PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Response to EK Training a disgrace
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 14:55
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: new zealand
Posts: 5
Yes please read my post again, it's important. Since the post has split.

I would like to elaborate on my initial post and let's hope some of my more condescending colleagues don't consider me hysterical, because at the time of writing this I do not feel in any way hysterical.

I will clarify and mention some points in no particular order;

How can one be accused (which I fortunately never have been) of being substandard or inadequate if you have had NO way to practice your skills. The training department somehow thinks that reading the manual more is the answer to poor line based performance. This logic is fundamentally flawed. I am not talking about the very few limitations and memory items one is supposed to know. I am talking about general performance.
There is a trend by Airbus to move away from knowing all the detail. There is just too much to know. What’s considered important for one instructor is irrelevant for another, and that proves my point. Remembering some small insignificant figure or detail for a training session and forgetting it soon after because it’s irrelevant does not surmount to good training or a good operator. But that’s where the focus is in Ek training….to learn the books more. Know level 3 more.
It’s not the solution. Of course I am not suggesting a lack of general interest in the profession.
Most colleagues I know are happy to read up about the job at an acceptable level.

If I come to a session/flight and my performance is substandard, but I have had NO opportunity to hone my skills then I think it is very inappropriate to say that I'm unprofessional and subpar. Of course I must put some effort in, that goes without saying. But if my EO is wobbly and I get a 2 somehow this is all my fault?
(BTW a 2 today is not the 2 of yesteryear)
If I could have trained to competency even in my own time, because the tools were available, and I show up and deliver a poor performance then I have no excuse.
THIS would reflect a poor attitude and a lack of motivation as the pilot has not taken the initiative to optimize himself, which I believe most of the type A personality pilots that I know would have done.
But there is nowhere to practice!!
There is only one way to enhance proficiency and unfortunately it costs money. We need TOOLS!
We need a simulator (static would do) that can be used by the pilots to sharpen their skills. Like British Airways has, we need a SIM driver who is not affiliated with training so that the pilot can feel 100% confident that he is free to experiment and discover in a very safe and holistic way regardless of the outcome of his actions. This is how we learn - by experience.
We need ECAM/ICAS software that we can work through and it behaves and acts like the real thing so we become familiar with the more challenging parts of this interface. This software is available on the open market but not for EK type AC otherwise I would purchase it myself.
How can ones ECAM/ICAS management be up to speed if we have not seen a complex example unfolding for 6 months or more.

Only with the correct tools available can checking somebody on day one make sense and lead to a truly competent pilot.

As automation becomes more complex and not less so, the nuances and complexities of what we are trying to do in the cockpit become more not less.
The only way to mitigate this is hands on practice and utilizing basic muscle memory. Muscle memory is the only modality that has been proven to deliver results under pressure.
Familiarization is key in order to manage unforeseen and stressful events.
The only way to enhance automation familiarization, is exactly that, familiarization.
You don't see a 12 year old playing Xbox or PlayStation with the tsunami of information pouring out of that interface confused do you? Why? Because he is very comfortable and familiar with the information coming out of the interface due to repeated exposure.
Have you ever seen a teenager become good at a console game by reading the manual??

Modern pilots on the other hand are not familiar with non-standard automation information. We don't regularly see anything other than standard line flying automation and no wonder we are confused when something out of the ordinary is presented. The instructors of course see a lot more from the back, so they are much more comfortable with interpreting the information and expect the line pilot to be as familiar.

This idea that evidence-based training is the solution, is in my opinion flawed. What happens with this training is that a trend is noticed and is then trained for, but it's the cart leading the horse because those events have already happened. There are new trends manifesting already. Something else will always be TRENDING
I am trained in something that is trending and it's ticked off the list and I never see it again for five years but I'm supposed to ALWAYS be proficient at it because it's been ticked off the list.
So when that latest flavor of the month event happens to me in five years and one day, I have no bloody clue on how to do it because I've not had the opportunity to review it in 5 years ( other than the manual).

What needs to be embraced is a solid base for dealing with any issue. And that lies in repetitive training and familiarization, not knowing level 3 of a specific event because it happened once or twice in history.
Again, reading and trying to learn complex tasks form a manual has very limited effect under duress. It’s not the correct way to become proficient in stressful situations when they happen. This concept is understood in all levels of education except in aviation and EK specifically.

Lets look at some scenarios to determine which one will produce the safest outcome:

I have not been to Moscow for approximately five years. I read some text and “think” I understand the procedure. Then go to Moscow and realize I didn't truly understand it correctly and make a hash of it. There was nobody to ask and run my ideas by because the training department is what it is.

Alternatively, I can contact somebody respectful and knowledgeable in training (not a friend) and ask them to run by the procedure with me to make sure that I understand it correctly and that I am comfortable with it. Even better, if that imaginary sim was available I could even shoot some approaches using my new knowledge and test my understanding. So I wonder which one of these options is fundamentally safer?

Let’s look at another scenario:
I don't feel confident with 40kts Xwinds. I get through them in my simulator checks but it's not pretty. I pass and I'm on the line dreading the day that 40Kt is waiting for me.

I can contact the training department and tell them as a professional, “listen folks, I can get through crosswind Landings in the SIM but I've never done it in real life in 10 years. I don't feel 100% confident with my own ability, it might be good enough to pass a check but it's not good enough for me as a professional so can I please practice.” “Yes of course training says” and they say thank you so much for coming to them and commend you for being so professional and mature. They offer to schedule some time so that you can practice for as long as you want until YOU feel up to speed with this activity that is very rarely practiced let alone encountered for real. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this, to me it's so blindingly obvious which one is safer but somehow there still seem to be some people that defend the other narrative and suggest I should read THE TECHNIQUE AGAIN and not be so lazy!

It is naive and foolish in my opinion to think that a memory item can be flawlessly performed from reading it in the manual and then regurgitating it later. Under stress this theory will not deliver. Only muscle memory can deliver under stress.

I'm not advocating that we don't know memory items, I'm just saying that it goes against all fundamental educational principles to expect a procedure to be replicated under stress perfectly when memorized from text in a manual.

As for the level of experience I can only say that I am so impressed with the level of dedication and piloting skills of our FOs of late, even if they have very little experience. If these people were nurtured and properly trained they would be outstanding. I am personally very opposed to the dropping of entry standards but I must say that the new guys that I have been flying with have been generally excellent operators.
I am not confusing this with lack of experience which is understandable.
In my opinion the "slackers" are the demotivated, scared of their own shadow colleagues who have been jaded by the broken system over time.

The amount of lives that the training department (and subsequently fleet) have ruined of late is alarming. The word is certainly out there by now and many people don't want to come to Emirates in case they get through the whole selection process and most of the training only to be canned at the last minute.
How is it possible that experienced pilots who get through selection cannot be trained to land properly or fly a raw data ILS but instead get terminated? Personally this makes no sense.
If someone is battling in all fields then of course certain harsh action needs to be taken.

How can it be acceptable that captains are getting downgraded for one or two issues on a line check or PPC when they have immaculately served 10 or 12 years or more with perfect records .This is basically saying that every flight needs to be perfect which goes against all logic because we all know that that's not true and impossible to replicate.
It is well known and understood if you fall into the cracks of the training department you will be ravaged until there's nothing left of your soul. Your confidence will be shattered and that a very dangerous reality for a pilot to have no confidence.
They will come down on you like a pack of wolves. Treating respectable long serving veterans and new joiners with utter distain and disrespect. This is certainly a disgrace because it’s uncalled for and unnecessary. Deliver the message, but have some respect and humanity. That’s for free.

I notice a lot of instructors are very demotivated due to their conditions being eroded but are also of late very ashamed to be affiliated to the training dep.
They try to distance themselves somehow from the training dep as a whole. That’s sad and reflects on its management and where the dep is.

Way too much emphasis gets placed on who the instructor is for ones check. It’s the first thing people say when it’s mentioned that your PPC is due. “Oh who’s the instructor? “
It should not matter if proper standards where in place and the terrors in training could be further rooted out and the emphasis was rather on training nurturing and advancement.

There are a certain amount of loyal followers of MM. Good for them. I’m not one of them. But requiring a certain amount of statistical failures is a recipe for disaster and this training reality we have now is under his watch. This post is not a personal attack on anyone so I will leave it there.

As for the manual handling which apparently we should be so grateful for. A lot of the time is spent completing, in order to certify, EK special procedures which are badly thought out, not clearly understood, with very little consensus between trainers on how to do them. They general get revised soon after to another version.

I will say it again, that the ethics of the training department are completely flawed and compared to what it could be- a disgrace. I think a complete novice would be able to see the shortcomings. Let me be clear that I am not having a go at individual instructors, I'm having a go at the training department as a whole and probably the “lost few” in charge of this airline.

Let me say in closing, because a lot of negativity has surfaced in this post, that EK is still an amazing job with an unfortunately mounting amount of issues…but still amazing. I have had a privileged 10+ years but it has systematically ruined my love of the profession and I will get out of it as soon as I can. It’s an industry wide cancer of which EK is NOT the sickest. Not by a long shot
My own pride keeps me motivated and as professional as I can be. I just wish I could be more so, and have a training dep that would help me get there, and a company culture that embraced the grind that aviation has become, rather than added to it.
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