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What's really going on here?

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What's really going on here?

Old 26th Dec 2007, 16:11
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What's really going on here?

Is the industry changing, and we can't see the forest for all the trees? Are we expecting what our fathers once had, in much the same way that switchboard operators watched transistors replace the console?

Where did our highly-paid specialized skills go when airbus introduced envelope protection? How can my collegues possibly earn more than the prime minister for dropping out of high-school at 19? Why do we keep raising the theoretical requirements disproportionally to the falling practical requirements in order to preserve our qualification (and earning) requirements? How does the 26 year old skipper of a 737 qualify as a professional when all he's done for the past 7 years is drink beer and watch HBO, study a bunch of multiple-choice questions till they're memorized and recall 3 or 4 memo-items from the qrh? Is there exceptional decision-making or judgement beyond the SOP's? Is there any (expect in a negative sense) relying on the days of old? What seperates the few bastions of professionalism from those faking it?

Does it really take more than carefull (using your finger) reading the checklist, qualifying your radiocalls, using eyecontact when briefing and memorizing your flows and qrh itmes? Perhaps spend a night reviewing your type CBT? Or if you're really keen, spend a night or two ploughing through the FCOM.

It's a lazy job, most carriers don't expect anything except your license and signature, and when the shit hits the fan once in your lifetime... you get away with completely fu(king it up because..well... "the shit hit the fan." (which isn't supposed to really happen, when all is said and done.)
It's sad, and it's over.

The pay is for lousy hours, working when everyone doesn't (including your wife and kids), divorce, hotels, cosmic radiation, death at 62, lack of "normal" friends and social incompetence in any setting outside aviation. You can't pull a guy off the street to do this? All the smart guys either went into IT or became engineers, while the rest of us went where we traditionally could. But the requirement for our "stick and rudder by the seat of your pants and balls while risking something" isn't there anymore. All we got left is a great nasal PA voice and a choice to either add 1500 or 2500kg of fuel depending on the dispatchers briefing. And of course the option of selecting HDG to fly around the red stuff on the WX radar of course.... but I'm sure Airbus is working on that. Not to mention the need to ask the purser for permission to take the empty 1A seat for your rest.....

The old guys will oppose me, the mid-life guys ignore me, and the young guys will regrettably agree.

It's over. My kid will be a dentist.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 16:17
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Nice views though, EH?
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 16:19
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Chin up...
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 17:05
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It's over. My kid will be a dentist.
I always say the test of any profession is whether you would encourage your children to enter same - I certainly would not! Colorfax is correct in that many things have changed some for the better, some for the worse.

As a generality what concerns me (even outside of aviation) is that more and more people seem to go through life without ever having "original thought". We like to kid ourselves that there is a "procedure" for everything but I would suggest that when the chips are down it's often original thought that gets us out of trouble.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 17:36
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Theres no such thing as a 'good job'.... only that some jobs are better than others. Mine is better than most.

Good post by the way colorfax, think you hit quite a few nails on the head, but what do you see as the solution? if anything? As a 'young guy' as you put it I am inclined to agree.

Tacho

Last edited by TACHO; 26th Dec 2007 at 17:54.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 18:10
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So... running a drill in someone's mouth all day will be so much more fulfilling?

I've got 4 kids. They can all be pilots if they want to. Fabulous job. I just got back from 66 hours in San Juan, PR, capped off with (the dreaded) visual approach to KMEM with all automatics off. In an MD-10.

I'm sorry - what's so bad about that?

Oh and I don't make more than W, but my captain does....
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 18:15
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I agree with everything colorfax has just said. I've been doing short haul for over ten years now and just thought my hatred of it was due to being in a boring profession for too long, but no it's not just me! i've been working with some new fo's who've been doing low cost for less than a year and they can't believe how bad it is and how hard the airlines make you work. I'd never encourage anyone to be a pilot.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 18:19
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No job is perfect all of the time. Flying may not be the same as it was 40 years ago (what is?) but it's still better than working for a living.

I'm not flying thanks to the CAA medical department, but I cannot believe how much I've missed it. I have had times when I've hated flying and some of the cr*p that goes along with it, but at the end of the day it's what I think about most. Sitting in an office is boring, it doesn't matter if you are a lawyer or a data inputter it simply can't compare to hand flying an aircraft down to minima on a crappy night.

Unfortunately if you work for a company that makes you use the automatics at each and every opportunity, then the OP has a point.........

Flying is wonderful, monitoring is rubbish, even if it is "safer".
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 18:41
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Its all been destroyed by one group of individuals ACCOUNTANTS !!!

Its all about money , never mind the passion and dare not ever ever consider the people. Previousy recognised as the glue in an organisation. Now just a series of accountable people or " fodder" .

I remember reading "nuts' the story of Southwest Airlines as a young man and being filled with hope as to how people could be valued and passion encouraged. Now I see a series of managers driven by a bottom line to make money no matter what. Penny wise pound foolish , smile up kick down ,beancounting nerds , who have never even heard of Ernest K Ghan or Richard Bach and who think Yeager is a financial term.

Ah well we can do nothing to stop it , or can we..........
Happy New Year Ladies and Gentleman.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 19:00
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Knowing the accountants hate me gives me that nice little warm feeling when I walk round at -11 in the darkness. It also helps me when I stick on the fuel and say quietly to myself - your bonus.

When pilotless aeroplanes cost the same as an Xbox, I'll retire. In the meantime I see your beancounter, and raise you a spreadsheet.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 19:31
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Where did our highly-paid specialized skills go when airbus introduced envelope protection?
I have landed an A319 at the max crosswind limit in severe turbulance, and it was far more of a handfull than the 737 in the same conditions. It was much more demanding of my flying skills than any conventional aeroplane I have ever flown.

Is there exceptional decision-making or judgement beyond the SOP's? Is there any (expect in a negative sense) relying on the days of old? What seperates the few bastions of professionalism from those faking it?
Well yes there is. Outside of the simulator emergencys rarely happen by the book. Multiple failures, contradictory symptoms, and a QRH/ Eicas that fails to cover what you have. You have to Diagnose correctly,and manage the situation effectively. and that can get very difficult at times. Especially in "new" aeroplanes.

Does it really take more than carefull (using your finger) reading the checklist, qualifying your radiocalls, using eyecontact when briefing and memorizing your flows and qrh itmes? Perhaps spend a night reviewing your type CBT? Or if you're really keen, spend a night or two ploughing through the FCOM.
Yes. Flying is mostly easy to do. Easy to do to a sorta average standard. If you want to be good than it requires real work and dedication. To be the best requires more than a bit of eyecontact. One thing being a trainer taught me was the guys who really shone in the simulator, really worked at it. Thought about it, listened, learned, practised, and then executed it. They taught me, I taught them very little.

It's a lazy job,
See above.

You can't pull a guy off the street to do this?
You cannot. Some people just cannot fly. And some that can fly cannot think and fly. To be a good pilot you need "capacity". And any guy off the street probably does not have that. A few will, but to be good, professional, and safe. You need aptitude, brains, and above all plenty of capacity.

Finally.. I fly because I love it.

Yes you are working when everyone doesn't (including your wife and kids). I have had the divorce. The crappy hotels, the the cosmic radiation etc etc. But just look out the window, smell the roses. It is still a wonderful job.

To quote Richard Bach:

"For pilots sometimes see behind the curtain, behind the veil of gossamer velvet, and find the truth behind man, the force behind a universe".

My view

l337
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 19:41
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colorfax, where is hades?

Hi:

Yes, I agree with you. There are still times when the automatics won't do it, even in non emergency situations. I think of the 29 knot crosswind landings at KDCA for example.

Now, if THEY made airports with a giant circle of concrete, so you could always land into the wind, figure out an automatic taxiing gadget, we would all be out of business.

Stick and rudder skills...let me tell you, I heard from a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy that the airbus and boeing people were working on planes that could be flown by someone with 250 hours. Gee, I guess they got that figured out.

We've seen the reduction in piloting requirements (hours) and you can get a job flying a jet with 600 hours in the US....think about it. I worked at a place where the insurance company wouldn't let us rent a Seneca (small twin engine plane) to someone with less than 1000 hours!

If you want to be a barely average pilot...that seems to be fine. If you want to be good...that's up to you and I hope you are!

But if you want to be rich, don't be a pilot. Win the lottery. I still rue the day I turned down a job with apple computer to pursue a flying career. And it was way back when even the janitors became millionaires due to stock options

...

PS...dentists will be replaced by robots one day too.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 20:38
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Colorfax, you said..

The old guys will oppose me, the mid-life guys ignore me, and the young guys will regrettably agree.
No Buddy. You got it wrong. The old guys agree with you, the mid-life guys want to be you, and the young guys don't know what your talking about.

But I do, and I agree with everything you said.

BB
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 21:04
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I don't know who said it, but "flying is easy, it's landing that's difficult". It may be that a lot of times the landing is not too difficult, but I wouldn't trust automatics to land an aircraft in a strong, gusting crosswind, or with a big hole in the side, or cope with the loss of all four engines, or do the world's longest glide in a commercial airliner. Have all the ILS, GPS, whatever, to make the job safer and easier, but it's still nice to know there's someone up front who will have a damn good go at coping with whatever the system designers didn't think of and get the aircraft from up there to safely down here.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 21:18
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So... running a drill in someone's mouth all day will be so much more fulfilling?
I'm sure there's a pun here somewhere.......
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 21:26
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Colorfax
I agree with alot of what you say.I have been flying now for over 15 years am not yet 40 and am actually thinking of leaving aviation or at least the flying side.
I also have kids and hope eternally that none of them want to fly professionally.I certainly will never encourage them to go down that road.
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 22:03
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Gentlemen,

For all of you who miss the challenge in your lives: come and do some ATC preferably at a busy center, you won't be bored for long

For the rest: keep flying as you do now - safely and professionally - and enjoy it

As for the kids, I wouldn't force them to do or not to do anything - their lives, their decisions...

Though the "smart guys" might have become IT pros or engineers, they'll always look up on you people, flying the planes... I don't think it works the other way around

Take care all of you up there!
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 22:13
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IT-Person

Dear All.

Having worked in IT for many years, I look up with envy at the 737 with the orange tail approaching/departing Luton ....

Just wish I could have made the class 1 medical .... One of the best times had was sitting in a jumpseat into heathrow,


Si
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Old 26th Dec 2007, 22:34
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I guess Colorfax didn't get what he wanted for Christmas. Grinch.
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Old 27th Dec 2007, 02:28
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L337 - Nice pics. Sums up perfectly why we down the back still envy you so much. The view out the side windows just isn't the same. I sorely miss the days of flight deck visits and the chance to snap a few of our own "pictures through the thick glass".
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