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Transition from legacy single pilot turboprop to advanced narrow body jet

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Transition from legacy single pilot turboprop to advanced narrow body jet

Old 17th Aug 2019, 06:32
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Australia (Brisbane)
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Transition from legacy single pilot turboprop to advanced narrow body jet

Hi All,

I'm studying for my Masters of Aviation Management at UNSW and I am in exam week. The topic is around Human Factors issues with pilots transitioning from a legacy cockpit i.e. dials etc, in a single pilot operations turboprop to an advanced cockpit, multi-crew narrow body jet doing charter work into remote locations but with the new jet will fly to capital cities also. The synopsis is that the company director wishes to transition his existing pilots rather than hiring new type rated pilots and letting his current pilots go.

I have already come up with some points that I will look at from a HF point of view:
RISKS
  • Multi crew transition may be difficult for some
  • Advanced aircraft transition may be difficult for some
  • Possible little congested airspace flying experience in capital cities due to extensive experience flying remote areas
  • Existing pilots may feel as if their seniority is under threat if the company hires new type-rated pilots (see mitigation)
BENEFITS
  • Pilots experienced in remote area flying and familiarity with the destinations
  • Current pilots will have good decision-making skills
MITIGATIONS
  • Hire new pilots with type rating in the same jet
  • New hire pilots to sit in right seat in a supervisory role with current pilots (if senior enough) to be ICUS in the left seat until experience is acquired
I was wondering if anyone can think of any other potential issues that may occur.

As a background, I only have a PPL at 192 hours so not a lot of experience and absolutely none in a commercial field.

Marty


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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 04:59
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Given that your hypothetical operator is moving from single pilot ops to multi crew ops, there would be no reason for your equally hypothetical Company director to lay off his current pilots, as the numbers to fill seats doubles.
In such a scenario, the learning curve would be way too steep for pilots to transition to the left seat immediately, and it is unlikely that any insurer or regulator would permit it.
At the very least, a program would need to be developed (the current buzzword is “pathway”) that would probably have the company’s existing pilots in the first officer seat for at least a year and 500 hours to learn something of CRM, support pilot duties etc. While their local knowledge in remote area operations would be of some value to the new hires tasked with training them, single pilot “bush” operations do not necessarily develop the complex decision making skills needed to operate a complex aircraft in a complex environment while keeping operations legal and safe. Resilience, yes, sound decisions not guaranteed.
Suitably experienced new hires would be unlikely to take kindly to being regarded as less senior to their trainees, and that concept in itself throws up human factors questions.
If the aim was to have the new hires eventually train themselves out of a job, they would need to be employed on a fixed term contract. Your hypothesis needs to also consider the industrial implications of any such arrangement.



Mach E Avelli is offline  
Old 26th Aug 2019, 17:05
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Augusta, Georgia, USA (back from Germany again)
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Marty,

You bring up an interesting question. Mach E. A. has some good points. Though at the end, I think he forgot a critical item he had up front.

More seats equals more crew required. Not just for the transition, but for the long haul.

Part of the useful background is missing. How many aircraft? Crew? What's turnover like? Etc.

The airline industry is based on seniority. The Regional jet Captain becomes a 737/A320 FO. That's normal. It's OK for the "left seat" (only) pilot to move "up" to the right seat of something bigger. Happens all the time with night freight or similar in the US, from sole-pilot to the coveted CRJ right seat.

The complicating factor here is you need to hire experience you don't have, but the people you hire don't have the specialized experience your existing crews have. How long does it take to learn the fundamentals?

The existing employees have corporate seniority over the new hires. "Anyone" can pass the jet's type rating in a couple weeks, but your existing hires have the "outback" knowledge that takes years (?) to develop. So, what's fair?

Mach said something about "training themselves out of a job." Probably not true since you're doubling the number of required crew.

Everyone involved needs to understand what they bring to the table and that each group is expected to bring their expertise to the table and share. If they'd rather die than learn from someone, then they know where the door is.

Put the upgrade pilots in the right seat. Pay them the same as the new hires in the left seat. Tell everyone they have six months to learn what they need to know. After six months they are expected to be rosterable as Captain or FO. And use them in rotation that way. Anyone who can't/won't do that flies only FO. New hires are FOs with eventual upgrades. You only have uncertainty for six months.

Barely related historical bit that has value. German created an Army from scratch in 1955. They filled an entire structure in one go. There were men who were Colonels for the next 20 years. There were also men who were Captains for the next 20 years. Eventually some Colonels retired so some Lieutenant Colonels could get promoted, letting some Majors move up, letting some Captains move up. As they neared retirement, the Captains were promoted to Major, then to Lieutenant Colonel for a few years so status caught up. There wasn't much difference in pay, otherwise lifetime earnings would have been unfairly different. Now, 65 years later all that has long since been worked out.
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