Flying the Line show

Flying the Line

Summary: Recount an exciting chapter in aviation history and the beginnings of the Air Line Pilots Association, the world's largest pilot union and nongovernmental air safety organization, through an abridged retelling of the book by George E. Hopkins, "Flying the Line." Narrated by Corey Kuhn.

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  • Artist: Air Line Pilots Association, International
  • Copyright: Copyright 2019-2020 All rights reserved, Air Line Pilots Association, International


 Chapter 23 (Part 1) - "Jets and Thin Ice" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:18

As ALPA enters the jet age, technological improvements open the door to progress. But much like every major leap in technological progress before, the transition to jets isn't without problems or controversy.

 Chapter 22 (Part 2) - "American Airlines Goes It Alone" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:02

The dissidents of American Airlines mount their challenge, and decide on their future, with or without ALPA.

 Chapter 22 (Part 1) - "American Airlines Goes It Alone" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:47

The pilots of American Airlines decide to chart their own future after the issue of crew complement returns to the forefront, and dissident leaders seize their chance to break away. 

 Chapter 21 - "The Origins of the American Airlines Split" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:25

ALPA's during its early years was a remarkable story of unification across company lines. There were cracks lying under the surface, but unity kept any schisms at bay. But as time went by, the old spirit of shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity among ALPA's pilots began to erode. The new generation of pilots coming up were complacent about ALPA and the importance of unity, which would lead to the largest split that ALPA has experienced in its history.

 Chapter 20 (Part 2) - "Charley Ruby's Hour" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:06

The unique experiences of Charles Ruby’s life and career made him an unlikely choice for the Association’s president. But his due to the circumstances surrounding the departures of his predecessors, and the place ALPA was in at the time of his election, it could only have been Charley Ruby.

 Chapter 20 (Part 1) -"Charley Ruby's Hour" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:01

The election of ALPA President Charles Ruby, a seemingly status quo leader, brings reform and new ideas to the Association – challenging what some members’ thoughts on what their union’s purpose should be.

 Chapter 19 - "Internal Politicking, 1960–1962" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:07

The 1960 election of President John F. Kennedy opens new doors for labor, in both aviation and other industries. And the promise of a new age spawns new ambitions for leaders and politicians alike.

 Chapter 18 (Part 2) - "The Southern Airways Strike of 1960" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:00

The striking pilots of Southern Airways resort to unorthodox tactics, including starting their own airline, to win public support, and the federal government intervenes. But this strike tests the Association like no conflict prior. And with the country’s election of a new president – new opportunities for labor arise.

 Chapter 18 (Part 1) - "The Southern Airways Strike of 1960" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:22

In stark contrast with his fellow airline operators, the president of Southern Airways, Frank Hulse, goes to war with his airline’s pilots by cutting pay and benefits to bolster his own profits. While the pilots are forced to resort to unorthodox and inventive methods to plead their case with the flying public, Hulse takes strike-breaking to a new low by hiring unqualified pilots.

 Chapter 17 (Part 2)- "Safety and Crew Complement in the 1950s" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:17

A prank by a pilot in the jumpseat on a scheduled passenger flight highlights the need for more stringent standards on who should be afforded the right to have a seat on the flight deck. But this battle with federal regulators over crew complement would set the foundation for what would be the toughest and most painful period for ALPA in the years to come.

 Chapter 17 (Part 1)- "Safety and Crew Complement in the 1950s" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:16

ALPA advocates on behalf of having three pilots working on the flight deck of the new airliners of the post-World War 2 era, but accidents and pilot pranks do little to help the cause, all while one airline’s pilots mull over leaving the Association.

 Chapter 16 (Part 2)- "The Sayen Style" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:01

ALPA’s second president Clancy Sayen began his term on the heels of a bitter fight that ousted ALPA’s founder Dave Behncke. Upon his election, Sayen began a top-to-bottom reorganization of ALPA’s governance structure in order to democratize the association. In addition, he took head-on the issue of how the quick advancement of aviation technology impacted productivity, and thus, the pay rates of pilots. With the advent of jet technology, Sayen created the Jet Pay Study Committee to determine how best ALPA could navigate addressing the dual issues of aviation safety and crew complement in the cockpit, while protecting pilot jobs and pay.

 Chapter 16 (Part 1)- "The Sayen Style" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 15:56

In a way, ALPA's second president, Clancy Sayen was a victim of the ouster of ALPA's founder and first president, Dave Behncke. When Sayen joined ALPA, he did not have the presidency in his plans. However, due to his well-spoken and eloquent nature, he started to become noticed by many of his fellow members and quickly ascended to national leadership, which culminated in being chosen to succeed Behncke. The intentional and analytic nature of Sayen came as a stark contrast to Behncke's, and ALPA's culture changed as a result of the Sayen administration.

 Chapter 15 (Part 2)-”The Fall of Dave Behncke” | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 17:46

Against all odds and amidst a quickly shifting industry and labor landscape, ALPA’s first president Dave Behncke continues his fight to maintain his position atop the organization he founded. Questions about the legitimacy of an vote takes the battle for leadership into the courtroom.

 Chapter 15 (Part 1)-”The Fall of Dave Behncke” | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:08

ALPA’s founder and first president, Dave Behncke, works to maintain his position against all odds. But an investigative committee looks into various factors that would eventually lead to his downfall, including discontent among the professional staff of ALPA and the fulfillment of Behncke's dream, ALPA's first national headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. 


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