Merg­ers and Man­ners

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Letters -

I re­cently re­tired from Delta Air Lines after 35 years. I was hired after the Northeast merger and lived through other ma­jor merg­ers: with Western in 1987, Pan Am in 1991, and North­west in 2008. “Air­line Merger Wars” (Feb./ Mar. 2015) told the story of a for­mer North­west pi­lot who, while fly­ing with a Delta cap­tain, noted that the cap­tain’s speed was 205 knots. Be­cause the max speed for the Boe­ing 757’s flap set­ting was 195 knots, he sim­ply ad­justed the flaps. At Delta we had train­ing in CRM [cock­pit re­source man­age­ment]. If the North­west pi­lot had done that to me, we would have had a lit­tle talk on the ground, and if that did not work, I would have re­ported him to Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards. A crew mem­ber think­ing he can move the flaps with­out first talk­ing to the “fly­ing pi­lot” is how ac­ci­dents hap­pen.

CAP­TAIN DOU­GLAS WITHAM (RET.)

North Hamp­ton, New Hamp­shire

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