Session with Mr. Ken Hylander
Ken did a fantastic job of showing how technology helps him with his job as well as the overall safety aspects of NWA. The background that he offered to start the lecture really gave me a solid background of the company. I had obviously heard of them and have flown NWA, but was unaware of the breakdown of planes and where their hub cities were. I think it is very interesting how they have positioned themselves to champion the Pacific Northwest. This seemed odd because of the lack of population currently in these areas. However, as he mentioned, why not focus on these areas and let the Deltas and such fight out over the major cities of New York and Los Angeles.
Continuing with his lecture, the safety part was by far the most interesting. Just seeing all those time when something did go wrong and the amount of time the company and crews put into understanding why it went wrong and how they can insure that it won't happen again in the future is incredible. At first, looking the pictures can scare someone away from flying, I mean it was plane after plane that was damaged, but when you hear that they moved an entire city in one day with their 300+ planes in inventory is pretty amazing. In a job such as his, I can't imagine there is any sleeping. It would seem that he would be getting a text message during the night or an alert of one thing or another. As one other person wrote, he should and I'm sure he does get compensated fairly.
Another point that was of interest was the fact that no matter what they do not allow any pilot to do any sort of maintenance work on the plane. This is comforting because although a pilot must know the aircraft, it is not their area of expertise.
Last point from his lecture. The amount of information that they are constantly collecting, analyzing and feeding back into their training programs is ridiculous. Every bit of information from every flight is monitored and looked at. If there is any unique situation or complication, they use it as a training experience for their fellow pilots. Having access to real time information such as theirs creates a huge advantage. Now I'm sure that every airline has that capability, but when it was first used, it was revolutionary and bettered not only pilots training, but also those in control towers, and maintenance. Finally, Ken's point rings true in any business out there, machines can do what they do, but in the end "its all about the people".