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FTO Uniforms

Old 12th Oct 2007, 20:52
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Ireland
Posts: 627
In my opinion, it's a throwback to when airlines sponsored students at the likes of OAT etc. Which in itself probably relates to the naval tradition and the merchant marine, which is where aviation took it's cues from in the early days. The excuse that the wearing of a uniform encourages a sense of professionalism etc is total beeolucks. If you need a uniform for that you are screwed from the start.

The reality is that it's all about corporate identity and is a public relations exercise for potential customers. Almost all flight schools have some sort of uniform for their instructors. Quite rightly, it does give an air of professionalism. Uniforms are OK, most companies that deal with public, shops, bars, restaurants have a uniform of sorts. None of them expect their customers to dress in a uniform.

So why do flight schools? I think it's just a bit of a tradition, a tradition that needs to pass into history. As for issuing bars and stars and wings and things, well pulleezze.
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Old 12th Oct 2007, 21:49
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Leeds
Posts: 33
I agree - uniform and flying skill / ability are two totally separate things.

Uniform is for corporate identity / tradition and professionalism and can't ever be linked to flying ability.

As you quite rightly said - if you need a uniform to fly then quite right - you're stuffed!
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Old 12th Oct 2007, 22:33
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
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I suppose recruiters and management from the likes of FlyBE, Thomson Fly, Thomas Cook, XL, NetJets, British Airways, EasyJet, etc. would be so impressed by an FTO full of individuals wearing whatever they like that they would gladly take their sponsoring/mentoring/tagging schemes to such FTOs. NOT!

I suspect their choice of where to run their programmes might have something not only to do with the quality of training, the professionalism of the FTO's staff and management, as well as it's facilities, but also the decorum and professionalism of it's current students. The best way for them to tell what they will get if they choose an FTO for a cadet programme is to look at who is already training there.

This argument won't be persausive to the naysayers here, as they've already got theirs, but it is one of a few legitimate reasons an FTO might require uniforms. Airline recruiters walk the halls of the schools being slagged here with some frequency, so whether you have a choice what to wear or not, make sure it is smart, as you never know who you will bump into or how good their memory will be at a later interview if they see you looking less than professional around your FTO now.
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 11:38
  #44 (permalink)  
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I wonder what banks, NHS, law firms etc make of the thousands of their future employee's in all sorts of states in universities across the country. In my opinion people really do read too much into the uniform=professional=better future employee debate.
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 12:10
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 6
Flight Training Europe

Just to let you know what they give you over at Flight Training Europe:

5 very basic white short sleave pilot shirts
2 pairs of itchy navy trousers
Navy jumper
Black tie (now with logo I think)
Nice navy blue jacket with FTE logo
Blue cap with logo

Nothing until first solo thena blank black epaulette patch, CPL 1 gold bar and IR two gold bars.

By the way, integrated IS better than modular, unless I suppose you do a one stop modular and save enough money to splash out on something like a Ryanair type rating!
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 13:41
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Hill Street Blues
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dhps, thankyou soooooooooooo much for being so insightful at your age, now son go and play with you tonka's
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 14:14
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Salford Lads Club
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So there!

"Integrated IS better than modular...."

At the risk of not wanting to take this thread the wrong way, whatever happened to opinions, choices for individuals depending on circumstances etc etc...

I'm afraid your post does smack of immaturity, and "my opinion is right and everyone else is wrong" -itis.

Won't go down too well in the flightdeck Im afraid.
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 17:07
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 438
Won't go down too well in the flightdeck Im afraid
Amen to that.

And this is where some of the "top" FTO's risk falling down with some (by no means all) students. All the arguments (for conformity, discipline etc) aside for uniforms, there are going to be some who leave the Oxbridge of FTO's at a very young and impressionable age, with an "I'm a better, more superior guy than the next because of where I went" bug soooo far up there own ar*se that apart from the company who is contracted to take cadets, many others will not touch them with a barge pole. Its all about attitude no?
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Old 13th Oct 2007, 18:24
  #49 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Guildford
Age: 45
Posts: 359
Just my two cents worth. I don't know why the FTOs choose to require uniforms, but I do suspect that there is reason behind it (which I don't know) given that they all do it.

However, that's not my major point. I find it VERY confusing that so many of you are so opinionated on the subject. Is it really worth giving yourself an annurism over? Probably not.

Personally, I'm agnostic over wearing a uniform. I would happy not wearing one, but I'm just as happy to wear one. It really doesn't make any difference to your ability to take or pass a course to gain your fATPL or gain employment at the end of it.

However, in the grand scheme of things uniform/no uniform is pretty petty, isn't it?
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 01:00
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: On the Camel's back
Posts: 395
FTO's use uniforms because it impresses the customer, the prospective student. When far too many students in FTO's are only there because they think they will look cool in a jet cockpit, what better way to help them part with the cash if the school can let them see that they will at least look like a pilot on day 1.
As for stripes on students, Again, same reason, it appeals to the vanity of the student if they can get to wear some bars. Never mind that they don't have a job, they will feel like real pilots with 1 bar per 100 hrs.
It's all marketing, all to do with encouraging people to hand over money. And given that some FTO's are inhabited by people like dhps and the people alluded to by Finals19 , it is an important and effective piece of marketing.
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 16:46
  #51 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Leeds
Posts: 33
Sorry - i beg to differ slightly...

Uniforms serve several purposes - discipline, uniformity, image, and rank/role.

Why do trainee doctors where white coats?
Why do training nurses / physios where their uniforms?
Why do training flight attendants where uniform?

(when i say uniform i mean some smart matching outfit of some generic description)

I think the answer to all of these is the four reasons i gave to varying degrees...

1. Discipline - This is more military but in the civilian world ironing a shirt, shining shoes require discipline. This skill is required for airline flying - so whilst training this is a good skill to develop and a good way in which to develop it.

2. Uniformity - Someone posted earlier that uniform takes away worries such as "what will i wear today?" type concerns and instead puts everyone on the same level socially. How many problems do people have in society worrying about their brand of shoes or handbag or who makes their shirt etc... There is no room for that type of thinking in aviation and uniform ensures that as much as is possible this type of thinking is suppressed - leaving people to concentrate on flying the plane.

3. Image - Aviation as a whole is considered a serious business. I'm sure anyone participating in this thread knows someone who has asked them "wow - how do aeroplanes fly? thats so amazing etc etc etc...". Lawyers are expected to appear smart, doctors smart or white coats etc, accountants and most professionals are expected to turn out smartly dressed.

How would any of us feel if a lawyer turned up to defend us dressed like a tramp?

How would any of us feel if a doctor turned up to treat us and looked like he/she hadn't even bothered to look serious?

We would feel a little uncertain of their ability to perform their roles - wouldn't we? (that is fair enough).

So image in this sense is to do with the expectation of the general public / customers / and anyone who looks at aviation to see people who at least look like they know what they are doing, and appear on the outside to have more perceived confidence in their ability.

The general public naturally have a sterotype mentality - they see someone in a double breasted suit, well groomed and they think either - lawyer, banker etc etc.

In the flight training environment - i think wearing a uniform adds to the natural confidence of students, makes them take pride in their appearance and provides the right image and confidence to those people paying for it.

4. Rank / Role - OK lets face it aviation has its roots in naval/military settings. Why do we have captains or first officers at all? - Simple because their needs to be. CRM/MCC may try to reduce the authority gradient in the cockpit so that junior FOs don't feel so uncomfortable with Senior Caps but at the end of the day there is always going to be Rank & Role.

It is simply unacceptable for crew/personnel to say "which one of you is the Captain" because the chain of command should be clear and unambiguos at all times.

So using bars is the military method of rank ie. more gold/silver means more authority... it's simple and works - people know their place and can get on with the actual job of flying the plane etc.

In the flight training environment the question of "is this nescessarily good practice to echo this airline policy of rank/role?" i think can be answered with Yes - because - you are also training to work with the rank and role structure.

Think about the amount of people in aviation who have an attitude problem. They have never done military service or experienced working within a discipline / rank role environment - is the time for them to learn when they get to the airlines or is it best to remove the ruts during training?

I think you probably know the answers.

On another point with regards to professionalism and uniform...

I think professionalism is not just how you act but also how you look as well.

To be professional you have to..

Talk the talk and walk the walk AND look the business.

How seriously would you take a pilot who turned up to fly a passenger transport aircraft dressed in jeans and a t-shirt?

They may be the best pilot in the world but people are going to automatically think first off - "Oh my god THAT is flying our plane!"

Aviation is a serious business. The people involved in it have to act serious, think serious and look serious. This applies both to operational aviation and aviation set within a training environments as well.
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 19:47
  #52 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 566

While I agree with much of what you have written, you have failed to make the case why uniforms are required to acheive any of it. At most integrated FTO's, students attend class the first week in smart civvies before they get their uniforms. I see no reason why that could not continue, though I have mentioned why I think the FTOs require uniforms. I have also seen students look disheviled in their uniforms. A slob is still a slob no matter what they wear!
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 19:50
  #53 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: south africa
Posts: 333
Im sorry AHMC but one does not want to be pedantic but is it not wear as opposed to where.

otherwise in a strange kind of way you do make a good point as with regard uniforms. Bars are a whole other story.
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 20:38
  #54 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Leeds
Posts: 33
Thanks Birdlady - oops...quite right (notice i'm not debating the standard of grammer and spelling within the flight deck environment he he ;-) )

Adios :-

I think if people talk about flying ability and progress then uniforms have nothing to do with it because the two are totally separate domains.

The point i am making is that being a pilot is not just about flying a plane, it is about so much more, discipline, attitude, determination, common sense and so forth.

Personally i think attitude is everything. With the right attitude everything else is possible.

Uniforms hone some of the qualities i listed above ( i believe). The discipline in preparing the uniform, the attitude in making sure you look smart not because it's required but because you want to.

I have also seen students look disheviled in their uniforms. A slob is still a slob no matter what they wear!
Well this is a good example of why i feel uniforms should be required - i would say that the people you have seen have an attitude problem which probably extends to their flying as well.

I believe in the same way Concorde became the stereotypical image of Aviation when it was flying, i think that uniforms provide that stereotypical image of how people expect pilots will look.

Believe it or not an exceptional amount of people have the utmost respect for pilots, the job we do and hard work we put to achieving our ambitions - and i'm sure if you asked all of them the question - "What would you expect a pilot/pilotess ;-) to look like?" i am sure their answer would not mention "jeans and a t-shirt"...

I think as well that uniforms also cross a psychological boundary in peoples minds - they look and see you are dressed smarter or more polished than them and psychologically they feel confident in your ability (i.e. doctors, lawyers, bankers etc)

So in answer to your point i would say uniforms are required by:

- Pilots (operational) - look professional, establish rank/role, corporate identity etc

- Pilots (under training) - develop desirable attributes, remove social pressures from training, familiarize with rank/role (subtly)

- Walking freight - Instill confidence in pilots abilities to take them from a-b safely and fill that stereotypical placeholder people have when they think of pilots.

Finally - i think that a student who turns up to training well turned out, shined shoes, smartly groomed etc is saying without saying it, that

Attitude is Everything

And I am very sure the unassuming airline recruiter who just happened to pop in for a coffee would agree with them.
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Old 14th Oct 2007, 22:58
  #55 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Salford Lads Club
Posts: 149

I'm sorry, but whilst alot of arguments can be made legitimately for uniforms at airlines obviously, my own humble opinion for uniforms at FTOs is one of solely corporate image, and has no reflection whatsoever on the quality, or lack of, the students. i.e bit of marketing, nothing more, nothing less.

Students can be good, can be bad and you will always get a combination of both, whether you're uniformed or not. At the end of the day, FTO's will issue uniforms, for the image.

If students need that to be inspired, then that's a pretty poor state of affairs. However, I'm absolutely convinced that some guys look forward to wearing the uniform more than actually doing the day job.

Please believe me guys, that yes, it's a great job, but if image, Raybans, and stripes is what attracts you, then getting up at 0400, delayed by fog, tech a/c, re-positioned by ops after a long duty will soon lose that honeymoon.

But good luck, and do it for the right reasons.
Frankly Mr Shankly is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2007, 09:07
  #56 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Thumbs down Did we really need an FTO Uniforms thread?

pilotatlast - There have been 55+ replies to the thread you started and just under 2,000 views. You haven't once posted a single reply since you started the thread, nor have you once thanked those who actually answered your initial question!

My question to you is - Why are you conducting a survey on FTO uniforms and why were you
mainly interested in Oxford, Cabair, Jerez, Atlantic

Did you want to make sure you signed up to an FTO that would make you look wonderful in all your photographs?


Anyone care to start a 'Survey of maintenance engineers work overalls' thread?
Old 15th Oct 2007, 09:13
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Scottish Highlands
Posts: 6
.Aero well said - I think we've all eaten the poor boy alive! I think he should go into marketing if 'image' is so important to him.
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 10:01
  #58 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 438
Think about the amount of people in aviation who have an attitude problem. They have never done military service or experienced working within a discipline / rank role environment - is the time for them to learn when they get to the airlines or is it best to remove the ruts during training?

Are you actually working for an airline? Sorry mate, but the above is just plain wrong IMHO. In my sordid past I spent several years working for a large national flag carrier, and can honestly say that it was often the OPPOSITE of what you are stating - in other words I met more than one or two ex RAF guys who had more attitude than your average civvy street pilot exactly BECAUSE of the behavioural "rank and file" conditioning that the forces had given them (not going to get into a p*ssing match on that one, because I also met some great ex RAF guys)

I agree that professionalism and recognition/respect (note I don't use the word DISCIPLINE - its 2007 and CRM does rule) for authority gradient are important in the modern pilot, but these things should come naturally - if you need to wear a uniform and be spoon fed in your FTO to understand this, then you really shouldn't be a professional pilot in the first place!
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 12:05
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Barcelona
Age: 37
Posts: 210
AHMC, with your attention to high standards you'd be excellent at delivering our airline's grooming checks
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 19:05
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 81
Having spoken to a few students today at an FTO with uniforms they all say its OK, easy to decide what to wear, have not even noticed or don't care about the modular/intergrated differences and think its all a good preparation for the airline world. So whatever the guys with a chip on their shoulder think about the FTO uniform debate, for the people that matter all is well in the world.
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