It's a shame the captain needed his rest so early in the flight and couldn't have waited until he was North of the ITCZ and clear of the convective weather. No reasonable captain leaves the flight deck during the forecast of convective weather to take a nap while leaving low time crew at the controls.
I've flown down there quite a bit and he could have waited until he was abeam St Maarten and had clear skies from there...and all the way to Paris.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I work with pilots suffering from the anguish of aging and retirement and have served as a union safety chairman. I'm not saying this is an easy discussion, but for some people out there, they just don't know when to hang it up.
We don't need yet another group of people in our careers protected by some government alphabet soup commission, while others try to fill in the missing blanks if they suffer from serious performance issues from aging.
There are other jobs for some of these guys. Systems ground school, management, simulator and even regulatory compliance liaison with the various suppliers and governing bodies.
Just keep them away from the controls when they've seen much, much better days!
Last edited by Kangaroo Court; 25th Oct 2011 at 19:42.
Most of the stuff on airplanes is time limited. We don't wait for generators or pumps to fail. We replace it at a defined time point. Even the airplane itself has to have a C check eventually. We don't wait for stuff to fail in aviation before replacement. Well, in the past we didn't. I guess now it's OK to do that with the guy in the left seat.
OK Plectron, you make this point.
May I object that TBOs are revised when components reliability is proven to improve ? Some aero-engines have seen their TBOs increased from 1.000 hrs to 2.000 hrs. Other components no longer have TBOs. They are just "inspected" and replaced/overhauled "if necessary".
In 1959, age limit 60 for pilots probably made sense.
Not anymore in 2011 : pilot's "reliability", at age 60 (and above), have improved in 50 years.
Care to share with us these "incapacitation statistics" about the over 60`s ?
Never seen/heard of them. So many otherwise healthy guys drop dead in their 40's/50's that I find that even more worrying, as no-one sees the risk there.
Me, I would retire at 25, come back at 45, and work until I couldn't get up (in the morning & /or at night) THAT, would be a fair life I shared a crew-room with some kinda s l o w guys over 60, but you know what, they were probably less dangerous than some of the r e ally f a s t ones of less than 23
Visit any graveyard and look at a few tombstones...then come and join in the conversation. Google works too.
There was a 777 in Newark, a King Air in Florida...there are others too.
Just by the way...this isn't about "you". The tax paying population and your passengers deserve limitations and rules placed on those that think it is only about "them". Self ingratiating ego references that you would work until you couldn't get up add levity to the argument that the provisions so far have worked fine and do not need to be changed.
Although people are living longer, in most cases it is with age related chronic health conditions being controlled and managed by way of medication. So yes, there will examples of individuals aged 86 who are fit to fly, but for the average person maintaining your medical in your late sixties will be a challenge, especially as statistically flight deck crew do not have a high average life expectancy, compared to many other professions.
At the start of your career you have all the hand-eye coordination and none of the wisdom. Not very safe, but hopefully the skills and good captains will see you through till wisdom develops. In military terms we call this person a "first Tourist"
Somewhere in the middle, the graphs of Skill against age and Wisdom against age cross over, and that is probably as good as you are going to get.
At the end of your career you have none of the hand-eye coordination and all of the wisdom, again not very safe. I call this a "last Tourist"
The difference is that there is no way of avoiding the early part of a career, and in an airliner there is somebody senior to you to catch your mistakes. The later part is avoidable by the simple expedient of setting an age limit designed to catch the exponential curve of skill loss/risk of incapacitation with age. The only discussion here is "how late is too late?"
Anybody on here that is trying to suggest that the risk of keeling over in the cockpit is not starting to ramp up as you pass 50 is living in denial. Whether the wisdom they bring is worth the extra risk is the important question.
I don't have the time to read the rehash of this topic. A checkride and a medical certificate is all that is required to continue flying. the crap about sudden incapacitation ( it happens most often to 48 to 52 yo ) number of wives etc is a smokescreen for greed. I'm 65 and I will retire when I feel like it. Whether or not you young pilots like that------I don't give a shit.
"I don't have the time to read the rehash of this topic. A checkride and a medical certificate is all that is required to continue flying. the crap about sudden incapacitation ( it happens most often to 48 to 52 yo ) number of wives etc is a smokescreen for greed. I'm 65 and I will retire when I feel like it. Whether or not you young pilots like that------I don't give a shit."
The sudden incapication is a red herring for both sides. It is generally a rare event and for the average pilot, it will happen at some other point during the 8760 hours in a given year.
A slow, subtle mental degradation of abilities and thinking is more of a threat along with resistance to fatigue. I've seen it in the cockpit and with family, friends and neighbors.
Pointing to the ability to pass a medical and checkride in the USA is the ultimate joke to justify your stance. You know very well that FAA AME's are chosen by pilots, not the other way around, and are very poor in judging the effects of aging on pilots. The typical geriatric pilot is going to pass the the physical at 10 am after a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast. Add in an eye chart memorization and it's back in the air for another 6 months unless the guy is really senile. I'd love to see the AME observe Mr 63+ at 2:00am in weather after a 14 hour duty day. I have, and in the majority of cases, it's not pretty. Fatigue is one issue ignored in every study.
Sim checks in the US are another joke. Usually they're done at reasonable hours with a buddy of 20+ years or by a company collecting a pretty sum $$$ for continued corporate support.
I've flown bizjets with 60+ pilots and the majority showed the effects of fatigue far quicker than younger pilots. In airline flying, the close to age 60 crowd showed the same bad effects. Lately, I've even seen a few 60+ copilots who are generally slower in every way. Even reading a checklist and moving the eyes to the overhead panel there is an obvious delay.
Some oldsters can run marathons and out think young pups until they die in their late nineties. Most can't. The aging process is uneven and difficult to measure, especially in the lawsuit happy USA. We have arbitrary measurments in every facet of civilized existence, deal with it.
I won't worry about you flying over my house at 10 am on a good weather day. I will be concerned at 3 am with thunderstorms in the general area.
Who in their right mind would work for a schedule longhaul airline beyond 60, even 55, unless you dont have enough money to retire. I know there are many in that position. Bad investments, late divorce, todays low salaries.
When our airline started using the FDL's as a rostering target, two of our elderly Capts fell asleep during approach, (longhaul, different flights). One admitted it to the airline, who told him, 'if you cant handle it, Off. He did just that and retired.
This was a Capt whos 40 year career was during the good old days. How are todays pilots expecting to cope with a 50 year career being rostered up to maximum FDL every month. You will burn yourself out.
Theres a very good chance your time will be up before you enjoy your retirement. Whats the point of dying young with a bigger bank balance?
Why would you!!
Last edited by Mr Pilot 2007; 27th Oct 2011 at 07:28.
I agree with the argument that it is less about sudden incapacitation and more about a slow degradation of skills and ability to stay awake for 16+ hours back of the clock. I routinely fly with First Officers who are 65+, and one who is 72. I am 32, with 8000+ hours and am still a Second Officer. My main gripe though is not about slow career progression, I knew this would be the case when I joined a "legacy" carrier. My chief complaint is that we are required to carry these guys, both in the Sim, and on the line. With very few exceptions, in my experience, once they are over around 60 or so pilot performance drops off markedly. What this leads to is a degree of animosity in the flight deck. I know it's bad for CRM but if I see anyone taking "uncontrolled" ie unbriefed, sleep, I now report it. In the sim, I only help as much as I am required. SOP's and no more. I don't socialise with over 65's on layovers. A large reason why many older guys carry on is the social side of the job. It's a bit harsh I know, but I call on all those who don't agree with over 65 pilots to do the same.