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FAA panel proposes that airline co-pilot standards be raised

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FAA panel proposes that airline co-pilot standards be raised

Old 16th Sep 2010, 15:58
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FAA panel proposes that airline co-pilot standards be raised

See this article in the Wall Street Journal about an FAA panel's proposal that all airline co-pilots meet higher training and proficiency standards -- including obtaining a type rating for their aircraft before being permitted to fly with passengers. FAA Panel Urges Enhanced Qualifications for Airline Co-Pilots - WSJ.com
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Old 21st Sep 2010, 21:19
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About time.
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 12:48
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Comprehensive well written article in Business and Commercial Aviation Sept 2010 entitled "Statistics Point the way to Safety."

Extracts (edited for brevity) pertinent to the proposed FAA rule to lift airline copilot standards:

1. Pilots with less than 4000 hours total time and 300 hours on type are involved with two-thirds of all turbojet/turbofan accidents and incidents.

2. Tyre failures, particularly during takeoff roll were another leading cause of mishaps suffered by business jets.

3. Another main reason for pilot error accidents is that more inexperienced pilots are entering aviation and should get twice per year training to get up to speed.

4. Today's pilots have become too dependent upon cockpit automation, relying too much on the flight guidance systems to control the aircraft during virtually all phases of flight. Technology has produced "Children of the Magenta Line" - pilots who cannot fly without an operable GPS or FMS, along with a full color moving map.

5. Autopilots and flight directors have taken away from airmanship. Over-reliance on ops manuals have taken away decision making.

6. Pilots need to spend more time hand-flying the aircraft, especially in gusting wind conditions and/or when landing on contaminated runways.

7. Hands-on flying and risk assessment is much more important than total time in a log book.
............................................................ .......................................

Speakers at last week's Asia Pacific Aviation Training Symposium at Kuala Lumpur thought otherwise. In fact they accented more emphasis on automation as a means of reducing the loss of control accidents and advocated less training on engine failures and more accent on LOFT, CRM, TEM and en-route diversion planning in the simulator.

It was considered by one speaker that low hour pilots were no problem providing they were expert at automation. This view was certainly at odds with the FAA view on low hour inexperienced pilots in jet transports. The basic premise at the APAT meeting seemed to be that the incredible reliability of modern aircraft systems meant pilot manual flight intervention of a perceived automatic problem has caused eventual loss of control.
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 12:56
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I think the differeing views say more about the differing training systems of the US vs the rest of the world. Given the self-improvement route is now the mainstay of the US pilot training route you tend to end up with people with low hours, and more importantly, low experience in control of regional jets/turboprops. These pilots may very well have come from a flight instruction background where bad habits develop and go uncorrected. Having 3000 hours is all well and good, but if 2800 of them were spent bashing the circuit at Vero Beach in CAVOK conditions then where's the experience?
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 16:00
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Bloody right

So they should, if you can't handle/fly it without automation, you shouldn't be flying
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 16:22
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I think the reasoning behind both is sound and instead we should get rid of the who think saving money is more important than promoting safety in airline operations, give training departments within airlines a big fat budget so they can give all of us a chance to practice this stuff on a regular basis. I'll put my soapbox away now.....
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 17:31
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FAA Panel proposes that Airliner co-pilot standards be raised

I agree 100% with points 1 to 7.

It is about time that the Regulators start to face the fact of the lower standards of today.

Automation is also here to stay, some how the manual flying and the automation have to exist in the same industry

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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 18:57
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timothy claypole

after banging around the circuit, albeit not at vero beach, and coming up the hardway, I can tell you that being a CFI made me a much better airline pilot. Students have a way of teaching you how many ways to kill a cat...and you are the cat.

I learned the wind from being a CFI

I learned to size up my fellow pilot as a CFI

And we flew in all sorts of weather...we learned instrument flying the hard way...real NDB approaches...RNAV approaches before GPS...timed VOR approaches. Circling in tough conditions.

Time on the autopilot is the time you shouldn't be allowed to Log. time giving dual as a CFI should be logged at twice the normal rate.
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Old 22nd Sep 2010, 22:57
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FAA panel proposes that airline co-pilot standards be raised
Exactly the opposite of Ryanair proposition
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 00:05
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Absolutely priceless!

FA proposes that pilots should actually be able to fly.

Where I work, 'flying' is almost outlawed- particularly for pilots!
Old 23rd Sep 2010, 00:22
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FAA finds Religion

Heck, I think in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and part of the 1980's hull losses happend every year OR MORE and no one blinked. Colgon goes down and Part 121 gets turned on its head.

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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 03:18
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Look at the chain of events...
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 04:09
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I think they blinked then but why did you leave out the last 2 decades? We still have hull losses and people killed because of crashes. Pilot experience is a good thing. 1500 hrs and an ATP is a good start. When I got hired nobody got hired with that low experience. An ATP is a license to learn. 250 hrs is a license to figure out what is going on in a bigger aircraft than they just flew.

Give the captains some help transporting people in airliners. Experience is the only thing that will help the FO help the captain. That is the way it has always been. Automation is nice but it can not be trusted to work. Old school pilots never have their thumb far from the disconnect button. Once disconnected, life is simple, just hand fly it. That is what I always did and it works. Keeps the heart rate normal because you know exactly what the aircraft is going to do.
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 06:12
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Once disconnected, life is simple, just hand fly it.
I wonder if this is really true for many who are 'children of the magenta line'?
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 07:37
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Originally Posted by Tmbstory
I agree 100% with points 1 to 7.

It is about time that the Regulators start to face the fact of the lower standards of today.

Automation is also here to stay, some how the manual flying and the automation have to exist in the same industry
In one post you have said it all. There is, unfortunately, a vast divide in our industry between those who blindly worship the software/automation and those who worship the 'old fashioned way'. At the moment the polarisation and defensive 'agression' of both is hindering progress. Anyone who suggests that either position is not the perfect solution is branded as a trouble maker and informed that they just do not understand. If we could just arrive at some common ground I feel we could go a long way to sorting out the problems we are inexorably building into our future.

The whizzy automation is fantastic - a great aid to day to day operation. It is the 'outside the box' operation that requires a different approach. I am sure that a minimum hours requirement will go a long way to help, and a 'Road to Damascus' trip for management, designers, training and insurers is another required event. Until we develop THE perfect automatic system, ie no bugs (or an acceptable level of fatalities from the bugs) we must retain basic flying skills, and we need to remember that not all commercial pilots will have access to the top-of-the-range equipment. Do we want a two-stream pilot force? Of course, the big question is could we then dispense with any concept of 'airmanship' - as it would not be needed?
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 09:08
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Another issue. The disconnect button in some aircraft doesn't diconnect completely. In a sense, it just degrades the amount of automation. This complicates the manual versus automatics issue further
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 14:48
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It is about time that the Regulators start to face the fact of the lower standards of today.
One thing for sure and that is the regulators are not going to be of any help in the discussion. Many of those are retired airline pilots behind the CAA desks so caught up with interminable audits of operator's paperwork, that they have no time left for constructive thinking. And even one of them did, chances are his thoughts would be promptly squashed by the next senior manager above him. Don't make waves, is the first thing you are told if you want to move up the food chain in the various CAA's.

Been there a long time ago...and it was soul destroying
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Old 23rd Sep 2010, 22:11
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If you look at the orientation [no pun intended!] of the conference mentioned by A37575, I find the conclusion hardly surprising.

My favourite memory of the region was a highly respected trainer requiring us to do UA recovery [in the sim] on the autopilot as "people lost control if they hand-flew the recovery."

Unfortunately, this directly contrasted with my experience [up to then] of IRS/autopilot failure directly causing a UA which could ONLY be recovered by hand! I've since had another one which was an a/p fault.

There has to be a balance and at the moment it's biased to the automatics.

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Old 25th Sep 2010, 18:49
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I sure wish that folks would look below the surface of the “1500 hours requirement.” Everyone says “A minimum of 1500 hours isn’t necessarily going to solve all the problems but it’s a good step in the right direction.” Is it? Really? I’m going to completely side step the situation – obvious to me – that 1500 hours is only that … 1500 hours. It says virtually nothing about the quality of that time and absolutely nothing about the training that preceded that number. So, leaving that obvious gap in this particular solution … I want to address another aspect that is just as complex.

When an applicant approaches an airline today, when the seemingly rare “for hire” sign goes in the window, how is that the airline officials determine that the applicant has, in fact, flown the number of hours claimed? Do they check the aircraft tail number, find the owner, obtain the flight log for the airplane, and check it against the pilot’s log book claim? Do they get a copy of the fuel receipts? Just how do they check? Has anyone here heard of logging “P51 time?” No slander intended P51guy. It’s a term that used to reference the Parker T-Ball Jotter, model #51, ballpoint pen. The term was generally intended to imply that the owner of the log book “flew” his ballpoint pen over the pages of his logbook – failing only to fly any airplane before doing so. Anyone who has flown private airplanes or has instructed in light airplanes recently knows just how long it takes to log 1500 hours of time. Of course it can be done. And it can be done by a number of light airplane pilots and instructors. But, just how many sight-seeing organizations, how many automobile parts runs, how many electronic parts deliveries, how many (you-fill-in-the-blank) opportunities are out there? How many opportunities are there to simply “log time?” Yeah, sure, there are flight training organizations spread around the US that use flight instructors – but for every new one that opens, two close. How much does it cost today to get a PPL, CPL, then CFI? How many folks have tens of thousands of dollars just lying around that they don’t know how to spend or don’t need to spend it for something more immediately needed … like food or shelter? And, even if there were hundreds of folks with tens of thousands of dollars burning holes in the collective pockets, just how much instructing time would be available around the country in a given year? How long has it been since you have been to your local General Aviation airport? Were you able to see all the “bee-hive” activity? No? I don’t know about the one near you, but the GA airports near me look more like a cemetery than an airport. Instructors? Sure, they are there. The busiest schools have as many as 15 to 20 instructors on staff. But a good share of them sitting on their hands for most of the day.

There are several estimates out there indicating that starting in about 2 or 3 years – there is going to be an increasing need for airline pilots. I keep hearing some who deny that estimation. They claim that a pilot shortage isn’t possible because of the number of pilots who are on furlough now. The claim is that those furloughed pilots will fill any vacancies for a number of years. I wonder what kind of pill those furloughed pilots are taking that allows them to remain at the age they were when they were furloughed. Getting old happens to everyone … eventually. It’s not rocket science. Pull off enough pages from the calendar and you get older. And it doesn’t make any difference if you’re actively flying or waiting for an opportunity. Don’t take my word for it – just look into the cockpits of the airplanes today – how many wet-behind-ears “newbies” are sitting up front? Sure, there are some, but … Estimates are that between 2013 and 2023 fully ONE-HALF of the airline pilots in the US will retire. There are approximately 120,000 commercial airline pilots today in the US (according to FAA figures). If those figures are even close to being accurate – that means that during the next 10 years there will be a need for 60,000 pilots in the US. That’s over a period of 120 months (12 months a year for 10 years). Again, it’s not rocket science – it’s basic arithmetic; 60,000 divided by 120 equals 500 pilots … per month … each month for 10 years! And that is to maintain the levels there are today. Will the airline industry in the US shrink? If the economy shrinks, the airline industry probably will too. That might alleviate the 500 pilots-per-month requirement – but to what? 400 pilots per month? What happens if the economy grows?

Then, on top of that, we place a requirement on those who would apply to become an airline pilot and say that they may not do so until they have flown a minimum of 1500 hours? Where are these pilots going to be able to fly 1500 hours before they are able to apply for a pilot job with an airline? Are there enough flying jobs to be able to provide 500 (even 400) pilots an opportunity to log time? – how long would it take to log 1500 hours … a year? … a year and a half? And, remember that 500-number is for EVERY month! Can you see a number of these folks running to find their old Parker T-Ball jotter, ballpoint pen? No? How do you see this equation being solved to a more palatable end?

Remember – there is that whole other issue of the quality of the training and the flight time that this discussion doesn’t even address!
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 10:37
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What else are going to say in the training industry?

For them it is a far more profitable bussiness to sell more and more training under fashionable achronyms. It it makes more sim time required to acquire a few difficult to measure abilities such as risk assessment, CRM, etc... They will become richer and richer.

If, on the contrary, airlines promote airmanship and change their hiring policies and look for more experienced, more talented pilots (instead of non-experienced and non-talented ones but with a lot of licences, ratings, CRMs and TRs and who on top of that are even going to pay to fly) then, the training industry will sell much much less.

So why should they agree with that FAA thing?

If their view prevails (more likely than FAA's view, I'm afraid) then simulator training will have to be carried out by teams of psicologists as well as TRIs...

Automation can be totally mastered only by those who know well how to handfly. Don't you agree.

Regarding the 1,500 hours requisite. It will create problems. And solve none, I'm afraid.

Flight schools will sell building time like never before.

I think that the whole thing would be solved with a method similar to that of the Air Force, as someone pointed above.

1st: Selection (of talented wannabees)
2nd: Training (fully sponsored, 50/50 or self sponsored according to circumstances)
3rd: Hiring

Then there is no problem with low houred, because you have good raw material with good training. The best captains I know went that way.

Agree totaly with FAA

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