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Why do positions like Chief Pilot, HOFO, HOTAC etc exist?

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Why do positions like Chief Pilot, HOFO, HOTAC etc exist?

Old 5th Jan 2022, 22:43
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Why do positions like Chief Pilot, HOFO, HOTAC etc exist?

Are the subject positions absolutely necessary? What purpose do they serve? Is it a case of the regulator mandates an organisation must have these positions whose sole purpose is to have interaction with the regulator (symbiotic existence). If these regulatory required positions ceased to exist would an aviation organisation (large or small) be incapable of functioning?
Does the road, rail & shipping industries have a similar situation with their regulators?
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 23:12
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We safely functioned for decades without them but these days how else do you build your empire up
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 23:20
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Lawyerís delight. Purely there for someone to point the bone at when something goes wrong. Except of course if itís Boeing in which case they all duck for cover until only the test pilot is left standing
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 23:49
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More opportunity for more pigs to put their snouts in the bonus trough
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 00:04
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Good CPs are few are far in between. My frustration with many is they just donít listen, so far lost in those ivory towers. Many that I have worked with, when promoted, go straight to the widebody command upgrade, then you never bloody see them!

Best Iíve worked with was Ken Broomhead. The rest after him in that specific place would probably rate as some of the most useless people Iíve seen in my time.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 00:08
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Originally Posted by Lazyload View Post
Lawyerís delight. Purely there for someone to point the bone at when something goes wrong.
This. Also serves those pilots who love to have power over others but are generally terrified of flying themselves.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 00:30
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Long lunches and reach arounds are the first things that pop into my head with regards to those positions.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 01:02
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It's just all empire building from CASA. They're bureaucrats and they have no knowledge of flat organisational structures. Just go and have a look at the CASA Organisational chart. They even impose that rubbish on small GA companies which only needs one manager but CASA insist on the same structure for 3-4 aeroplanes. You end up with more managers than actual pilots or aircraft.

However that thinking also pervades big airlines too as senior management generally measure their success on how big their department is. Any airline in Australia could have a very flat organisational structure, with one AOC and 1 Chief Pilot and a manager for each type but that isn't what happens in reality. They multiply the AOCs and management out 10 fold building bigger and bigger empires, more and more duplication of roles.

Last edited by neville_nobody; 6th Jan 2022 at 01:14.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 01:07
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As far as a large organization is concerned someone such as HOTAC has to design the C&T programme, tailor it for the operation and CASA appeasement, work out what to do with the 'outliers' and manage the check/trainer standards.

The HOFO has the uneviable job of sitting between the requirement of the company's business interests, pilot group, unions, and CASA and all the conflicting interests and requirements of each.

In organizations Ive worked for the above are also available to contact 24/7 if a situation dictates, and judging by the hours some emails get sent I'd certainly say its a job that follows you home.

As others have said, there are good and bad ones out there but someone has to be the boss and I sure as wouldn't want to do thier job.


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Old 6th Jan 2022, 03:01
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Is the reason for the very existence of these CP's HOFOs something like this:?

CASA decrees an organisation shall have a CP, HOFO, HOO, HOTAC, HAMMC etc because this will limit the number of people contacting the authority to ascertain what a particular rule actually means (and the authority doesn't always provide an immediate response). If these positions didn't exist there may be potentially lots of people contacting the authority enquiring about what the rules mean which would generate statistical evidence that the authority may not be fit for purpose. To avoid that scenario, the authority creates a structure of circular dependency. The authority mandates positions whose role is to report back to the authority.


The authority writes rules (thousands of them in great detail!). So would the industry cease to function on a structure of .... You, pilot.. engineer etc, adhere to the rules, if you don't, the regulator sends You an please explain/infringement notice?


If the authority provided rules in a decipherable format would you really need all this hierarchical structure?


One sector of the road transport industry involves heavy machinery travelling at speed in very close proximity to other vehicles, people, building and public facilities. Does the authority that regulates this industry, dictate what staffing positions a company must have to be granted permission to operate, to the same extent the aviation authority does?

If not, why not.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 03:10
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It's because aviation is 'special'. It's the 'mystique of aviation'.

Objectively, the aviation regulatory regime is a harmful overreaction to exaggerated risks. But it's about emotion rather than objectivity. Contemplating a truck full of fuel crashing into a kindergarten doesn't go to the same part of the human brain as does contemplating dying in a plane crash.

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Old 6th Jan 2022, 07:43
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How did it come about, from memory it all began in the early 90's when it became accepted that company pilots would no longer fly different (cross) types. As new types were brought online, created the need for a type specialist. (a pilot that already has experience in the type and knows what their doing) these created the position of fleet manager. as a consequence of that we now have essentially two very different training departments within the same company. The head of check and training was created in order to keep the companies training organisation as much as possible the same. The chief pilot in name only has varied over the years, manager flight standards, manager flight operations and most companies have more than one approved chief pilot in the event he needs to be replaced at short notice. The CEO and CFO is a companies requirement. I don't know what a HOO is or does. Anybody?
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 07:52
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HOO is Head of Operations. Generally would report to the CP. Is it needed probably not.

Iíve never understood why some places need soooo many managers. I mean some pilot bodies that are not even 100 strong have more management than my wifeís employer who has the same amount however ten thousand employees. Snouts in the trough as mentioned above pretty much sums this whole industry up.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:19
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I would have thought then that the HOO would be responsible for rostering and assuring all the hardware is where it supposed to be when it's supposed to be there. That would make sense, I guess another name for General Manager.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:22
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Then add in a fleet training manager under the HOTAC or FSM and voila, lots more on the payroll.
More safety init.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:27
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The one I have never understood is Human Resources. What a waste of time and resources.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 08:30
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Originally Posted by Xeptu View Post
The one I have never understood is Human Resources. What a waste of time and resources.
Commonly known as human waste.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 10:35
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I was a Chief Pilot for some five years and let me tell you it is not an easy position. You find yourself to be the meat in the sandwich between the commercial aspirations of the company and the line pilot community. If you do the job properly, you have to communicate upwards on why spending money on training and other necessities must be done even though they may see such things as restrictions to their ambitions and you have to communcate downwards to explain why certain changes may be necessary. I most certainly did not do the job for power or for glory and many times I thought I needed my head examining for sticking it above the parapet.

I saw one of my main functions to be the fostering and protection of the good professional standards of my pilots and the aviation community for which I was responsible. Mostly this meant (a) providing sufficient and correct support so that the line pilots had what they needed to do the job properly, (b) sometimes it meant fighting battles on their behalf and (c) sometimes (more rarely) correcting those who strayed from the straight and narrow. Naturally, it was the latter (c) which was most often noticed and complained about, the other two functions (a) and (b) merely passed most people by.

There are many Chief Pilots who do this thankless task with integrity despite the brickbats that are thrown at them.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:33
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I can honestly say that most of the CPs I have worked for have been good guys doing a difficult job.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 11:52
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As long as you have a "respect in the workplace training officer" , that will be all you need for a kinder company.
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