United Airlines at Oshkosh

First time at the Oshkosh airshow for United Airlines. Their senior captains did some yanking and banking in a 777 in front of the crowd. The most frightening maneuver was approaching the crowd (west side of the runway) from the east in a dive and then climbing over the crowd. Some years ago I was in one of the jump seats of an empty Boeing 757 being ferried out of JFK and the captain put the plane into a 40-degree bank so that a friend on the ground could get a photo. The avionics were unhappy, shouting “bank angle, bank angle” repeatedly.

As the plane carved up the sky, the United announcer proudly disclosed the quota-based hiring policy for the company’s new flying school. Only 20 percent of the slots would be available for white males while 80 percent would be allocated to “women” (however that term is defined by the airline’s team of biologists) and “people of color” (however that term is defined by the airline’s team of diversity consultants). Curiously, there is no quota for student pilots who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA+. Numerous folks sitting near me grumbled angrily on hearing the airline’s plan of sex- and race-based discrimination. It is unclear why United thought that this message would be warmly received by the audience at Oshkosh. General aviation is overwhelmingly white, male, old, and conservative. The young people there who talked about pursuing a dream of professional aviation were also overwhelmingly white and male (i.e., they’d have to fight for the 20 percent scrap at the United school). Here’s the United AVIATE booth within the “EAA Career Center”:

It seems that United has taken over Lufthansa’s old school in Goodyear, Arizona, perhaps because Lufthansa could no longer get students in and out due to coronapanic. Cirrus SR20s with air conditioning are used for primary training.

If United were serious about diversifying its pilot group, the company would offer a “no-overnight” schedule (see Ryanair: airline that is not a hotel customer for how the world’s lowest cost airline does this). Right now, the only people who can consider flying for the U.S. airlines are people who are willing to be away from friends and family up to 22 days per month (trending down to 10 or 11 for the most senior pilots in a seat, but it can take decades to reach this level of seniority as a captain at a major U.S. airline). This makes it a terrible job for anyone who might become a parent. When the mostly-at-home spouse files the inevitable divorce lawsuit, he/she/ze/they is a slam-dunk winner to obtain primary custody, a free house, and a river of child support cash under a typical U.S. state’s family law that looks to see “who was the primary historical caregiver of these now-lucrative children?” How many women want to fly around for a few years and then spend the rest of their lives paying a former husband to hang out at home with what used to be her kids plus some new sex partners from Tinder?

If we visit the EAA official merchandise market, we can learn that pilot and astronaut are already jobs held exclusively by females.

Airplane constructor is also exclusively a woman’s job, according to EAA’s merchandise selection. Here is the only plane-builder featured:

Pilots identifying as “women” can get a free T shirt and participate in a variety of exclusive events at Oshkosh under the rubric of WomenVenture, a 15-year-old event started just in time for the term “women” to become undefined. As a measure of progress, what had been the “innovation” pavilion at Oshkosh, showcasing new technologies, is now the “WomenVenture Center” (complete with pink theme).

Meanwhile, gender ID is somewhat less fraught at the SOS Brothers tent, “BeerVenture” until some litigation with EAA forced a re-titling. Here are the “bikini bartenders” that EAA complained about in its lawsuit:

17 thoughts on “United Airlines at Oshkosh

  1. Wonder if the flying school referred to flight attendants as well as pilots. Some blog said only 1% of pilots in US were women. It’s obviously higher in other more liberal countries. Maybe they’re shifting to NFT’s & trying to get bought out. Oshkosh is a typical technology convention, all men.

  2. I presume there were more people having more fun in the “BeerVenture” Tent than the WomenVenture Center. And that’s the problem isn’t it: people pursuing happiness.

    The entire Declaration of Independence is anathema to the woke. From the notion of truth in any form, much less that it could be self evident, to unalienable rights (bad enough) but that they are endowed by a creator is surely right out. After those biggies, pursuit of happiness looks like collateral damage.

  3. With the ultra-high demand for women programmers, surgeons, astronauts, law firm partners, professional sports team coaches and managers, CEOs, politicians, etc., where will the airlines find enough women pilots to fill the quotas?

  4. The BeerVenture is less diverse than the EAA Career Center.

  5. I’m surprised you didn’t suggest a new sub-theme tent: “Oshkosh Pride” with its own beer tent and toy dolls of all of the world’s most famous Gay Aviators. Little exhibits featuring the Mile High Club, Trans World Airlines and, of course, Packed Lavatories.

    I think it’s high time that members of the 2SLBTQUIAALTMAGAGLA++ Community are more forcefully represented at Oshkosh, so they can really help kill it dead.

    I’m kind of surprised United didn’t fly the plane into the crowd on purpose, to make room for the next generation of brave, diverse pilots. Am I wrong?

    • I think our Angry Australian commenter, who regularly flings profanity at other readers, is actually the most plausible candidate for engaging in an armed confrontation (if we assume that anger is a prerequisite).

    • philg: good to know that the things you regularly complain about don’t actually make you angry!

    • AA: Are you sure that the perceived “complaints”, like the perceived “anger”, aren’t projections from your own mind? In the current post, for example, I note that United has established a 20% quota for white males. But I do not say that this is a good quota or a bad quota. Nor do I propose that United abandon its quota and adopt a race- and gender-ID-neutral hiring policy. The actual complaints and rage on my blog are usually occasioned by home appliances and attempts to get them serviced. See https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/11/11/kitchenaid-tries-to-burn-our-house-down-a-second-time/ as an example.

      (Speaking of which, I just scheduled Service Visit #3 for the $11,000 KitchenAid built-in refrigerator that came with our house. It was pronounced fixed after Visit #2 (like Dr. Evil, a partially frozen evaporator), but stopped cooling the fridge side 10 days ago and a manual defrost fixed the problem.)

  6. Betcha the insurance industry has data on how well those different groups operate vehicles…

  7. The United Airlines policy seems like the usual game: Claim a worker shortage, then try to drive down wages under the guise of diversity:


    Of course the new hires will fly regional (presumably for $20,000 per year):

    “After graduation, United points trainees toward jobs at partner companies, such as flight schools, where they can build the necessary hours. Then participants fly regional jets for a United partner, and two years later, have top priority to be a first officer, or co-pilot, at United.”

    It does not seem feasible for all of them to be a first officer or co-pilot at United later.

    • “It does not seem feasible for all of them to be a first officer or co-pilot at United later.”

      Probably not a concern due to a high washout rate.

    • Eurocrat: If they all stick to their career plan, I don’t see why they couldn’t all become pilots at United. However, a lot of people discover that 200 nights per year in Hilton Garden Inns and similar is not for them.

  8. The airline you blog about sure seems different than the one I fly for!

    Our new hire class had a demographic I’d say representative of the pilot population as a whole. We were “traditional” pilots hired with experience (a mix of civilian part 121 and military), vs. starting out via the Aviate academy. And that’s the crux here: What do pilots look like or identify as when they have sufficient experience to join United? I don’t think they care. They hire experienced pilots who exercise good judgment and work well with others, among other traits.

    Excellent schedule flexibility and time at home, if desired. With a family and working spouse I aim to reduce my time away and have been quite successful, moreso than any other job so far in the career progression.

    UAL B737 FO. One year in. Its a great place to be.

  9. If it’s called SOS Beer I assume those bartenders can also instruct patrons on how to handle their yoke and throttle in an emergency??

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