flashed a picture of Steve Jobs on the screen in a conference room at the company’s training academy here.

The message was that the iPhone “won its market” and Etihad can do the same with innovation and service, the instructor said. “Yes, you are cabin crew. But at the end of the day, you are our sales executives onboard.”

But the method was just as important. “English is not their first language, but iPhone is. It’s common to everybody,” said Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad’s Irish-born vce president of guest services, who oversees training.

Persian Gulf airlines are shaking up the airline industry and its customers by offering high-quality service, often at lower prices than competitors. They are doing it in part by attracting employees from all corners of the globe, many of them from impoverished, low-wage areas. The workers live under close supervision in company housing in the United Arab Emirates or Qatar, work long hours and abide by contract terms that other parts of the world find objectionable. All three Gulf airlines—Etihad, Qatar and Emirates—may fire women if they become pregnant.

“We offer a tremendous opportunity, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to give notice if they want to leave us,” Ms. Tiedt says.

Training employees to react as a team in an emergency is one of the great challenges of the globalized airline industry. The Persian Gulf airlines operate in English, but it’s the second language for almost all their workers. New hires typically must live with someone from another country to avoid segregating into cliques or lapsing into native language instead of honing English skills.

Eleven-year-old Etihad revamped its training program two years ago to include far more visual learning for employees from 113 different countries. Interactive computer programs force students to set a business-class dinner table the way the airline prescribes, for example, by clicking and dragging pictures instead of reading instructions.

And to make sure workers are learning, Etihad and its larger rivals have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in full-motion simulators for flight attendants, not just cockpit simulators for pilots. All airlines train in cabin mock-ups. Most don’t spend the way these three carriers have on full-motion modules that can simulate airplane movements and create turbulence, pour smoke into a cabin and light fires in overhead storage bins or other airplane areas. The sensation of a bad landing with the collapse of a nose wheel or even a landing where the plane rolls onto its side can be created, and trainees have to open aircraft emergency doors from awkward positions.

“If there’s a fire, I need you to act.…On board, you might panic or freeze. But not if you’ve done it before,” says Ms. Tiedt.

Emirates, the largest of the Gulf carriers and now the fourth-largest airline in the world by passenger traffic, says it receives about 400,000 applications a year for jobs across the company. The airline’s employees span 143 nationalities. Most new hires are in their mid-20s. Many have had a prior job in hotels, restaurants or even other airlines and understand basic principles of customer service.

But just like any workplace, crew members can disagree and bicker among themselves. On a recent Emirates flight to the U.S., the crew came from 20 different countries and spoke 22 languages. Asked if they all got along, a flight attendant smiled. “Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Today it’s OK. There was no trouble,” he says.

Gulf airlines say they offer a rare chance for workers around the globe: pay that’s competitive with other airlines, enticing benefits and travel. Salaries are tax-free in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and housing, utilities, transportation to work, health care and uniforms are free or heavily subsidized. The housing is typically a two-bedroom apartment shared by two new hires in a secure compound—better than camps where construction workers typically live in Qatar and the U.A.E., but still criticized by U.S. and European airline labor unions as confinement. (The airlines say it isn’t confinement, but simply a way to keep employees safe.)

In general, workers are expected to put in longer hours than is typical of established rivals in Europe and North America. “We don’t have restrictive work limits,” says Terry Daly, Emirates’ senior vice president for service delivery.

All airlines have to follow minimum rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, but regulators in the U.S. and Europe impose greater limits on crews, especially pilots, and many airlines have union contracts with even stricter rules to combat fatigue. Airlines follow the rules of their home country, regardless of where they fly.

The differences often are small on paper, and the Gulf airlines have the advantage of long flights where employees are more likely to put in a full day in the air. Other airlines have employees waiting between shorter flights more often. Qatar says its flight attendants work 90 to 100 hours of flying time a month, with eight days off. United Airlines’ contract with its flight attendants allows for a maximum of 95 hours flying a month with 10 days off. But other contract terms on vacation, rest and rescheduling can give United flight attendants more time off.

Gulf airlines say they study fatigue closely, schedule crews carefully and operate within accepted safety limits. On a recent 16-hour flight from Dubai to Dallas-Fort Worth, pilots and flight attendants got about the same amount of rest U.S. crews would get. The Emirates A380 carried two captains (one Australian, the other Indian) and two co-pilots (one from Malta and the other Ireland), each flying for eight hours. Flight attendants, from Asia, Europe, Africa and other regions, changed into their own Emirates-issued pajamas for rest periods.

Unions in Europe and the U.S., fearing job losses to the fast-growing airline rivals, have criticized the rivals’ work rules and government support. The International Transport Federation, a major union, filed a complaint earlier this year over Qatar Airways with a United Nations group called the International Labour Organization, which has been pressuring the government in Qatar.

“These are discriminatory battles we fought and won decades ago, and it’s a concern they are still in place today,” says Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the largest U.S. flight attendants union.

At Emirates, an employee who becomes pregnant in her first three-year contract must resign and can return later to the company, Mr. Daly says. Etihad will let pregnant crew members fly for the first three months, but then they have to leave or move into a ground job, if available, Ms. Tiedt says. Qatar says a pregnant crew member must immediately notify the company of the pregnancy and resign because the company doesn’t consider working in the air while pregnant safe. The employee can move to a ground job if one is available.

All three Gulf airlines say women sign contracts to work for them knowing the pregnancy policy, and the companies expect them to work once the airline has invested in their training. Qatar’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, dismissed criticism of working conditions as gripes from disgruntled former employees and unions. “We give people very good work conditions,” he says.

Employees do need company permission to marry during their first five years on the job, though he says that’s a formality. The company does monitor entrances at housing with cameras and visitors are recorded. “Records are for the safety of my girls,” Mr. Al Baker says. He also notes he was the first in the region to hire female pilots and now has more than 100 female pilots at his airline.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration says it has no restrictions on pregnant flight attendants as long as they can physically perform their duties. AFA’s Ms. Nelson notes U.S. employers can’t legally discriminate against someone for being pregnant, and the union fought for accommodations such as maternity uniforms and pregnancy leave.

Qatar’s salaries for cabin crew start at $24,000 a year tax-free, fairly close to the norm in the U.S. and Europe. Captains start at a very competitive $200,000 a year and first officers at $130,000 a year.

Emirates defends its work rules by noting that 11,000 of its 53,000 employees have been with the company for 10 years or more. Even though many pilots laid off at U.S. and European airlines in the last recession found work with the fast-growing Gulf carriers, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of pilots when hiring resumed in the U.S. and Europe, Mr. Daly says.

Etihad tries to bridge the cultural divides by uniting workers around the airline itself as an identity. The seven weeks of new-hire training and recurrent training includes education about the airline industry, Etihad’s history and how the airline can capitalize on malaise at competitors with enthusiastic service. “If they don’t understand the business, it just becomes robotic,” Ms. Tiedt says.

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Aerial Mob: Carlsbad company becomes first licensed commercial drone operator

Co-founders Jonathan Montague, left, and Treggon Owens stand in their warehouse with one of their drones, which can cost upwards of $30,000. Photo by Ellen Wright 

CARLSBAD—A few weeks ago, Treggon Owens was juggling conference calls between the Federal Aviation Administration, the admiral of the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego and officials at Lindbergh Field.

He wasn’t planning some elaborate stunt. Instead, he was trying to get the “money shot” of downtown San Diego with the use of an unmanned aerial system, or drone.

The company he co-founded along with three others, Aerial Mob, is one of the seven Federal Aviation Administration-licensed businesses to operate drones for commercial filming.

In the end, Aerial Mob couldn’t take off in the bay because North Island is only closed six days a year, and the timing wasn’t right.

However, about two weeks ago the company operated the first ever FAA licensed drone shoot for a car commercial.

Combined, the founders including Owens, Steve Blizzard, Tony Carmean and Jonathan Montague have about 30 years of experience flying drones. They’ve only done two legal drone shoots though because the regulations have yet to catch up with the technology.

“Usually technology makes a leap and rules are lagging to follow it,” co-founder Montague said. “In this case it’s the (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drone.”

Aerial Mob is one of seven companies to receive an exemption from the FAA to operate drones for commercial purposes.

Now that they’re regulated by the FAA, they can work with more film companies who, in the past, stayed away from the unregulated drones because of liability reasons.

Owens said they can do the same amount of work of three film crews.

“If you pay for us to come out and do one aerial (shot) that’s grand you may not get your $10,000 to $15,000 worth, but if you’re using us for the whole day and getting 10 different scenes or 10 different shots, it’s very cost effective,” Owens said.

He said that the day use of a higher-end drone is half the cost of a traditional helicopter.

Drones are also smaller and more agile than helicopters, so they can film in tighter and harder to reach areas, “from toenails to skyscrapers,” Owens said.

“It gives the director new creative freedom in that they can do things continuously that they could never do before,” Owens said.

For every single shoot Aerial Mob does, they have to get approval from the FAA, which can be difficult at times because of time constraints.

“The FAA doesn’t move that fast,” Owens said.

However, officials have “bent over backwards” to get them approval, even working Thanksgiving to get them the certificate they needed for a particular shoot, according to Owens.

It takes a lot of work to get the paperwork done in time for shoots.

“80 percent of the work is not on the day of production, it’s happening here in the office and between here and Washington D.C., with the FAA and getting all the approvals,” Owens said.

Aerial Mob isn’t just a film production company. They build and design all of their own equipment and hope to use their drones for other purposes down the line.

One big industry drones are used for internationally is agriculture, said Owens. Farmers can use drones to disperse fertilizer and pesticides over large swaths of land.

They can also use it to inspect the health of their crops from a remote location.

Drones are useful for jobs that are dirty, dangerous or dull, Owens said, like inspecting the blades of wind turbines or looking for cracks in extensive piping systems.

Owens also sees drones as a way to get children excited about science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“It encapsulates everything that’s cool about steam,” Owens said.

For now the co-founders at Aerial Mob are focused on film shoots but hope to expand over the years, as regulations relax a bit.