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Use of low time pilots slammed

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Use of low time pilots slammed

Old 7th May 2011, 05:50
  #21 (permalink)  
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From the NZ CAA Rule Pt. 61 ( Licences and Ratings )
Your looking at the wrong rule. The issue relates to 121.511.

Even though JQ keep there aircraft on the Aussie register, under the terms of the reciprocal arrangements between Oz and NZ, when operating these aircraft within NZ, they must comply with NZCAA rules.
Old 7th May 2011, 05:53
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The Part 61 reference is to HOLD a CPL. To operate a large passenger (or freight) aircraft there are further requirements under Part 121.

"Rule brief
The purpose of Part 121 is to prescribe the operating requirements for air operations of aeroplanes that have a passenger seating configuration of more than 30 seats, excluding any required crew member seat, or a payload capacity of more than 3410 kg, carried out by the holder of an Airline Air Operator Certificate issued under Part 119 of the Rules."

121.507 Pilot-in-command experience requirements
Each holder of an air operator certificate shall ensure that each person designated as pilot-in-command of an aeroplane has acquired, prior to commencing the training specified in Subpart I or Subpart M for pilot-in-command, at leastó
(1) 1500 hours of flight time as a pilot, includingó
(i) 500 hours in the type of operations to which this Part applies; and
(ii) 100 hours of instrument time at least 50 hours of which is acquired in actual flight; and
(2) 100 hours of night-flight time for operations to be conducted by the person at night.
121.509 Second-in-command experience
Each holder of an air operator certificate shall ensure that any person designated as second-in-command of an air operationó

(1) is suitably trained and qualified on the aeroplane type; and
(2) is capable, in the event of the pilot-in-command being incapacitatedó
(i) of operating the aeroplane safely under the prevailing and anticipated forecast weather conditions; and
(ii) of deputising for the pilot-in-command; and
(iii) of landing the aeroplane at the intended destination or a suitable alternate.

121.511 Pilot experience
The certificate holder shall ensure that each person acting as a pilot, other than as pilot-in-command, of an aeroplane, prior to commencing the training specified in Subpart I or Subpart Mó
(1) has acquired at least 500 hours of flight time as a pilot, including at least 100 hours of flight time in air operations; and
(2) has acquired at least 25 hours of night flight experience; and
(3) holds a current instrument rating.

The relevant bit is 121.511, the others for reference and context.
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Old 7th May 2011, 06:49
  #23 (permalink)  
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We keep going around the mulberry bush with this "low hours" question. If we were to read a headline "Scandal As Low Hours Doctors Permitted To Work in Hospitals", we would immediately want to ask, well, where else are new medical graduates going to get their experience? Everyone has to start at zero. We would presume, however, they weren't just let loose by themselves with scalpels, dangerous medicines and complicated medical technology, but would be doing on the the job training under the supervision of consultants, medical trainers and experienced medical and nursing colleagues.

Which is exactly what happens. It's essentially an apprenticeship system, where basic qualifications are the entry ticket to further years of learning by doing, by more study, and by more experience.

Just like the system in many airlines where newly minted, type-rated FOs can learn their trade. Can it be shown by reliable, objective, intellectually sound study that such a methodology, when applied to aviation, is inherently less safe than insisting such candidates have 1500 (or whatever) hours of experience in other non-airline piloting work?

If anyone has knowledge of such a study or similar research, please post it here. Otherwise this is a rather sterile debate, which needlessly stirs public anxieties.
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Old 7th May 2011, 07:30
  #24 (permalink)  
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no need of a license to fly an airbus!.
I could teach a kid how to fly a plane(airbus) in 4-5 hours mostly on auto.

so why flight schools should settle for more, when they know it 's possible.
This profession is totally different as skills, maturity, experience don't count anymore...until crash happens!
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Old 7th May 2011, 07:38
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With a 200 hour co-pilot, when reality differs from procedures or what is ideal then you have two people in the cockpit - a captain and a passenger.

Im sure its more than possible to train someone for a jet without them even been airborne in their life but we don't do that because there is more to flying a plane than procedures. GA experience gives you knowledge you can apply to the jet and will also give the pilots more confidence in their aircraft and what it is really capable of.

When it comes to saving lives (what pilots are there for in the end) then theres no substitute for experience and passengers have every right to demand that both crew up front are fully capable of dealing with an emergency.

As a fully qualified CPL/IR pilot with not many over 200 hours myself I still do not feel that I should be up front of a jet, I simply do not have the experience required. Come back in 6 years and it will be a different story, I will have learnt from the hard slog that is GA and I will be in a much better position to have the responsibility of 100+ lives.

Comparing pilots to doctors should be done correctly. Straight out of med school do they go into the operating room with a brain tumor patient? I highly doubt it. They go do the small and simple jobs of injecting anesthetic and putting stitches in. That is much like GA while the brain surgeon should be your ATPL pilot with 2500+ hours. Id love to see how well these cadets perform single pilot IFR in a GA twin (without glass!), following NDB tracks while being pelted with turbulence and stiff winds. Im convinced that there is a high possibility that the flight wouldn't end very well.
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Old 7th May 2011, 07:39
  #26 (permalink)  
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jaf - quite.
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:02
  #27 (permalink)  
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All the lofty ideals about employing guys with a bit more experience and decision making ability misses the point.
Jetstar have made a conscious decision that a 200-250 cadet is an acceptable solution to crewing their a/c.
This has nothing to do with anything else other than cost, and until they are compelled too, nothing is going to change.
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:27
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Surely, we are discussing two separate questions here - the fact of 200 hour cadets in the right hand seat, and the exploitation of low hour pilots who have to pay for everything upfront and spend many formative flying years living in penury.

The low hour commercial pilot has existed for many years - viz BA took cadets from its Hamble College for many years till it found a more cost effective way, by taking more experienced ( total hour pilots ) from other sources. These pilots were brought in on the understanding that they were being 'indoctrinated' in the full BA ethos, for an eventual managerial position.
The current low hour pilot, as employed by RYR, EZY, in the UK and many Companies worldwide, is that they now have to take secured loans (since the financial crisis, the non-secured option does not exist) probably secured on their parents' guarantee, house etc. Then are employed on a temporary contract for some indeterminate time, with barely enough spare cash to live on - I remember one of our cadets being pleased that they had an extra flight because they could fill up their car with fuel!

Wasn't the Colgan crash partly attributable to the F.O. commuting because she couldn't afford to live at her base, and was sleeping in the crewroom and her car?

The cadet problem does not really exist from flight safety PROVIDED the training and supervision is GOOD - experienced Captains to take the load, trainers or otherwise, and not newly promoted 3000 hour captains still learning their new trade.

The problem comes from the appalling terms and conditions these young people are forced to endure to satisfy the ever cost cutting management - who have discovered that some people would do anything to fly.

I was like that 50 years ago, but I came up through a system where experience was gained BEFORE moving onto the next stage, you were paid properly under a standard contract while you were doing this and the Company paid for type ratings etc

Sadly, these days are past, it took the Colgan crash to awake the FAA, the trouble is that it may take a similar occurance in other parts of the world to wake up other regulatory bodies.

I loved my career and wouldn't have changed anything,but I was looked after properly, and yes I did have the'golden years, though may not have thought so a the time. However, I advised both my kids not to go into aviation, and feel for these incredibly keen young lads and lasses who have to endure the current terms and conditions.
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:29
  #29 (permalink)  
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Correct it all comes down to money, how little Jetstar are paying these guys.

They get away with it by devious means, you just have to look at the ducking and diving that has been going on recently with the employment of the first group of cadets to avoid paying them a fair wage. What also helps them get away with it is the ignorance and possibly greed on the part of the cadets.


You muddy the waters with your comparison. Firstly your comparison with Doctors is not really valid as has already been pointed out. Perhaps if you compared the costs of training you might be closer to the mark. Do Doctors pay the hospitals for their on the job training? I think not, but the pilots are paying Jetstar for their training.

The real issue here as I mentioned above is how these guys and girls are being employed and what they are getting as a real take home pay and what the various segments of their training costs.
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:32
  #30 (permalink)  
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Spot On, excellent post
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:37
  #31 (permalink)  
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What ever your profession is you should not try to run before you can walk. You have to serve your apprenticeship in order to gain experience and progress as experience increases. It is a good way to gain airmanship and it's good for developing handling skills.

The short cut route to the flight deck of a medium size Boeing/Airbus does not come without a cost. Whilst many of these low hour pilots may be perfectly good at operating the auto pilot and passing a type rating course in the sterile operating environment of a simulator, real life experience as a line pilot can be markedly different and unforgiving and can quickly catch out the inexperienced.

Also, many of these cadet schemes have been developed because they are cheap labor for the airline. Get a cadet up to his eye balls in debt, pay him a pittance, or indeed pay them nothing for 6-8 months and you have a flight deck where you are only paying one wage to the Captain.

Just remember "safety first" (unless it means we have to pay for experience). Lets not fool ourselves into thinking that these schemes were introduced as a favour to help new pilots jump a few steps on their career ladder, they are here for airlines to save money and they do this by cutting back experience levels, and turn their backs on the nightmare personal circumstances that many of these cadets have walked into.
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Old 7th May 2011, 08:49
  #32 (permalink)  
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There is a big difference flying GA and a big jet.

In GA, you are basically flying on your skills.

In a big jet, you are generally flying a procedure.

I can't think you can compare the two on the basis of hours alone.
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Old 7th May 2011, 09:00
  #33 (permalink)  
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It's the beancounters at work, driven by the reduced revenues per flight hour and per seat-km which in turn drive the growth in air travel.....etc etc.

If I recall correctly. in my airline in the 70's we trained new FO's in the RH seat of the twin-jets straight out of flight school with a CPL and very few hours, but with a 3rd pilot with the minimum requirement of 1500 hours in the jump seat, until the new FO had got to 1500 AND was assessed as satisfactory.

If they performed badly they were moved to the turbo-prop fleet to go back to basics until they were up to jet standard. (Peace, Oh Turbo-prop Pilots, I know what you mean, but that's how it was.)

The cost was horrendous, of course, but the passengers had a safer ride. And that's what they paid for in tbose days. Now, of course, many passengers pay much less and get what they pay for. Some pay a hell of a lot (Business, anyone?) and do not get what they pay for apart from a big seat and, if they're lucky, nicer service.
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Old 7th May 2011, 09:37
  #34 (permalink)  
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Those who pooh pooh the lack of experience of new airline first officers, and the possible consequences, are somewhat like the green lobby in that they are very good at pointing out the problems but are not forthcoming with solutions. As previously pointed out, this situation is nothing new. BA had hundreds of cadet pilots, straight out of Prestwick or Hamble in the 70's/80's/90's with 200 odd hours going straight on to big jets. It worked well in the main, and still does, the key however is ensuring good training and oversight. For example trainers must actually train the new people, rather than just "supervise" them. Everybody has to start with low experience. What are the "must have experience" people saying should happen? Every new airline pilot should have 1500 hrs plodding round in Cessnas or flying night freight in crappy recalcitrant turboprops or flying in/out of dirt strips in sh*thole parts of the world? Yes i'm sure its all character building stuff but i'm not convinced that it brings a great deal of RELEVENT experience to flying an A320 or whatever. The way the size of the airline industry has mushroomed over the last dozen or so years does not make this a practical career progression path for everyone anymore, anyway it never was and it certainly can't be now.
The REAL problem is the fact that people are effectively whoring themselves to do the job and unfortunately there is very little that can realistically be done about it. You cant force airlines to up salaries to compensate for big training debts. Things will only improve if people stop wanting to become pilots and the law of supply and demand kicks in. I keep seeing the comparison with doctors on here, there is no comparison because they do not work within such a commercially competative environment.
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Old 7th May 2011, 09:56
  #35 (permalink)  
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Heard following from several training capts. and other line capts over past 4 or five years.

"Cadets? Usually sharp cookies, but it all fall apart when things go wrong, because they can only hang their hat on what they have seen, which is not much"

This is not disrespectful to cadets, its purely lack of experience.

There are a couple of comments above about 200hr pilots and the major airlines, its true BA, for example, have done ab initio for years, but (big but) with very close scrutiny of the cadets progress and performance. These days its 40 sectors and off you go laddy! (or lassie!!)
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Old 7th May 2011, 10:12
  #36 (permalink)  
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Private Jet, I am not just talking about relevant experience we are talking about any experience at all.

I am not making this up but in the last few weeks I flew with an FO who said the fuel figures did not add up and thought we may have a leak. After looking at the situation it became obvious that this person had gone all the way through line training and had spent several weeks on the line not realising that we got the fuel uplift in litres and not Kgs and the discrepancy was a factor of 0.8!

On another occasion the ACARS packed up and the cadet had no idea how to get weather never mind where to find the frequencies. I sure we can all give examples like this, but nobody can refute that experience shows and having some experience before jumping into a shiny jet significantly lowers the chances of a screw up.
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Old 7th May 2011, 10:31
  #37 (permalink)  
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You're all barking up the wrong tree.

There is nothing wrong with a 200 hour cadet in the right hand seat - if they are with a good Captain in the left hand seat.

As said - in many areas of the world, small GA is simply not able to supply the amount of airline pilots required, and everyone has to start somewhere.

What is needed is stronger legislation to make sure the guy in the left seat has sufficient experience - a better minimum hour requirement for command, and for command of a jet aircraft to be a licence issue rather than a company-decided job description.
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Old 7th May 2011, 10:40
  #38 (permalink)  

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I can only echo, many of the points raised here regarding quality of training and add my own opinion regarding quality of the candidate.

As mentioned, companies such as BA have a history of employing 200 hours guys and gals in the right hand seat, having been involved in their selection and training from day 1, ensuring the applicants who nowadays would slip the net (and there are plenty with more cash than brains currently) were mostly weeded out before starting the course, or even during a very demanding couple of years of training. Now if you have the money and the time to repeat tests and meet a minimum standard, you're good to go.

It's also worth noting that there was more training carried out online and in sims previously, rather than turning up, getting the LOFT and V1 cut done and going back to the line no brighter or more improved than when you started.

I can't comment on the GA background as I believe it's horses for courses. I struggled like crazy during my military flying training, where my partner in a Jetstream crew solo (combined experience, 180 hrs flying and 39 years) went on to become a C17 trainer. I meantime went to gain more experience in GA before feeling good enough to fly for an airline. The experience came in handy when dealing with a pilot incap within 10 sectors of finishing line training!
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Old 7th May 2011, 10:56
  #39 (permalink)  
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On another occasion the ACARS packed up and the cadet had no idea how to get weather never mind where to find the frequencies.
I'm not sure that comparing the relevant difficulties of flying GA, or Turbo-prop or the big jets, is necessarily the issue, sure some hardware is more difficult to handle than others, right now I'm finding getting to grips with flying a Cessna 182 VFR far more demanding than operating a 747 World Wide.

Sure, age is a factor too in my case, but my multi-thousand hours were largely accrued cruising at 30,000 ft with hot and cold running stewardesses, i.e. it's Horses for Courses, and assuming that one has the aptitude to become a pilot in the first place, and surely that is sussed out fairly early on, then I assume that handling the different hardware can be taught reasonably quickly, after all the RAF moved to ab inito jet training, with no prop. handling at all, but it is the whole attitude and reliance on electronic gadgets that worries me - what is going to happen when they fail ?

I recall two 'incidents', one where I had let the S/O sit in my seat whilst I had my meal at the back of the flight deck, and there was an INS ( remember that ? pre-FMS and GPS ! ) problem that the F/O had actually created - it later transpired, and was trying to deal with, and so I initially told the S/O to disconnect the auto-pilot tracking mode and manually steer the aircraft to the next waypoint. He said he didn't know the track, I told him to get it off the ( INS ) flight log, he said that it was in degrees "True", I told him to apply the variation, he said he didn't know it, I told him to get it off the chart, he said he didn't have a chart out. From past experience I came up with an approx. Variaion to apply to his True heading and told him to steer that, which at least put us flying in approximately the right direction.

Subsequently I told him that I wasn't cross that they had both screwed up handling the INS, it was in those days a new toy to us, but that he was supposed to be a pilot and he hadn't the faintest idea of where he was or where he was going, he just relied on winking lights and when they failed he was stuffed.

On another occasion another INS issue leaving Singapore for Australia, and in the immediate "what the it doing now?" phase, the trainee in the right hand seat tried to make me steer North West ( think about it ). Again I wasn't upset at the mishandling of the electronics, but the total lack of situation awareness.

I'm afraid, very afraid.
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Old 7th May 2011, 11:17
  #40 (permalink)  
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You make very worthwhile points.

But I'm merely addressing the forum topic - "Use of Low Time Pilots Slammed".

Yours and others' additional concerns about terms and conditions, exploitation, debt, professional development, etc are perfectly valid. However I don't believe that "low time" pilots per se represent a threat to public safety, irrespective of the excellence of their pre- and post-licence training regime.

That is one story which is being fed to the public.
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