Flying in China $575K in 3 years tax free.(perspective) Some interesting observations from an "American" who flies for a Chinese airline... name removed....
I'm the 1%! ....and I pay less taxes than Mitt!
Yes its true. You can make oodles of money here in China. I as a E190 driver make more than any widebody captain in the US, and I have over 18 weeks paid holiday a year plus normal days off.
But there is a natural economy to this and its not the gleaming diamond you think. Your vision is of your life now, today, as it is, with all its comforts, cleanliness, proximity to friends and family, in a system you are familiar with, where everyone speaks your language and understands your culture.
This is my second contract overseas and I can tell you why we make this kind of money.
We have less job security and no seniority list. If there is any hiccup we are the first to go. We are the outsiders and the locals always remain. We have no pension. This is not a permanent gig. There are some longer term contracts but the company has no interest in keeping us on payroll any longer than necessary.
Kids pee on the street 10 meters from a bathroom, people spit everywhere, I see have seen people laying a nice brown heap on the sidewalk. I live in a country that not only has cornered the market on plastic toy exports but all the super infectious germs resistant to antibiotics. A place that routinely is polluted so heavily that you can stare directly at the sun without squinting.....if you can see the sun. A place where purple industrial waste lays meters from farmland. An economy so self driven that it mirrors Dante's Inferno's passage where no one can escape because everyone pulls each other down to get ahead.
A place where there are three kinds of alcohol. Fake, not so fake, and almost real. An underground that reuses cooking oil into infinity and buys bottles from authentic international places to re-bottle them with fake hooch. Unless you pay 3x what it costs normally you are not really drinking alcohol and even then that is not a guarantee.
The chemicals in everything you eat is life shortening. A country where just the simple task of getting to Facebook requires special "tunnel" program to circumvent the great firewall of China. Initially for 2-3 months you will heave all the colours of the rainbow until you are used to the bacterias of the East. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and most Chinese don't believe in God so they don't believe in Ajax either. One rag to rule them all cleans your bed, your floor, your toilet, your dishes.....in that order. The best overnight hotels are in comparison with the worst ones you have ever stayed back home.
There is bare minimum communication. Almost no one outside of Shanghai and Beijing speaks even broken English. Hong Kong does not count because lets face it....that's not Mainland China. Even fewer people read English. None of my ground crew speak English. You can find "women" but there is a target on your back for you passport and your money. The first questions asked are...Are you single, do you have children, do you want children, where do you work, how big is your house, how much money do you make. Really, after what is your name these questions are the immediate follow up.
]I have a 3 man cockpit in an E190 to keep me going through to 16 hours or more every day. I get holidays but even when I am off half the month I am burning 80 or more flying hours in two weeks. There is no 30/7 rule here only 100/month. Routinely the pilots time out at 1000 hours per year. The delays in summer mimic EWR. The ATC outside of Shanghai and Beijing barely speaks English and on runway 27 it is normal to be flying a 090 heading, off any charted approach on vectors, and have the controller say..."cleared for the approach". You are ATC. My ICAO English examiner could not understand what I was saying.
Your F/Os while smart are 200 hour wonder pilots. And when I mean 200 hours I mean they just checked out and this is their first jet airplane. The last thing they flew was a C421 for 40 hours. In my initial sim the F/O who didn't speak English did not give a call about my speed during takeoff roll. The sim tech put in a windshear and airspeed had stagnated and I had already transitioned to outside reference before V1 above 100 knts. The F/O said nothing. As we overrun I shoot a glare to the F/O and he says something in Chinese. The translator says "He says he is sorry he never saw this situation before"
Your FOM makes no sense-----Its all Chinglish.....
"The regulation of using checklist is the valuable experience of what had happened before with high cost and scientific treasures summarized from the bloody accident. The operation of checklist is used to standard behavior, strict operation, detailed procedure, and it is the valuable treasures of preventing mistakes and important tool of assuring flight safety."
The checkrides are old school. Multiple failures. I've had my RAT out single engine with a multiple hydraulic, screen failure, anti ice failure, decompression, Electrical malfunction all at once with an F/O who does not speak English. I've flown V1 cuts IN THE AIRPLANE to 500 ft circling patterns with a hood. Engine failures at 400ft and securing the engine by 1000ft is challenging and can be done but not when you need a translator to get it done. You make your own procedure and get it done by 1000FT. People add weight to takeoff performance when clearly the English says SUB or Subtract. But they don't know English.
Line Check Airmen can be old school military to completely not knowing a damn thing about the SOP. There are good pilots but few who can fly or know SOP.
The medicals are extremely difficult overseas. Everything from balance tests, blood tests of more than 45 criteria from white blood cell counts to blood sugar levels. Vision, periphery, depth, puffer, grip tests, EKG, EEG, brain scans, ultrasounds, reflex, ears nose throat tests, and many other probes. Half the people don't make it past the medical.
Many people leave after the first few days unable to cope with the culture shock. This is not Hong Kong or Shanghai. This is Mainland China where people smoke in hospitals and there is no such thing as pedestrian right of way....even on the sidewalks.
Most importantly you should never bring your kids here unless you appreciate them eating arsenic. The pollution is terrible. It is beyond terrible. Its hazardous. The US Embassy advises no to go out side for any period of time many days of the year in my city. Where the distributors know that imported food is in demand they counterfeit everything and even that imported Sunkist label is a knock off. Marriages crumble with the distance, children are seen twice a year and those who do commute back and forth age so quickly you encourage them to double up on life insurance.
Expats drink a lot to deaden the loneliness and pain. I've seen people who didn't drink put away a 5th a week.
There is no Meetup group or speed dating. This is make your own a la carte.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and I have mentioned almost nothing about the real cultural differences.
It could work out for you. You could marry that stripper and everything will work out. But the odds are you are looking at a disaster on your hands and that my friends is why I make more than the most senior Delta captain who comes home to his family every week. China does not have the experienced captains that take 10 years of training to mold out here. And in all Asian countries its about 10 years. With foriegners reluctant to move here because of all these and other difficulties I am a drop of water in a desert.
air up there:- It's a difficult question to answer. You seem to have many different branches of the CAAC throughout China and what will pass in one place will fail in another. So you may be able to get through the medical having had a hip replacement. Having said that the Chinese medical is extremely scrupulous twice a year and never gets any easier. I would not recommend leaving a quality secure Job in Europe or the U.S. to go to China.
I doubt anyone could tell you positively on this board if a hip replacement will disqualify you.
You need to contact the airline you are looking at and ask them. All Chinese airlines have a pseudo doctor on staff and he will know the answer to this question.
It also depends on what your value is. If you are an A380 captain with time on type and China Southern wants to hire you then they will push aside as much as they can to get you on board. If you are a CRJ captain, like the thousands out there available , then expect little help.
Retirement age may have been increased to 70 but how many pilots (in our new low cost world) are going to continue working past 65 and not have health issues or simply decide that retiring while they still do a round of golf is more fun?
Sure lots of pilots having lost ground in the GFC or divorce will have no choice; the retirement age may even be put back to 65.. all in the future.
Last edited by Ivor Biggun; 13th Aug 2012 at 03:58.
Shen Wei is the biggest liar the world has, this guy does not tell you that most of your pay is bonus based and the cances of you getting them are very remote. Spring is the only airline where you will spend up to 6 months doing jump seat for up to 16 to 18 hours so that they can use you as a third pilot and extend the duty day.
They are not the least interested in your well being and the hotels like in Shenyang you would not put your dog in it. actually crew often ask for up to 20 towels just to cover the floor.
The company said they would improve this by changing sheets more than once a week...
Many have been there but onlt a few are actually happy.
When you join a Chinese company, for the government companies your license is contractually linked to that company. If you leave that company, any other company you join needs to have your license released to them. Additionally, when you leave a Chinese company, the no-incident record can be refused to be given, even though Chinese companies demand it of any other party. The mix of communism and capitalism has some lumps in it.
Beware before you sign with any chinese company. Of course there are private companies trying the same act, which is pretty interesting as a legal stance, a 3rd party withholding your right to work and intellectual property and property without a contractual right to do so. Again, look before you leap over the Great Wall...
We are hiring a lot of expat pilots in my company, but most of them fail either the CAAC medical, either the CAAC simulator check. After that a few, maybe 10 percent, fail the line training to be captain, for the other ones, well, it seems like a good job. Good money, during some period of the year (difficult weather) the F/O cannot be PF, the ground staff ant maintenance are helpful... Well, we are still foreigner, obviously, it has to be kept in mind. Think one seconde what you would feel if US hired south american pilots to be captain, or if Europe hired africans pilots in their airline (without changing their nationality, without learning the language, speaking their own local language), you would feel bad right? It has to be taken into account. They give you a job, a nice salary, a peaceful life (you do your flight, come back home and do whatever you want), in exchange you have to pass the simulator check, fly respecting the regulation and SOPs, nothing more, nothing less, what is fair enough right? After all, nobody is forced to come here...