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Industry Standards?? Any below standard Airline Pilots out there?

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Industry Standards?? Any below standard Airline Pilots out there?

Old 21st Jun 2009, 10:16
  #21 (permalink)  
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The fact that two airlines flying exactly the same aircraft, on the same routes, but have completely different command training standards is of interest I think.

Come to think of it, one of these airlines reguarly 'relaxes' its selection standards (no need for HSC or psychometrics ect) to allow 'mates' who are returning from contract work overseas.
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 11:01
  #22 (permalink)  
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Heard at a recent workshop that 200,000 people die in the USA due to human error by medical staff
Yep have seen a similar stat. So where is their check system?
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 11:21
  #23 (permalink)  
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Mstr Caution,

I believe IOSA was the reason we don't allow S/O's to fly below transition.

This was a draconian change which will have long term ramifications on their skill levels, ability to manage a departure or approach and reduces engagement and job satisfaction.

Further IOSA requirements are overly perscriptive and written with the worst operators in mind resulting in dumbing down the average line pilot. I know I have definatly lost flexability and depth in my operations while operating under IOSA conditions - it sets the bar too low and reduces our skills whilst costing our employer direct dollars in increased fuel burn as we and future (S/O) pilots have to drag the aircraft around an approach.

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Old 21st Jun 2009, 11:54
  #24 (permalink)  
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I've been lucky enough to work for major carriers as well as charter companies. It has been my experience that the lower cost operators have less money available for any extended training so on a command upgrade, for example, there is likely to be less chance of a couple of extra SIM sessions or a few extra sectors, more likely, "sorry chum, have another go in six/twelve months" by which time it is hoped they are fully prepared.
The majors may have a few extra dollars and be prepared to extend the training.

The training I have received from lower costs charter companies has been equal to the majors.
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 12:05
  #25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Mr. Hat
Heard at a recent workshop that 200,000 people die in the USA due to human error by medical staff

Yep have seen a similar stat. So where is their check system?
Yeah but remember this:

1) When it comes to medicine, statistics are very subjective.

2) When it fails, the medical system kills one at a time, which is barely newsworthy. The aviation system kills hundreds at a time, which makes headlines and provides a huge pressure for change and assignment of blame.

3) Again from insider knowledge, there is pressure developing in medicine for a system which will weed out the rogues, but it is not as easy to dream up one which will be consistent and reliable as you might think. Eg, there are no accurate "body simulators" for surgery. So what do you do? Slash the artery on a real patient to see how the doctor reacts and performs?
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 13:08
  #26 (permalink)  
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I believe IOSA was the reason we don't allow S/O's to fly below transition.
MS - And the reason IOSA doesn't allow seat swaps below transition is the simple fact that on rare intervals "cock-ups" ocurred. Even in the "best" of the airlines.

The result of the change was an unfortunate reduction to Second Officer exposure to this phase of flight.

Ask any passenger if they would feel comfortable with the tech crew playing musical chairs at low altitude. I expect the answer would probably be no.

Safety comes at an expense. Whether it's monetary or employee engagement - it costs.

Last edited by Mstr Caution; 21st Jun 2009 at 13:54.
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 20:37
  #27 (permalink)  
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Unfortunately with the money on offer today, the more talented person that would have considered a career as a pilot won't. As an example, if Jetstar NZ are paying the equivalent of $54,000 AUD with no super and the requirement to fund an A320 endorsement at a cost of $37,000 AUD, why would you? A blue collar unskilled labourer earns more than that.
My concern is that if not enough talented people are attracted to the industry, it would be reasonable for one to assume that safety standards will go down.
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 23:23
  #28 (permalink)  
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How are you assessing who is a talented person?

Highest marks at school or uni?
From my perspective the people who see them selves as better than the rest, due to having a degree or similar are not necessarily the most talented. Infact quite often the opposite.

That logic would suggest that all the best pilots are recently employed QF pilots.
It wasn't that manny years ago an HSC was not a QF requirement. was it?
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 00:10
  #29 (permalink)  
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I should know better. Feedback: not medicine's strength. I suspect there might be some malpractice stats out there some where that will finish that debate off pretty quickly. Probably a good place to start for the medical fraternity would be confirming that people actually have the qualifications in the first place. (Step 1)

Z-Force - basically in the end the only people that will be attracted to the profession are the enthusiasts. Others that would have considered it will look at the figures and say - "no thanks". Had a mate from highschool do exactly that. He went into IT. Two years into it he was into a six figure salary. This guy was the exact person you are talking about - very bright and too bright to be sucked into the aviation game.

I still can't see the standards lowering however because at the end of the day it is the chack captain that is putting his/her neck on the line.

Last edited by Mr. Hat; 22nd Jun 2009 at 00:26.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 00:25
  #30 (permalink)  
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Generally pilots are conscientious individuals who endeavour to do the best with what they have. Unfortunately this allows management types to cut training budgets to the quick secure in the knowledge that the training department will 'pick up the slack.' I think suggesting that some airlines have 'worse' training or checking standard than others is seriously subjective and almost impossible to judge. Slightly disingenuous but possibly another example of where self regulation within the airline industry is failing.

Perhaps our journalist friend should write an article contrasting the banking crash and self regulation with the drive towards the airline industry regulating its own safety oversight. The failings in this area will have ramifications almost as dramatic as those affecting the banks but with more human casualties.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 03:29
  #31 (permalink)  
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Everyone seems to accept that the volumes of regulations, SOP's, qualifications, licences etc and our regulator are meaningless nonsense, and each airline sets it's own standards as it sees fit.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 05:53
  #32 (permalink)  
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Everyone is ducking the question by pointing their collective fingers at other industries. Finding another industry that allegedly kills people through intent or neglect in the name of commercial gain is easy.

I am specifically focusing on Jet Airline Pilots within the Australian Airline Industry.

The supposed Gold Standard bearer's of safety behaviours.

Again I ask, 'Are the standards applied to today's Jet Airline Pilots still the same standards applied fifteen years ago or has cost cutting, the increased Jet Airline Pilot numbers required and reduced conditions resulted in the standard to be relaxed?'

The question is only comparative within the Airline Industry over a fifteen year time period, not with the world at large.

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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 06:19
  #33 (permalink)  
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Not getting the answer you want? Tell you what. You find an objective way of measuring the difference over the last 15 years, then we might get somewhere. Here's one measure. Over the last 15 years, how much increase in jet traffic, hours flown, numbers of flights has there been? How many secondary airports are served by what were once mainline jet aircraft? How much has a/c design and operation changed? How many jet hull losses have there been? 0. Given the bigger numbers, but no losses, one COULD argue that the answer is standards are no worse. But since that's not the answer you seek......
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 07:40
  #34 (permalink)  
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Like many industries, pilot selection standards vary according to supply and demand. Two years ago it was easy to get an airline job. Depending on where the cycle was 15 years ago, it may not have been so easy. Right now it's almost impossible to get a job here in Australia because there ARE no jobs.
Respondents here are not ducking the question. Plenty have admitted that individual standards among pilots vary as in any other trade or profession. Some agree that low cost carriers don't spend as much money on training. Some agree that old mates may bypass the usual screening process. The old boy network has flourished since airlines were invented; so it is not confined to the LCCs.
Do jet pilots have the stick and rudder skills that they had 25 years ago? Probably not. In fact from what I have seen in recent years - both in the air and in the simulator - with a few exceptions, definitely not. But instrument flying utilising all the latest gizmos? Today, almost certainly most are better. Weather appreciation? Today's pilots may not be too hot with a synoptic decode and may not be able to visualise the wind without the FMS, but they seem to be a lot more wary of thunderstorms than the old crusties were. Education has done it. A good thing, yes?
So....are pilots, on average, any better or worse than they were 15 or 25 or 50 years ago? How do you quantify that? Bums moved per fatals? On that basis alone, one would have to say that they are way better today. But how much of the improved safety is because of advances in technology? How much due to better education in threat and error management and safety systems?
So, whatever it is you are fishing for, you won't get a definitive answer here. I do not know of any scientific study of pilot standards that will give you the answer either.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 10:56
  #35 (permalink)  
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Let me have a go

Mr Mattingly, I know you have asked for specifically in the last 15 years, but i've been flying for 12 so I figure that's close enough.

During those 12 years of flying, my first 2 years where sole VFR. I completed my MECIR in my third year and conducted yearly renewals for the following 4 years. The last 5 years (a little more actually) have been in various turbines (two crew) and jet aircraft whilst conducting renewals and base checks twice yearly.

During all these checks, the checking pilot/captain, used the CASA test form as a base for the measurment of the pilots skill. This form in my 12 years HAS NOT CHANGED IN THE REQUIRED STANDARD TO BE MET. ie; tolerance has always been 200'alt, airspeed 5 kts, heading 5 degrees ect ect ect.

Now I know what you are going to say and I agree. Tolerance may be plus or minus 200' alt, but standard is plus or minus ZERO.

But I seriously doubt if an applicants standard is outside of the required tolerance, any check captain would issue a pass (and I have actually seen a jet check captain walk out and refuse to conduct a check to line flight)
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 14:46
  #36 (permalink)  
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The advent of the LCC has probably made no difference to the percentages of the good, the bad and the ugly
Nowadays a good percentage of pilots joining airlines have to pay for their type rating. Could be anything up to $37000 and that is a huge loan from the bank that has to be repaid. This is now a common policy both in Europe and USA.

There are agents to whom you pay big dollars to get you a temporary first officer job in an airline where the airline has an Agreement with an agency to accept brand new type rated pilots who have got only the minimum of paper qualifications. Thus you see first officers flying aircraft like the 737 or Airbus with under 500 hours total time. By any standards this is very low experience. Most of the time it works out OK although the workload on the captain caught with these low hour pilots can be strenuous.

There may be a tendency for check pilots to accept a lower standard of piloting skill with these "trainee" airline first officers because of real sympathy for the financial sacrifices these young pilots have made to get their dream job. A sort of "there but for the grace of God, go I" feeling.

The check pilots are happy to insist on high standards from the more experienced pilots they fly with. But there is little doubt the same check pilots are tempted to go easy on the fresh face new CPL with a bare type rating and 250 hours plus. It may also be a commercial consideration with cost savings from employing low hour pilots who may be on a miserable pittance while they rack up their six months or 300 hours before the Agreement runs out and they are told bye bye.

The cut-off line between scrubbing the new pilot during type rating training or even line training and thus busting someone's career - or closing one's eyes to the marginal pilots with low experience, is sometimes blurred - with kindly check pilots allowing a sympathetic nature to sometimes overrule a wise decision in the long run. Yes...it is possible some check pilots occasionally might accept lower standards than they would otherwise like.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 00:23
  #37 (permalink)  
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Agree with Crew Rest

It's obvious that Mr M (and his fibonacci brother) are journos on a fishing trip. IMHO, he/she has already drafted out their article and wants to fill in some gaps.

What I find more amusing is that any credible journo (if that's not an oxymoron) is going to write his/her article and support it with arguments/statements from an ANONYMOUS website.

So tell us Mr M, when you write this article, are you going to give A37575 credit (your only support so far)?

Or how about this disclaimer:

I've supported some of this article using comments from A37575. A37575 is an anonymous poster on the PPRuNe website, and claims to have had many years experience in airlines around the world. Of course, being an anonymous poster on a website, A37575 could well be an 18 year old kid who has MS flight sim and reads a lot. I didn't ask, so we'll never know

P.S. This isn't a go at A37575, btw.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 00:56
  #38 (permalink)  
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Whilst C&T standards have NOT deteriorated over the years, other factors that contribute to safety have!
Things like:
No crew rest facilities on certain LCC airplanes.
Minimum wages slipping below the poverty line, meaning that pilots may have to take a second job to cover living expenses, or work on their days off for the airline.
Minimum turnaround times, with less support meaning the flight crew have more work to do, in less time, then get harangued as to why they ran late.
Terms and conditions eroded to a point where in flight meals have to be provided by the employee, else they go hungry, and hence be less alert in case of emergency.
Powers of the PIC being eroded to a point where the passenger has ALL the rights, and the airline none! this means that passengers are no longer "encouraged" to behave properly on flights.
CASA stepping away from SAFETY functions... like mandating proper fatigue management, or enforcing maximum work times.

All these things are more so to blame for factors which erode air safety, than C&T facilities.
Why not concentrate on these things?

Why not do an expose on how conditions have changed? on how much more fatigued todays pilots are? On how loopholes in the system allow operators to get away with more and more at the pilots expense,thus reducing safety?
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 10:13
  #39 (permalink)  
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Thank You

Thanks everyone for your input.

I have started another thread in the airline section to further my knowledge of the industry.

As the Gold Standard of Safety Behaviours, Airline Pilots have a lot to live up to and the rest of the world have a lot to learn.

Thanks Again,

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Old 24th Jun 2009, 05:44
  #40 (permalink)  
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In the 1980s, QF command upgrade occured at ~18 years in the compay. At the domestics (Ansett and TAA) it was around 10-14 years. Some of these people needed more training but anecdotally, the failure rate was pretty low
Another point of view is that the long wait for a command in some of the long established carriers (PANAM, for example, as well as the Australian carriers mentioned), was because simply there were no command vacancies. Pilots were on huge salaries and very few left earlier than compulsory age 60 or less, retirement. So, no movement in the ranks meant no upgrades.

It certainly didn't ensure better pilots despite greater exposure. In fact the morale among the long term copilots was never that good. Like Peter Costello waiting for John Howard to get another job.

Also, the pilots' unions protected those incompetents who were unable to make the upgrade and thus we saw the "professional" first officer who built up unassailable seniority because he could bid not to work that month.

The relatively high failure rate for upgrade in certain airlines may be due to lack of flight derck management and flying skills. But there is little doubt it can equally be traced to the different checking styles of check captains rather than the incompetency of the candidate.

Some check pilots should never be in the job. Ever wondered why the airlines don't require their check pilots to undergo psychological checks for suitability to be a check pilot? Answer: They wouldn't pass the tests
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