View Full Version : UK Chief Pilots and the 'Old Boy' network . . .

Wig Wag
31st Jul 2001, 20:18
A short while ago, whilst in casual conversation with a board member of a UK airline, it became known to me that the Chief Pilots and Ops Directors of the leading UK airlines have regular consultations and meetings.

Fine. There are common operational aspects of airlines (aside from commercial issues) which can benefit from discussion and understanding. My interest is how we, as pilot employees, are affected by this unofficial concord.

For example, are salary levels and recruitment discussed? Would the Ops Director of 'Airline A' reveal to the Ops Director of 'Airline B' that 'Pilot X' has applied for a job?

Is CAA regulation discussed? I understand that the CAA have a proposal to restrict CAP 371 with regard to early starts. Presumably the commercial departments of airlines oppose this on cost grounds. Might our chiefs co-ordinate responses on this and other issues?

I would be interested to hear some comments; I would like to know if these gentleman have more political control over our lives than they have right to.

[ 31 July 2001: Message edited by: Wig Wag ]

Holt CJ
31st Jul 2001, 22:30
Wig Wag, this is more than a little interesting. I have never posted on this site before (only registered to address your post) and am a little unfamiliar with its workings. I came to browse it at the suggestion of a professional pilot involved in an action against a UK airline. I represent this man in that action.

Do you have any evidence to prove the existence of this "unofficial concord" of which you speak, or is it merely hearsay? For example, does it meet under the name of an association of airlines or is it a separate, or possibly covert, thing?

I too would like to know if these gentlemen have political control over pilots' employment terms and conditions beyond their normal scope. The questions you have put are right on the button, if I may say so.

31st Jul 2001, 22:37
You bet this is a very solid fact. No different than Banking,Civil Service "et al".
It's not what you know..........

beaver eager
31st Jul 2001, 22:46
A former FOD of my outfit once admitted to me that he was in contact with all the other Chief Pilots (or equivalents) in the UK and alluded to the fact that he could affect the course of people's lives with just a 'phone call.

Mind you, I'm not aware of anyone ever being blatently stitched up by him.

Who you know is always important though, as is how you behave. I've normally saved my recommendations for good people who were deserving of a chance at their first airline job. But there was this one guy who was such a @sshole as the CFI of a flying club I once belonged to that, having found out that he had passed an interview, I went and un-recommended him. He had three other un-recommendations from colleagues who had worked with him previously, and not suprisingly, his sim check went badly.

What goes around, comes around! It's a very small industry in the UK.

Unfortunately, some people get away with being unpleasant for a whole lifetime.

Joyce Tick
1st Aug 2001, 01:22
Well - you are absolutely right. We in management convene secretly, usually in fields at midnight and wearing white balaclavas, to see how we can screw your pay and conditions even further! We have a large oriental contingent who set the agenda. It is our plan that one day you will all fly 1000 hours a year, at night, for about 15000 a year - and be grateful for the privelege!

Pete Otube
1st Aug 2001, 01:29
Wig Wag - there's worse to come.

I've heard it said that the pilots of all these airlines also communicate at regular intervals. It's rumoured that they even have a club, I think it's called Balpa or something, and they compare salaries and conditions!! Do you think that this could be a plot against management??

1st Aug 2001, 02:30
Beaver Eager
Your confession that you have stitched up another pilot, causing him to fail a sim check, would suggest that you might be good FOD material.

Yak Hunt
1st Aug 2001, 11:58
Been of the receiving end of these confabs - but you can never prove it :mad: The one that did it to me was daft enough to let me know he'd done it!!! The only consolation is these guys arn't bright!
If you can't do it - teach it
If you can't teach it - manage it
If you can't manage it - buy the airline!!

1st Aug 2001, 15:02
Joyce Tick, you wouldn't be related to R Murgatroyd would you?

Holt CJ
1st Aug 2001, 16:45
The problem with conspiracy theory is always that the conspirators will accuse the theorists of paranoia, or worse. And it is a truth taught at all state educational institutions that conspiracy theory is "fatally flawed". Serves the conspirators well though, don't you think?

BTW Wig Wag, have you wagged off for a while or will you answer my question above?

[ 01 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

Wig Wag
1st Aug 2001, 17:12
Holt CJ:

>>Do you have any evidence to prove the existence of this "unofficial concord" of which you speak<<

The said Board Member informed me that, in connection with an employment issue, he/she would be in receipt of a phone call from the MD of a rival company and . . . would be meeting (together with other heads) the Ops Director of a third rival company.

Perfectly innocent. In this world you can talk to whom you want to.

However . . . These handful Ladies and Gentleman have huge influence on how many pilots are employed and where. I speculate that there are informal agreements between them and raised this post to stimulate debate on the issue.

1st Aug 2001, 17:17
Over the last twenty years in UK jets I have often come across apparent evidence of communication between Chief Pilots and Ops Directors.

I would say that it's not as 'organised' as described above, but 'annecdotal references' can and do get passed between companies. In general I would never trust that I am making a 'confidential application' to anyone.

A few Chief Pilots are infamous for phoning a pilots present employer and asking for an unnoficial reference, the present incumbent at easyJet holding the dubious honour of being the most prolific at this game. However internet applications and use of an agency seems to have reduced the number of complaints that have made it to my ears recently.

A simple rule is to trust no-one, and make your friends in the Air Force, because you are going to need them for the rest of your career!

Holt CJ
1st Aug 2001, 18:11
Thanks for the prompt reply Wig Wag. Of little help, I'm afraid to say. Interesting topic though. Guess I'll go back to sleep and become a "lurker???" (is this right?) again. Bye for now.

3rd Aug 2001, 11:52
>>A few Chief Pilots are infamous for phoning a pilots present employer and asking for an unnoficial reference<<

A completetly self defeating attitude. It soon gets round that this practice is in hand and pilots are put off applying to the host airline.

Why? Because is you know that, prior to accepting a acontract your present Boss is approaches informally then you will save yourself the trouble in the first place.

Ever wondered why sone airlines have problems getting pilots despite the money?

There is a proper time and place for references. :mad: :mad: :mad:

beaver eager
3rd Aug 2001, 13:34

I know your remark was probably just tongue-in-cheek, but I must respond to it. This guy was a genuinely nasty bit of work and everyone I know who has made his acquaintance agrees (although I suspect his mother loves him). The company I work for is absolutely full of good people and "bad apples" stand out a mile. It is simply best to not have such people around in the first place.

This guy squandered any respect his position at the flying club could have earned him with a total lack of man-management skills. He's the sort of person who (as you accuse me of) would have put himself on a fast-track to management by brown-nosing and thereafter gone straight back to his egotistical and arrogant style of management - he's already done it once at the flying school.

My conscience is clear, I did the right thing. It probably won't happen again though as I don't think I know anyone else worthy of un-recommendation. I have recommended many pilots to my company, most of whom have been successful.

For anyone I knew less well or was unsure of their flying skills, I offered help and advice to the individual whilst remaining neutral if questioned by the recruitment department. I would always say that the individual seemed like a nice person and was worthy of an interview, but I could not vouch for his/her flying skills as I had not personally flown with them. This usually gave them a chance to "cut the mustard" if they could.

Being able to live with myself and get a good night's sleep is important to me, and I actually derive some self esteem from the fact that I saved my colleagues from having to put up with this individual.

3rd Aug 2001, 14:37
The simple fact is that our business is part of a very small world and people,either in management or not, are likely to be aqquainted with each other. Many threads here prove this.
We all get a bit of info through the old boy network if you think about it for a little longer than knee jerk time.
Conspiacy theories are all very well but are surely a bit paranoic?
I know of one OD who, knowing that some of his more upwardly mobile young pilots were looking to move on, actively helped, by use of his contacts, in their selection of suitable companies for good career progression.
This might pi** a few people off, but there are some people out there who are prepared to help.
I should know as I was one of those who was assisted in this way and have been grateful ever since.

3rd Aug 2001, 16:48
Old Boy Network? Common practice all over the aviation world!

3rd Aug 2001, 19:50
Harpy,your comment was a little sanctimonious me thinks,clearly with 2 or 3 others feeling the same way about the individual,I suspect he would have been a CRM nightmare on the line. :eek:

7th Aug 2001, 16:57
Perhaps he would have become a CRM nightmare, we don't know. We do know that the simulator was used as a weapon and we do know that's inexcusable. There I go being sanctimonious again.

Mr Benn
7th Aug 2001, 23:11
I think many CPs will admit to knowing and talking to other companies CPs. I have heard first hand from various CPs that they have asked others for info and references. I don't know if it would extend to salaries and conditions for all its pilots. I do know that some airlines have "agreements" with others not to poach their pilots. I have a friend who applied to BA and BMI and got a job with BMI. Shortly afterwards BA called to offer him a job. He happened to mention in passing that he'd already got an offer with BMI and the BA option was withdrawn. Have heard this sort of thing before. I remember Geoff Hall of Monarch saying that if he knew a pilot was breaking a contract with another airline he wouldn't employ him.
Also, I have been on the receiving end of the "old boys network". Again, proof was the problem. Twice he got me, but ultimately I think I got the better deal, a good job with a good airline, and his word was rubbished as I proved that what he had said was total nonsense.
I knew exactly who the person was and who he had spoken to but nothing in writing. I even had contacts in the company and they looked through the files to find out if there was any reference in writing, but no.
Be wary, aviation is a very small industry.
Even if you don't annoy someone, if they take offence to you, even if its for no particular reason, you could find yourself getting seriously hindered in your search for a job.

bugg smasher
8th Aug 2001, 00:38
No small number of pilots have been fired or unable to gain further employment over the years as a result of clandestine operations that exploit the cozy relationships between airline management staff. This is perhaps truer of Asian airlines than European ones, ("leaving the family" is a great sin in those cultures) Singapore and EVA pilots having a particularly difficult time.

Anyone who's reputation has been contaminated by this sort of practice has my heart-felt sympathy, proof is indeed hard to come by and the hardship is a terrible one. I'm surprised the caretakers of our present legal system have not yet realized the potentially enormous payouts involved.

Seems you can check out of this hotel, but you can never leave.

8th Aug 2001, 13:49
Mr Benn
Geoff Hall is obviously a bit smarter than you!
Would you employ someone you knew was breaking a contract?

Holt CJ
8th Aug 2001, 14:08
To the comment by Mr Benn and ducksoup above I would add that I currently represent a pilot accused of breaking a contract with an airline. It is important to remember that this man is innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. One wonders, then, whether "Geoff Hall of Monarch", or any other employer in the Old Boys' network would refuse to employ him while the legal process is in train (perhaps for several years). Would they employ him after found 'not guilty'? Would they immediately offer him employment were the court to find that the airline was the party in breach of contract and not he? Importantly, would they hold in contempt the 'in breach' airline employer in the same way that they apparently hold the 'in breach' pilot? :confused:

Wee Weasley Welshman
8th Aug 2001, 19:12
I am indebted to Mr Don Perry (Industrial Editor, Sunday Express, 1964 -1982) for his letter to The Times today in which he informs me:

"Perhaps the Governments's own Employment Relations Act 1999, Section 3, which prohibits lists 'compiled with a view to being used... for the purpose of discrimination in relation to recruitment or... the treatment of workers', is relevant."

So there you go. Such lists are illegal.


9th Aug 2001, 14:54
Holt CJ
Have you positioned Geoff Hall or anyone else in any conspiratorial Old Boys` network? I say again, conspiritorial, because this appears to be your presumption and you cannot make that stick.
Surely, guilt is simply a question of did he or did he not? If he did, he IS guilty, irrespective of the burden of proof. It is only in LAW that we are required to make your assumption and, as you should be only too aware, the law can be and frequently is, an ass.

What lists are you referring to?

Holt CJ
9th Aug 2001, 15:55
Dear Mr ducksoup. I am a little concerned by your aggressive words above. You said: Have you positioned Geoff Hall or anyone else in any conspiratorial Old Boys` network? FYI, if this chap actually exists, I position him nowhere and say that I do not know him. I merely quoted the precise words as posted by MR Benn above and make no assertion or "presumption" whatsoever.

I make no response to your own assertions with respect to guilt, burdens of proof, assumption, and "the law". You are entitled to your views, however jaundiced they may be. Do please be very careful as to how you choose to express them, at least when making reference to me. :)

And, just as an aside, since you seem to have now twice leapt to defend this "Geoff Hall of Monarch", I frequently fly as a passenger with the airline called Monarch. Absolutely superb airline in my own, admittedly unqualified, opinion. If this "Geoff Hall" has anything to do with that airline's management, I would venture the opinion that he seems to be doing a splendid job of it, whether or not he holds prejudicial views with regard to "contract breakers". As my wife and children are again flying with Monarch to the Canaries in a few days from now, I sincerely hope that he continues with the good work. ;)

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

9th Aug 2001, 16:58
Holt CJ

Can`t see where you get "aggressive words" from. I chose my words very carefully and a careful re-reading of them may perhaps persuade you that my intention is neither to "leap to the defence" of anyone nor be rude to you. I merely read into your previous posting what seemed apparent to me and probably to others too.
I am indeed entitled to my views. Perhaps that is where you should have finished but no such luck. You continue with another presumption which may or may not be true, but you make it anyway.......
Agreed, Monarch is indeed a superb airline and has been for years.

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: ducksoup ]

Wee Weasley Welshman
9th Aug 2001, 18:32
By lists I meant the generic sort you here about being kept on bond breakers or 'troublesome' pilots. No that I know anything about this topic.


Jumbo Jockey
9th Aug 2001, 19:46
By "breaking contract", guessing wildly, I would imagine we are referring to leaving before one's training bond is amortized.

Without knowing the background I can't be specific of course, but a lot of people seem to be under the impression that merely leaving within the bond amortization period constitutes "contract breaking" - correct me if I'm wrong, chaps, but as long as the individual concerned actually pays back the appropriate amount of wonga, I would have thought he would be complying admirably with his contract.

bugg smasher
9th Aug 2001, 20:20
Hello HoltCJ,

I have been reading your comments with great interest. What, in your opinion, would constitute admissable proof in a court of law

9th Aug 2001, 20:48
The other "sin" is not giving the contracted notice period.
Most of us in the UK work to a 3 month notice period which wouldn`t be so bad if some companies didn`t offer jobs with the proviso that we break our current contract i.e. "the course starts in a fortnight if you can make it".
Makes life a bit difficult if you have a concience.

Thanks, although I can`t see it myself.

Holt CJ
9th Aug 2001, 22:11
For bugg smasher, your question is difficult to answer, given that the law of evidence is a vast topic and, in any event, differs according to the applicable legal jurisdiction. It is simpler for me to say that if you want to provide me with some examples of what kind of evidence you wish to offer up, I might be able to offer you some guidance as to whether or not it would be admissible in a UK court.

For ducksoup and JJ, on the subject of a pilot "breaking contract", I suppose you are both right to some degree. JJ's "leaving before one's training bond is amortized" and ducksoup's "not giving the contracted notice period" might, in some circumstances, lead to allegations as to contract breaking. The point, though, is that such acts by a pilot may be perfectly reasonable and justifiable in the relevant circumstances. It seems less than equitable, then, that a pilot should be shunned, blacklisted, whatever, merely on the basis of an employer's unproven allegation as to contract breaking, or, as I understand is alleged in some cases, "bond-jumping".

[ 09 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

9th Aug 2001, 23:56
FYI Geoff Hall aka the Silver Fox left the Spotty M nearly 2 years ago..... Much better for it i think most will agree, although he never was a bad bloke to me. http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/sleep2.gif

bugg smasher
10th Aug 2001, 05:50
Thank you, HoltCJ, for your very level although somewhat guarded reply. Your presence in this forum should prove highly educational to many of us.

On this side of the Atlantic, defamation of character is regarded as a serious offence and has resulted, when successfully prosecuted, in quite large sums of money changing hands. As you quite rightly pointed out, however, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff.

May I refer to my original question; in the absence of documented proof, what avenues of pursuit are open. Recorded telephone conversations perhaps, sworn testimony from fellow pilots?

Holt CJ
10th Aug 2001, 16:01
This site is in danger of becoming a favourite on my computer. It was my original intention to do no more than take a peek at the recommendation of a pro pilot involved in a legal scrape. It certainly has some interesting posts on it, scattered throughout the usual tripe one can read on any BB. So, well done to its originators.

For bugg smasher, you will have to excuse my somewhat natural tendency toward guarded reply. I would add that your chosen username does tend to suggest ulterior motives, don’t you think? My presence on this forum is no more than as stated above and is not intended to be educational in any way other than with respect to my own further enlightenment. You previously asked what appears to be a simple question and I pointed to the fact that it is not as simple as it might seem.

As to your more recent remarks that, if I may say so, suggest you may have some legal knowledge (I sincerely hope you are not just pulling my chain here): in the UK we tend not to use the term "defamation of character". Rather, it is simply defamation, and can be either written (libel) or spoken (slander). It is not a “serious offence” here (and I suspect it is not in the USA) for the very simple reason that it is a tort and not a breach of statute. One cannot “prosecute” in the law of tort, one simply brings a civil action. And, as you say, such actions can indeed involve very large sums of money depending on the reputation and standing of the plaintiff and the degree of damage done.

As to your return to the original question, the “absence of documented proof”, though not necessarily fatal to a case, would make it extremely problematic. Recorded telephone conversations are also problematic, and may lead to the pursuer of justice becoming the pursued. Be very careful in this area, for it is a veritable minefield. Sworn testimony from fellow pilots would certainly be permissible provided that it was not merely hearsay. And such testimony would become “documented proof” if sworn by affidavit.

May I suggest that you are yourself being a little guarded? If you have a specific problem, why not come out and tell us about it under the cloak of anonymity provided on this website? I would then do my best to provide assistance within the constraints of my very limited knowledge. :)

[ 10 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

Mr Benn
12th Aug 2001, 21:32
Ducksoup, I totally agree, I wouldn't take on someone willingly breaking a contract either.
I merely mentioned that this comment had been made. In fact anyone at the BALPA employment conference where he spoke would have heard that comment, it was said publicly. I was just mentioning it in the context of what we were talking about.
As for "blacklists" of people not to employ, unfortunately these things are generally not in writing.
I only found out about my bad reference because someone who had interviewed me had heard the comments and could not believe they were true, and wanted to let me know that this was being said about me.
So there are still some gentlemen out there.

bugg smasher
24th Aug 2001, 03:40
Hello HoltCJ,

Your comments are, as ever, highly informed and much appreciated. My apologies for this long delay in replying.

My user name is in fact my "callsign", and was awarded to me by colleagues in the Navy some years ago. It refers to the low and slow nature of the aircraft I was flying at the time. And although it was somewhat of an embarrassment then, I wear it now, perhaps a little childishly, with head held high. (I preferred "Poontang", but alas it was not to be.)

Perhaps you have seen the thread where a certain pilot was failed and terminated after a simulator check ride, not because he was unable to do the job, but because he was extremely unpopular. (Perhaps this is the very legal scrape you speak of.) I am an amateur observer of the human animal, and have always been fascinated by the propensity of that certain caste of individual, hiding behind the managerial title and powers bestowed upon him by the corporation at large (without which he would feel himself to be the toothless eunuch that he is), to vilify and condemn those that "rub him the wrong way". The current Cathay dispute is replete with this kind of atrocity. In any Samson & Goliath scenario, you will always find me in the peanut gallery, right or wrong, tossing sharp and pointed objects at the bully's aft lavatory.

With regard to tort law, how does one assign a quantifiable value to the "standing and reputation" of an individual. It would seem to me that reputation is a matter of democratic opinion in most cases, and, as such, a question of deft and skillful maneuvering by the legal counsel concerned.

Darth Vaders Love-child
25th Aug 2001, 16:33
[ 27 August 2001: Message edited by: Darth Vaders Love-child ]

beaver eager
25th Aug 2001, 19:57
It's a bit of a red herring to suggest that in the scenario to which I referred earlier, that the applicant concerned had had the sim used against him as a weapon.

It did not become common knowledge that he had even applied to the company until after he had already passed the interview. You can be sure that were it to have been widely known that the individual had applied, he would not have even made it to interview.

As Darth Vaders Love-child has pointed out, there is a lot of good information available from one's existing line pilots, and when several proferred the same poor opinion of this chap, our recruitment department would have shyed away at the application stage.

As nobody knew about his application until he had already passed the interview, but it was then obvious that the individual was not the sort of person wanted here, I don't see a problem in him not being selected folling his sim check.

Perhaps I phrased it badly before... I obviously don't know exactly how his sim check went (not having been present). When I said his sim check went badly, I meant that he was unsuccessful in landing the job having completed it!

Does that sound better?

bugg smasher
25th Aug 2001, 20:39
Greetings Darth Offspring, may the force be in your genes...

Very sensible posting, if only everyone in the industry shared the same point of view.

Your comments certainly apply to the greater part of the European aviation environment that you speak of, however "saying it as one sees it" can mean some interesting things, particularly in the Middle and Far East where cultural filters tint the glass through which these things are viewed.

In a certain sandy place, for example, local national pilots are routinely exonerated for the direst of incidents (explantion given makes for some riveting reading) while the expatriate pilot is villified for the least. In another place further east known for its morale-boosting genius, ten-thousand hour relief captains are bypassed for command by local 1500-hour F/O's, safety being secondary to national face, damn the insurance premiums. And in yet another place just north of there, expat pilots have been beaten up (one hospitalized as a result) in Flight Operations by locals indignant at the acknowledged need for the expat presence. Holy sh@t Darth, pass the light sabre...

The above examples are, of course, extreme, but they do seem to have their varying counterparts in the "civilized" world as well. In defending a pilot who has fallen victim to malicious or partisan management agendas, as HoltCJ appears to be doing at the moment, it's not quite as simple and eloquent as your posting seems to suggest. There are always two sides to any story; the corporate brick wall (and the suits hiding behind it), however, carry inordinately more weight than the individual.

Rumour has it, by the way, that a certain establishment in San Fransisco considers pointy-hats and whips a treat. Not that I would know anything about it of course.

Mr moto
26th Aug 2001, 00:29
The company I work for hangs a list of interviewees on the board so comment can be made to the relevant CP/TM or whoever.

People get asked about subjects which otherwize wouldn't be brought up and given the chance to explain themselves fully.
"Do you still owe such and such for your bond?"
"Was it you who did something or other?"

My former employer knew about my success with my current employer within 4 days; before I did in fact.

I think its a great way to vett applicants.

Holt CJ
26th Aug 2001, 01:05
To Darth Vaders Love-child I must say that I find your post above quite astonishing. Although not a flier myself (except as a ‘frequent flyer’ ;), I am driven by my inquisitive mind to ask a few questions in response.

I presume from your first sentence that CP is pilot-speak for ‘Chief Pilot’? You go on to say It is an absolute duty of any CP to find out all he can about an [sic] prospective employee. Especially where so many lives are at stake (the life of your wife, husband, son or daughter for example.)Interestingly emotive argument, sir, utilising the safety issue to convey a false certitude with respect to the assertion you make as to what is a Chief Pilot’s ‘absolute duty’. May I ask where such duty is said to arise? Is it merely to be found in some job description? Do you believe it is founded in a specific statutory obligation? Do you say it is an ‘absolute duty’ arising from a general duty of care, that is, to not be negligent?

Surely there can be no duty, absolute or otherwise, to ‘find out all one can about a prospective employee’, especially by soliciting gossip, hearsay, or innuendo. Certainly there would be a duty to ensure that, in the recruitment of aircrew, they are, for example:
(i) appropriately qualified, and licensed by the regulatory authority;
(ii) medically fit and holding the relevant certificate; and
(iii) suitably experienced.
It is difficult to identify a duty to ‘find out all you can’ and it seems likely that to seek to do so would perhaps be invasive of the rights of the individual to such a degree that the seeker may become the ‘sought’, in the legal sense.

What truly astonishes me is the quite blatant way in which you describe your own methods of selection. You say: Of the last 30 Pilots I have hired (except the 200hr 2nd Officers) I have been able to get a pretty good picture of 80% of them through existing line-pilots who may have worked either [presumably, ‘with’] them before or know someone who has.Thus you pour scorn on traditional methods of pilot selection (including, it seems, the simulator) and resort to what is little more than a popularity poll. As for Mr Moto's apparent support of your position, it seems that his company too advocates the use of gossip and innuendo in the selection process. Perhaps he is one of your employees, sir? It does seem likely, given that the process smacks of discrimination, prejudice and blatant sycophancy.

You say that you are the Chief Pilot of a scheduled jet operator and that you made this post to provide us with some unspecified insight. Without in any way wishing to offer personal offence, I would be immeasurably grateful if you would go one step further in such provision by here stating the name of this operator so that I, for one, might henceforth avoid it like the plague.

Devils Advocate
26th Aug 2001, 03:08
Uhm, most Chief Pilots / Flight Ops Directors (Nb. the post holders to these positions have to be CAA approved, i.e. they must have a proven track record in the aviation business) are not so daft or inexperienced as to take a single piece of information as the final arbiter in the decision to appoint somebody, or not.

Whilst the normal course of events is for an application, followed by an interview, followed by a simulator assessment, surely it ultimately shows 'due diligence' for any potential employer to delve further (if they are able to do so) into somebody's background in order to ascertain whether or not the person they are about to charge with the priceless lives of the travelling public (to say nothing of the +35M cost of, say, a B737, and its operational efficiency) is indeed of the very highest calibre and good standing ?!

Nb. There have been numerous times where this hasn't happened, but where this only came to light at the post-accident board of enquiry. E.g. (and I'm not sure if this has indeed come to light yet, but) after the recent Gulf Air accident I've spoken to pilots who actually knew, and had flown with, the Airbus commander who crashed (they'd done so when he was a flight engineer) and their unanimous opinion was one of "how on earth did he ever get a command ?!", aka. in their very experienced opinion 'he was an accident just waiting to happen !'. Hearsay, maybe ? but the fact is that they seem to have been proved right ! QED ?!

Of course, and in the perfect world, airline (or legal) selection criteria and subsequent advancement through the ranks would be a fait accompli - but real life, old son, just isn't like that !

So, and in an endeavour to place the onus on you to prove otherwise, (and as you seem to be a bit of a fan of both legalese & legalism) let's imagine that you're the head honcho in charge of a legal firm whose business is very much biased toward defending high profile cases, e.g. the noose, or knot (ok, I'll admit that's a terrible pun ;) ).

Let's also assume that somebody applies to your firm and basically states, in their CV, that they're the best lawyer / brief / barrister / etc since sliced bread was invented, plus their employment history does indeed look to be impressive. So would you take them at (CV) face value or would you 'delve further' (assuming you had the ability to do so) prior to taking them on ?!

Let's further assume that at a dinner party the name of your applicant comes to the fore (from somebody both well known and most credible to you) and it seems to transpire that your potential employee is actually something of a liability, e.g. perhaps not a complete tosser, but certainly somebody with a serious lack of interpersonal skills !

So what's to do, i.e. at what point would you say "No !" ?

E.g. If you failed delve into their background (or you did so, but chose to ignore the information), and they then stuff-up a major case (e.g. maybe because they were unable to adequately communicate and / or had a poor rapport with their supporting council / solicitor with regard to the facts, the law, or mitigating circumstances, etc) and the defendant then got hanged - how then stands your firm and yourself ? I.e. don't you have a duty of care to the defendant to provide the very best defence available, or not ?

Ultimately, I'm afraid to say that whilst there's such a thing as 'civil liberty' there is also (or at least there should be) the 'being bloody stupid' act !

Ps. On the subject of Tort - the word comes from the Latin tortum (meaning 'wrong' ) neutered from the past part of the Latin torquēre tort (meaning 'twist' ) - but in it's modern legal sense pertains to 'a breach of duty'. So reading all that, perhaps it's a case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't fully check somebody out ?!


........ also, I've only ever had one interview, and that was for my very first job, all the rest have been as a result of a 'Highly recommended', i.e. it cuts both ways !

Holt CJ, I should perhaps also add ( hence the edit ) that my wife is (according to your criteria, as mentioned above)

i). Appropriately qualified (she's passed her driving test), and licensed by the regulatory authority (she does indeed have a points-free valid UK driving license - and Christ only knows how).

ii) Medically fit and holding the relevant certificate (Believe me, she's very 'fit' and is in no need of a certificate to prove it ! )

iii) Suitably experienced (see answer above )

..... but that said, i.e. her being suitably licensed, etc,.... how come she still can't reverse her car in to a parking space ?

Incoming !!!

[ 26 August 2001: Message edited by: Devils Advocate ]

26th Aug 2001, 11:42
I am absolutely with Holt CJ here! He is clearly experienced in such legal issues.

What if the line colleagues, when asked, just simply don't happen to like the individual or are jealous of him? Where is the evidence other than a gut feeling? In aviation ideas of someones style are often generated by myth and rumour. Individuals can get a bad reputation simply by making a silly operational error one day when they are normally totally competent and their co-pilot just happens to be a big mouth.

Our chief pilot friend above is indicating that such a reference might prevent that person getting work with his airline. Surely that his totally illegal - and for very good reason.

Devils Advocate
26th Aug 2001, 12:47
Joystroker w.r.t. He is clearly experienced in such legal issues

Uhm, according to Holt CJ's profile he/she states their occupation as being nothing more (or less) than a 'student of law' - but is it meant in the literal or proverbial sense ?

Imho the airline pilots job is a lot more than just about being i) appropriately qualified, and licensed by the regulatory authority; (ii) medically fit and holding the relevant certificate; and (iii) suitably experienced.

Aside - Do you know, it never fails to amaze me just how many young men and women beggar themselves at the altar of aviation in the gaining of their (F)ATPL but who fail to realise that having said qualification merely entitles them to apply for a pilots job - it does NOT guarantee them one !

Just as in many walks of life, aviation (like law) has many people lurking on the periphery who are just not suited to the job; Not by a lack of the three things mentioned above, but more so because their personality sucks !
So after numerous rejections and knock backs these folks start to believe that there's a conspiracy against them (yet more proof of their flawed personality) - a vicious circle.

As they say, 'sh!t happens' !

beaver eager
26th Aug 2001, 14:22

I disagree totally that making a silly operational error on ONE day will tarnish anyone's reputation.

In my experience, if someone is unlucky enough to make a silly operational error but is usually highly competent, then if said 'big mouth' were to attempt to maliciously spread the unpleasant facts, the rest of the pilot fraternity would quickly tell 'big mouth' to wind his neck in and offer words of support for the poor unfortunate who had a bad day but is usually a good operator.

At the end of the day it's all about personalities. I've heard colleagues complaining about people who I've always got on fine with. Conversely, even when an individual under discussion is almost universally unpopular (although they may still be acknowledged as a good operator), there will always be someone who cannot understand it as they always enjoy flying with that individual.

Reputations are not often forged by single incidents but by how one operates (and behaves) over an entire career.

Holt CJ
26th Aug 2001, 16:34
First I would point to the fact that my post above was addressed to Darth Vaders Love-child and, as yet, there has been no response made to the many relevant questions I asked. I am most concerned in particular to receive a reply to my final question seeking the name of his ‘scheduled jet operator’ so that I can ensure I do not board an aircraft flown by pilots recruited through Darth’s dubious process of selection.

I am a little disturbed by the above posts by Devils Advocate ("the Devil"). I note that the Devil points to my own stated occupation, yet does not wish to reveal his/hers. What may we draw from that? The Devil speaks with some pretence of authority in matters of aviation: Uhm, most Chief Pilots/Flight Ops Directors (Nb. the post holders to these positions have to be CAA approved, i.e. they must have a proven track record in the aviation business - aka. a huge responsibility);
[T]he normal course of events is for an application, followed by an interview, followed by a simulator assessment;
[T]his only came to light at the post-accident board of enquiry. E.g. (and I'm not sure if this has indeed come to light yet, but) after the recent Gulf Air accident I've spoken to pilots … ;
Imho the airline pilots job is a lot more than just about being … ; and
[A]viation (like law) has many people lurking on the periphery who are just not suited to the job … .as well as of law: [S]urely it ultimately shows 'due diligence' for any potential employer to delve further … ;
[A] poor rapport with their supporting council / solicitor with regard to the facts, the law, or mitigating circumstances) … ;
[T]here's such a thing as 'civil liberty' there is also (or at least there should be) the 'being bloody stupid' act … ; and
[A]viation (like law) has many people lurking on the periphery who are just not suited to the job.Thus it seems the Devil is a pilot, or a lawyer, or perhaps both. Let me immediately say that the Devil is certainly not a lawyer, for there is no authority in anything said as to law, including the attempt to define a tort. For those interested, including my inquisitive friend, Bugg Smasher, a tort is an actionable civil wrong or injury arising from an act, or failure to act, independently of any contract. Tortious liability arises from the breach of a duty fixed by law, such breach redressable by an action for unliquidated damages. The Devil is right in that it is a ‘breach of duty’ and is of Latin derivation, but such simple definition is not found in an authoritative legal text. It is further revealing that the Devil did not use the word ‘counsel’, rather than ‘council’. I suppose it is questionable whether the Devil is even a pilot, but I give the benefit of doubt here.

Though I rarely engage in discourse with those who begin writing with the word ‘Uhm’ (is it even a word?), or those who utter phrases like ‘their personality sucks’ or ‘sh!t happens’, I will attempt to respond in kind to the Devil’s posts as follows:

There is nothing in English law that imposes a duty upon an employer (even "to show due diligence") to delve, or pry, or snoop, or solicit gossip, as to somebody’s background. In the case of aircrew selection, the duty is surely no more than to ensure that the applicant is suitably qualified, holds the requisite valid licence, and is fit (in the wider sense) to do the specified task.

My pilot friend has described the meaning of Crew Resource Management, but I see nothing in that which goes beyond a need to ensure that, in the role of captain or co-pilot, the task of flying the aircraft is executed professionally and co-operatively. There is nothing here that relies upon individuals actually liking each other. Indeed, in my military days (admittedly a very long time ago), a ‘popular’ leader was rarely a true professional and familiarity certainly did breed contempt. It is my observation that nothing has changed in the nature of humankind to render this obsolete. What useful purpose is to be achieved, then, in ‘posting a list of interviewees’ for comment from amongst their former peers or subordinates? Why seek to discharge a duty of care by listening to gossip and innuendo and then giving the applicant ‘an opportunity’ to respond to it?

No, to do these things is not to ‘show due diligence’ or to avoid ‘a breach of duty’. It is, I think, to do precisely the opposite. That is, it is to fail in one’s duty of care and to seek to somehow transfer that duty to the opinions and prejudices of others who do not in any way have such a duty. What will the airline say if there is a major accident, caused by the error of a pilot recruited in reliance upon this dubious process of ballot among peers? Will it say: “The fault lies with those who recommended this pilot to us.” Well, the airline may say it, but our courts will certainly pay no heed. The duty lies with the employer. To discharge it, the employer must show that it had in place a selection process which checked the credentials of the applicant and tested him/her to ensure that there was in this applicant the requisite level of skill and proficiency to carry out the duties of the position. Where the employer airline can show this, it matters not that there is a subsequent accident in some way caused by their appointee, for the airline was not negligent in its selection process, though it may have been elsewhere. The airline captain may be personally held liable at law if found to have breached a duty of care, though it is more likely that any tortious liability will transfer to the airline through the doctrine of vicarious liability. And it is precisely in such circumstances that the law will surely hold that listening to, or soliciting, gossip is not a proper means of discharging the duty of care in a selection process.

Another aspect of the Devil’s commentary which causes concern is in the implication that ‘pilots who actually knew, and had flown with, the Airbus commander who crashed’ unanimously believed that, in their ‘very experienced opinion’, the commander ‘was an accident waiting to happen'. The Devil rejoices in this gossip and hearsay, claiming that ‘they seem to have been proved right’. Surely there is nothing in this sad accident to support the views of the Devil. We do not know how this pilot was selected. His peers may have been consulted, or they may not. If what his peers now say is true, and it is a very large ‘if’, then there was certainly something wrong with the selection process, whatever that process might have been. But, if what his peers now say is true, then one must enquire as to their prior silence. If what they unanimously now say is true, why did not each and every one of these ‘very experienced’ pilots take their opinions to their then employers and/or the regulatory authority and thereby force a re-assessment. Such assessment might have led to more training of the individual to render him fit for the task, or it might have led to loss of that unfortunate’s licence. If what is now said is true, either would surely have been in the best interests of the individual concerned as well as in the best interests of public safety. And, either way, it may have avoided the later crash and loss of life.

Finally, the Devil claims to have ‘only ever had one interview’, and that was for the very first job, and ‘all the rest’ of the jobs (by implication then, many jobs) have been as a result of a "Highly recommended" (note the use by the Devil of a capital letter). The Devil, then, is either a most fortunate, outstanding, and very well connected pilot, or is none of these things and has merely worked for those who utilise this very strange selection process, those who deliberately substitute it for proper procedure even at the interview stage. If the latter, I do most sincerely hope that the Devil never errs disastrously, else the employer, or the Devil, will then have need of the likes of me. :eek: :eek: :eek:

[ 26 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

26th Aug 2001, 17:20
I truly believe that an individual can get an unpopular rating by his colleagues very easily if he simply does not fit into their little world of right and wrong.

Every one goes through difficult times in their lives - during these times ones behaviour might be seen as controversial.

A system of unofficial references must never be used (and for very good reason is illegal) as pilots are so quick to act as judge, jury and prison warder when someone has not acted the way that they would like. And the mud often sticks many years down the line when that person may have worked very hard to get the himself back on top and is now totally competent. This site is proof of those facts.

If there are flaws in the training and selection processes within our industry then these must be addressed. Only when an official system proves an individual unable to carry out their duties safely can action be taken.

I suggest chief pilots spend their time addressing these points rather than digging into personal closets.

I think this is the point being made by Holtcj.

Devils Advocate
26th Aug 2001, 20:27
Firstly Holt CJ - I am indeed an airline pilot (on B737's) , and I'm not (and nor would I ever wish to be) any sort of legal chap (reads into that what you will).

Here we go then…….

Just what is it with you legal types, when you write 'I am a little disturbed by the above posts by Devils Advocate' .... Dear oh dear, why don't you just say what you mean ? as in I've 'got under your skin and you're going to try and shoot my argument down' - just like I'm doing to you - so please do try to stop dressing it up in caged concern.

Actually - my 'attempt' to define tort was taken chapter and verse from 'The Concise Oxford Dictionary - New Edition - 1991' - who've obviously got it wrong - either that or the 'true legal' definition has been much dressed-up - by lawyers (I use the term loosely) as part of their normal attempt to make the law as difficult to fathom and as distant (read, expensive) to obtain as possible.

And oh how so magnanimous of you to stoop so low as to indulge in discourse with some poor prole who starts a sentence with 'Uhm', and whom also injects a few common usage phrases, by way of spicing ones posting; I'm humbled ! ;)

So, uhm, can I / we take it that in spite of you stating that an employer of aircrew has to fulfil three requirements for their employment, that your use of 'in the wider sense' does indeed reflect the fact that you're having to do some back-peddling w.r.t that initial declaration ?!

Nb. I also don’t recall anybody purporting that we all need to be 'friends' in order to run a safe ship - you've introduced that theme - which suggests, nay proves, that your not familiar with airline operations. I think your getting confused, you see I can go to work with a lot of guys - some of whom I really look forward to working with, and some less so, but in any event we always try to run a safe show and make the best of the day - i.e. it's not mutually exclusive.

I too note sir (well, you seem to like using the 'sir' word, so I thought I'd give it a go too - uhm, it's nicely condescending isn't it ?! ) that you then try to muddy the waters by mentioning some previous military service background. One might say that you wrote that in the hope (or belief) that it will 'influence' the rest of us that you are therefore some sort of font of wisdom when it comes to all things relating to man management. You're not ex-of-Sandhurst by any chance, are you ?

You also made a comment that a ‘popular’ leader was rarely a true professional and familiarity certainly did breed contempt'. Well I'm sorry, sir, but I refute your argument (and for those who prefer that in plain English, not legalese, what he's said is crap) !
E.g. what about Stormin' Norman - both popular and brilliant - indeed I could rattle off loads of examples to disprove your theory.

The point I was making about the Gulf Air tragedy - and for the record, I was most certainly NOT rejoicing about something which resulted in the deaths of innocent men, women, and children ( and how dare you suggest that I was ! ) - is that it was indeed just such a failure, to fully and properly canvas information w.r.t the complete person (or that it was done, but ignored) , which allowed the situation to develop - but as also mentioned, this occurred in a sandy part of the world where use of the 'old-boy network' by the indigenous locals is very much to the detriment of safety (which also confirms what buggs said above).

As far as I can tell from the above, nobody has meant that they only use the comments of line-pilots as the primary tool in the recruitment armoury - it is you who has suggested / assumed that.
Indeed I think you'll find that it's laid down in some CAA approved tome just what processes (application / interview / sim) within an airline need to be realised in the recruitment of a pilot - the fact that a Chief Pilot may also choose to supplement the 'basic' requirements with some 'extra' background is imho praiseworthy indeed - with a view to the fact that a happy ship is a productive ship - which is how most chief pilots want it - and why not.

With regards to incidents and accidents, and who carries the can for it - have a look in the front of an Airline company Operations Manual / Part A - General / Section 1, where you will find exactly who is tasked by the CAA for what roles and responsibilities - aka. the 'accountable managers'. It is not possible to abrogate that responsibility which makes it all the more vital that a Chief Pilot ensures that an employee (and themselves) are above reproach.

Finally of course and w.r.t me being 'either a most fortunate, outstanding, and very well connected pilot'. Yep, I'm afraid it's all true ! ..... and humility never was one of my strong points. :D

Ps. I am a little disturbed :eek: that you haven't actually answered my hypothetical questions, posed previously, about what you'd do if told that a future employee was 'a bit suspect'.

Holt CJ
27th Aug 2001, 01:44
A truly revealing response, Devils Advocate, … uhm … sir. Thank you for that. It matters little whether you would wish to be ‘any sort of legal chap’ for you have here demonstrated your complete lack of any of the requisite ability (and read into that what you will). When ‘legal types’ state they are ‘a little disturbed’, they generally mean precisely that, for it is vital in the practice of law to articulate one's meaning precisely. And ‘a little disturbed’ does not mean that one is outraged, and foaming at the mouth, as it appears are you.

I make no claim as to any detailed knowledge in the sphere of aviation, thus I would not seek to define a technical aeronautical term by reference to ‘The Concise Oxford Dictionary’, whatever edition. Hopefully, I would have the good sense to refer to a relevant authoritative text before prematurely launching into print and thereby publicly displaying my gross ineptitude. Or I might, perhaps, defer to those who have some professional expertise. ;)

I am truly sorry you are ‘a little disturbed’ that I ignore your supposedly hypothetical, though largely inane, questions. I choose to answer only your last, as follows: it would of course depend upon the circumstances, but it is not my wont to take heed of gossipmongers. I feel I would instead be rather disapproving of the ‘advisor’ as well as suspicious as to his/her true character and the underlying motive in proffering the opinion. If I myself were the subject of an allegation that, in a professional sense, I was ‘a bit suspect’, I would seek redress in the tort of defamation. To put it in language of your choice, I would sue the defamer’s arse :eek: (perhaps you would prefer it stronger, but that is as far as I will go). If this was said about me in the non-professional sense, I might be quite amused, even delighted, for it would surely be quite harmless, and that, I think, is the point.

As to the remainder of your post above, it is clear, as you say, that ‘humility’ is not ‘one of [your] strong points’, and, whether employing ‘plain English’ or ‘legalese’, you do not in any way disprove an argument merely by refuting it. Do please try just a little harder next time. :D :D :D

[ 26 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

Norman Stanley Fletcher
27th Aug 2001, 03:37
Holt CJ, may I respectively point out that this is a forum for aviation professionals who are here to air their views and opinions (however distasteful they may be to you). You taking up vast amounts of space with legal blah simply turns off the readership. I am sure there is an excellent lawyer's forum which can lead to endless hours of entertainment trapping people in their words and making them appear to say what they never intended to say etc, etc. Your talents might be better placecd there.

Darth Vader's Lovechild made some excellent comments that we as professional pilots would do well to listen to. Guys like him call the shots, and I am delighted to see that he checks out those whom he might employ. There are a few bad apples out there and no employer wants to touch them. Were we all to listen to the politically correct lawyer-speak out there we would find ourselves having to take on virtually anyone who shows the vaguest interest in flying whether they have a licence or not. The way recruitment is going in this country, a potential employer is less and less able to discover anything meaningful about the background and capabliities of his potential employees. We end up with teachers who cannot teach, nurses who cannot make beds, engineers who are not numerate and pilots who cannot fly planes. All this talk of just recruitment is in fact the ultimate injustice. The most undeserving and least able end up getting the best jobs at the direct expense of those who would make great employees.

27th Aug 2001, 04:38
Norman Stanley Fletcher

As a professional pilot myself, I have been enjoying Holt CJ’s input here. What is more, there is no apparent objection to such input by the creators of this site, as the home page clearly states. As a new chum, it might be prudent to wind your neck in and refrain from commenting on what you think “turns off the readership”. :rolleyes:

If you intend to make a contribution, why not do it without airing your apparent hatred of the legal professional? From the posts on this thread, it seems Holt CJ represents a professional pilot against an employer. Thus, his considerable contribution here is welcome indeed to those of us with an interest in the law as it relates to our profession, even in the area of pilot selection. There might come a day when any one of us may need this kind of advice.

IMHO, Darth Vader’s Lovechild must be the CP of some hick little outfit that has one or two small jets. I am certain he does not work for any of the big leaguers out there because none of those I know would talk such drivel. In fact, none that I know would ever post on this site, simply because of the mindless and infantile rubbish that is spouted forth by your ilk.

BTW, you might add two more categories to that list of those who “cannot” or “are not”; pilots who cannot write English and pilots who cannot see good sense when it is staring them in the face.

Keep up the good work, Holt CJ. There are many who find your posts of considerable interest. :) :) :)

bugg smasher
27th Aug 2001, 06:08
Heavens, it certainly is getting warm in here, don't you think...

I suppose, Devil, that where legal matters are concerned, you are quite joyfully out of your depth. I do, however, salute your bravery. In my country, such as it is, given the choice between tickling a Grizzly Bear's behind and winding up a very sharp lawyer, pass the feather please.

As is evident, cronyism is not only alive and well, but firmly entrenched within the very highest levels of the industry. I, for one, do not see these practices as detrimental to the flying public, indeed the UK airlines continue to maintain a remarkably high level of safety, thanks in part to the efforts of the gentlemen that are currently posting on this thread. It goes without saying, of course, that the Chief Pilot must not only be above reproach, but brutally honest with himself and his reasons for rejecting or terminating a pilot under his supervision. What is becoming increasingly clear, thanks to HoltCJ's learned treatise, is how at odds these practices are with the laws of the land, and that alone should provide urgent impetus to a thorough reassessment of current selection methods.

We know that the Old Boy's Network exists, and that it operates in a clandestine manner. We also know, however, that when properly and diligently exercised, it contributes to the overall safety of the airline industry. It follows then, that the key lies in establishing a codifed system of guidelines that truly serve the flying passenger, while providing redress for the unfortunate few who have fallen victim to an Old Boy with issues.

HoltCJ, your comments are informative and illuminating, and most certainly a needed addition to this forum. Kindly excuse the fraternity of wind-up artists that frequent these pages. Piloting large airliners is a game of self-confidence, (dead-sticking several hundred tons of titanium to a successful landing requiring very large balls, for example), and as such, humility a rare and questionable commodity.

Devils Advocate
27th Aug 2001, 11:48
Holt CJ - w.r.t. It matters little whether you would wish to be ‘any sort of legal chap’ for you have here demonstrated your complete lack of any of the requisite ability. Have I really, oh dear, what a pity, never mind. :rolleyes:

W.r.t. When ‘legal types’ state they are ‘a little disturbed’, they generally mean precisely that, for it is vital in the practice of law to articulate one's meaning precisely. And ‘a little disturbed’ does not mean that one is outraged, and foaming at the mouth. Which surely therefore means that, until you explained it, you hadn't made clear what is was that you meant, and so perhaps a fine example of legalese ?!

Well you actually won't find many technical aeronautical terms in the OED, but funny enough, and regardless of whether or not you agree with the interpretation of it, a definition for 'tort' is in there - perhaps, and for the benefit of us all, you should contact the OED and point out their inaccuracies.

All jesting (or should the be jousting) aside, and with w.r.t. what you'd do if tipped the wink that a potential hire was perhaps 'not a good choice', you've said 'it would of course depend upon the circumstances'.
So given that there are circumstances when such information would influence your decision making, it must surely then be reasonable - with the proviso on 'the circumstances' - for a Chief Pilot to do the same ? :D

Tilii - I actually think NSF is right, so how about you wind yours in - a 'new chum' indeed, and which is especially rich when you later on launch in to one about DVL - and actually tilii there are several MAJOR airline FDO's and CP's that read and post on this site - just don't ask me how I know, but rest assured that I do ;)

Buggs - I'm so far out of my depth it sometimes feels like the bottom of the Mariana's Trench, but I'm loving it; as did I the analogy of the bear and the lawyer - brilliant !

27th Aug 2001, 14:42
Holt CJ.. Who said this is a fair world? Would you like to give us a dissertation on the selection methods used in your profession? (Whatever that is, and only if you can keep the word count down ;) ).

Having many friends working in the "professions" outside of aviation, I can tell you that in terms of fairness, the methods DVLC advocates are positively saint like.

I don't know who DVLC is or which airline he works for, but the methods he talks about have one outstanding attribute.... THEY WORK!!
I think it may have been Churchill that described our Parliamentary system as "the pits" (paraphrase) but until somebody invents a better system, he'd stick with it. The parallel is obvious.

Like every industry, the odd bad egg gets to work from a position of power. But, the majority of people, the majority of the time, are right minded fair individuals.

The licence is nothing more than the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM required to apply for the job. The ability to fly is taken as given. It says NOTHING about the individual’s ability to mix in the Airline environment. Yours and a few other replies demonstrate that you know nothing about the business or the attributes required to prosper within it.

Even though I have been on the receiving end of a "bad mouth" for my current job, I'm here because, in the end, the individual doing the bad mouthing was discredited. I would still wholeheartedly endorse the method of seeking word of mouth recommendations where available.

If you don't want to fly with a Company that uses these methods as a selection tool, then stay out of the UK. Somehow I don't think we'll miss you. :D

Holt CJ
27th Aug 2001, 16:26
LostinBRU et all, if this were a fair world then there would be no need for lawyers. I apologise to all on this site if I am perceived to have proffered opinion where it was not wanted. I unreservedly accept that this is a site for pilots. Since I am not one, I will happily withdraw from any further comment beyond these last:

The pilot I represent, a true professional by the way, warned me that I might be surprised when accessing this site. I am more than surprised. I am dumbfounded, for I laboured under a misapprehension that pilots were all professionals, possessing all the requisite characteristics inherent in being so described. There are, I concede, a handful of contributors to this site who display those qualities, but the vast majority are clearly a squabbling, puerile, rabble with a very poor grasp of language and an even poorer grasp of what constitutes professional conduct, even good manners. Hopefully, the majority of the truly professional among you avoid contribution to PPRuNe, as I will now do.

To lostinBRU and my other antagonists I say that you have collectively managed to shatter my confidence in flying. I will now always wonder whether I am in the hands of the truly competent professional pilot or the complete imbecile. I do not thank you for that, but bid you a very good day.

[ 27 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

27th Aug 2001, 19:02
Phew, that`s a relief.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

The Guvnor
27th Aug 2001, 19:27
Once again I must draw certain people's attention to the information on the home page, viz:

Air Traffic Controllers, Engineers, Cabin Crew, Operations, Crewing and Rostering staff are also welcome as well as anybody else with a connection or interest in professional aviation.

CJ Holt's interesting, informative and above all erudite posts on this thread were considerably more interesting than the misspelt drivel spouted by some.

I must concurr with him in that it appears to me that the quality of postings has diminished considerably and has become much more vicious - with attacks being made against individuals rather against the issues raised.

This has, to the best of my knowledge, resulted in at least two people saying that they no longer wish to participate in these forums within the past 24 hours.

I suggest that we look at his comments on conduct here: "I laboured under a misapprehension pilots were all professionals, possessing all the requisite characteristics inherent in being so described. There are, I concede, a handful of contributors to this site who display those qualities, but the vast majority are clearly a squabbling, puerile, rabble with a very poor grasp of language and an even poorer grasp of what constitutes professional conduct, even good manners."

Bad show, people.

Ivan Ivanovich
27th Aug 2001, 19:54
Holt CJ never professed to harbour a great understanding of aviation. His involvement here was to gain sufficient insight to represent an associate - who is or, it seems, was a professional pilot.

He has just summarised his new understanding and it ought to make disturbing reading to any professional pilots out there (whether accurate or not, it's still an outsider's view from participating in a pro pilots discussion forum).

We must agree surely that aviation as an industry operates somewhat differently to others. This is particulalry true with respect to pilot selection. Some airlines require candidates to endure nothing short of a minor pantomine when undergoing assessment. Others are able to rely quite successfully on the standard application form, skilled interviewer and aptitude assessment in the sim.

Why do some airlines find it essential to subject candidates to group excercises and discussions followed by sychometric testing, essay writing and maths exams.

It is perhaps just an example of airline selection personnel operating in a different World to the rest.

Many CPs and other senior personnel have often experienced nothing else but aviation. Many pilots believe inwardly (and some more overtly) that they are a cut above normal society. Holt CJ has experienced that here on this thread.

His postings have been fascinating as he attempted to understand how this industry works and how its various players think.

I hope he isn't discouraged from posting again.

Though I do agree; try and keep the word count down!

27th Aug 2001, 20:36
The Guvnor

Goodness me, Guv, I find myself in whole-hearted agreement with you! It has been a long time since I felt this way. It feels good. :D

On Holt CJ's words above, I must say I am very sorry to read what he says there but I too concur. In fact, I do feel that I have myself been guilty of being one of the "squabbling, puerile rabble". And that does not feel good. :(

What a shame to see such an interesting contributor withdraw. But who can blame him. Some of the attacks on this thread have been nothing short of downright malicious. Some lawyers may well deserve it, but there is no doubt that the majority do not. Much the same may be said of us pro pilots. Some are as Holt describes, some not. It does seem that there are too many of the former among PPRuNers.

I have learned a great deal from this thread, and not simply about the law.

Come back, Holt CJ, we need more of you on this website. But do try to keep the posts a little shorter, if only because some of us have a very brief attention span. :D

The Guvnor
27th Aug 2001, 20:52
Tilii - actually, I was intending to say the same thing in my previous post and I thought that it might be 'personalising' things a bit rather than keeping to the issue at hand. It does indeed feel good, though! Buy you a beer? :D :D :D

27th Aug 2001, 20:59

Beer gratefully accepted. My thanks. ;) ;) ;)

Norman Stanley Fletcher
28th Aug 2001, 03:03
Tilii - thanks for advising me how to behave as a 'new boy'. I have actually been here for years under a different guise - I could not get back on when they changed the software.

Anyway, we appear to have strayed from the original post. We look like we divide into 2 camps - those that love the legal beagles and those that don't. I don't! My reasons are very simple - I love justice and I hate political correctness. DA made excellent points in his posts that were very rudely dealt with - but there again the truth always hurts. I know for a fact that every major profession (and nowhere is this more true than among lawyers) makes sure that discreet inquiries are made about potential employees. As another excellent contributor has written, anything that contributes to safety in our industry is a good thing. And no, I am not advocating some masonic black-balling system (loads of lawyers among them as well!). What I am advocating is the right to make sensible enquiries that result in the right people getting the job. By right people, I mean the best candidates in terms of ability, character and suitablity from the would-be employer's point of view. Otherwise we are back to the bad old days of women-only shortlists and other similar injustices.

28th Aug 2001, 05:38
Norman Stanley Fletcher

First you tell us all what you presume we want to read on this site. Next, you decide that we "divide into 2 camps - those that love [lawyers] and those that don't". It is patently clear from your posts that you don't, so there really is no need for you to spell it out to us as if we are all idiots. If you truly "love justice", you must wake up to the fact that things are rarely just right or wrong, black or white. There are infinite shades of grey. For example, you liked DA's points, I did not. Others could not care less what he has to say. Just because you like them, it does not mean that they are "the truth". Likewise, what you say you "know for a fact" may be factual to you and nonsense to others. How do you say you come by this "fact" that "every major profession ... makes sure that discreet inquiries are made about potential employees"? Are you a lawyer, and a doctor, a dentist, a veterinarian, an engineer? The list goes on. They all do this, do they? Yeah, right!

How do you say that "the right people" get the job through chit-chat gathered via the Old Boy's network? I would totally disagree, and it may be that others see it somewhere in between. Again, all shades of grey, dear chap, all shades of grey. BTW, did you, or anyone else here, actually notice that Darth Vader's Lovechild edited his entire post out some time after Holt CJ gave it to him with both barrels? And that after Darth's sole post. Has he now gone into hiding with his tail between his legs, we wonder? So much, then, for Darth's conviction, as a Chief Pilot, about the Old Boy Network. :rolleyes:

Norman, have you ever taken the time to list those against whom you harbour such prejudice? So far, you have revealed your distaste for lawyers, freemasons and, it seems, women. And it appears you have a problem with teachers, nurses, engineers, even pilots (your own words). Is that it, or shall we read more of your venom in other posts? Wake up to yourself, man. What you show yourself to be is bigoted, thus what you advocate is inevitably also bigoted. :eek:

[ 28 August 2001: Message edited by: tilii ]

bugg smasher
28th Aug 2001, 05:56

The dire picture that you paint of the legal profession certainly has merit in the American system. When a passenger whose life is saved by a highly competent crew is then able to turn on same, sueing and winning millions for some vague psychological distress allegedly caused by the emergency? Well, that my friend, is an appalling travesty of any known or recognized form of civilized human behaviour, and a wincingly painful slap in the face to all of us in whose care the flying public depends upon. The implications of that precedent are apocalyptic. It is, however, altogether a subject that the Americans must urgently take up, for they have perplexingly allowed a great number of deficiently educated and morally bankrupt mercenaries to run amok, which if unchecked will in due course likely elevate the very financial, political and ethical fabric of their society to science-fiction status.

I most certainly do not, Sir, agree with your assessment of HoltCJ. I, for one, would have very little in the way of meaningful contribution to any lawyer's bulletin board. Seen in that light, I admire the honesty of his foray into the unknown and welcome his refreshingly educated commentary, viewing from the outside as it were, our somewhat fractious little community.

The interface between the law and aviation is an extremely complicated one, and little understood, I suspect, by many of us. We would do well to make HoltCJ and others like him feel welcome in this forum.

If you are in fact still following this thread, HoltCJ, pass the Grizzly, bring some buddies, and come out swinging. Don't let me down.

28th Aug 2001, 16:34
I must say I enjoyed HoltCJ's contributions and those of some others. Certainly not those who resorted to the 'You're not one of us, get out of our club attitude'.
The 'pilots only' thing rears it's ugly head again. What next, only pilots with no less than a thousand hours? Proof if anything that an old boys network of sorts exists.

But back to the main point, I suspect there does exist an informal vetting procedure in the airline business. It exists in most other professions. So why not ours?

I know of one airline that resolutely refused to recruit pilots from a particular source no matter how well recommended or experienced they were. This same airline also displayed a peculiar geographical bias, to the extent that they would recruit foreigners before taking people from a specific area in their own country.

I for one am not surprised at the notion of a list of potential pilots being posted for others to see, nor am I surprised at the idea of people being 'unrecommended'. I suspect there are four categories here, don't know them, recommended, dammed by faint praise and thumbs dowm. In a curious way I support the idea although it is open to all sorts of abuse.

But it works, usually.

A few years ago, I worked in a ground job for an airline. Alongside me there were two other 'wannabe' pilots. You know the scenario. We all wanted that to fly for the airline. It helped that we were in constant daily contact with the CP and other senior Captains. One guy made a serious effort to impress and even admitted to me he felt confident that he soon would be offered an interview. Unfortunately he was the only one who believed that. Everyone else knew the truth. He simply irritated everyone. His boss was even looking for ways of offloading him. No one wanted to share a cockpit with him. He was doomed. On the other hand, the other pilot was affable, popular, good at his job and as I found out a superb pilot. No need to ask what happened next. As for me, well I left before I could find out whether I was in our out. But I am a good friend of one of those individuals. So if I applied for a job there, well..........

I personally believe, leaving aside all the qualifications and experience, that at least part of the interview involves the interviewer saying to themselves, 'Would I like to share a flight deck with this person?', or even 'Would I go out for a drink with this person?'. If the answer is yes, they're in. Personal recommendations also remove the uncertainty. Sometimes it all goes wrong and certain people get through who shouldn't, yet others are sidelined for no good reason.

We all know pilots, particularly in our training days who really shouldn't be flying. People you would never fly with. How often have I heard a comnent on the lines of 'I knew that would happen to him one day' after someone ended their life in a newsworthy way? I can think of three now. I know of two other who will go that way.

That I believe is the reason for much of this method of selection. It's not the only factor but it's important.

I don't think things will change soon because it generally works.

28th Aug 2001, 20:35
I definetly see the point that holtcj has been making. This is one industry that needs some very good legal input.

I work in the training department of a BA franchise airline and have also been involved in recruitment. I am so surprised and ashamed by the number of people that seem to approve of unnofficial referencing and croneyism.
Advances in training, engineering, regulations, CRM and culture awareness in airlines are the reasons for the great improvements in safety. Approval of this weak practice insults everybody that has worked hard at these areas.

Croneyism is a practice that has been rife in airlines of old. One only needs to mention such accidents as Tenerife North and Staines to prove that croneyism, and complacency in an individuals abilities, is a dangerous thing. This practice must be stopped not encouraged.

This thread seems full of people suggesting that just because of a bad reference from ex-colleagues or an unofficial chat with an ex-chief pilot, someone should not be offered employment. That is not the road that we should be following. To ask for, accept or give an unofficial reference is to admit your own failings.

As I have said before individuals can get bad names unfairly due to personal difficulties at that time, or by making a few silly errors through lack of experience or encountering personal stress. They may not fit in with that particular airlines culture or group of colleagues. A bad reputation can simply be attained by crews desire to enjoy a good old slagging session about anyone but themselves.
I have worked alongside an individual who had a terrible reputation of old - although his behaviour at the time may not have been seen as desirable, he is now - most definetly - a skilled and safe operator, a good communicator and a gentleman. He is now living proof that unofficial referencing is wrong, unfair and most often innacurate.
Another airline with a different approach to training and safety, and a different set of colleagues may reveal a totally alternate person to the one refered to.
For this reason alone the practice of the old boys network is illegal and quite wrong.


I do accpet that there are people with hazardous traits that would not suit modern airline operations. However, this should be revealed in other ways than those suggested.
Recruitment should be unbiased and based upon qualifications, experience, apparent willingness to work with the airlines safety and management culture (through observance and questioning at interview - facilitative interview techniques are surprisingly accurate and revealing) along with observed flying, management and communication skills.
If someone lacks ability that was not apparent at the interview stage then this should come out during training.
There should then be other safety stops in place - such as SESMA.
(Special Event Safety Monitoring Apparatus - this works alongside flight recorders recording flight safety violations. For example - too fast through 500' of final approach, altitude busts, overspeeds etc - most airlines assosciated with BA operate this system.)
SESMA will tell a chief pilot how safely his fleet is being flown and will provide crucial statsitical safety information. If an individual is operating hazardously then they will be stopped if SESMA is used correctly.

Airline pilot management should spend their time concentrating on putting this and other monitoring systems in place. They should obtain the skills to correctly select pilots. They should develop a culture within their own airline so they can rest assured of good training and that top rate operating standards are being applied.

If hearsay and rumours are to be used then one day soon the law may just catch up with them.

Getting rid of croneyism is the safe approach, is the right thing to do and is correct by law.
Only then can we all rest assured that the system is fair and based upon our rounded abilities. We will then be much clearer about what is required of us and we can all enjoy safe, long, settled and happy careers.

If you are foolish enough to agree with the idea of unofficial referencing then you had better be damn certain that you will not, one day, fall foul of your desired system.

[ 28 August 2001: Message edited by: Joystroker ]

29th Aug 2001, 00:28
You are right of course, joystroker but it's not just about safety and competance. It's about fitting in, if you're face doesn't fit no amount of experience will get you in. It's hard to legislate for that kind of thing and it exists in all forms of clubs and employment. Sometimes it results in racism and sexism but most of the time it goes unnoticed.
I'm pretty sure I've been a victim of it, most of us have. But sometimes you have to work within the system, whether you like it or not.

bugg smasher
29th Aug 2001, 03:38
Apropos of the current thread, the following has been forwarded to me by a concerned acquiatance. Any comments?

Apropos of nothing more like... way too many paragraphs of sheer irrelevance, unrelated to the topic and now deleted. Post stuff like that in the new Jet Blast II forum, please, not here.

Sick Squid
Rumours and News Moderator

[ 29 August 2001: Message edited by: Sick Squid ]

Capt Claret
29th Aug 2001, 04:42
bugg smasher

I can't quite determine the relevance of the first sentence, "I am the chief pilot ...." to the remainder of your post. :confused: I wonder if some one's got the wrong BB?

I too enjoyed reading Holt CJ's contributions.

Holt CJ
29th Aug 2001, 23:25
To bugg smasher and others who have been so kind in their remarks above, I have been too busy to check this site until now, but I offer late thanks.

Curiosity was, in any event, getting the better of me. In particular, I was hoping to read that Darth Vader's Love-child had revealed the name of his employer as requested. Instead, I find he has removed his post entirely and disappeared.

Here is a little poser for you all. I have attempted to use lay language here (no offence intended, anyone :)) and make no claims as to accuracy in aviation matters:

"A, an airline pilot, is offered several positions flying older aircraft types based near to his family home. B Airlines, very short of pilots, then offers A employment on high-technology aircraft but based hundreds of miles from his home. At interview, A tells B he is unable to relocate to the base. B tells A that it will support A in obtaining discount airfares to enable regular commuting between home and base. A then accepts B’s offer and signs its standard employment contract, which omits any mention of the airfares support.

After five weeks training overseas, A commences work at the distant base. But on A’s first rostered duty break, B refuses said support in obtaining cheap airfares to and from A’s home, stating that the promised support is available only via 'Interline' and therefore only after twelve months employment. A travels at full airfare cost for his first break and then, unable to afford further airfares, drives by road on two subsequent breaks. A becomes severely fatigued and unwell. Holding that his flying in these circumstances is rendered unsafe, perhaps unlawful, A resigns giving B the requisite notice period. B then sues A under a bonding agreement for 20,000, the full cost of training.

Advise A."

What sayest thou all?

The Guvnor
29th Aug 2001, 23:51
'A' is, unfortunately, ******ed unless there are independent third party witnesses present to confirm that the offer of rebate travel was made.

Without wishing to put words onto his mouth, I'd suggest that this is the sort of scenario that my friend Tilii envisages in his strong opposition to bonding. Immoral, certainly unethical. Breach of contract? Not if it wasn't included in the written agreement; and not if there are no witnesses present.

Advice? Try to negotiate some sort of amicable settlement - the company remains short of pilots; and if they honour their original commitment re the tickets then both parties would be satisfied. As it stands, B would get its training costs back but still be down a pilot; and A would be out of pocket 20k - no small sum. It's a lose-lose scenario - let's rather try for a win-win one.

30th Aug 2001, 00:20
Chief Justice Holt

Just read your problem.

Just a few thoughts whilst typing this :

Any witnesses to agreement re travel?
If no, is there a witness?

Have B offered others similar travel arrangemnents as allegedly offered to A?
If yes, you may be in busiess.

If yes, have others been similarly shafted?

If yes and they say they will stand up in court get written statements straight away, otherwise when the time comes to stand in the witness box, amnesia will be claimed.At least with a written statement you can blackmail the bu**ers to speak up. Yes, I know they may be useless witnesses but that may be a risk worth taking.


Bonding issue Victimisation?

Think about Human Rights re bonding proportionality / balance issues

Was there a contract?If both sides are so unclear about its terms was there a meeting on minds?

These are some of the first flush aspects I would want to think about etc.

It is not a considered opinion merely a check list I would start for myself.

What does the Chief Justice think?

For non lawyers Holt CJ was a famous Lord Chief Justice of England.

Coming back to the original question in this thread. Of course the old boy network exists and will exist despite data protection laws etc.

[ 29 August 2001: Message edited by: slj ]

Holt CJ
30th Aug 2001, 01:56
To the Guvnor
Thank you for your reply. I most sincerely hope that A will not be … ah, as you said. First let me say to all that I did not put this in order that I might receive 'legal' advice. I advise on this, and several other related issues, as we speak. What I would like to know is whether this is commonplace, whether it sounds familiar, and whether any Pruners have suffered similar experiences. I would also appreciate comment as to whether you, as aviators, believe A and/or B has behaved badly?
[Later edit: The Guvnor, I am sure you are aware that many contracts are made without witnesses present. Further, not all contractual terms are necessarily to be found within the 'four corners' of a written document.]

To slj
Please, kind sir, I am not Chief Justice Holt come back to haunt, merely Holt CJ, novice Pruner. Responding to yours: there is no witness. A and B sat alone in the recruitment interview, and B now denies telling A any such thing. Important point: there was no ‘offer of rebate travel’, nor does A allege this. What is alleged is that B agreed to support A in obtaining a regular, low-cost fare. A states that such a fare is readily obtainable when an airline makes application for an employee travelling to and from duty as opposed to toodling off on hols with family, etc. I see the way you are thinking, but I am inclined toward the contractual breach rather than misrep. You know, frustration, implied term, collateral contract, whatever. There is not, in my mind, a ‘bonding issue’, or even a HumRts issue, here. I intend to express my mind fully at some later stage.

Meanwhile, I do hope my friends on this site are interested in this poser and do not, as before, feel I am boring them with … ‘legal blah’, I think was said. If I am, then, on the basis of recent past experience, I will no doubt be very quickly, even brutally, advised. :D

[ 29 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

30th Aug 2001, 03:01
Holt CJ

Let me give you a REAL world example. I'll put it into a legal scenario.

Your practice is recruiting new employees. You are expanding rapidly and you are looking for experienced candidates.

One very experienced candidate applies and passes all the early selection stages easily, now you are going to interview him (with someone else there, of course, to ensure no misunderstandings).

While reviewing the candidates CV, you notice that he appears to have moved around a bit, all the time gaining more experience. In particular, you see he spent a relatively short time with a Firm run by a friend of yours from your University days. This friend has kept in touch over the years, and you rate him as very professional.

When you ask the candidate about his time with your friends firm, he says he fell out with the Management, different ideas, different culture, didn't feel comfortable, didn't suit his lifestyle...a series of plausable reasons, but leaving you in doubt as you know the firm and the owner very well.

Now, what do you do. This candidate has all the experience, the background, has performed well in all tests, and puts in a very good interview ( as rated by your assistant at the interview board).

Do you ring your friend?


Holt CJ
30th Aug 2001, 03:19
ADC, a very nicely structured question, and deserving of a considered response, which I am more than willing to provide. When you respond to mine above, I will respond to yours. Howzat?

(Gentlemen, you did tell me to keep the word count down :D )

30th Aug 2001, 10:20
Holt C J

The offer to help obtain regular low cost fares could be regarded as a term of the main contract.

I would still be trying to findout if similar offers had been made, perhaps a PPruner reading this might recognise a similar interview and offer made to them.

The existence of such offers would help your client, especially as we are at the stage at which would be the best witness.

I can't see the chance of running frustration although would not rule out misrepresentation altogether. Consider running it with breach of contract.

There are some esoteric claims on Human Rights re infringement to rights of family etc. property et al.

With a conflict resting on who said what you need as much "stuff" as possible to blacken B's name and reputation.

One question I have is if the low fare is claimed to be readily obtained (with employer) suppport why did the employer (B) break the oral, and still contractual part of the contract?

Hope these views help.

Just another thought. Although your client would not have the right to claim unfair dismissal employmmment law has a strong implied term that the employer has a duty of care to behave decently and with respect towards employees etc. Another little factor to throw at B.

[ 30 August 2001: Message edited by: slj ]

Holt CJ
30th Aug 2001, 13:09
Slj, we are almost as one on most of the topics in your post. You will understand that I cannot be too specific here for reasons of confidentiality. There are many factors in this matter that I feel unable to mention. This one issue is merely the tip of a very large iceberg. I posed it for quite specific reasons, as already said. I do appreciate your input, but would be more grateful if you were able to address the questions that I put to aviators rather than to lawyers (and it is clear that you are both, despite your profile). Having said that, I think you would find this a fascinating case and we certainly could enjoy many hours in discussion of its legal aspects. But Pruners have made it clear above that we must not engage on this site. My respect and regards. Holt CJ. :)

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

30th Aug 2001, 14:23

Answer to your problem.

I would ring my friend but I would not record it. (Data Protection reasons etc).

I think most Chief Pilots would do the same.

bugg smasher
31st Aug 2001, 04:20

Allow me to apologise for a most frivolous posting, which has been quite rightly deleted from this forum by the administrators. At the risk of being gutted and fried, I was merely expressing frustration at what appeared to be a very promising exchange of valuable information, inexplicably metamorphosing into a most unsatisfactory mud-slinging match.

Warmest greetings HoltCJ, glad to have you back Sir, welcome aboard.

31st Aug 2001, 09:44
Hello Holt Cj,

I hope you don`t get as easily offended by your protagonists in court, -if that happens to be your arena!
On a more serious note I have to agree with you ,that a fair number of people in our profession (aviation that is) talk a load of self -righteous rubbish:-myself probably included, but is that not the case within any discipline? Is there not a legal website where the same personalities can be found ?

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: RT ]

Holt CJ
31st Aug 2001, 19:36
To bugg smasher

Thank you for your warm greeting. Now that you are back from your slight diversion, I wonder if you, as a pilot, would be kind enough to comment on the poser I set on a previous page? It seems that, with the exception of The Guvnor and slj, nobody wishes to comment. I find the silence rather disquieting given that the ‘A’ in the posed question is a professional pilot and, in my mind, a decent and upright citizen. Surely more of you would hold a view beyond The Guvnor’s well-meaning comment that 'A' is apparently b*****ed!”


I was not in any way offended, more disgusted. In answer to yours: No, I do not believe this is the case ‘within any discipline’. In my humble opinion, those of us within the professions are not normally given to talking ‘a load of self-righteous rubbish’, at least not with each other. Of course, it is entirely possible that the piloting profession is an exception. I reserve judgment on that for the time being. Certainly, some may have acted badly on this thread, but we must bear in mind that a declaration as to ‘occupation’ does not make it true. I presume there are some on this site claiming to be a professional aviator when they are neither professional nor aviator?

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

Norman Stanley Fletcher
3rd Sep 2001, 02:26
Holt CJ

I have been away on my travels and have been unable to reply. I have watched with some considerable interest as this thread has unfolded. I feel I must apologise for my rudeness earlier in the thread by suggesting you leave. I have clearly caused offence to a chap who enjoys being among the pilot fraternity and I really did not intend to. So please accept my sincere apologies for any hurt or offence caused. The sad truth is that none of us really know each other and the written word causes offence when wry smiles can so easily undo any misunderstanding. Very sorry for my shameful rudeness.

Tillii (is that how you spell it?). Now you are altogether different. You have really bitten and I find myself at the great disadvantage of not being able to look you in the eye and know what you are really about. From your post, I presume you must be the first female freemason. I am disappointed to see that you have revealed yourself as thinking I hate teachers (I am married to a wonderful one), engineers (I was one once), nurses (I know so many good ones), women (my own mother was one!). Take a couple of vallium on the way to the Lodge tonight and you will feel so much better about me.


An excellent view - so well put that I feel positively envious of your non-confrontational presentation.

bugg smasher
3rd Sep 2001, 09:03
Hello HoltCJ,

The contractual agreement signed by the pilot encompassed only those areas related to his actual operational duties, as I am sure you are aware. The verbal agreement to "assist him" in obtaining discounted travel to his home on a regular basis amounted to no more than a convenient enticement to sign, the employer knowing that once the training bond is in force, any such agreement not documented and signed by both parties would hold little weight against that which had been consumated in written form. In a case such as this, the employer knows full well that by disclosing the actual conditions of employment, he is unlikely to acquire the caliber of pilot that his operation by law requires, and faced with the possibility of a crewing shortage and the resultant problems that entail, therefore "modifies" the truth to the extent required to obtain a signature. Whether or not this case has merit in the eyes of the law, is certainly a question for you to determine.

I do not claim knowledge of other professions, but can assure you that the term-contract area of aviation is replete with this kind of incident. It appears to be most common where the junior pilot has been hired with the "promise" of obtaining command, and finds himself many years later occupying the same position in which he was hired. There are certainly many mitigating circumstances in which this can occur, pilot ability and company requirement to name but a few. I do believe, however, there are some on this forum who can attest to, and have indeed experienced problems of this nature, which may shed some light on the current problem at hand.

If there is one thing that is most clear, it is encumbent on the potential employee to uncover as much as possible regarding the potential employer (a subject, I believe, we have up until now been discussing in reverse) and make his/her own determination as to the suitability of the employment in question.

From a contractual point of view, your client does not appear to have any right to legal recourse (pardon me if I over-step your authority with uneducated conjecture), but it would seem to me that barring any agreement entered into directly with a banking institution and/or compromising references that would undermine future employment, there is little if any risk involved. It is certainly not worth the employer's while to pursue a questionable financial gain, if for any other reason than the threat of significant public relations damage. The employer knows that once a professional pilot has been burned in the eyes of his/her colleauges, very few others with the requisite experience would consider applying for work.

3rd Sep 2001, 10:34
Buggs Smasher

An oral statement is as legally binding as a written statement, although harder to prove.It would then come down to witnesses or if no witness who is better in the witness box.

You are so right in your comment "it is encumbent on the potential employee to uncover as much as possible regarding the potential employer".

Do your own investigations and get what to you are essential parts of the contract in writing.

3rd Sep 2001, 19:47
Having just returned from a few days down the line, I must say this thread is now shaping up to be of enormous interest to most professional pilots.

Joystroker comes pretty close to my own sentiments with regard to the subject of this thread where he shouts “HOW DARE SOMEONE DENY AN INDIVIDUAL THE RIGHT TO WORK BECAUSE OF THIS WHOLLY UNPROFESSIONAL PRACTICE”.

As my friend :) The Guvnor rightly says above, the subject of bonding is one near to my heart and I am appalled at what has happened to Holt CJ’s client, ‘A’. To answer your question above, Holt CJ, I agree with The Guvnor’s remark that it is “[i]mmoral, certainly unethical”. :rolleyes:

From what you say about friend and colleague ‘A’, it seems he has fallen foul of what is a very common practice amongst unscrupulous airlines desperate to hire pilots, especially pilots with substantial experience (and I presume ‘A’ was enticed into this position as a direct entry Captain?), namely, to lie through their teeth with all kinds of enticements simply to obtain a signature on a standard employment contract that rarely contains the promised enticements. Once ensnared, the hapless pilot is then in a position where the bonding agreement places him/her between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Perversely in ‘A’’s case, it seems he is luckier than others in that there were no witnesses. Most airlines interview with a panel, thus there are usually two or three management yes-men lurking in the background to swear under oath that the promises were not made (or at least to suffer complete loss of recall when asked) :o . Thus it is usually two or three words against one. ‘A’ is better off merely because it seems it is going to be his word against the sole interviewer’s, leaving it for the judge to decide who is to be believed.

As for ‘A’’s stance on the safety issue in him driving hundreds of miles to and from duty, he is quite obviously a thoroughly professional individual deserving considerable credit for his willingness to place himself at risk of bond enforcement in resigning under these circumstances. Well done, that man! Well done indeed. And a pox on the entire bonding system, especially when it is used as a coercive tool in this way. :mad:

Norman Stanley Fletcher

No doubt Holt CJ will accept your apology, for he seems the perfect gentleman. But I will certainly forgive neither your past display of gross ignorance and prejudice nor the disparaging remarks you address to me above – “the first female freemason”, indeed! Fancy that, your mother was a female. And there was me thinking that you did not have one. ;)


The answer to your question is a resounding: No, I would not! I would rely on the system in place to properly assess the individual applicant. If that cannot do the job, then I am at fault and ought not to rely on a friend’s personal view unless the applicant specifically names that friend as a personal or professional referee.

Well said, bugg smasher, agree with most of your post above, except I am sure that slj is right when he says: “[a]n oral statement is as legally binding as a written statement, although harder to prove.”

Finally, I think we would all do well to pay attention to slj’s words as follows: “Do your own investigations and get what to you are essential parts of the contract in writing.” I would like to hear Holt CJ and slj further on this one. How do you each suggest the pilot goes about getting what are essential parts of the contract in writing? I have tried this myself and been promptly told where to go, in no uncertain terms. :rolleyes:

3rd Sep 2001, 20:58
Thanks HoltCJ ( and those who put their heads above the parapet) a wonderful thread; I've learnt something.
Nothing like reading a well constructed argument.

3rd Sep 2001, 22:55

If an employer is not prepared to put the contractual parts, including the verbal inducements in writing then I would be very suspicious about them as a prospective enmployer.

One of the strengths of a BB such as this should be the ability to form a network of information providers who might be able to inform those seeking employment what the compnay is really like. It goes further than the entitlements and whatsaname thread.

In some ways it could be similar to the closed airline forums. The organisational dynamics need working out as these thoughts are from the top of my head or ar*e.(Edited to add "depending on how you view the idea")

I'm sure some of the creative minds of the 35000 plus superior brains that constitute PPRune can begin to put these brainstorming ideas into practice.

The management have their networking. Why shouldn't we have ours?

Any ideas?

[ 03 September 2001: Message edited by: slj ]

Devils Advocate
4th Sep 2001, 00:53
tilli, and in modest pursuance of ADC question - not that he/she needs it ;) , let's (again) say that you're a Chief Pilot / Ops Director and somebody applied to your airline.

Let's also say that somewhere early-on during the recruitment process (e.g. shortly after the CV arrived) ...... and it doesn't really matter under what circumstances ......... that another Chief Pilot / Ops Dir (who's actually also good personal friend, known to you for many years, who's bonefides are beyond reproach, to say nothing of his excellent judgement and aeronautical ability) comes out with the following:

"Hi Bert, how's things mate ?" ....... a few minutes of idle chat, then...... "Actually I'm glad I've bumped into you, because a 'little birdy' has told me that you're thinking of employing XYZ. Now trust me mate, and we've known each other a long time, but you wanna dump that bloke like the plague ! You see, when I employed him three years ago, he initially came across very well..... jeez even I was taken in, and you know me Bert, I'll always give an oak a chance..... but it transpired, in spite of his apparently impressive credentials, that he only just scraped through the type conversion course.... and as I'm sure you'll remember, three'ish year ago we desperately needed bums on seats and so, somewhat between a rock and a hard place - and giving him the benefit of the doubt, we had to pass him....... but when he got on the line he was an operational and interpersonal nightmare..... and, for all manner of reasons, he ultimately cost us a small fortune. Ultimately we got off light when he left for pastures new, about eighteen months ago, because he was destined for a failure in the sim sooner or later, more from his own hand than ours ! Listen mate, if you'd like some independent proof I can put you in contact with scores of top notch blokes..... indeed some of whom you've since employed..... and I'm 100% confidant that they'll reiterate what I've mentioned about XYZ. So, it's your choice mate, but there's my two'penneth ! Want another beer ?"

So what are you now going to do ? Your friends advice has previously been solidly reliable / faultless - would you now spend (waste) both your company's time and money interviewing and simulator assessing XYZ ?

4th Sep 2001, 02:13
Devils Advocate

Ah, Holt CJ’s not so humble antagonist, the Devil, emerges once again to put what is virtually the same question as ADC above. What is different, though, is that you are not nearly as clever as was ADC for you foolishly inject into the hypothesis a number of points requiring urgent challenge as follows:

1. You say the chum (the “gossiper” now) says to the potential employer chum (the “gossipee” now) I'm glad I've bumped into you, because a 'little birdy' has told me that you're thinking of employing XYZ. This demonstrates beyond doubt that the gossiper is given to being a receptive gossipee. He listens to “little birdies”, does he not? And, friend or no friend, this would lead me to doubt the so-called “beyond reproach bonafides” of the gossiper, to say nothing of his professed “excellent judgement”;

2. The gossiper then goes on to say that When I employed him three years ago, he initially came across very well..... jeez even I was taken in …Thus the gossiper by his own statement admits that he is a poor judge of applicants, relying on how an applicant “initially came across” as a true measure of suitability;

3. Then the gossiper puts his foot firmly in mouth, saying: It transpired, in spite of his apparently impressive credentials, that he only just scraped through the type conversion course …. Clearly, then, the gossiper did not properly check the “apparently impressive credentials” to discover in advance that they were in fact unimpressive, thereby saving his own employer the cost and trouble of putting the applicant through the type conversion course through which he ultimately “just scraped”;

4. The applicant “only just scraped through”, yet the gossiper tells the gossipee that the reason the employment continued was because We desperately needed bums on seats and so, somewhat between a rock and a hard place - and giving him the benefit of the doubt, we had to pass him....... but when he got on the line he was an operational and interpersonal nightmare..... and, for all manner of reasons, he ultimately cost us a small fortuneSo, the gossiper here confesses to the gossipee that he is prepared to put commercial expediency above public safety. Worse, the gossiper demonstrates his personal unwillingness to make the quite obviously required fundamental management decision of dismissing the employee, this despite knowing he is “an operational and interpersonal nightmare”. Even worse, the gossiper allows the situation to continue to a point where it ultimately costs his employer “a small fortune”. Again, so much for the “beyond reproach bonafides” and “excellent judgement” of the gossiper. As a CP or FOD he is surely a hopeless inadequate;

5. The gossiper allowed the situation to continue until the employee “left for pastures new” of his own volition, telling his friend, the gossipee, that the employee was, in any event, “destined for a failure in the sim sooner or later”. The fact that the gossiper admits that this would be “more from his own hand than ours” is a confession that “our hand” will nevertheless play a part. What a gutless wonder this gossiper is, then. He will not fire the employee. Instead he will delegate the employee’s demise, at least in part, to his training organisation; and, finally

6. The gossiper then refers the gossipee to “scores of top notch blokes”, no doubt each and every one also a gossiper, for so-called “independent proof” by gossip.

Wow, I am truly impressed Devils Advocate. I suggest you take this scenario with you to the bottom of the Marianas Trench you spoke of earlier, for that is where it truly belongs. And so does anyone who thinks this way. If you are really flying 73s out there, I sincerely hope you never occupy any nearby airspace while I am airborne. Good grief! :eek: :eek: :eek:

[ 03 September 2001: Message edited by: tilii ]

bugg smasher
4th Sep 2001, 04:13
Hello Tilii,

Your posting regarding Norman and the somewhat controversial nature of his comments is bravely stated. I applaud the manner and competence with which you defend yourself, to allow such statements unchallenged passage would be a terrible dereliction of moral duty. Charity being, however, in such short supply in these times of woe and want, perhaps you might cut him some slack; a doubtful parental lineage is most difficult to deal with.

Not wishing to divert the very interesting subjects addressed here, in particular the entrenchment of certain attitudes and practices within the industry at large, do you foresee a further polarization in the eventual development of an "Old Girl's" network?

Devils Advocate
4th Sep 2001, 04:48
So tilli, can we take it that you would not take 'wise counsel' from a tried and trusted friend ?

Ps. What colour is the sky in your perfect little world mate ?!

4th Sep 2001, 08:09
CJ In answer to your original question, I for one, find the practice of hire/gossip a most disgusting and cowardly practice that has fortunately been outlawed in most civilised professions. Alas unfortunately not in aviation (well not in my 13yrs anyway), and please correct me if wrong but is not the judiciary of this great nation of GB not also a little tarnished with the same?
I feel it's a sad fact the practice is rife in flying and unfortunately for it's victims will probably remain so for a while to come, sadly.
It is a sad reflection on humanity that the views of the few are what perpetrate this ritual cruelty and unfairness, but that they are the first to scream for a fair trial when the gossip is anti and not pro. Fortunately where there is a "Devils advocate" argument there is also a "Tilii"argument to return the faith in the profession, thank goodness.

This next exit will do! No problem lets try the next! Ooh I haven't been down ere before!
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

4th Sep 2001, 10:36
Dodger, Tilii

Whilst one admires the high moral ground re asking contacts in a network for information on applicants, it is a widespread practice in almost all UK industry.

It could be argued that those who seek the information are doing the right thing for their organisation in getting as much information as possible before making a decision. Now I understand some of this may be tittle tattle but the same can sometimes be found in formal written references which may be deliberately misleading.

The old boy networker may also claim, in justification, that he or she has a duty of care to his company and to fellow employees and passengers to ensure that we engage the truly competent.

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: slj ]

Wig Wag
4th Sep 2001, 11:34
Bad mouthing an employee who wants to leave is hardly logical. Presumably if he/she is causing a problem then (as a Chief Pilot) you would rather they just left?

Of course, if pilot retention is a problem for your company bad working practices may be a factor.

Good selection procedures exist that don't require a patronage culture. For good employers hearsay should not necessary.

I started this thread and thought it would be popular. Its at the back of a lot of pilots minds that senior management can cause personal disadvantage through misplaced comment.

Aircraft Commanders must never feel their judgement is undermined; perceived pressure from management can adversely affect safety.

4th Sep 2001, 16:07
Devils Advocate

You miss the point entirely, don't you? In the scenario you chose (and it was your very own, my friend), there was no "wise counsel". Therefore, "tried and trusted friend" or not, I would not take such patently prejudiced advice. In fact, if this came from a tried and trusted friend, I would counsel him to change his errant ways with some great haste before he loses his own job.

The real question here is, given the same circumstances, would you take such counsel? Clearly you would, for you are apparently one of these sad creatures whose wont it is to rely on the Old Boy network instead of proper selection procedures. I guess the sky in the world in which you live is whatever was the colour of your old school tie, dear chap. The sky where I fly is always blue. :D


I must say I am a little surprised to read that you defend this practice by suggesting that Those who seek the information are doing the right thing for their organisation in getting as much information as possible before making a decision.Even with your caveat re "tittle tattle", surely you would agree that accurate, truthful, and therefore reliable, information is not derived from tittle tattle or gossip? Such "information gathering" is surely not permissible in law, is it? This practice is unarguably one of relying on pure hearsay. What is more, I point you again to the words of Holt CJ above where he argues that this practice may, of itself, be a breach of a duty of care. I agree with him entirely and see no reasonable way in which it can be argued that this practice ensures the engaging of "the truly competent". It seems to me more likely that the opposite is closer to the truth, that the incompetent are more likely to sneak past the proper assessments and into employment.

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: tilii ]

Devils Advocate
4th Sep 2001, 19:19
I'm afraid tilli that it is you whom has seemingly missed the point..... because in the above scenario it was plainly left to the individual to make up his own mind about the applicant, e.g. 'So, it's your choice mate, but there's my two'penneth !' (sic) - i.e. you don’t have to take honest advice, freely given - and, quite evidently, you'd choose to ignore it.

Accordingly one would imagine that in such an event you'd continue to process the applicant, making full use of formalised methods of testing. However having been 'tipped the wink', in your capacity as Chief Pilot / Ops Dir, one would hope that you'd certainly then fully probe any areas of concern from your conversation (e.g. during the interview and / or simulator assessment), i.e. you'd make sure that candidates performance was beyond all reproach, prior to making an offer for employment, or not - and what's wrong with that ? The candidate will either pass or fail.

Nb. For what it's worth, I've been in involved with sim assessments and have personally witnessed licensed pilots fail abysmally (some crashed three times in succession ! ) off of a very simple V1-cut engine failure - which is all the more worrying when you consider that these folks are actually flying commercially right now…… and there's a dilemma, i.e. should I tell their employer and / or the CAA what I've witnessed, or should I keep schstum ? But what if they crashed next week, and I'd kept quite about their witnessed short comings, uhm ?! Would I then be 'telling tales' and / or indulging in 'gossip' ?
Perhaps a case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't ?!

Of course I'm sure that you'll retort that a 'proper' recruitment process should cover all the angles but in order to enlighten us with just how you'd go about doing the same job - this of course assumes that you actually work for an airline, as an airline pilot, and in that capacity that you have actually been involved with pilot recruitment / assessment, rather than speaking as a lay person - could I be so bold as ask you to describe what it is that you'd included in your pilot selection criteria - and just how far you would go (and how much money would you spend) in ascertaining that the right candidates are employed ?

So, over to you.....

Ps. Anybody know how many s's there are in sanctimonious ?

4th Sep 2001, 19:45
Devils Advocate

I do not wish to debase this fine thread by responding to your post above in the manner it deserves. So, with considerable restraint, I say:

1. Yes, I would “probe” the applicant fully. But I would have done in any event;

2. Provided I was the assessor (and not merely an uninvolved, and therefore out of the information loop, bystander), I would indeed inform the “abysmally failed” sim pilot’s employer and/or the CAA. But I would do so only after I had informed the pilot of my view as to his/her performance, allowed him/her an opportunity to respond, perhaps mitigate, as to that performance, and then only after I informed the pilot that I intended to advise the employer/CAA. No gossip involved there, do you see?;

3. Yes, a 'proper' recruitment process should cover all the angles;

4. Where I work and in what capacity is none of your business (unless you work with me, and I assure you that you do not); and

5. There are two, as you quite rightly display.

4th Sep 2001, 19:48
Is the apparent assumption that the old boy network or any of its variants always provides negative information about applicants?

If so, it certainly cannot be proved whilst personal experience suggests that employers and former employers often speak well of their colleagues as well as sometimes warning. As someone else states it is up to the recipient of the information to take whatever action they wish on it.

4th Sep 2001, 21:27

Surely it makes no difference whether the information provided is negative or positive, does it? A gossiper may provide fallacious comment in either sense and it "cannot be proved" right or wrong. This is the essence of what is wrong with gossip. Speaking well of someone does not mean it is deserved any more than speaking badly of them. It is surely more a reflection of whether the subject of the gossip is in a position of good or bad standing in the eyes of the gossiper.

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: tilii ]

Holt CJ
4th Sep 2001, 23:53
To my good friend bugg smasher

I see ‘the Devil’ has been up to his old antics during my absence. Will he never learn? Let me in the first instance thank you, as well as tilii and others, for the responses to my poser.

You are quite right in that the vast majority of employment contracts primarily relate to specific areas required by law. Thus a verbal agreement outside the ‘four corners’ of the employment contract differs, for example, from such an agreement outwith a contract of sale. The law distinguishes between the many and varied statements made by contracting parties in some rather interesting ways.

To consider the issue of the alleged verbal promise by ‘B’ to ‘A’, we might begin by asking whether it was ever made at all (this because ‘B’ denies it). This may be overcome by the court looking at the parties’ intentions. I think the real question here is: would ‘A’ have entered into the contract without such a promise from ‘B’? It seems clear that, without the promised assistance, ‘A’ could not afford to provide the promised consideration, that is, to fly as a pilot for ‘B’ for an agreed minimum term (in this case, three years according to the bonding agreement). Logic suggests there was nothing for ‘A’ in the contract, there was no ‘business efficacy’ in him entering into the agreement, without his being able to commute at substantially reduced airfares. The court, then, may find that there must have been such a promise made, that it was an ‘implied term’ of the contract and not a ‘mere’ representation (which is perhaps what you describe as a ‘convenient enticement to sign’ ;).

Of course, the court may hear the witnesses and hold that there was (or was not) such a promise made. It may find that there was a misrepresentation by ‘B’, intended to induce ‘A’ into entering the contract on the false premise that he would be able to perform his side of the bargain. And ‘B’ may have acted fraudulently (by deliberate ‘modification’ of the truth) or non-fraudulently in this. In any event, there is a possible remedy at law.

Let us assume, then, that the court finds the promise to be an implied term. Was the term breached? It seems it was, in that ‘A’, once established at the remote base, was denied the promised assistance. Once the assistance was withheld, the contract was breached and ‘A’ then had reason to hold it as breached. His rights then depend upon whether the term was a condition or a warranty. I will leave it at that for now.

If, as you say, the ‘term-contract area of aviation is replete with this kind of incident’, it is perhaps high time it was dealt with comprehensively in the courts. To promise a junior pilot ‘command’ and to then leave the promise unfulfilled for many years is no less a breach of contract than it is to refuse to pay the agreed salary, or grant the agreed leave, and so on.

You have said: “If there is one thing that is most clear, it is encumbent [sic] on the potential employee to uncover as much as possible regarding the potential employer … and make his/her own determination as to the suitability of the employment in question.” And you are very wise to point to this. However, there is always in employment law the question of inequality of bargaining power, as our friend “slj” has said above. And it is not always possible for the employee to effectively conduct this vetting process. Even where possible, there may be little the hapless potential employee might do about it when discovering something untoward. The choice is usually one of take it or leave it.

This does not mean, however, that the employee is without recourse in such circumstances as ‘A’ found himself. But it is important to remember that the aggrieved party must act quickly. To linger too long is potentially to show a willingness to accept the breach and may lead to loss of a right to seek a remedy. ‘A’ resigned, was sued, and defended with counter-claim. He may not have been able to do so had he sat on the problem for too long.

Interesting, is it not? ;)

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: Holt CJ ]

Devils Advocate
5th Sep 2001, 01:55
Actually Holty, I'm (we're all) learning the whole time, and to be honest I'm glad to see you back - genuinely !

....I'll also take this opportunity to congratulate you on your very well constructed and nicely put treatise above - a nice balance of common sense, with just a soupcon of legalese - bravo !

5th Sep 2001, 03:35
There seem to be at least two issues here. Firstly, where a pilot falls foul of his/her boss and then finds that said Chief Pilot is giving them a bad reference through an informal contact with the prospective employer. Many of you, quite rightly I feel, have condemned such action. I knew of one such case and thankfully for the pilot concerned our new boss could see this embittered chap for what he was and so took no notice whatsoever.

However, a second and equally valid scenario is the one put forward by Devil's Advocate. Someone at the very beginning of this thread reminded us that professional aviation is a very small community within the UK. There is a very small number of individuals who will cause problems wherever they work and it is human nature that having built themselves a bad reputation it will spread to other companies.

Lastly, as slj said this 'old boy network' can often help pilots get jobs not lose them.

bugg smasher
5th Sep 2001, 05:33
Greetings HoltCJ,

A fascinating and frighteningly coherent post; I thank you for a most enlightening look into the legal process. I imagine a few employers out there are feeling somewhat uncomfortable by now. I have searched far and wide, by the way, for a reference to the term “encumbent” and have found it in only one place, the “Handyman’s Book of George Bush-isms”. Not wishing to beg artistic license, perhaps less CNN and more BBC these days would serve me well.

There is much food for thought in the comments you have made, and I will no doubt have many questions in the days to come, once the digestive process has been allowed to run its windy course. I would, however, here like to address the issue of bonding. Many airline companies, it seems, have established training operations that function as independent profit centers of their own right. I believe the sum of twenty thousand English Pounds was mentioned earlier on in this thread. A conversion to a new aircraft type costs considerably less than that; a Boeing 777 course, for example, can be had for twelve thousand dollars (those of you with specific knowledge kindly correct me if I am wrong) at a certain contract training center in the United States, assuming the candidate is appropriately pre-qualified. That is considerably less than half the above-mentioned figure, and for an aircraft much larger and more complex than the usual types for which these bonding agreements are entered into. Even when the higher costs of conducting business in Europe are accounted for, it remains a usuriously inflated sum. From the accounting department’s point of view, whether the pilot stays or leaves matters not, the employer profits handsomely. And so my question is, when dealing with bonding issues, do the courts see fit to examine the employer’s actual cost of training, and in the absence of disputed verbal agreements as experienced by your client, would any such process work in favour of the pilot defending with a counter-claim of this nature?

5th Sep 2001, 10:07
Holt CJ

You state "You are quite right in that the vast majority of employment contracts primarily relate to specific areas required by law. Thus a verbal agreement outside the ‘four corners’ of the employment contract differs, for example, from such an agreement outwith a contract of sale. The law distinguishes between the many and varied statements made by contracting parties in some rather interesting ways"

Are you confusing a contract of employment with a statement of employment contract terms that has to be given to employees within 13 weeks of commencing employment?

They are different animals with different purposes.

I was slightly confused by your comment a "verbal agreement outside the four corners of the employment contract. You later go on to say about the verbal promise of B to provide travel support for A. Well, that is very much part of the employment contract which is what a court battle would be concerned with. Many employers and employees fail to appreciate what the contract of employment embraces.

Your argument about a promise to promote to LHS as breach is more difficult to sustain as it must be implied tht this is depends on so many factors and can only be a representation in the form of an opinion and not actionable (in English law) as a representation or misrepresentation. To be actionable the representation must be one of fact not opinion.

Capt PPRuNe
5th Sep 2001, 13:57
Gone past 100 posts so I'm closing this thread. If you want to continue ut I suggest you restart ' UK Chief Pilots and the 'Old Boy' network...II ' over in the Aircrew Notices forum.

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: Capt PPRuNe ]