Tuesday, September 7, 2010

He'll take you up; he'll bring you down.

Heard of Michael O'Leary? He's a moron, albeit a very rich and successful one.

He owns an airline. His airline is Ryan Air, of Ireland. It's the premier lost-cost flying cattle car company in Europe. But people ride his planes because his prices are nasty, rotten dirty cheap. They're cheap because he is always looking for ways to cut corners. He has cut employee pay to the bone, and can't do much more damage, so he has come up with another idea: DO AWAY WITH THE CO-PILOT.

Now, you know we don't call the guy or gal who sits across from the captain a “co-pilot” in this industry―the military does that. We call them “First Officers,” or F/O for short. The reason we do that is because they do not merely assist the captain, they are second-in-command. Mr. O'Leary wants a flight attendant to be second-in-command. (I think he still calls them “stewardesses”).

Think I'm making this up? Click here and read: Ryan Air
O'Leary told Bloomberg Business Week, “Why does every plane have two pilots? Really, you only need one pilot.” He likened flying a modern airliner to playing a computer game. “Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.” Now let's see how this might work. Hmm. 

Okay, I'm descending through stormy skies toward our destination. I'm tired and very lonely, since I'm the only one on the flight deck. This plane needs to go back to the manufacturer so they can move about a hundred switches, buttons and knobs over so that I can reach them. Suddenly I'm feeling dizzy and ill. Must be that rancid kidney pie they fed me, for which they docked my minimum wage pay. So I “ring the bell” that Mr. O'Leary envisioned, and up comes a voluptuous stewardess, giggling and looking back over her shoulder at her peers. Her fists are balled against her cheeks. “I get to fly the plane!” she squeals. Her co-workers clap. “Good for you, Rose. Go get em', gal!”

I hear the passengers applaud and cheer. They're happy. They didn't have to pay for this innovative new safety initiative, and they're getting their money's-worth.
My vision fades in and out as she squirms into her seat, tugging at her mini-skirt. She exercises her fingers.

“Okay, where is the button,” she asks with coy giggle.

“What button?” I ask, fighting to stay conscious.

“You know, the Sully button!”

“The what?”

“Like that American chap. You remember, Captain Sullen-whoever. He landed the plane in the river when the engines went dead. That button!” She looks at me waiting for me to praise her aeronautical knowledge.

“He used this,” I say, pointing to the control yoke.

“Oh!” she said. “Yes, they told us about that. They said when you push it the houses get bigger. When you pull back they get smaller. Keep pulling back and they get big again ."

"That was a joke," I informed her.

She looked puzzled and shook her head. “I don't get it.”

“How did they come to choose you for the emergency pilot training.”  

She gleamed. I was Miss Ryan Air, 2010. I'm on the cover of the calendar.”

I manage what feels like my last breath. “There's no one button, Lassie. There's lots of buttons. Didn't they teach you that?”

“Yes, but I was really tired that day they taught me. Just, like, totally wiped out, you know. Too much partying, you know. We were very excited about getting accepted to Mr. Ryan's stewardess school.”

I try to refresh her memory on the sequence of events and the procedures to get the plane down, avoiding the thunderstorms, calculating the landing and go-around performance criteria, getting out the proper STAR charts, and approach plates, tuning and identifying the proper frequencies, testing the auto-land system...but she interrupts me, her head shaking, eyebrows furrowed. She sure looks cute when she furrows those brows.

“They went over that stuff right after lunch. I was, like, really drowsy. I don't remember much.

“Have you ever even flown a plane?” I ask.

“Oh, no!” she giggles.

“Simulator?” I press.

She blushes. “Captain!”

“Oh! But this one guy in my class, he, like, had some flying lessons once in a Cessna, or whatever, and he, like, taught us a lot!” Her head is nodding assurance to me. Just before my vision goes away, I manage to say,

“Get him up here!”

“Oh, I can't! He's not here. They promoted him to captain. He's flying another plane.”

She tosses her head up and giggles in glee. “Oh! He was so cute!”

I'm fading now. The last vision is the Level 4 thunder cell straight ahead on the radar weather display. As the world around me melts away, the last I hear is a voice from the open door to the cabin.

“Remember, it's just a big computer game, Rose. Keep pushing buttons until―”

Losing consciousness, I become the luckiest person on the plane.

Click here on this Moody Blues classic and imagine they're saying "Michael O'Leary" when they say "Timothy Leary." You'll get the picture.
Sunset over Newfoundland

Quote of the post:
The appropriation of a concubine, I remembered from a certain night in Peking, was a most delicate business.
-Earnest Gann


Toriafly said...

That was funny. But very sad at the same time.

Bob Zeeee said...

I would be interested to know how many airline pilots were incapacitated while flying. Does the FAA keep such records? I know of one where the PIC had a heart attack and died. The FO found a private pilot in the cabin to assist him with radios, flaps, etc, and landed safely. He realized a second pilot- even one not at all familiar with airline jets- was better than doing it all himself. I wonder how Ryan Air plans to cover the risk of a pilot falling dead at the controls? Have ATP rated stewardesses to bring 'er in?

D.B. said...

I don't think he is a moron. He may well be an a*****e, and even a risk to safety, but he very smartly got a lot of free publicity that underlines his basic marketing message - "cheapest possible flights".

Many of my European friends fly Ryan Air, they like the cheap fares and will put up with the inconveniences (they are used to public transport anyway). I won't, but as a premium frequent flier on almost all US airlines, I don't have to put up all the indignities dropped on the regular class "Y" pax. I can see why if an expensive airline is going to treat you like s*it, you might as well go cheap.

Personally, I'd rather be where you sit.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Leary has the right idea just wrong method. First, get rid of the captains, they are paid too much as compared to First Officers. Don’t call them First Officers, call them Only Officers because they will be the only officer there. You can shorten that to O/O or OO which is the sound you will hear when something goes wrong and that is why they would be there. When something goes wrong they would get paid “Captain’s Responding to Abnormal Procedures” (CRAP) pay.

Co-pilots don’t normally taxi the aircraft. Use electric tugs to tow the aircraft into takeoff position. It’s much “greener” and less expensive.

The co-pilot accomplishes the takeoff and engages the autopilot. The company dispatcher and air traffic controllers fly the aircraft via remote control to a point where an automated landing can be accomplished. After landing the aircraft if towed from the runway to the gate to complete the flight.

No, wait. Train and pay the captain to perform flight attendant duties at flight attendant pay rates during cruise flight and pay the captain captain’s pay only when they are in the captain’s seat. The captain will be on the aircraft the whole flight and will get paid as a flight attendant while the aircraft is at cruise altitude. This is more cost effective on longer flights.

What about letting the captain perform marriage ceremonies while at cruise altitude? Just like a ship’s captain at sea.

Anyway you get the idea. You have to think outside of the fuselage these days to stay in business…

altstiff said...

One of the RyanAir girls was/is a porno star....


Think of those money making ideas. RyanAir is a sad joke...

PropellerHead said...

It has been said by an eminent historian that the English had "an unfortunate attitude towards the Irish" - having read this post and the Ryan Air article linked on it I think I can guess why.
Is there a "Most Moronic Idea of the Year/Decade/Century" award that this suggestion could be entered for!
Truly frightening - just shows you don't need brains to make a buck. I'd rather pay the buck and stay alive, thanks.