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"Who is flying your airplane?"

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"Who is flying your airplane?"

Old 3rd Jan 2010, 16:23
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United and TWA experimented with a "cadet" program in the '60s when any kind of pilot was needed. They found it was a waste of time, almost all of those who were taken up failed to get to CPL level. The considered wisdom was that if one wanted to be a pilot, one would take the initiative to get the CPL on his own. Admittedly, testing then was pretty crude. Has never been done since. This from a TWA Chief Pilot back in the late '70s.

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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 16:26
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Thanks Galaxy Flyer for that.
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 17:39
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Swish.. I quote

How would you feel if the Captain of a wide-body with 300 pax has to spend 3h in the bunk in order to legally extend his duty and has to leave the lives of 300 pax and a wide-body that cost 170,000,000 USD in the hands of 1 CPL with 1500h career and less than 500h on type and 1 ATPL with less than 1200 fixed wing and less than 500 on type? As long as they passed their ratings this is legal!!!

We are regularly faced with similar situations these days. In the current economic crisis airlines love to get rid of experienced older/expat guys just because the local/newbies draw 2 times less money. How do you sustain this kind of pressure that management transfers on to you?

I don't like it.

Bet the SLF would hate it if they knew!

Bet the poor sods on AF447 might have had a chance if it was a cruise captain/TRE/TRI in the cockpit when the captain went to sleep...

I wonder what's coming next...

SLF here... I dont hate it. An experienced captain takes some rest whilst a qualified pilot takes the controls during a long haul flight? Not scary in the slightest.

The poor sods on AF447? If you can tell me what happened with a degree of precision and whether or not a cruise captain was at the controls when AF447 hit the water I'll give you a gold pig.

To be more specific, legal minima are there for a reason. That usually means that the common consensus of both law makers, politicians and those subject to the laws have agreed to those minima. If you really feel that the laws are unsafe, then contact your union, MP, congressman, senator, MEP or whoever has responsibility for the law in your area. If you say that they dont listen, it depends on how strong your case is. Ive found that politicians are most receptive if you have a case so strong that it amounts to a stranglehold....
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 18:24
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The speed limit is 70 mph, the alcohol driving limit is 35ug in 100ml, the tyre thread depth limit is 2mm. Does this mean that driving ALL the time at 70mph, with 35ug/100ml alcohol in blood and near bold tyres is safe?even if it is snowing? even you are really tired? is it just as safe than driving bellow those limits but at an apropriate speed for the conditions, not drinking at all and replacing your tyres sooner?

The limits are just that, limits. They are not designed to be used as the NORM. They guarantee a minimum of safety in specific areas but not if you then ignore all other contributory factors. It may be considered an acceptable level of risk to have a small proportion of low experienced but carefully selcted pilots for shorts periods of time. That does not imply that is equally safe to have large numbers of inexperienced pilots of untested anbilities constantly rotating for sustained periods of time.

If you the add to the mix income levels that preclude the ability to obtain suitable rest we end up with the crash at Buffalo. This is why the FAA is doing a u turn and mandating minimum experience levels in airline operations. As they say over there "safety is no accident".

What really gets my goat is the lame justifications of those that put their own greeed ahead the lives of others.
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 19:44
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I met a corporate lawyer the other day.. She asked me what i did as a profession.

"Oh.. Well my job is far more important than yours. I have millions of pounds at stake in my job." Was her response on hearing that I was a pilot.

I guess lives don't count for much these days. Not that there's an aircraft with a million seats in service yet..
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 21:39
  #46 (permalink)  
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To add to my post, it wasn't a "cadet" program as done at BA, LH or the others. The cadet was selected after interviews, psych and aptitude testing. It was his responsibility to get the time and training for the PPL, then the company paid for the CPL, IR, MEL so they could be brought "on line". There was a time limit for achieving the CPL, I think something like 18-24 months. It was not done at an airline academy, but at one of a list of approved training locales. As I said, only a handful of the hundred or so selected ever made it to the line.

At the time, 1967 or so, airlines were hiring guys into Connies and early jets with as little as 200 hours in a C-150. The lines were desperate for pilots as the jets came into service. I flew with a Captain who arrived with 195 hours in a Luscombe. Flew like it, too. I am remembering a story told to me by a TW Chief Pilot who flew out of the airport I worked at the time.

Since then, until the late '90s, the military was always turning out enough pilots that the airlines could hire between 50% and 85% of needs from them. The US mil had, at one time, about 20,000 pilots with an annual turnover of 3,000 to 5,000 pilots. All left the military with several thousand hours of jet "in command" time. Some US carriers had a distinct preference for a specific service.

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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 22:36
  #47 (permalink)  
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Fedex-Marine...couple of squids mixed in
AA-not sure
America West-civilian
UPS- heavy drivers civ or mil. Flying over lake Michigan wasn't the overwater experience they were looking for when I applied.

Depends who is charge of hiring and what his or her background is.
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 22:57
  #48 (permalink)  
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Angry Attitude and Aptitude - at all levels

Main concern about the >900h instructor comments on the Buffalo accident was not his hours of flying experience (likely mostly C150s in VFR) but his idea about coping with icing conditions. Ideally, if he is hired by a US regional they will train him about the required techniques and not leave him to assume the automatics will take care of every senario.

US Congress and the FAA have NOT chosen the minimum 1500h rule YET.

They are aware of differences between all wx King Air operators (including B1900 operators Gulfstream Airlines (not the Biz jet Co.) described in the Bloomberg report as facing fines from FAA) and those flying PA28s in Sunny CA.

The OLD UK system made a lot of sense: 700h to CPL - it encouraged folk to learn more about the basics of flying through GA before venturing out to airlines.

Speaking with an FO on A320s (came through an approved uk integrated cadet scheme) with a major UK operator 2 months back, I was amazed that he didn't appreciate the difference between Mach Buffet and Stall or why you shouldn't climb too heavy/too soon, or how Kuchmann Carrots helped delay Mach Buffet....... So the approved schools have a lot to answer for even if their cadets are well motivated, intelligent and able to pay big bills (now there's a quandary!).

But, as hinted at by other posters, particularly in a recession, it is now about accountants, the bottom line and punctuality as priorities higher even than safety (heard this today from a key safety advisor to major group of western airlines).

God help us......
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Old 4th Jan 2010, 17:15
  #49 (permalink)  
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It's not only us ,guys. I read recently that in UK there are agencies who are charging university graduates a large fee to place them with major financial institutions for so-called 'work-experience'. Sick, but there is a waiting list, and some economics graduates were paying 8000GBP to be placed for 12 months with a large firm of accountants. This, they think, will give them a rung on the ladder later on. Same as our young boys. Just a point for discussion, and there will be many disagree-ers.Compare airline pilot 'apprentices' to other professions, e.g. doctors, solicitors, accountants, mech.civil/engineers etc., are cadet F/O slaraies so badly off compared to those other professions? University gradutes usually have spent 3-4 years under hard study, not 15 months. Considering a cadet in LoCO can have a command, on relativily big bucks, before they are 30, and thus be on a high salary for MOST of their earning life, is it such a bad deal as many make out. Things have changed, it is true. Compare the days of major's F/O's waiting 18 years for command, and LoCo's 5 years; compare their career incomes, and it ain't so bad. The first few years are painful; true. In the longterm does it not even out? How many other careers have a 3 rung ladder to the top?
However, there is an argument, sadly, that the more difficult aviation enviroment is operated by the smaller operators in turbo-props and thus by the lowest paid lowest expereinced pilots. That is the real market place. I was flying the jump seat on a S340 over the Alps, in winter, on a businessmans' schedule flight with a Swiss Air flight No. The total experience in the flight deck was 1/4 of mine alone. The captain had less total hours than I had when I started airline flying. Did the pax know; did they care? It was a Swiss Flt No.1. it's called blind faith, and something for which the unions have to bear much of the blame.
Remember, I said discussion point and not me awaiting firing squad.
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Old 4th Jan 2010, 17:28
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don't bother RAT5, nobody is listening! - Whilst I don't agree with the way the industry is going, most of the sky gods on here think they have a divine right to everything and don't understand that pretty much every other profession is going the same way.
Never mind. I still enjoy going to work every day, and it beats the crap out of my previous (professional) career where I was earning less the day i quit, than i was a decade before. But of course that sort of thing only happens to us hard done by pilots doesn't it!
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Old 4th Jan 2010, 20:57
  #51 (permalink)  
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who really calls the shots

I think you guys are looking to the wrong people to solve this issue. It won't be the FAA or other regulators, and it won't be airline management deciding by themselves to double the requirements.

In the end it will be the airline's insurance company that simply says, no, sorry, we won't insure you if you keep using these low experience guys. They'll insist on X, Y and Z to maintain the insurance coverage. And since the insurance company ends up paying the bills for the hull loss and the loss of life and everything else, I'm sure they're paying close attention to the odd's of paying here versus premiums received.

The insurance company in the end can trump all the legislative processes and everything by threatening to withdraw cover, unilaterally. Or increasing premiums to some crippling expense..

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Old 4th Jan 2010, 21:26
  #52 (permalink)  
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Many examples have shown that it is not always about how old you are and how many hours you have...unsafe situations will still happen, this will not make you a 'safe' pilot.
It is more about having been trained properly and to the proper standard, having the right attitude for the job and working hard every day whilst building your experience every day you go flying...
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 01:23
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It certainly worked for GA.
There are huge fleets of fast, sexy airplanes that are financially well within reach of many PPLs, who would be legally qualified to fly them, or could become so without much effort or expense.
Problem is that neither hull nor liability insurance for many fast and sexy airplanes can be had without meeting some very stringent experience and recurring training requirements.
What is the financial cost of destroying a turboprop full of passengers?
The insurance providers know, and they will act to protect their interests.
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 01:43
  #54 (permalink)  

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euroflyer, that is an immature perspective. Experience is everything in this business. We were all trained to a roughly similar standard, and from there we began learning. You will change your ideas when you have grown older, more experienced, and faced a few of these situations that you so glibly refer to.

Last edited by RoyHudd; 5th Jan 2010 at 10:21.
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 02:00
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While it's a good thought, expecting insurance companies to enforce safety is folly. Look at the Somali pirates, who get paid handsomely, with little recourse. The ins co just raise their rates to cover their losses.

I recently heard 100 commercial ships disappear every year, many due to being run aground by pirates or mutineers and stripped. Only when ins rates get so high as to cripple the industry will safety matter to them.

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Old 5th Jan 2010, 07:21
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No need to be like that, you do not know my experience and I do not wish to know yours.
My point was that a pilot with 2000h of Cessna instruction, might not be safer than a cadet with 200h in a modern jet. It depends what experience you have for the job and having the right attitude will play a big part to maintain a good level of safety.
Have a lovely day
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 07:55
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Pics - PIA Cockpit Crew Flouting Rules Inflight — Civil Aviation Forum | Airliners.net
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 10:07
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Eurolyer and Royhudd.

You're basically both right. Experience gives the ability to focus when the sh1t hits the fan, and introduces the possibility that you've met whatever the problem is in some more benign situation, so you have the knowledge required. Training on the other hand is the distillation of other peoples knowledge, and the elimination of incorrect knowledge and techniques.

Naturally then, we would all like experienced pilots who have benefited from excellent training. Now, if you can't have both, who would you rather fly with? Personally, I'd take the well trained lower hour guy. Yes, an experienced pilot could well be better, but can also be a total donkey with dangerous attitudes to boot. In my experience:

1. Well trained low hour pilots usually recognise the limits of their experience.
2. High experience pilots are moderately likely to NOT recognise the limits of their knowledge.

A well trained pilot can always gain expereince. But experienced pilots are sometimes untrainable.

And in this game, its not about how good you are on your strong points, its about how bad you are on your weak points. So in the absence of an endless supply of experienced well trained pilots, a cohort that mixes both on the flight deck is often a pretty good starting point.

But, having said all of that, I don't think anyone would disagree that inexperienced badly trained pilots are a menace. Where is the incentive for a company to do anything more than notionally tick the required boxes when they know that bloggs junior will be flying for a couple of months and then replaced with the next fee paying mark?

Thats the issue here. We can argue until we are blue in the face about whether expereince or training is more important, but the current state of the industry is driving towards neither.

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Old 5th Jan 2010, 10:32
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Totally agree with you Capt Pit Bull
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Old 5th Jan 2010, 12:28
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Well trained low hour pilots....

Where are these guys and gals?

Every School will claim they do a perfectly good job. In truth for most of the schools priority number 1 is to make money not to improve safety - despite the blurb in their advertising and their sales pitch to airline HR depts.

If entry requirements were more strict and the students were taught the required skills (as per Military Flight Training) rather than merely assessed to an FAA/CAA standard then I would agree that the quickest minds and most teachable students would become reliable and excellent pilots.

But a 150 hour MPA or 250 hr approved CPL/IR is NOT enough and these junior pilots who are thrown into a 60 tonnes electric jet will require constant monitoring by Training Captains and later Line Captains, which increases cockpit workload during critical flight conditions. In the main we see youngsters entering airlines who are good at Playstation games and programming Glass cockpits, able to pass standard engine out proceedures in a Simulator and fly an automatic ILS, but unaware of attitude flying, emergency roll rates, mach buffet, and manual engine spool up times for go-arounds.

Simulators are good for proceedural work but again (as NASA is studying and the Cranfield University FORCE report discovered), they are limited when it comes to teaching basic jet handling skills. Yes emergency proceedures can be tested but it is now where near as good as real unusual attitude flying - Singapore use LearJets, a few US schools have Extra 300s and UK airline Thomas Cook used to use JEFTS (T67M260s) to give pilots real spin awareness. Sadly, here across the pond, we have seen the approved schools remove their aerobatic trainers to save running costs. So the best a new pilot can hope for is learning on the line.

Most Line Training captains can see the potential in good junior pilots but they also vary in the amount they will allow the youngsters to do. Sitting in the cruise on autopilot, monitoring R/T or programming an FMS with the occaisional auto throttle "manual" landing in low cross wind, dry runway conditions is NOT enough.

I would trust the military low houred guy to fly a Chinook into Afghanistan under fire more than a low houred MPA rated pilot with a dead Captain next to him, organising cabin crew to strap the old boy in whilst he's transmitted a emergency call to foreign speaking controllers on a blustery winter night.

So I don't blame the cadets for wanting to progress quickly up the ranks to heavy Jet flying but the way they get there should be scruitinised more thoroughly. Most cadets in the UK jump the turboprop option by buying a type rating on a 737 /A320. That is like skipping a real world school for a couple of years where useful skills (e.g.: dealing with weather, low level icing, basic raw navigation on needles, etc) could have been learned for when things may go awry later on.

In the end it is down to the rule makers, Flight Schools and Customer Airlines to demand more from the training pipeline. A structured apprenticeship route makes more sense than rushing through the basics.
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