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FTO styles - too militaristic and conformist?

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FTO styles - too militaristic and conformist?

Old 29th Jun 2006, 10:19
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FTO styles - too militaristic and conformist?

Is it really true that OAT still has a small element of staff who treat the establishment like a training barracks? I thought this was more rumour than fact, are there any instances, episodes of this type of behaviour being exhibited.

I recall at SECOAT (South East College of Air Training) just before it closed in the 1990s of how they taught flight training but also an undercurrent of something else too. This "something else" or additional activity seemed to be unnecessary and got in the way of the student's focus and primary aim of learning. In fact they had some poor chap mopping the floor at the end of the day (quite large floor mind you so can't have been fun especially after a day's studying).

Why is this silly behaviour still present at places like OAT and some others? I doubt the argument that it helps to reinforce learning or that the discipline is required, then in that case why not go the whole hog and have parade ground activities and saluting too. Flight Safety in the States is just if not more professional and they don't need to adhere to such regimes, why is it so unique to the UK like hooliganism is to England football supporters.

Shouldn't the extra energy be directed towards more positive things like tutorial workshops or 'experience' in the hangars to get a 'feel' of what aircraft annatomy is all about?

Maybe this is nothing more than an inadvertent physiological exhibition of superiority on the poor unsuspecting student. One who must bear this brunt because of some self appointed attitude of status and importance by his/her instructional staff.

Then again if these people are so great then what on earth are they doing at a flying school? The brightest people go on to industry and help companies earn big bucks in fact those companies actively head hunt such personalities. I am increasingly of the opinion that those who end up at OAT (ex-services) are the ones that few others want. "The best always go to the front of the queue".
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 11:20
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I don't think that it is strictly limited to OAT per se. For some inexplicable reason this industry seems to attract people that can't help themselves than treat newbies with disdain even though it is these very students that enable them to earn a buck.

In my time I have met ex RAF navigators with chips on their shoulders and a deepset hatred of pilots in addition to ones that would give of their time without question to get you through the ATPL's. I have met 10,000 hour C-152 rated CFI's who think that the be all and end all of aviation is their crappy flying school operating out of a portacabin and will tell anyone who can be bothered listening how they chose not to go commercial even though they had airlies beating down their door but decided to concentrate on training. Yeah right! I have come across prats that insist on doing their PPL's in a captains uniform complete with epaulettes and the nice shiny black leather flight case. Best of all though is the brand spanking new PPL holder that started to offer flying tips to newbies and regaled stories of how it was all just so simple for him.
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 11:52
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Speaking as someone who was once an instructor in Jerez.

I observed that some students had an expectation and attitude that was in stark contrast to those held by many staff.

Many instructors had enjoyed a high quality grammar school education and/or a service career. Usually they were over the age of 40. Times have very much changed in the sphere of education and this shows.

Both a high quality education and a service career can be in a broad sense characterised as instilling discipline and decorum. From standing up when a teacher enters a room, to saluting, to polishing ones shoes. Due defference and respect for rank and experience is something (sadly, I think) lacking in many schools and young peoples lives today.

Instead there is a culture of consumerism, of rights, that all must have prizes and that no individual is better than any other. That nobody can shout at you and that the school fails you and not the other way around. That anybody purporting to be an authority figure is likely considered a bully.

So what you have is a clash of cultures between the life experience of the staff and that of the students.

Sure, its the 21st Century and yes you are not in boarding school or the armed services. So undoubtedly this should be borne in mind by the staff. But similarly the student should aspire to be something more than just a customer buying a service. You can learn a lot from some of those slightly crusty old sticklers with their curiously polished shoes and short back and sides. If nothing else I can assure you that a great many of the Captains and Training Captains in the airline you aspire to join are just like them. Better learn how to make them like you..

I went to a bog standard comprehensive and never got further with the military than the UAS system and the Air Cadets. Nevertheless I once had a student (self sponsored, Integrated) who crashed through the briefing room door, shirt un-ironed, 6 minutes late for his briefing with a piece of toast in hand. He was genuinely gob smacked to be told that I was unimpressed and had bumped his flight to the last slot of the day and given 'his' aircraft to another student. He took his indignation straight to the CFI and demanded better customer service. The CFI bumped him off flying for two days and never did recommend him to an airline after graduation.

Treat every day of training like its a job interview and you won't go far wrong.

Cheers,

WWW
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 14:45
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WWW: You raise some very valid points and as a grammar educated chappie myself I agree that we have a somewhat different type and standard of product from the educational system these days. I too am the butt of light hearted jokes about always being overdressed and shoes polished, etc simply because that's all I know and I would feel naked to wander around in new age t-shirt and shorts.

However we need to accept as you rightly pointed out that we're moving onwards and times have changed. There are nevertheless some characters who are still utlising old tools to get a modern job done and though it would have been somewhat impressive in years gone by we can now employ numerous up to date and more effective methods. Yet the flying world seems to scorn these methods of tution and insists on going the long way around just for the sake of it. Therefore we need to find a balance between preserving the best of the past whilst simultaneously updating it to fit into the modern age, a double edged sword.

The students need to take on additional learning outside the sphere of the aviation syllabus and develop their characters after all times may have changed but the laws of nature and science haven't, so beware! But if the educational system/society isn't hitting the mark then maybe these ex-services chaps need to realise this and instead of berating them they should think of them as another wet behind the years student that needs to have their character and confidence built. This can be acieved in parallel to the aviation training by means of support, guidance and of course a slap on the wrists from time to time to remind them where the 'edge of the envelope' is.

Students need to realise that like any other service you can easily jump up and down whilst demanding things but in order to effectively get things resolved you need to <b>work<\b> with the other party. It appears that the only thing askew here is the balancing point and how much each side is contributing at different points along their training. At present we have so called students demanding things and instructors desperately biting their tongue wishing they could tell those horrible students who and what they used to be in the services. These are two very polarised poitions and we need to move closer together and integrate more.
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 15:30
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WWW,
From standing up when a teacher enters a room, to saluting, to polishing ones shoes. Due defference and respect for rank and experience is something (sadly, I think) lacking in many schools and young peoples lives today.
Life is different now and the old ways are totally incompatible with modern demands, flattened hierarchies, extended and multiplied professional responsibilities. We can't have choice and expect people to feel personally responsible for their contribution in the professional workplace whilst retaining the parent-child/master-servent relationships with those above us. Likewise, the way we bring up children has to be aligned with this cultural shift. There is much pain in schools at the moment, but the next generation of teachers will be more in-tune with the new demands. From what I can gather, it is rightly the objective of CRM to remove these old parent-child relationships and install a highly interactive team, able to conduct an effective professional two way diaglog. Thankfully, the spate of accidents directly or indirectly attributed to +G-P/-G-P Captains 20 years ago is no more; that I think is the proof in the pudding.

Last edited by High Wing Drifter; 29th Jun 2006 at 17:12.
 
Old 29th Jun 2006, 16:20
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Hmm, I still think its appropriate for there to be a Me Teacher - You Student relationship where respect is shown on both sides rather than a Me Customer - You Seller relationship. I'm all for a relaxed and friendly training atmosphere which is almost certainly what OATS achieves.

Sadly the 'call me Steve' culture where extendable deadlines, loose punctuality and a lack of hierarchy results in some (only a few) students on Integrated courses being a bit shocked intially and hostile later.

It's ususally a time of high stress and your world does tend to shrink to the boundary fence of the campus. Thus small failings by the school or its instructors are greatly magnified.

I'd love to see how some of the worst moaners would cope on say RAF Basic Flying Training - they wouldn't know what hit them. Spending 70k and being treated like children or in an off-hand manner is a deep cultural shock. But it does happen, often and everywhere. Its just one of the unique and character building features of an Integrated style course of training.

Play the big man, smile and be nice and you'll find it all goes a lot easier.

Cheers

WWW
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 17:22
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Have to agree with WWW on this one.
I'm amazed at the number of students who can't apparently dress themselves properly for school each day. I'm sorry but if you can't iron a shirt or be bothered to wear a belt/polish shoes etc are you really cut out for a career where you will be expected to wear a uniform properly each working day. A previous employer of mine would instill the sense of corporate responsibility that came with wearing a uniform; we would be disciplined for not wearing items (e.g. caps whilst walking through the terminal) or looking shabby whilst acting as an ambassador of the airline in public. We are indeed in a changing world but that doesn't mean that you can't still have standards.

Is it me or have things really gone downhill since the adoption of JAR; like WWW says
Instead there is a culture of consumerism, of rights, that all must have prizes and that no individual is better than any other. That nobody can shout at you and that the school fails you and not the other way around. That anybody purporting to be an authority figure is likely considered a bully.
This is exactly how it is in flight training in the U.K. today. Pity really.
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 19:25
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Failed Airline Captain Speaking here

Apparently I last posted on 10th September 2005 ! Speaking as one of those failed Airline Captains who underpin the FTOs throughout the UK I can only say that I had the chance to jump straight into the left hand seat but circumstances intervened. ( I choose not to say what). I took up instructing but I suppose I was never cut out for those long boring legs in Airlines. To this day I have NO 1st Officer/co pilot time in my log book. So what does this all mean?. Be grateful somebody is manning the FTOs. In real terms I have taken a 25% cut in salary over the last 16 years. (Any airline pilot done the same?) I sometimes work 12 hour days - sometimes 6 days a week. Why do I do it? My wife thinks I am mad. I think she is right. Sometimes too tired to enjoy a night out - too tired to play golf. So when you choose your FTO -just think on the costs of training in UK - real estate costs greater than anywhere - fuel costs greater than anywhere - VAT on training cost (not so In the rest of Europe) - landing fees -not so in USA and a CAA talking in ever growing telephone numbers for test fees. So where has the cost of training gone? - not into my pocket.

I wish I was a Nigel flying through the skies,
Money in the bank never mind the bleeding piles,
Instead I am an Instructor bod,
With mortgage still to pay,
No BALPA to look after me,
I work 6 days a week............................................The rest is just as bad
40 yearflyer is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2006, 12:29
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boogey nicey is right in what he says- there is a definate militaristic strain running though half the lecturers there. It's unnecessary and childish.

I accept that for the military world then yes, you need to instill discipline through many other facets of the daily life- for that reason you live in barracks etc, but for a school which is 9-5 it is unnecessary. I could understand it more if you were a cadet chosen by an airline, but not if you are paying your own way.

The fact that you are wearing a uniform bears no reflection on your ability to fly an aeroplane, and the uniforms are so cheap and nasty- they look a state after just a few weeks- many of the integrated guys wear 'unofficial' clothing- does that imply they are not fit to work in an airline?

if we are going to wearing a uniform for the next thirty years then give us a break at this stage! I accept that even tube drivers (who spend a lot of time in the dark) have to wear a uniform, but there are plenty of schools out there in which you don't- these guys also get jobs flying planes. There is no correlation between wearing a uniform and ability to conform. If you don't wear a uniform to fly a plane it doesn't mean that you will suddenly ignore ATC and charge over the hold to take off quickly or something like that.

It's popular culture that degrades standards not consumerism and rights- I always thought rights were good things......Magna Carta...did she die in vain????
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 19:52
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Whatever you choose to do in life, whatever school you go to, etc., you will always wear a uniform. In schools without uniforms, certain fashionable clothes become the "uniform". Uniforms are just a part of life. I've had to wear a uniform all the way through school, and I think it's a good thing. Imagine having to get up every morning to decide what to wear, so that you'll look somewhat respectable to your peers. People who haven't got the money to spend on flash clothes (this should include pilots who have just spent 100k+ on training! ), benefit from this too. In my experience, wearing uniforms improves peoples performance and attitudes to work. "No-uniform days" in my school have often led to riots. Good times though! My school is not a "posh" school, far from it. But wearing uniforms adds a level of professionalism, at any institution. If you've paid 50K - 100k+, to train at any FTO, shouldn't you feel proud to be there training to be a professional pilot? You should consider yourself as a professional student.................
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 20:47
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well no school uniform in France- doesn't seem to have done them much harm- I know who's beef i would rather eat!! There is a history of deference in this country of course.....
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 21:31
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Captwannabe,
I have no dress standard and the people I work with have no dress standard - yet they constitute some of the UK's top experts in their field. Uniforms are not part of life, they are part of culture. In the corporate culture dress standard is there to demand unformity. That is, to aid in the selection of employees who show their willingness to conform, to adhere to company ethos (creed or colours), to accept your place in a hierarchy or to say "yes" to their superior's wishes.

As I understand, CRM emphasises the need to speak up, regardless of your position in the pecking order. Bearing that in mind, who would you prefer for a second opinion? The pristine cut suit conformist, emulating the captain's mannerisms, afraid to think outside of the box? Or the slightly eccentric but considered candidate with an alternative solution to your own?

In my mind neither should have the edge. Judging the candidate by their ability to tie a half windsor, polish their shoes to a pristine shine, or cross their t's on a document might very well eliminate the best pilot - some of the best in every profession weren't the naturals. In fact, the whole stigma of dress standard sounds disturbingly similar to the justifications used for keeping women out of the flight deck.

Last edited by Dave Martin; 30th Jun 2006 at 21:41.
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 21:37
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I think we're suffering from a totally consumer based society these days.

You only have to look at the youth growing up today, that expect to somehow be on the same level as people ten, twenty years older than them. Its a society that says 'I'm right and I don't care what anyone else thinks'. It leads to kids that don't respect their parents and teachers, leads to crazy things such as happy slapping where kids think they are just above everything else and can do what they want.

I don't wish to label everyone to that degree, but its still there in other people, just to a lesser degree. It comes out as 'I want it, so I can have it' leading to a country that is ever more in debt. Its shown in the simple lack of respect of other people and complete lack of humility in any situation, because I'm number one and everyone should accept that.

Its a product of a consumeristic, capitalistic society and to be honest it makes me sick to see the attitudes of people these days.
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 21:45
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Dave Martin is absolutely spot on, but the post on consumerism and choice leading to a collapse of society- these arguments have been put forward for decades- even centuries! The next generation will be arguing exactly the same point when we are gone! TO focus on the problem as capitalism is a more astute observation however.
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 09:08
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Dave Martin,

Uniforms are a part of our culture, and therefore are a part of our life. When at work, you are representing your airline/company/sports team/etc., and I think you dress accordingly. You don't see footballers dressed in jeans and t-shirt when they are representing their club. They wear their kit/suits/clubs products.

Wearing a uniform does not detract from ones ability to speak up. That's the biggest load of cr*p I've heard. Wearing a uniform does not make you a conformist, but what's wrong in taking pride in your appearance when representing yourself and your company.

I doubt that airlines judge their candidates by apearance alone! If they did, they'd be hiring models. I disagree with the argument that women could be kept out of the cockpit based solely on their dress standard, maybe in the past there was a prejudice, but things change.
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 10:01
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At a recent MPL meeting, recruiters for the major airlines commented that applicants may have all the qualifications - and even a type rating - but the harsh fact is that around 50% of fATPL holders are considered to be totally unemployable. Because they are simply NOT the type of people the airlines would ever wish to employ.

This view is shared by several folk high up in the CAA. Indeed one only has to sit at the door of the Belgrano on an exam day watching the candidates as they come in to know who the future unemployable are....

Just because someone is paying £70K + for flight training, that does not absolve them from doing as they are told. There are certain personal standards to which you must aspire if you wish to succeed - and that probably includes polishing your shoes and respecting your seniors.

Some applications for sponsorship are, frankly, quite unbelievable. It seems that someone urgently needs to tell ignorant modern digi-yoof that spelling, grammar and punctuation are still necessary in 2006. As is legible handwriting. Txt msg prose and spellcheckers are wholly insufficient!
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 10:09
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captwannabe,
I disagree with the argument that women could be kept out of the cockpit based solely on their dress standard,...
I know what you are saying, but Freud would have had a field day with that wording

Beagle,
This view is shared by several folk high up in the CAA. Indeed one only has to sit at the door of the Belgrano on an exam day watching the candidates as they come in to know who the future unemployable are....
It simply is not possible to assertain somebody's suitability for a job just because, at a glance, you personally find them incompatible with your personal values. An example of if the face fits, clique brigade. Aviation is a business, not a Golf Club. Employers in commerce have woken up to the idea that the people who help them make the most money, are not necessarily the people they would have over for afternoon tea.
Just because someone is paying £70K + for flight training, that does not absolve them from doing as they are told.
Don't believe that a dislike of the "put up and shut up" mentality means it should be a free for all! Of course you should be minded to do as you are told, just that if what you are being told to do is not in the best intersts of the business you represent you should be expected to query, provide alternatives and ultimately refuse if there is a good reason. I suspect that reality is, that if that culture is encouraged, then it hardly ever leads to refusal because stupid/selfish orders are not issued in such an environment.

Last edited by High Wing Drifter; 1st Jul 2006 at 10:22.
 
Old 1st Jul 2006, 18:26
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HWD,

Yes, I've just realised how I worded it! But you get my point......... There are equal oportunities now.
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Old 2nd Jul 2006, 12:54
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BEagle,

This isn't a new thing though. I have scores of CVs coming across my desk in a typical week, from applicants still completing PhD's to Professors nearing retirement age. The presentation standards don't seem to correlate to year of birth or expertise, rather, they just seem to correlate to a personality type.

It can be frustrating as their presentation of work often emulates the sloppy CV standard, but the actual quality of work again seems unrelated to the presentation.

I agree that a certain degree of decorum in public is required, especially when representing an employer. At the same time though, the judgement that one persons smarter haircut constitutes a better work ethic, a tie indicates professionalism, or a suit ahead of smart-casual shows greater committment are in my opinion counter productive and quite possibly over-opinionated judgement calls.
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Old 2nd Jul 2006, 13:17
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Captwannabe,

I think you miss my points.

No one questions the requirement that you follow company guidelines and present yourself to a high standard when on the job - a footballer would not turn up on the field wearing an opponents strip. When in the public eye, whether at school or in work most employers demand certain standards. But does turning up to an exam require this? Is arriving at Gatwick for your Class-1 in a suit really necessary? Once my suit has been worn on a train in the morning it already looks worse than my tidy casual dress does.

Why, in a bank for example, is a back office worker required to wear a tie at all times (or only allowed to remove it when the floor manager removes theirs), while in a media related company casual dress is entirely satisfactory? There would be no difference in professionalism between the two. The only explaination I can find is a needlessly conservative mindset - "We have always worn ties. I wear a tie. The boss wears a tie. If you take your tie off you aren't part of the team".

That to me is utter tosh but quite representative of a "don't speak out" mindset which I would have expected to be on the way out in aviation. If you are going to claim a specific standard of dress is required to make a good pilot, it should also be accepted that the same standard of dress may equally well mark a bad pilot.

As an aside, at an IT firm I used to work for I couldn't even enter the building in the morning having cycled in (and wearing casual clothes). I had to get changed at the back entrance and then enter the building from the front wearing a suit. It's an extreme example but probably not an isolated one and just shows how counter productive the presentation ethos can be.

My example of women was that once upon a time all kinds of excuses were used to keep women out of technical jobs - they don't have the right mentality, aren't mentally tough, empathatic rather than aggressive, always thinking about children, you name it. The judgement that someone of slightly sloppy appearence should also be kept out of an airline job seems very similar.

P.S. this rant is written by an anally-retentive, obsessive cleaner, ironer and tidier - I can't believe I am arguing in support of people who are the bane of my existence!
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