How to Determine Which Type of Aviation Job Is Right for You

--Philip J Reed, on behalf of Redstone College Choosing a career specialty isn’t always easy, but if you at least know the general field you’d like to enter, you’ve done a good portion of the work already. Take a look at the following aviation job descriptions to see which ones match up well with your interests and abilities. The information could be helpful as you decide where to obtain avionics training or other educational experience Pilot Pilots fly an aircraft from one destination to another. A private pilot receives extensive training and must adhere to certain flight requirements to ensure his or her skills are kept current and that the individual is capable of flying according to certain instrument and safety standards. Private pilots must be in good health, detail-oriented, willing and able to work under pressure, and accepting of the responsibility that comes with transporting people in an airplane. Avionics Technicians An avionics technician is responsible for repairing and maintaining some of the systems that keep an airplane functioning properly, such as radio communications, weather radar systems, and other computers that help control engines and flight. The job requires a high level of technical skill, an avionics degree, and a person who is responsible and willing to stay abreast of rapid technological advances. Flight Attendant The law requires that major airlines provide flight attendants to assist in passenger safety and security during a flight, but these very visible members of the aviation industry are also in charge of helping make sure travelers are also as comfortable as possible. At minimum, a person will likely need a high school diploma to follow this career path, but more employers want their flight attendants to have at least a bachelor’s degree. If you’re not able to go to a school where flight attendant training is provided, a college or university offering psychology, nursing, or even travel and tourism degrees with help you obtain relevant skills. Aircraft Mechanics Aircraft mechanics keep many of an airplane’s inner workings maintained and functioning properly. Some mechanics specialize in preventive maintenance and fixing problems they find during routine inspections, while others focus on fixing problems reported to them by pilots. Like many aspects of the aviation industry, this is a detail-oriented job, and the safety of others depends on the quality work a mechanic must produce. Airline Reservation Agent Not exactly inclined to fly? You can still enjoy a productive aviation-related career while keeping your feet on the ground. Reservation sales agents answer customer questions about ticket prices, flight schedules, connecting flights, travel rules and regulations, and other accommodation needs like rental cars and hotel rooms. They must be good communicators, comfortable using computers, and have a penchant for accuracy. They help form some of the earliest impressions of an airline. Aviation is a varied, fast-paced industry. With a little searching and the right training, you’ve got a good chance of finding the best job for you.

NBAA Blasts President Obama's Comments Regarding Business Aviation

Washington, DC, June 29, 2011 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today forcefully challenged disparaging remarks about business aviation made by President Barack Obama during a June 29 White House press conference. "The president has inexplicably chosen to vilify and mischaracterize business aviation – an industry that is critical for citizens, companies and communities across the U.S., and one that can play a central role in the economic recovery he says he wants to promote." Bolen was referencing the president's remarks concerning tax policies for general aviation (GA) airplanes. The president repeatedly denigrated business airplane owners and operators, apparently to make a case that current tax "depreciation schedules" for GA airplanes are too short, and should be lengthened. Bolen said the president's words today fly in the face of comments he made just last October; back then, Obama championed his own proposal to accelerate depreciation schedules – something the president said at the time was intended, "to allow businesses and investors to deduct immediately the full cost of most investments [that] will help businesses expand and hire." "Nine months ago, this president extolled the virtues of shortening depreciation schedules to stimulate jobs," Bolen said. "Now he seems to want to reverse course and push ahead with punitive treatment for general aviation, an industry that creates jobs, helps companies succeed and serves communities all around America. "Furthermore," Bolen said, "The idea that, in the current job environment, we would meddle with a proven formula for incentivizing the purchase of American products is unthinkable, and flies in the face of policies he and other elected officials on both sides of the aisle agreed to just months ago. "Equally alarming, the president's disparaging remarks reflect a total lack of understanding – or a complete disregard – for general aviation in the U.S.," Bolen added. "The fact is, general aviation is an industry that employs 1.2 million people and generates $150 billion in revenues each year. It's one of the remaining few industries that produces much-needed exports and contributes positively to the nation's balance of trade. Additionally, most companies relying on a business airplane are small and mid-size companies, and they’re flying into towns with little or no airline service. Simply put, these companies are using their aircraft to reach for opportunities to keep their businesses alive in an unforgiving economic marketplace. In the process, they’re bringing jobs, investment and hope to towns across the country. Bolen concluded: "The Obama proposal is bad policy and cynical politics. We will oppose the idea vigorously, and we call on Congress to reject it. We need to focus on policies that foster the growth of business aviation, so that it can continue serving citizens, companies and communities across the U.S." # # # Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

Choosing Employee or Independent Contractor Status

by Jeff Beck People who perform services for your business will most likely fall into one of two categories—independent contractors or employees. It is very important for you, as a business owner, not to misclassify these people. If you do, you may experience legal or financial difficulties. Independent contractors differ from employees in two main ways:

  • Independent contractors control not only the outcome of a project but also how the job gets done.

Independent contractors control their own economic destiny to a large extent, making decisions and business investments that affect how much profit they'll earn and whether they'll suffer a loss. Typically, a small business hires many independent contractors. Common examples are a lawyer, an accountant, a painter who spruces up your office, or a computer consultant who installs specialized software at your store and teaches employees how to use it. Generally, independent contractors have special skills that you need to call on only sporadically. But sometimes your company may have ongoing needs that can be filled equally well by an employee or an independent contractor. If you weigh both possibilities and conclude that you can save money and reduce paperwork by using an independent contractor rather than an employee, fine. But be sure he or she really qualifies for independent contractor status. GENERALLY, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS HAVE SPECIAL SKILLS THAT YOU NEED TO CALL ON ONLY SPORADICALLY. The IRS strongly prefers that workers be treated as employees and not as independent contractors. This is because employers must collect taxes on employee earnings through payroll withholding, assuring that the funds flow quickly and surely to the government. By contrast, an independent contractor receives his or her entire earnings without taxes being withheld and is responsible for paying taxes on those earnings. Contributing to the IRS bias against independent contractor status is a belief that some independent contractors may underreport or even fail to report their earnings, which results in a loss of tax revenue. State tax agencies, as well, tend to discourage businesses from classifying workers as independent contractors. If you classify a worker as an independent contractor when the worker should have been treated as an employee, and the IRS or a state unemployment or labor commissioner's office investigates and rules against you, you can wind up having to pay the taxes that should have been withheld, together with interest and penalties.


If you hire a person as an employee, you assume financial burdens that you don't have if you hire the same person as an independent contractor. For example, you must make an employer's contribution for the worker's Social Security. You're also responsible for withholding federal and state income taxes, and for keeping records and reporting these items to the federal and state governments. Each year, you must send the employee a Form W-2 showing how much he or she earned and how much was withheld. That's not all. As an employer, you must carry workers' compensation insurance for the employee and may have to make payments into an unemployment protection fund. Health insurance, retirement plans, and other fringe benefits may add to the cost. Finally, although not legally required, most employers provide paid vacations and sick leave for employees, further driving up costs. Now, contrast this situation with hiring an independent contractor. When you use an independent contractor, you're not required to withhold taxes from the amount you pay the worker, and you don't have to pay any portion of the worker's Social Security taxes. Your only responsibility is to complete a Form 1099-MISC at the end of the year if you paid the independent contractor $600 or more during the year. The form is sent to the IRS and the employee. By hiring an independent contractor rather than an employee, you normally also save the expense of providing an office or other workspace for the worker and the ongoing expenses of fringe benefits and insurance. Furthermore, if you become unhappy with the person's work, you can turn to another independent contractor without going through the trauma often associated with firing an employee who works each day on your premises. Another benefit of hiring someone as an independent contractor is that your company generally won't be liable for the negligence of the person you hire. If you hire employees, however, you would be liable if, for example, the employee carelessly injured someone while at work. Of course, there are tradeoffs. A business doesn't enjoy as much day-to-day control over the work of an independent contractor. And not having the person always available may also be inconvenient. Furthermore, because an independent contractor must charge enough to cover the costs of doing business and still make a profit, he or she may charge a higher price for services than the hourly rate paid to an employee. And if an independent contractor is injured because of some dangerous situation at your business premises or in a place that you have control over, the independent can sue your business, claiming negligence. By contrast, an employee in the same situation would be limited to the often lower workers' compensation benefits. But if you carry adequate liability insurance to protect you from claims by any injured person who is not an employee, this isn't a significant drawback. Some workers prefer to be treated as independent contractors rather than employees. They like the fact that there's no withholding of taxes because it allows them to enjoy a better cash flow, at least up until the time when they have to pay their own income taxes. Workers may also see benefits in being treated as independent contractors because of the opportunity it affords them to charge a higher rate and to deduct business expenses, including money spent on cars, home offices, travel, and entertainment. On the other hand, some workers prefer employment status that gives them paid vacations, medical care, and other fringe benefits at the employer's expense—and freedom from worry about the paperwork required of people who are in business for themselves.


Because the IRS is the government agency most likely to challenge your classifying a worker as an independent contractor, we'll focus here on how to stay within the IRS guidelines. Fortunately, a worker who qualifies as an independent contractor under the IRS tests will almost certainly qualify as well under the rules of most state agencies, even though the state rules may be slightly different. It may surprise you to learn that there's no law or court case to precisely guide you in deciding if it's legally safe to treat a worker as an independent contractor for federal tax purposes. In fact, the most authoritative guidance is found in an unlikely place—the manual the IRS uses to train its audit examiners. Fortunately, by following a few basic rules derived from the principles discussed in this manual, you're likely to steer clear of most problems.

The Easy Cases

As a practical matter, you can hire a wide range of independent contractors with virtually no worries about whether they should be treated as employees. These "no sweat" situations involve workers who clearly are in business for themselves, demonstrated by the fact they share most of the following characteristics:

  • The worker is available to perform services for many businesses.
  • The worker has a fixed base of operations (a commercial or office location, or a room at home) and ongoing business expenses.
  • The worker lists the business in the phone book and may also drum up business through newspaper ads, radio commercials, and circulars.
  • The worker undertakes a job based on the results the client wants but remains free to decide how to get the job done.
  • The worker hires and pays for assistants, as needed.
  • The worker has invested significant money in the business for equipment, vehicles, and supplies.
  • Depending on how the business goes, the worker may earn a large profit, a small profit, or none at all—perhaps even suffering a loss.
  • The worker incurs expenses in doing a job that won't be reimbursed by the client.

Example: It's easy to identify people as independent contractors when they, not the companies that hire them, determine how to do the work that needs to be done. Also, a worker who essentially runs his own business is almost always an independent contractor.

The Tougher Cases

Other workers may be harder to classify as independent contractors. Not infrequently, a worker may be in an ambiguous area where the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor gets fuzzy. While you may see some advantages in treating the worker as an independent contractor, you may at the same time feel nervous about the legal risks involved because any penalties for misclassification will fall squarely on your shoulders and not those of the worker. Example:Often a work arrangement will share some characteristics of an employment relationship and some characteristics of an independent contractor relationship. In such cases predicting whether the IRS will agree with your decision to treat the worker as an independent contractor is difficult. The IRS pronouncements are not exact enough to allow you to accurately predict the outcome. When faced with an ambiguous situation, you have two safe ways to proceed, as well as a third way that involves a measure of risk.

  1. Treat the Worker as an Employee If you want to be super safe and avoid any risk that the IRS or another governmental agency will determine that you've mistakenly classified the worker as an independent contractor, follow a policy of always treating the worker as an employee. This will protect you from possible penalties. The problem is that both you and the worker will lose the advantages that can flow from an independent contractor relationship.
  2. Require the Worker to Incorporate If you and the worker are both motivated to go the independent contractor route in an ambiguous situation, the way to do it that's virtually as free from problems as hiring the person as an employee is to simply have the worker incorporate. The IRS will almost always treat this as a valid arrangement and accept the fact that the worker isn't your employee, but rather an employee of his or her own corporation. It's legal in every state to form a one-person corporation, and the process can be simple and relatively inexpensive. Here are the details about how this strategy works:
    • The worker forms a corporation under state law and obtains an employer identification number from the IRS.
    • You sign a contract with the corporation under which the corporation agrees to provide specified services for your business.
    • The corporation hires the worker (who owns the corporate shares) as an employee to perform the services required by your contract with the corporation.
    • The corporation bills you as services are performed for your business under the contract.
    • You pay the corporation—not the employee—for the services billed to your business.
    • Each time the corporation issues a paycheck to its employee, the corporation withholds federal income taxes along with the employee's share of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
    • Periodically, the corporation (using its own employer identification number) pays the IRS the withheld taxes along with the employer's share of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  3. Accept a Measure of Risk Suppose the worker's status as an independent contractor is ambiguous, and for one reason or another, the safer courses of action—treating the worker as an employee or requiring the worker to incorporate—are not practical. Then you must recognize that if you move ahead and hire the worker as an independent contractor, you're opening yourself up to some legal risk. One way to reduce the risk is to get professional advice. See a tax expert—a lawyer or accountant who's familiar with the worker classification issues. Another way to reduce the risk is to follow as many of the following suggestions as you can:
    • Sign a contract with the independent contractor that spells out what the responsibilities are for each party and how payment is to be determined for each job. The contract should allow the independent contractor to hire his or her own assistants and to have as much say as possible as to how the work is to be performed.
    • Require the independent contractor to furnish all or most of the tools, equipment, and material needed to complete the job.
    • Avoid a commitment to reimburse the independent contractor for his or her business expenses; if necessary, pay the independent contractor a little more, but have him or her assume that responsibility.
    • If feasible, arrange to pay a flat fee for the work rather than an hourly or weekly rate.
    • Don't provide employee-type benefits such as paid vacation days, health insurance, or retirement plans.
    • Make it clear, preferably in some written form, that the independent contractor is free to offer services to other businesses.
    • Specifically state in your contract that the contractor will carry his or her own insurance, including workers' compensation coverage.
    • Keep a file containing the independent contractor's business card, stationery samples, ads, and employer identification number. These items can help show that the contractor has an established business.


In most situations, you can decide whether a worker should be considered an employee or an independent contractor by looking at a specific set of guidelines. Certain workers, however, fall into special categories, and the usual IRS criteria don't apply to them. For example, the federal tax law says that the following workers are automatically treated as employees as far as Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, and federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) are concerned:

  • Officers of corporations who provide service to the corporation
  • Food and laundry delivery drivers
  • Full-time salespeople who sell goods for resale
  • Full-time life insurance agents working mainly for one company
  • At-home workers who are supplied with material and given specifications for work to be performed

For these workers, you must withhold the worker's share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and you must also pay the employer's portion of those taxes. But you may or may not have to withhold income taxes for a statutory employee; it depends on whether the worker qualifies as an employee or independent contractor under the usual IRS guidelines. Federal law also provides that for tax purposes, licensed real estate agents and door-to-door salespeople are generally treated as non-employees, which is another way of saying they're independent contractors. People in these occupations may, however, be treated as employees for the purpose of state payroll taxes and workers' compensation coverage. As a sole proprietor or partner in your own business, you're neither an employee nor an independent contractor. You're responsible for paying your own income tax and Social Security self-employment tax. If you're a shareholder in a corporation but provide services to the corporation, you're generally an employee.


Small businesses often run up against IRS auditors when they classify workers as independent contractors instead of regular employees. The interests of the businessperson and the IRS are diametrically opposed: the IRS wants to collect employment taxes for as many workers as possible, and the businessperson wants to keep employment taxes at a minimum. It's obvious that a small business can save a bundle by not having workers on the payroll. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, it costs a business from 20 percent to 33 percent more per worker to treat them as employees for tax purposes. The simple way to do this is to run a one-person (or a husband-and-wife) business, with no outside help. Because this won't work for most businesspeople, some try to be creative in their hiring practices, which can be disastrous.

Penalties for Misclassification

If your business is audited for any reason, the IRS automatically checks for employees that you claimed as independent contractors. Also, special IRS teams search for misclassified workers under the Employment Tax Examination Program (ETE). Typically these ETE audits focus on industries where abuses are suspected to be common. Recent targets include temporary employment agencies, nursing registries, and building contractors. Other businesses can be selected for the ETE simply because they file a lot of 1099 forms for independent contractors. The tax code authorizes the IRS to force the offending business owner to pay all taxes that should have been paid, plus a special penalty that ranges from 12 percent to 35 percent of the tax bill. The Wall Street Journal reported that between 1988 and 1994 the IRS performed more than 11,000 audits of companies using independent contractors. The results: 483,000 reclassifications (independent contractor to employee status) and $751 million in back taxes and penalties. Example: Unfortunately, the IRS is very selective in its enforcement of worker classification rules. It picks on small businesses while major corporations openly flout the worker classification rules. In the tax world, life can seem very unfair.

New IRS Classification Settlement Program

In 1996, with the Classification Settlement Program (CSP), the IRS offered an olive branch to small-business owners charged with misclassifying employees. This is a relatively inexpensive way to settle with the IRS over past misclassification of workers. In order to qualify for this program, a business owner must:

  • Have an open case with the IRS at the time, either in an audit or in appeals. (In other words, you can't call up and volunteer for the program. You must have first been selected for audit.)
  • Specifically request CSP treatment.
  • Have been in compliance with § 530 of the 1978 Revenue Act. (That means you must have filed all tax returns, including 1099 forms showing independent contractor treatment; treated all similarly situated workers as independent contractors; had a reasonable basis for your misclassification, such as reliance on court rulings, an IRS ruling, or written technical advice; had a past audit that resulted in no employment tax liability for workers in positions substantially similar to the workers in question; or acted consistently with a long-standing practice of a significant segment of your industry.)
  • If you qualify, you will be offered one of three settlement deals:
    1. Pay no tax assessment for past misclassifications.
    2. Pay the most recent year of taxes for worker classification deficiencies and the IRS will drop demands for assessments for prior years.
    3. Pay 25 percent of the latest audit year deficiency.
    In all cases, you must further agree to classify the workers as employees in the future. The IRS says it will monitor your case for five years to make sure you don't return to your old ways. Which of the three deals you get depends on the judgment of the IRS and your ability to convince the IRS that you acted reasonably but incorrectly in misclassifying workers. Excuses that may work: your reliance on the advice of an attorney or tax pro; industry practice even if not widespread; or your misinterpretation of the eight IRS factors.

Asking the IRS to Classify Your Workers

If you are in doubt as to how to classify a particular worker, you can ask the IRS to determine the worker's status. Just fill out and send in the IRS Form SS-8, Determination of Employee Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The IRS will respond within several months. Think twice before you ask the IRS to classify workers. The IRS is very likely to rule them employees no matter what the circumstances are. And by using this form, you have put yourself on record, which can work against you if you decide not to follow the IRS's determination and are audited.

Appealing a Ruling That You Misclassified Workers

As IRS auditors have a bias towards classifying workers as employees, it shouldn't be a surprise that business owners more times than not lose out at the audit on this issue. Fortunately, just as with any audit issue, you may appeal a misclassification finding. What's more, the IRS allows you to appeal a worker classification issue even before the rest of the audit of your business is complete. (See Rev. Proc. 96-9.) Before you start your appeal, it might be wise to consult a tax pro, who could help you analyze your position. There are four possible grounds for winning your appeal:

  1. The IRS didn't properly consider the 8 factors.
  2. Under the safe harbor rule, even if the IRS properly classified a worker as an employee, you can claim industry-standard relief in your independent contractor treatment, if you did what 25 percent or more of the other businesses in your industry are doing. (See § 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978.)
  3. You can raise the previous-audit defense if you were audited at any time in the past and no IRS challenge was made as to how you classified your workers, assuming you are still in the same line of business with similar workers.
  4. If you still can't convince an appeals officer you are right, suggest a settlement based on your written agreement to change your classification of workers to employees in the future if the IRS will drop the challenge for the past years. This future-compliance offer might be accepted if your workers are in a gray area and the appeals officer is concerned that you might win in court.

Southwest Airlines Announces New AirTran Transition Agreement With Its Pilots' Union

DALLAS, Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV)  announced today that it has reached an agreement with its Pilots, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA), on an initial Transition Agreement that establishes a procedural framework for eventually integrating the Pilots of Orlando-based AirTran Airways into Southwest. The integration addressed by the agreement would follow the official legal closing of Southwest's acquisition of AirTran's parent company, AirTran Holdings, Inc., which is currently anticipated to occur during the second quarter of 2011. Closing is subject to the approval of AirTran stockholders, receipt of certain regulatory clearances, and fulfillment of customary closing conditions. With this initial transition agreement, Southwest and SWAPA establish a framework to begin an orderly transition from operating Southwest and AirTran as separate carriers, to a single carrier under one Single Operating Certificate (SOC).  This transition agreement is an integral first step in that process. "This transition agreement, which was unanimously agreed to by our SWAPA Board of Directors, is an important step in the AirTran acquisition and integration process," said Chuck Magill, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations. "Our hard-working Pilots are now poised to begin the important and challenging work of integrating their AirTran colleagues into Southwest Airlines." In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded; now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Beginning March 13, 2011, Southwest will initiate service to Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, and on March 27, 2011, service will begin to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide. Important Information for Investors and Stockholders This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. The proposed acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc. ("AirTran") by Southwest Airlines Co. ("Southwest") will be submitted to the stockholders of AirTran for their consideration. In connection therewith, Southwest has filed, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") has declared effective, a registration statement on Form S-4 that includes a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of Southwest. Southwest and AirTran also plan to file other documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. SOUTHWEST URGES INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF AIRTRAN TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus and other documents containing important information about Southwest and AirTran, as such documents are filed with the SEC, through the website maintained by the SEC at Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Southwest are available free of charge on Southwest's website at under the tab "Investor Relations" or by contacting Southwest's Investor Relations Department at (214) 792-4415. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by AirTran are available free of charge on AirTran's website at under the tab "Investor Relations" or by contacting AirTran's Investor Relations Department at (407) 318-5188. Southwest, AirTran and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of AirTran in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of Southwest is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 16, 2010. Information about the directors and executive officers of AirTran is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 2, 2010. These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, is contained in the proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials filed with the SEC. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements with respect to Southwest's expectations related to (i) its anticipated acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc.; and (ii) its agreement with its Pilots, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA), on an initial Transition Agreement that establishes a procedural framework for eventually integrating the Pilots of AirTran Airways into Southwest. These forward-looking statements are based on Southwest's current intent, beliefs, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them.  Factors include, among others, (i) the possibility that the acquisition of AirTran is delayed or does not close, including due to the inability of Southwest and AirTran to obtain all approvals necessary or the failure of other closing conditions; and (ii) Southwest's ability to successfully integrate AirTran's business. Southwest cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive.  Additional information concerning these and other risks is contained in Southwest's and AirTran's most recently filed Annual Reports on Form 10-K and in Southwest's registration statement on Form S-4 filed with the SEC that includes a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of Southwest.  Southwest undertakes no obligation to publicly update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date hereto. SOURCE Southwest Airlines

Crewmembers Guide to Safe Layovers

In light of recent events in Egypt and other countries, Jeff Beck has contributed the following guide to crew members. Download Here Crewmembers Guide to Safe Layovers by Jeff Beck Airport Arrival transportation:

  • Take only airport approved taxi's. Verify anybody who meets you .
  • Keep Alert !!!!

Hotel and Layover Security

  • At check in, get two business cards or matchbooks with the hotel name and address on them. Place one by the phone in the room so you know where you are and keep the other on your person when you leave so you know where to come back to. Or if you are in a country where you don't speak the language, you can simply show a taxi driver the matchbook, and you're on your way back to the hotel.
  • Keep your Passport with you at all times, and keep extra color, scanned copies of the face page and any Visa pages. The only time that you should relinquish it is in some countries that require, by law, you to leave your Passport at the desk when registering. But don't transfer control if you can avoid it. Frequently the color copies will suffice. If you need to leave the Passport, then get it back as soon as you can.
  • Note where the nearest fire stairwells are located. Make a mental note which direction you must turn and approximately how many steps there are to the closest fire stairwell. In the event of a fire, there is frequently dense smoke and no lighting (similar to the environment we experience during aircraft evac training)
  • At night, make sure to lay out your clothes, jacket, and have your Passport and wallet in or near your shoes, so in the event of an emergency evacuation, you can be up, dressed, have your valuables, and on the way out in just a few moments.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Put the Do-Not-Disturb sign on the doorknob at all times, this deters room burglars (it may affect housekeeping service, however). Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door to give the appearance that the room is occupied. In a foreign country, you may consider tuning TV or radio to an indigenous station, so as not to identify yourself as a westerner.
  • Leave one light on inside the room if you will return after dark. This helps you see upon re-entry and gives the room the appearance of occupancy from the outside. Always go through the same room inspection routine every time you re-enter. Use caution when using the breakfast order doorknob hanger card. This card lists your name and number of persons in the room. A smart crook can knock on the door posing as room service and use your name as a ruse to gain entry.

Other Considerations

  • Don't drop your guard or assume that a hotel is going to provide the level of security you think it should. Be responsible for yourself and your crew mates.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings; keep an eye on belongings and your hand on your valuables.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Learn at least a few phrases in the local language, such as “Please” & “Thank You”
  • Dress to blend in with the foreign environment – don't wear logo clothing identifying you as a westerner. And for goodness sake, don't have American flags pasted on your luggage or flight bags
  • Leave behind expensive jewelry, watches, and clothes that mark you as a wealthy foreigner. Not only does this mark you, it makes it harder to get good deals when shopping.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Do not pay with large bills or count currency in public
  • Stay away from crowds and don't investigate a disturbance; just leave. Even peaceful gatherings can turn ugly
  • Carry the phone numbers of emergency contacts - e.g. your handler, the hotel, and diplomatic representation in that city/country.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Always carry an ID card, Passport, or a copy of it - a legal requirement in many countries. Remember, your Passport is your most valuable possession when out on the road.
  • Guard against pickpockets
  • Keep your distance from the curb (also keep reminding yourself which side traffic drives)
  • If you are followed, change direction and enter a well-lighted business establishment
  • If a car follows you, turn and walk the opposite way
  • Go through your luggage to remove items not needed or which pose a security risk, such as:
    • o Excess credit cards, Membership- or ID- cards for any group that may be targeted, Business cards revealing national, ethnic or religious affiliation
    • o Political, religious or sexually explicit literature
    • o Expensive or religious jewelry

Leaving your hotel room

  • Use taxi service arranged by hotel, handler, or restaurant, avoid flagging one off the street. Speak with the bellman, concierge and front desk regarding safe areas around the city in which to jog, dine or sight-see. Ask about local customs and which taxi companies to use or avoid.
  • Take a minimum of cash, enough for that outing. Keep credit cards and money in different pockets. (NOTE – If you use your front pockets, it is harder for pickpockets to hit you, as opposed to your back pockets)
  • Carry "bait money" for potential thieves. Put this in another pocket.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Women, wear only a simple wedding band in lieu of a diamond ring. Remember in some foreign cities and even some area within the United States, a diamond ring might be worth what a criminal might earn in a year. Remove the temptation!
  • In restaurants and pubs try not to sit real close to the entry, and if possible face the entry when seated.

Crime In a criminal attack, give up your belongings willingly, without argument

  • Report the crime immediately to local police authorities. In certain countries check your embassy before contacting the police
  • If someone with a weapon approaches and corners you, remember your life is at stake and one wrong move could be your last. Plan ahead how you will react and remember to think rationally
  • Report passport theft to your embassy immediately, and initiate the procedure to obtain a new passport

Kidnap / Hostage Situations

  • Do not behave in any way to make yourself stand out; avoid threatening movements and do not stare
  • Do exactly as you are told, and do nothing without asking permission first
  • Remain alert and prepared in the event of rescue attempt or escalation of violence
  • If you are singled out for questioning, your answers must be consistent with documentation you are carrying. Volunteer no additional information
  • Remain courteous, but dignified
  • If there is a rescue attempt, stay as close to the ground as possible
  • Do not try to be a hero

State Emergency (coup d'état, revolution, social unrest, etc.)

  • If trouble starts, contact your local embassy
  • Call or have someone contact the embassy with your location to facilitate your evacuation if needed
  • Stay off the streets, remain in your hotel, and if necessary move only in daylight in groups
  • Avoid main squares and boulevards, government buildings, radio/TV stations, military installations, the airport, harbors, banks and shopping centers. All are key targets during take-overs or coups
  • Do not discuss opinions about the political situation
  • Have the hotel management or embassy update you on any developments

Natural Disaster

  • Have a pre-established plan with your colleagues and passengers for where to go in the event of a disaster; that plan should include going immediately to your local diplomatic representation or the Red Cross to report yourself alive. (Note: the symbol for the Red Cross in some Islamic countries is a red crescent in place of the Red Cross.)
  • Contact your home to save your family worry. Also stay in touch with your handler for information on current events. Make sure your handler knows which hotels the passengers are staying.

Jeff Beck is a retired career independent contract pilot. Jeff is rated in Gulfstream G1159 / G1159A / G1159B / G1159C / G1159D aircraft with over 22,000 hours of extensive International and Domestic flying.

Pilot Jobs Outlook for 2011

Airlines are in a state of flux and changes are being made every day. There has been a surge in foreign airline pilot positions within the Asian market. Most of the larger Asian airlines are advertising for airline pilots. In checking the internet sites such as, one will find good news in the area of hiring. The following is a listing taken from the site and indicates a strong move on the part of the airlines: • American Eagle – hired 200 pilots in 2010 and announced that they will hire over 400 pilots in 2011 • Atlantic Southeast Airlines – interviewing and hiring pilots. • Air Wisconsin – interviewing and hiring pilots, plans to hire 16 FOs and upgrade 8 captains per month through June 2011. • Colgan Airlines – interviewing and hiring pilots, hired 150 pilots in 2010, FOs are being hired into the Q400. • CommutAir – interviewing and hiring pilots. New Minimums are 900tt/100me. • Compass Airlines – interviewing pilots and hiring into a pool for 2011 start. • Great Lakes – interviewing and hiring pilots. • ExpressJet Airlines – recalled all furloughed pilots, announced that they will hire 96 pilots beginning January 2011. • Pinnacle Airlines – interviewing and hiring Pilots. • Republic Airways – interviewing and hiring pilots--- 100 Pilots this year. • SkyWest Airlines – interviewing and hiring pilots for First Officer positions. • Delta Airlines – recalled all furloughed pilots--- interviewing and hiring. Intends to hire 240 pilots Discount carriers are also looking positive for airline pilot jobs. Airlines such as Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, and Midwest have all listed pilot jobs within the past year. The discount carriers are making progress in the area of pay, but generally they will still pay less than the legacy carriers. As mentioned above, there are jobs available in the regional carrier market. Comair, American Eagle, and Republic are three carriers looking for regional airline pilots. The downside to regional flying is the fact that the entry level pay is typically low, but the opportunity to build hours and upgrade quickly is there. Corporate pilot jobs are also available but it will take leg work to find the companies who are seeking corporate pilots. Another source of flying jobs may be the charter carriers. In the past this has been a good source for newly minted pilots. Most charter carriers advertise their contract pilot job opportunities on their web site and many find contract pilots on

Is a Woman Flying That Jet?

By: Nina Anderson Sheffield, MA (PRWEB) May 11, 2009 Captain "Sully" elevated the image of pilot from airborne bus driver to hero in one big splash down the Hudson River. Everyone in the world now knows him. But who has heard the name of the woman pilot who set her corporate jet down safely on a runway after an airborne collision with a VFR glider pilot who was not announcing his position nor operating his transponder (instrument that sends a signal to alert pilots and controllers of the aircraft's location)? Appearing in the path of the corporate aircraft (that was on an Instrument Flight Plan and talking to controllers), the glider's wing knocked the front of the nose off the jet and put the instrument panel in the Captain's chest. The glider pilot parachuted to safety leaving the wounded jet's pilots to make an emergency landing. Maybe its just because there were so few folks aboard that the media didn't pick up the story or maybe because it wasn't in full view of New York City. Women pilots were heroes back during World War II but then they faded from the limelight. It became a man's world and for those women who really wanted to break into the male dominated occupation of airline or corporate flying, it was near impossible. Even though the women were equally qualified the doors remained closed and the term "glass ceiling" was coined to reflect their upward vision but blocked pathway. Finally in the 1970s women were hired by a few of the major airlines. This plus the Equal Rights Amendment enticed corporations to take a chance and put them in the front offices of their company airplanes. Today about five percent of the professional pilot slots are held by women. The stories of these early women pilots are unique, and a new book, "Flying Above the Glass Ceiling" reveals their struggles, discrimination, determination and successes. Excuses for not hiring women included, "the passengers would get off the airplane if they saw a woman at the controls," or "we have no bathroom for women in the dispatch office," or "you'd break up a marriage." The latter assumes all women were flying just to meet men. Misconceptions of women as pilots were and still are unfounded. Author, Captain Nina Anderson said, "When I got my first flying job I was relegated to flying freight only. The owner thought he would lose customers if they flew with a female." Women airline pilots have received some notoriety, but corporate flying has been out of the media spotlight until recently. Bad press about the flagrant usage of private jets caused many flight departments to sell their airplanes and add pilots to the unemployment roster. In her book, Captain Anderson justifies the need for corporations to provide a secure and efficient method of transportation for their valuable executives. As she describes, " Sure, airline tickets cost less, but the time wasted in an airline terminal, the risk of delayed or cancelled flights, inability to work in an airliner seat and the wonder of who is sitting next to you or who snuck by security with something in their underwear, is reason enough for the company to own a plane." And, she describes what a corporate pilot does besides fly - buy food, serve food, clean up food, clean the airplane, empty the potty, and among a long list of duties, deal with passengers who need to be told their oversized trade show displays can't fit on the airplane. Not only does a corporate pilot have to excel at flying, but they also have to be a diplomat and well versed in public relations. Appreciation for pilot proficiency has been enhanced by the Hudson splashdown and a new awareness of who is in the front office of an airplane is now on most passengers' minds. Women have found their place as pilots but as the book describes, it wasn't an easy road. The early women airline and corporate pilots are the true heroes for those who are looking towards an aviation career. They forged new territory despite the constant words of discouragement and set precedence for the opportunities women have today. In this book the early women pilots share their humorous, tearful and joyous stories with the reader and beyond that they offer inspiration.

Southwest Airlines Announces 20 Firm Boeing 737-800 Deliveries in 2012

DALLAS, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO spoke at the Wings Club in New York City and shared additional details on introducing the Boeing 737-800 to the Southwest fleet. Kelly announced the Company will substitute 20 of its 737-700 orders for -800s, with the first delivery scheduled for March 2012. With both its Pilots' and Flight Attendants' Unions ratifying their contracts to add the -800 to their current collective bargaining agreements, the Company is continuing to finalize discussions with the Boeing Company regarding substitutions of the -800s for the -700 positions, and configuration and equipage options. "The -800 represents many exciting opportunities for our Employees and our Customers," Kelly said.  "We are looking to the future and the -800 sets the stage to bring more destinations into the realm of possibilities for Southwest, to operate a more economical aircraft, and to offer better scheduling flexibility in high-demand, slot-controlled, or gate-restricted markets." The current plan is to deliver these 20, 737-800 aircraft in full Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) configuration. The current configuration also includes the Boeing Company's Sky Interior that offers a quieter cabin, improved operational security features, and LED reading and ceiling lighting. After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains forward-looking statements related to Southwest's plans and expectations regarding the introduction of the Boeing 737-800 to its fleet. These statements are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  These forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current intent, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance.  These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them.  Factors include, among others, (i) the impact of fuel prices and economic conditions on the Company's overall business plan and strategies; (ii) consumer demand for air travel; (iii) actions of competitors, including without limitation pricing, scheduling, and capacity decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities; (iv) the impact of governmental regulations on the Company's operations; and (v) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, and under the heading "Forward-looking statements" in the Company's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2010, June 30, 2010, and September 30, 2010. SOURCE Southwest Airlines

Free Pilot Navigation Resources

Every pilot would love to have a fully loaded iPad with Jeppesen charts, a flight planner, wifi and 3G. Dropping a cool grand for the luxury of having the latest EFB toy probably isn't in the cards for most pilots. As an alternative, we have put together a list of some free resources pilots can use online. Print it up and go old school with paper and pencil in the cockpit for free! 1) Flight Planning 2) Navigation Print NACO Approach Plates at FltPlan On Final PDF Approach Plates 3) Free Downloads From NACO:

4) International Approach Plates and Charts NOT FOR NAVIGATION: 5) Free Flight Plan Form and Clearance Form Free IFR Clearance and Flight Plan Form If there are some free resources we have missed (and we are sure there are plenty!) Please let us know by posting a comment.

Commercial Pilot listed as one of the 50 best careers of 2011

A recent article written by RIck Newman at U.S. News and World Reports has listed commercial pilot as one of the top 50 best careers for 2011. The article gives a basic synopsis of the profession but is obviously written by someone who has not worked as a pilot recently. According to the article the field is expected to grow by 19 percent through 2018, adding 7,800 jobs. This news is positive, and with age 65 retirements coming up in 2013 this statistic is promising for the industry. Mr. Newman cites the Department of Labor and Statistics stating that the median income for a commercial pilot in 2009 was $65,840. He backs this figure explaining that new aviators should expect far less starting out and the requirement by some airlines to pay for training. Since the article was published yesterday (12-06-2010) it has already racked up 40+ comments by professional pilots and others experience in aviation. We feel that some of the best information on the profession can be found in these comments, not necessarily the article itself. Some notable comments:

9 years in the industry, over 5000 hours of flight time, 2000 hours command twin turbo prop, and I am just now making over 60 K per year.
I am currently flying as a Charter Pilot Captain on a Challenger 300. While I love to Fly as my job, it is NOT the career it once was when I first entered it back in 1989. While I do make a six figure income, the tradeoff is that I live by my cell phone, I only get 13 'hard days off' per quarter (this includes when the aircraft is down) and am gone from my family an 'average' of over 20 days per month.
A new pilot should budget $$$ for a lifestyle at the regional pilot low pay level (Delta Connection, American Eagle, Skywest). With some luck and hard work, perhaps make it to the higher paying major level (Delta, American, United, SWA). Always have a back up plan...
You won't hit that median income mark mentioned for several years after you get your commercial license.
I'm a 25 year veteran flying as a captain at American Airlines. I'm one of the lucky ones who grabbed their dream job. I've wanted to fly since I was a little kid. My dad was a career airline pilot and I just fell in love with it. My advice to anyone looking at this as a career is to forget about the money and the glamour. If you are crazy about airplanes and love to fly, you'll be willing to put up with the stress of getting to the top. Get in it for the money alone and you'll inevitably be disappointed.

If you have a passion for flying there is no doubt these comments may be discouraging. It is important for those considering aviation as a career to have a true picture of the profession. Those who stick it out can have a promising career with good benefits, good schedules and a nice salary. Just be prepared to work hard and pay your dues. View the U.S. News and World Reports article here: