View Full Version : Do Trainers have more accidents?
1st Sep 2010, 08:18
On the face of it, the most experienced and well trained pilots should have fewest accidents. But some very high profile accidents; KLM Tenerife, Lufthansa Warsaw have involved senior training pilots. Of course no specialisation is going to make anyone immune to crashing. Are trainers involved in more accidents relative to the proportion of flights they operate than line pilots?
I don't have any figures so I can't really comment. What I can say is that I first got involved in training in 1963 and I was still training when I retired in 2006.
During that time I never had an accident or an incident whether I was training or not so maybe I did something right.
It is possible. Part of the skills in training 'for real' (ie in the aircraft) are to allow a situation to develop further than one might outside the training environment for the purpose of 'learning from experience'. Thus I suppose the training pilot is more 'exposed' to 'out of the ordinary' situations, but as a counter to that IF the selection and training of the trainer is correct, he/she should be better able to handle and correct the 'deviation' while still allowing it to be a learning experience for the trainee
I would not expect this to lead to more 'accidents' however.
1st Sep 2010, 09:13
I'm with you on that, though I can't proof, no statistics.
I know about a bunch of incidents with trainers involved.
1st Sep 2010, 09:48
Well, to be fair it is linked to the higher risk of flying with inexperienced guys doing line training with their huge variation in ability levels and propensity to do something unpredictable, especially when landing.
Capt Pit Bull
1st Sep 2010, 09:50
Vast sweeping generalisation:
Being a trainer tends to steepen the authority gradient from the other pilots perspective. Most people will know that the perception of the gradient depends on the individual; you may think you are the most approachable guy in the history of aviation but that doesn't make it so. Being a trainer adds a 'he is probably right' percentage into the subconscious of the other guy that might just tip the scales away from being being challenged.
I've managed to screw up quite a lot of things over the years, but I think the only serious airborne error was an altitude bust; I miss set the altitude preselect. The F/O confirmed the setting. In the subsequent debrief he said that he had briefly thought that I might have been in error but discarded the possibility as I was much more experienced than him and had been one of his trainers. (He was only a few days past his final line check and really should have known better.... but such is life).
Whether this sort of CRM factor is statistically significant.... <shrug> who knows.
1st Sep 2010, 10:18
Whilst like other contributors, I do not have any figures, there will be a cultural effect in play.
Even in Western countries such as USA, UK and Holland there is an effect where the relatively junior FO might overlook an error by a senior Trainer. However, in some countries where Hofstede's "Power-Distance" score is higher, there is a much stronger tendancy to always think that the senior person is correct. (For more detail, Google Hofstede).
Wasn't that also an issue in a recent Korean report?
1st Sep 2010, 11:02
Havenít got any data regarding accident rates amongst trainers, but I read a report some years back which highlighted a worryingly high level of accident rates (still very small I might add) when an aircraft is crewed by more than one captain.
And then when you get two training captains together.....!
Another one would be the recent Turkish AMS accident.
I would be very surprised if one could generate any meaningful statistics on this, because the overall numbers are very small.
I checked Aviation Safety Network on a couple of accidents involving check airmen and crew being checked out, and it wasn't mentioned. Overall, I think most Annex 13 accident reports are not public, so that would suggest that only ICAO can generate meaningful data.
In none of the accident reports of which I am aware does the phenomenon that one crew member was a check airman checking out the other occur in the list of causal factors.
Intuitively, one could imagine that the check-ride situation might bear some similarities with strong-hierarchy situations as apparently found continually, according to Boeing, in certain airlines. And phenomena directly related to that social feature does occur in causal-factor lists. For example Korean Air Guam.
1st Sep 2010, 11:52
Trainers are trainers.
Senior trainers, otoh, are management-pilots. Now that's a different cup of tea..
1st Sep 2010, 16:33
..............and what does one then call Chief Pilots in the sand pit?
King on a Wing
1st Sep 2010, 17:30
Those that get done.....!!!
(Well done....i might add)
Have no figures on it, but quite a few of our company trainers told me they only fly around 20 to 40% of the normal program as they have to sit in the back of a simulator most of the time. In times of heavy training that could mean months at a time without real flying. Dunno if that is better or not, personally i try to take extra care when i fly with them.
2nd Sep 2010, 00:54
personally i try to take extra care when i fly with them
The checkies and management pilots who most won my respect as an F/O were the few who, at the start of a tour of duty, made it very clear that "I've not been in the aircraft for a while so sing out any time you are in the slightest bit uncomfortable ..." or words to that effect.
Often they were also the more skilled and knowledgeable of their fraternity ..
4th Sep 2010, 19:12
ShotOne has a valid point, but I do think that we should look at this historically. In the past, some of the biggest knobs you could fly with in Britain were ex-RAF fast jet jockies. Boy did they know it all. At the same time, there were also some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet, also ex-RAF. But in the companies I have worked for, virtually every single one of these guys ended up as a trainer. And you've guessed it, the heros had more "interesting stories" that the others.
But the modern fast jet pilot is now a different breed of animal - more akin to the multi-crew, multi-engine pilot (still ex-forces) with a more social attitude. And why the change? Modern avionics and air-to-air combat ranges now means the loudest bullshitter can no longer win the de-briefing and be ace-of-the-base. As a result, we have better ex-service guys who are team players, better pilots and better trainers. As they have a more balanced personality, they don't have as much to prove. And I think this will show in the statistics - if not now but in years to come.
4th Sep 2010, 19:54
That is great to hear, and I hope that you are right.
Sadly, the greatest CRM school in the RAF is now badly shrunk, if not in peril of extinction. Apart from the rare pachyderm, no Nimrod pilot with "attitude" could survive for long flying with a constituted crew of erudite Navigators and hairy-ar*ed senior NCOs. To succeed in such critical company, you had to have "a good pair of hands" as well as a sociable personality. An appropriate modicum of humility (not too much, of course) would also help.
Given the task of designing an air show display sequence on the P3, I asked my Nav, AEO and Flight Engineer (all experienced instructors) to help me. Their contributions were invaluable, leading to a dynamic sequence that I didn't think I could have got away with if I had just put it to them as fait accompli. Synergy works!
7th Sep 2010, 22:24
I always know a good operator the minute he has the balls to point out that he is a TRI, or management pilot and that he is a human being and is not infallible. I know then instantly that these guys donít have feelings when it comes to pointing out something they have missed or something in error.
I remember when I was low time 500- 600 hrs on the 73 there would be a time where courage to speak up would be hard to come by unless of course there was a mountain right in front of us but now with allot more time I find if something needs to be pointed out im not afraid to do it. It also makes you a stronger person and of course when you transition to the left seat itís also of benefit. Itís those skills you gain with experience.
Lastly, I recently flew with an arrogant pilot who spent 25 years with an airline and was made redundant. He had a chip on his shoulder and it was not a pretty day out with this guy. On short final to land us were getting close to our stabilisation criteria when I prompted landed flap and I got a look I wouldnít get from my worst enemy. Later on the bus to the hotel he said " I was about to call for the flap " after that comment from him I just decided to look out the window from there on! I must have hurt his feelings?