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Use of low time pilots slammed

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Use of low time pilots slammed

Old 7th May 2011, 19:24
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Haha - that's a nice joke. Comparing Airline flying to brain surgery.
You will be in for a surprise and your beliefs will be shattered when you find out that many 10.000+ hour captain doesn't have the first clue what they are doing.

This industry is rottening with increased automation - all in the name of safety. Airbus first (and Boeing following along) prefer that you don't touch the controls, look at their respective training material. Like a doctor watching watching a computer doing the operation.
The reason why a 10000hour oldie have no clue is probably that he is an old dinasaour inanely proud of his " manual handling skills ' and never properly learn to interphase with the automatics! You will have people moaning about the increasing lack of manual flying skills but don't that tell you that they are using that to mask their lack of skills at manipulating the automatics to properly do the job? Come on people, the automatics are here to stay and you better get on top of your game with using them properly!
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Old 7th May 2011, 19:43
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Cessna pete
fraid so

BEA was so bad that not only were there BOAC guys who wouldn't fly with us but some of our own guys would look up the crew and decide not to fly.

Eight aircraft destroyed in my six years.

Had 18 months on the duck and with it's looming retirement and being sent back to the flat earth society so I chucked it in - like many others.

Huge disappointment after Hamble but the management and trainers were members of the same "club" - which you would know what I mean.

The instructors at Hamble were mainly fighter pilots - those in BEA bomber pilots. The best in the RAF went onto fighters, the bomber pilots were little more than Kamikaze pilots and it was the survivors (more luck than judgement) that ended up running BEA.

Had a mate who flew V bombers - he was in the Red Arrows and because of the prodigious accident rate the RAF sent his whole group onto the Vulcan.
Said that he didn't come across anyone any good.

I only refused to fly with one guy in my career - he had been posted down from Glasgow as most of the FOs had refused to fly with him - humiliated and forced to fly with him but was expected to speak only when I was spoken to.

That wasn't unique to BEA as you no doubt know with regard to a fleet chief who was later forced to resign by a posse of first officiers.

My next airline had a low cost subsidiary - one of the guys on my command course expressed a lack of confidence in their abilities - he was given the option of resigning or following the party line.

Got his command and then the subsidiary lost two aircraft from pilot error!

In my view the industry needs aviation authorities who are distinctly separated from the pressures of the industry and politics.

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Old 7th May 2011, 20:06
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So if an accident happens with a XXXhr F/O then we have now eliminated "pilot error" as a cause. Since the airline has chosen the course of training the pilots how to fly since they have little experience rather than how to operate aircraft type now there is the can of worms that the airline has now put itself legally into.
Now the the airline has chosen to accept that there will only be "training errors" since they are providing most all the training.
This might get interesting somewhere down the road.
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Old 7th May 2011, 20:24
  #64 (permalink)  
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And those of us in-between. After 18000 hours including GA, bush, corporate, law enforcement, qualified LVP, FAA, JAR and NZ ATPL'S, I'm still flying, still capable of being trained, am passing my checks, and still getting paid. I don't consider myself the ace of the base but rather the middle of the road. Living proof that old farts can operate modern technology and still do a raw data approach.

Changes? Yup over the past 30 odd years, things have changed dramatically, some good, some bad.

The good bits being the advances in machine and operational technology that we now have. And you can't deny that it has allowed less experienced people to easily join the airline industry. And that isn't all that bad either, though it has allowed the entry pilot (those still "wowed" by it all) into the airline cockpit, rather than the Cessna 210 cockpit.

However what is bad, is that airline T's and C's have been whittled down below what I believe is an acceptable level. The money just isn't there anymore unless you want to work yourself into an early grave in some obscure part of the world. Hence the reason why I shifted from bus driver to limo driver.

As I see it, aggressive whippersnapper (writing their CV's) accounting coupled with predictably unfocused and (looking after the Pauani beach home) self indulgent unions have allowed the airline conditions to be whittled away.

The wannabes have always been there, willing to fly for B & B and in the past they never had any real sort of representation.
They are now in the airline cockpits so perhaps we now have an opportunity to educate them about preserving the future of their profession.
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Old 7th May 2011, 20:54
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If you want a really good fright along the lines of what's being talked about, take a look at this 'incident':

Incident: Finncomm AT72 near Helsinki on Jul 5th 2010, suspected fuel leak due to fuel mismanagement
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Old 7th May 2011, 22:19
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I had 250 hours when I started in the industry and spent 2 months as cadet. I passed an initial line check. I then spent a year flying around Europe effectively learning on the job. Yes, of course, I was 'carried' by a few Captains. It must be tough flying with someone who you don't feel you can fully trust - with good reason in many cases.

Some Captains wanted to impart a little bit of their airmanship on me and I eagerly lapped up their advice. Sadly, most Captains clearly just want to get the job done and go home to their wives or mistresses. They couldn't be bothered to talk flying. I include line training captains in this category even though you would have thought that they would been keen to offer unofficial guidance. But no; they just want a quiet life. For example, a request to hand fly would be granted but with such trepidation and obvious discomfort that the request would not be repeated.

1000 hours later I am still accutely aware of my inexperience but sadly I also realise that only I care about my airmanship improving. So long as I follow my SOPs my airline doesn't care. So long as I do it his way, don't embarrass him with better landings or cause him to have to file a CSR, my Captain doesn't care much either. There are exceptions to this rule and I have flown with some excellent pilots whom I seek to emulate.

We need to face the fact that almost all entrants to the industry these days are taken on as inexperienced cadets so it's simply pointless for experienced pilots to sit there complaining and dreaming of the good old days where experience was gained in rickety old cessnas, piston twins and the like.

If you guys want the industry to be safer and not populated by 3000 hours Captains who only know their procedures and have little sense of airmanship, please help the inexperienced pilots by offering encouragement and advice rather than incessant criticism. While you're at it, lobby your airline to actively encourage hand flying, amongst other things.

As an aside, I have to smile at the tone of this thread. I am very honest and modest about my abilities and it amuses me that Captains seem to gloss over the fact that they too make mistakes and thousands of hours do not guarantee a smooth ride (or landing ), it's just that FOs are a little more circumspect in choosing what to bring to a Sky God's attention.
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Old 8th May 2011, 00:17
  #67 (permalink)  
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.........I dont recognise the caliber of your S/O ...........
'twas a qualified P3/Nav. unrecognised by the majority of present generation of PPrUne readers I guess - i.e. wot's a Nav ? - I was generalising, details are boring but sent to you in a PM. thanks.
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Old 8th May 2011, 00:33
  #68 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Studi
the multi engine part is now flown on a citation, used to be on a Piper Cheyenne.
I am jolly glad that sense somehow managed to prevail. I visited your company's training centre at the time Cheyennes were phased out in favour of Senecas, as more cost-effective training solution. Everyone around predicted that savings by not flying fast, pressurized and fairly complex aeroplane during training will be more than offset by additional hours that will be needed during type rating course. Fact that you're now using citations seems to justify the predictions. Your company's bottom line should serve as a good lesson to beancounters who never progressed past the "cut the costs!" stage, yet I suspect it won't.

Originally Posted by Mikehotel152
Some Captains wanted to impart a little bit of their airmanship on me and I eagerly lapped up their advice. Sadly, most Captains clearly just want to get the job done and go home to their wives or mistresses.
Their demoralization certainly couldn't be explained by them being on different contracts, could it?

Originally Posted by Mikehotel152
1000 hours later I am still accutely aware of my inexperience but sadly I also realise that only I care about my airmanship improving. So long as I follow my SOPs my airline doesn't care.
Very sad but hardly surprising if one's to consider which airline you refer to. Do you work for that airline or you just sell it your services as NG F/O?

Originally Posted by Mikehotel152"
help the inexperienced pilots by offering encouragement and advice rather than incessant criticism
These days I certainly encourage young & inexperienced wannabees not to start training towards ATPL at all! Once they pile up the debt, they're on slippery slope and nothing I say can reach them; they have to find work promptly to appease their lenders and are unlikely to be very picky or scrupulous when opportunity for flying job arises.

And then some of them find themselves in my cockpit and then I talk in positively encouraging way of many things: whether we'll fall off the sky if retract flaps at Vfe-5 kt while being banked 25, which side it's better to take when avoiding CBs; downwind or upwind, whether TCAS RA really take precedence over ATC instructions, are we able to take taxyway labelled "MAX WINGSPAN 36M" and all other neat stuff that my ground school instructors insisted I should be very familiar with before I was even allowed to look at the big & mighty ATR-42, let alone fly it.

Are my F/Os supposed to know all that - sure they do, it's a law! Somehow it seems that acing the multiple choice exams after going through CBT doesn't always translate in remembering the lesson well enough to apply it in the cockpit.
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Old 8th May 2011, 01:00
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Come on, I have trained hundreds of 200 hour cadets and put them on line on the RHS where they have done very well. Before I release one as functional I put them through a rigorous regime of handling the aircraft to a safe landing in case if the captain is incapacitated. The exercise is carried out rigorously in the sim and in line OE training as well.

The other pilots I have trained came from GA and military backgrounds who had quite a bit of experience. These come off a little better in decision making as they do have the experience but as far as operational expertise is concerned the 200 hour cadets performed just as well as the 3000-4000 hour experienced guys if not better. The cadets start with a clean slate without bad habits picked up in military or GA or bush flying. They generally do well in all operational aspects of airline flying; the important thing is that the airline must put in a rigorous and comprehensive training programme covering all bases giving good emphasis to decision making which normally a low hour pilot have difficulty.
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Old 8th May 2011, 01:04
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pilots with civilian over military backgrounds etc.Pilots used to come almost exclusively from the military where training is always excellent and honor and integrity valued.You wont be able to push a military guy around in the same way that you can with a 22 year old kid out of college.
Sorry mate but I'm just not buying that. Firstly, there are far fewer pilots coming out of the military these days.

Secondly, I suffered for many years in an airline where all the instructors were former fast jet pilots and looked upon anyone from a civilian background as lower than whale sh*t. Even having been in the forces but flying transports marked one as somehow lacking the right stuff and in the most extreme case, having been a fast jet pilot but on the "wrong" type or even from the "wrong" squadron.

Debriefs were normally a standard bollocking followed by a nice reunion for the trainer and Captain, subject to the conditions above. The chances of progression were tempered by the mission statement from the training staff that they were there to "protect" the LHS from the "wrong sort" i.e anyone from a different background to them.

I have no problem with ex mil types, the line guys were generally great and I enjoyed swapping "war stories". The training cabal were a different story. Only after bowing to the inevitable and leaving did I realise how awful it had been.

Thirdly, the idea that civilians are somehow without "honour and integrity" is as insulting as it is wrong. How many junior officers are prepared to argue with a general? Most of my colleagues, whatever their age will not sit fat dumb and happy whilst a senior pilot makes a total balls of it.

On the question of pay to fly and the decline in T & C's, I am in total agreement. I am lucky enough to now fly for a decent operator but I sat at home for over a year after being laid off unable to find employment despite 15 years of experience on jets due to the cancer of PTF.
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Old 8th May 2011, 01:21
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Cosmo Imperius, I certainly agree with you. A 200 hour bona fide cadet from a good recognised flying academy will make a fine candidate to train well. From the GA, flying clubs or even military there is a very great chance of faked hours THESE DAYS. Will agree with you that many experienced GA types have better decision making capabilities due to their " experience " but not all the decisions they make are correct. With the load of bad habits picked up, some of their decisions can be fairly dodgy and dubious. A low hour cadet flying by the book and sticking strictly to SOPs may not make " brilliant " decisions but at least they will be operationally sound and legal!

Last edited by Chuck Canuck; 8th May 2011 at 02:16.
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Old 8th May 2011, 02:09
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As someone who was hired into the right seat of a CRJ with 360 hours, I have very conflicting opinions on the "use of low time pilots." I think one has to evaluate the source of a person's training.

I went through a major university aviation program to learn to fly. It certainly wasn't the military, but the faculty and instructors were rather strict and there were academic and training standards to uphold. By the time I graduated, I was confident in my abilities and knowledge, and had little problem adapting to the jet with the help of some great CAs.

We have a problem, particularly in Florida, where some flight schools have essentially become pilot mills. It's not in the flight school's financial interest to ensure mastery of a particular subject, they just want to make sure the student can pass the check ride. They don't want those dollars heading to their competitor on the other side of the airport because training is taking too long.

What is the 1500 hour requirement going to do about that? I'm not sure that instructing for 1200 hours on a Cessna 172 really does that much for experience, aside from keeping the poor soul in poverty for another couple years.
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Old 8th May 2011, 02:11
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"Hours" is a very blunt instrument for assessing ability. However ability can be accurately assessed to a standard through testing. Cadets should be properly trained and then tested to a standard that is adequate for the job.

The more hours, the more experience. Despite this, experience can not be qualified by hours alone. Is there a more appropriate way of defining or even testing experience?
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Old 8th May 2011, 06:41
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We have a problem, particularly in Florida, where some flight schools have essentially become pilot mills. It's not in the flight school's financial interest to ensure mastery of a particular subject, they just want to make sure the student can pass the check ride. They don't want those dollars heading to their competitor on the other side of the airport because training is taking too long.

You've nailed it! but this is not restricted to FLA, I'm afraid. It is a worldwide problem. That's what I say. Cadets are OK if they are considered as the raw material that airlines need, instead of the customers of the flight schools.
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Old 8th May 2011, 06:59
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Cadets are OK if they are considered as the raw material that airlines need, instead of the customers of the flight schools.
It's actually worse than this, they are becoming a profit centre for the airlines as well.
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Old 8th May 2011, 07:09
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Over and over I see the new generation of automatons stumped when the automatics are slow to respond, or not following the programmed inputs. Meanwhile, the airplane digresses from the flight path while the copilot attempts to correct the automation anomaly with more automation inputs.
Agree wholeheartedly. Although now in retirement, one event that I shall never forget was going into a Spanish airport from Hamburg on a CAVOK day with hardly any traffic. The F/O was PF from Hamburg in a new 737 Classic. He had displayed an arrogant manner during the flight apparently resenting flying with a captain from a foreign country. He had graduated from a prestigious company owned flying school then straight on to the 737 and with 800 hours in his log book was alarmingly automation dependent.

The approach required an outbound descent from a VOR starting at 4000 ft, followed by a base turn to intercept the ILS. At 20 miles from VOR at the the airport it was clear that a visual left circuit was feasible and I so asked him if he would like to join downwind visually.

He snapped back saying since it was his leg, would I let him make his own decisions thank you very much - and that he had already programmed the instrument procedure in the FMC. That is - over the VOR fly outbound descending with a left turn to intercept the ILS. I was sorely tempted to take over control and fly a visual circuit and save fuel. But then again I was also aware the company swore by full use of the automatics, so I shrugged my shoulders and let him burn the fuel.

The autopilot had been engaged since shortly after lift off at Hamburg, and from the left seat as we passed 3 miles abeam the runway at 210 knots I thought to myself what a bloody waste of fuel as it was costing the company an extra 15 track miles. After the autopilot turned on base leg at 10 DME and about to intercept the ILS, it suddenly gently reversed the direction of turn, the autothrottles went to climb thrust, and the aircraft went into a climb towards the opposite direction of the inbound ILS track. Nothing dangerous of course - even though if something wasn't done soon, we would have been literally heading for the hills. The cause of this manoeuvre escapes me now - it was so long ago.

What I shall never forget was this ace of the automatics watching helplessly as we veered away from the programmed flight path. Instead of acting instantly to switch to manual flight to recover the situation, with an explosive oath in his own language he dived head down in the CDU, pushing buttons furiously.

I watched with growing interest at his panic stricken attempts to control the autopilot. Now there is a sensible limit when to take over control and clearly we couldn't stuff around much longer lest radar see what was going on and ask awkward questions.

Needless to say, as pilot in command, I could not wait too long for him to try and recover the situation. Eventually I took over, switched off the automatics and flew it manually back to the ILS in the right direction. The whole operation took perhaps 30 seconds. Established on the ILS in CAVOK at 7 DME I handed back control to the F/O. To my astonishment, in a flash he had the autopilot and autothrottle re-engaged and locked on the ILS. Talk about blind reliance on automatics. I had now witnessed it at first hand. In that airline, company SOP actively discourages its crews from manual flying even on a beautiful sunny day. And these blokes are the captains of the future...
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Old 8th May 2011, 07:41
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The cadets start with a clean slate without bad habits picked up in military or GA or bush flying
That statement has always intrigued me. Exactly what are these so called "bad habits" that are perceived by some as endemic in the flying environment you describe above? I ask that question because around 1975 a tiny but exceedingly resource-wealthy island in the Central Pacific region, started an airline, eventually reaching several F28, Boeing 737's and Boeing 727's. The route structure covered tiny atolls once fought over by Japanese and US forces in WW2 and many other destinations from Singapore and Hong Kong to Fiji and Honolulu and places in between.

Approximately 80 percent of its 50 pilots were former military pilots several of whom had served in Vietnam. Their experience was priceless to any operator. Their military types included Mirage, F4 Phantom, Mustang and Meteor and Sabre fighters, C130 Hercules, DH Caribou, Convair 440, Viscount and Dakota transports, Lincoln four engine heavy bombers as well as Canberra light bombers, and a sprinkling of experienced general aviation charter pilots with black night bush experience in the Australian out back with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Even two former military helicopter pilots now experienced in general aviation charter aircraft such as Barons, Chieftains and various turbo-props. One has flown from aircraft carriers where `bad habits` could prove fatal.

That airline has had an unblemished flight safety record to this day. So perhaps it is unwise to generalize when discussing the relative merits of pilots applying to join an airline from general aviation, the military or someone from bush flying. We all have to undergo simulator training and that includes adherence to company and regulatory SOP's. Even the best of civilian trained so called cadet pilots, are required to meet the same standards of the parent airline. It is called standardization where there is no room for `bad habits`.
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Old 8th May 2011, 09:06
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the bottomline is that a 200h clueless imature pilot will get a job on an airbus and you won't get anything, not even a piper job.

Suck it or leave it. This is life...nobody own you a job because you have 20 years seniority and 20'000 hours.
some chinese are actually working for 2 euro a day to make you happy.

in fact, soon, everybody will work for peanuts, and everything will be very cheap like flight ticket at 20$/flight.

Personally I enjoy to fly for cheap in a high tech aircraft flown on automatic.
I know these guys flying Airbus 318 to 380 worth ****, but I know the A/P is one of the best and the plane can fly CAT3 by itself.
Most Airbus captains are not better than these rich kids.

At the end of the day , I look how much I can save. If you can not make a living with this damn aviation, do something else.(Clean toilets in a mac do if you have to. There is a shortage of **** cleaners.)

whatever you say, or do, is not going to change anything! again, suck it, or leave and enjoy your life (if you have one!!)!
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Old 8th May 2011, 09:15
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A37575, you were the captain and it wouldn't have been problem for you to say. "Son, it's cavok, it's your leg and I wan't to see you perform a visual approach - Periode. If you have a problem I'll guide you and help you."
Chance is that the guy would actually have enjoyed it, learned from it and in the process gained respect from you. You missed out on that opportunity.
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Old 8th May 2011, 09:17
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How times have changed. I cut my teeth flying single engine aircraft aircraft across the African bushveld with a gradual transition through twins, turboprops and finally onto the heavy metal.
Along with the elimination of self-improvers, we have now sunk to the lowest common denominator (150hrs I believe now on the so called "MPL") before narrowbody. The MPL was a genius in cost-cutting by management.

It's endemic of a me-me-me culture (both management who cut costs to the bone to increase profits to raise their salaries) and the trainee (FI/flying a light twin for a few hundred hours - ughhh no way jose) and a weak regulatory system (regulate AFTER an accident).

Yes, it worked with Hamble and that philosophy because their genuinely was rigorous selection, motivation and.. that dirty word.... aye.... ability!!

It surprises me many close an eye to the fact you can now go from zero hours to LHS 744 purely via P2F, yes the LHS 744 is for sale as well now (Eaglejet). Another Kos waiting to happen.

My girlfriends dad had 1400hrs FI/Twin before he managed to scrape on the 1-11. Nowadays 1400 hrs and you'll be eyeing your first command.
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