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Cathay Cadets Stopped From Flying Solo

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Cathay Cadets Stopped From Flying Solo

Old 6th Jun 2024, 06:26
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Cathay Cadets Stopped From Flying Solo

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...rious-blunders


A US training centre for Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways has halted solo flights for cadet pilots after an “alarming” rise in serious blunders in which students were involved in a wingtip collision, a bounced landing and an erroneous exit from a runway.In an email obtained by the Post earlier and confirmed by Cathay Pacific on Thursday, AeroGuard Flight Training Centre vice-president and head of training Jay Meade told cadets he had been forced to ground the flights pending an investigation after three mishaps in as many weeks.

Meade said the incidents – a wingtip collision with a fixed object, a bounced landing leading to substantial impact on the aircraft propellor and a complete runway excursion – were serious. The latter refers to a plane inappropriately departing from a runway during take-off or landing.
“AeroGuard has seen an alarming increase in solo incidents during cadet training. In three separate incidents over the past three weeks we have discovered damage to AeroGuard aircraft that has occurred at cross-country destination airports,” he wrote.

Cathay told the Post that it acknowledged the events as reported by AeroGuard at the facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

We are taking them seriously,” the airline said.

Meade noted in the email that in each instance the pilot in command had elected to continue with their mission, but said they should have consulted their duty flight instructor before proceeding.

“In each case the concern was the same – required consultation did not occur before the return flight. In each case students placed themselves in potential danger,” he said.

“In two of the three instances the students failed to properly report the damage upon return to Deer Valley airport, even after ramp in. Two of these instances have occurred in the past five days.”




Meade said the decision to ground the solo flights was unrelated to the aircraft sustaining damage.

“This decision is necessary because students are unable, or are unwilling, to communicate via the numerous outlets that have been provided,” he said.



He added that “students are not meeting expectations regarding training, guidance and direction; as related to the application of proper aeronautical decision making.”

Meade said AeroGuard management and staff, in collaboration with Cathay, would be coordinating a remedial response that would ensure the training centre’s safety management system reporting requirements were met, and that students were fully supported while on solo missions.

He added that dual flight training missions, simulator missions and academic classes would continue as scheduled.



The AeroGuard Flight Training Centre, one of the largest global flight training academies in the US, signed a long-term agreement with Cathay in December 2022 as part of the airline’s plans to train several hundred new pilots per year at the Arizona location.

The centre, which has over 20 years’ experience training more than 7,000 pilots from around the world, said it would support Cathay in its efforts to prepare for a global recovery of airline travel following the pandemic.

It has worked with Cathay on two training programmes – one for those joining the airline with no prior flight experience and another for pilots looking to convert their licences to the Hong Kong standard.



“It’s important to note that these training courses are conducted under the control of licensed training organisations and are subject to regulatory oversight by the local aviation authorities,” Cathay said.

“At Cathay Pacific, safety guides every decision we make. We fully support the decision of the training school regarding the reported incidents, and we are maintaining close contact with them to follow up on the ongoing investigation.”

The airline added: “We will continue to prioritise the safety and well-being of our cadet pilots and crew members, and we remain dedicated to upholding the highest standards in our training programmes.”

According to the centre, Cathay planned to train more than 1,000 cadet pilots by 2025, increasing capacity yearly to meet the growing travel demand expected to pass through the Asian aviation hub.

In December last year, the first batch of 21 Cathay cadet pilots graduated from its integrated programme jointly conducted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the AeroGuard centre.

Cathay has pushed back its target of restoring pre-pandemic capacity to early 2025 from the last quarter of this year after a large number of flight cancellations. The company cancelled 786 flights between last December and February – more than 4 per cent of the total.

The airline needs another 500 pilots this year to meet its stated target for next year. The new hires will increase the number of pilots to 3,400, still 400 fewer than in early 2020.



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Old 6th Jun 2024, 13:18
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A airline with a long history of hating its pilots institutes a policy to recruit only novices and not hire any experienced, vetted and high quality pilots…all in an effort to save money. What could go wrong?

Oh, and safety is their number one priority.
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Old 6th Jun 2024, 18:01
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Originally Posted by raven11
A airline with a long history of hating its pilots institutes a policy to recruit only novices and not hire any experienced, vetted and high quality pilots…all in an effort to save money. What could go wrong?

Oh, and safety is their number one priority.
Don’t be silly. This is the ‘top talent’ that CK promised they could attract.

seems to be working well. Good luck to all the skippers.
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Old 6th Jun 2024, 18:46
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Originally Posted by Dingleberry Handpump
Don’t be silly. This is the ‘top talent’ that CK promised they could attract.

seems to be working well. Good luck to all the skippers.
Wait till Single pilot ops kick in.
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Old 6th Jun 2024, 19:21
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We can all be cynical…these are student pilots like we’ve all been.
Exiting on the incorrect taxiway is not exactly an earth shattering event.
I’m assuming these are C172’s? Yeah the nose wheel doesn’t particularly hold up well in PIO’s.
I think the other choice is the PA-28 Archer in which case it’s probably heat stroke
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Old 6th Jun 2024, 20:37
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Originally Posted by B2N2
We can all be cynical…these are student pilots like we’ve all been.
Exiting on the incorrect taxiway is not exactly an earth shattering event.
I’m assuming these are C172’s? Yeah the nose wheel doesn’t particularly hold up well in PIO’s.
I think the other choice is the PA-28 Archer in which case it’s probably heat stroke
The issue isn't the whoopsie in the first place it is the fact that the PIC then flew the aircraft home knowing they had damaged it, chocked it up and went home saying nothing about it.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 00:10
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Originally Posted by AviatorPac
The issue isn't the whoopsie in the first place it is the fact that the PIC then flew the aircraft home knowing they had damaged it, chocked it up and went home saying nothing about it.
Thats not unique either, I’ve seen that three times in my days as flight instructor.
One time builder dinged the prop on a C172 both blades and flew it back.
One unknown, we just discovered one blade tip damaged on a C152 one day and one student on a solo who got into POI did a go-around and flew home with a dinged prop on a C172.
Oopsies and WWJD occur during training, almost inevitable.
But yeah a safety stand down is necessary sometimes.

Last edited by B2N2; 7th Jun 2024 at 00:25.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 02:22
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Originally Posted by B2N2
Thats not unique either, I’ve seen that three times in my days as flight instructor.
That somewhat misses the point. These trainees were "selected" as potential airline pilots. The airline concerned has a very clear safety policy that says "punitive action will not be taken against individuals for unpremeditated or inadvertent errors", the aim being to learn from those mistakes to help prevent future similar events. However, the same policy says "it must be understood by all that reckless behaviour and deliberate violations of Company standards and procedures, including deliberate failure to report, will never be tolerated." The optics alone would dictate the airline can't just brush these incidents aside because they were trainees.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 03:20
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I understand that one cadet was chopped recently for making a selfie-video of his first solo, and posting it on Instagram.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 03:33
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Devil's advocate: maybe this is actually a sign of a working safety culture. Maybe other flight schools in India, U.A.E., China etc have the same issues but don't act, press does not report.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 04:09
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Logic tells you, when you go easy on hiring due to rapid expansion, the end result is, "students are not meeting expectation regarding training, guidance and direction...." Looks like AeroGuard is doing CX Talent Acquisition's job. Maybe they should have everyone reassessed before putting them up there again? Just saying.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 04:32
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Brilliant. Just Brilliant. Not only the quality of cathay cadets is in serious question, really it looks like the question is answered. But also the quality of the training outfit involved. Signing off someone to solo is a serious responsibility. Who signs off students who subsequently do as mentioned??? Is the lack of judgment in signing off that widespread at this organization that this many incidents happen in the first place?

Bravo cathay, bravo. Choosing quality applicants AND quality training provider.

You get what you pay for. Always.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 05:32
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CX had been running these programs for decades, this is the first where the company has been identified for lacking a safety culture. It’s so bad that it extends across the whole cohort of cadets.

The safety culture needs to be instilled from the start, but this mindset is now a result of the mainland recruitment drive. A culture that has formed over thousands of years that today still poses issues behind the Great Wall. Losing face in HK was manageable, but losing face as mainlander is inexcusable…

Well done CX, now you shall reap.

Last edited by KABOY; 7th Jun 2024 at 12:36.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 05:57
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Americans are known to be noisy, honest and straight to the point, so when they see something that isn't right, of course they will speak up and make sure their voice, or compliant in this case, are heard, no surprised that the introverted local Chinese mentality did not meet their expectation. CX should have sticked with CTC Wings imho!
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 06:45
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The Peoples Department clearly has failed to select in some cases the right candidates. The Cadets involved should be sacked. CAD should review CX selection and training. We are an accident waiting to happen, the Swiss cheese stinks.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 07:02
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Absolutely. The subsequent investigation will clearly point at the HR aspect of this.

Well done to the esteemed DFO and GMA! They’ve really outdone themselves. To think that they could’ve retained such a well-trained and skilled workforce by literally doing nothing, yet here we are.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 09:44
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Originally Posted by B2N2
We can all be cynical…these are student pilots like we’ve all been.
Exiting on the incorrect taxiway is not exactly an earth shattering event.
I’m assuming these are C172’s? Yeah the nose wheel doesn’t particularly hold up well in PIO’s.
I think the other choice is the PA-28 Archer in which case it’s probably heat stroke
I think for a school this size these events would be seen fairly regularly, not because the people are necessarily bad, just the pure volume of training they are doing, the number of events per 1000 hrs would be on par with other schools. I would not be surprised if this school does 30-40000 hrs of training a year.

Student pilots are students for a reason. prop strikes from wheelbarrow landings, putting the wrong rudder input in on a go-around/touch and go are common with inexperienced pilots, Seen it plenary of times where students have hit hangers and fences when ground maneuvering for fuel. More events happen at night than during the day.

The real point as expressed in the email is the aeronautical decision making and lack of reporting. students will make mistakes when learning, they should be taught to take ownership of errors and report it. Reporting should not be punitive, otherwise events will be covered up.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 14:47
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Originally Posted by swh
I think for a school this size these events would be seen fairly regularly, not because the people are necessarily bad, just the pure volume of training they are doing, the number of events per 1000 hrs would be on par with other schools. I would not be surprised if this school does 30-40000 hrs of training a year.

Student pilots are students for a reason. prop strikes from wheelbarrow landings, putting the wrong rudder input in on a go-around/touch and go are common with inexperienced pilots, Seen it plenary of times where students have hit hangers and fences when ground maneuvering for fuel. More events happen at night than during the day.

The real point as expressed in the email is the aeronautical decision making and lack of reporting. students will make mistakes when learning, they should be taught to take ownership of errors and report it. Reporting should not be punitive, otherwise events will be covered up.
But, these things just didn’t happen more than once in a blue moon for CX cadets previously.

I know someone involved over at AG and he said the standard is utterly shocking. He’s been involved in many large Asian airline training programmes for many years over there and is confident that this is the worst he’s seen. Which is alarming/predictable.

Reap what you deserve. My family won’t be going anywhere near a CX jet, that’s for damn certain.
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 19:20
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If they are banned from flying solo how will they accrue the Pilot in Command hours required for a CPL?
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Old 7th Jun 2024, 19:51
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I fly from the airport where Aeroguard is training these student and I share the sky with them nearly every time I fly. I have often been taking off or landing with one or more "student solo" pilots in the air in the school's PA-28 aircraft. The volume of student traffic makes me avoid the peak training hours but not a fear of sharing the sky with them because they are all unsafe.

I don't know what the circumstances were for the recent runway departure but we are at the time of year when very strong thermals can be on the runway. These have caused problems for pilots with a lot more experience than early solo students.

The training accident that really got me upset was a pilot being cleared for a student cross country when it was IFR. The instructor can't have even looked out of the window. That student didn't get more than 5 miles from the airport before they died. I think they were TransPac at that time. The name seems to change after a serious accident but there have only been 3 names in the last 25 or so years (PanAm, TransPac, and Aeroguard). Same place, same aircraft, different names.

A potential problem with all these part 141 schools is that they tend to make instructors out of recent graduates. They usually have no experience except what they learned at that school.

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