The U.S. Labor Department is investigating the complaint by Capt. Dave Bumpus, 38, who says Air Midwest removed him from its training department after he made safety-related complaints.
The airline denies the allegation, which was reported Wednesday by The Charlotte Observer
Gillman said Bumpus
was demoted for failing to follow a supervisor's order that had nothing to do with safety.
refused to fly because he
had recently consumed alcohol while off duty.Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit airline employees from acting as crew members for eight hours after the consumption of alcohol.
Two days later, Bumpus
was asked to fly with another pilot, even though he
believed their combined weight would exceed FAA-approved procedures for Air Midwest's 19-seat turboprop planes.
Gillman said that in the July 11 incident, Bumpus
was asked only to travel to Ithaca as a passenger, with no official duties.
alleges that he
was demoted from Air Midwest's
training department Aug. 6, a day after telling the airline's training director that he
had been asked to do things he
believed violated FAA rules.He
also told the training director that he
had contacted the FAA
. As a training department member, Bumpus received extra pay for training pilots.Bumpus
says the demotion has reduced his
annual salary from about $43,500 to $30,000.
Safety at Air Midwest
has been under scrutiny since one of the airline's planes crashed shortly after takeoff from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Jan. 8, 2003, killing all 19 passengers and crew members aboard.Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board
have blamed maintenance errors and excessive weight for the crash. Bumpus, who has worked at Air Midwest since 2000, said he has long raised concerns about what he sees as safety violations and unethical treatment of pilots at the airline.
"I'm trying to promote safety at this airline, especially after the crash," he
said. Bumpus said Air Midwest told him he was demoted because of a remark he made to a crew scheduler at the airline.
According to Bumpus' account, when he
arrived at the Ithaca airport on the night of July 12, an airline scheduler told him he
should stay at a hotel an hour away and report for work early the next morning. Bumpus
told the crew scheduler she
must have been "smoking crack," because such an arrangement would not allow him enough sleep to fly safely the next day. He
was told July 17 that he
would be removed from the training department if he
did not apologize for the remark, which he
did Aug. 5.