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Use of low time pilots slammed

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Use of low time pilots slammed

Old 10th May 2011, 12:22
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Flown with lots of 250hr co-pilots over the years and most have been pretty good if a little rough round the edges.

In my opinion they are far less of a flight safety hazard than inexperienced and/or unsuitable Captains who have been promoted too soon or should never have been promoted in the first place.

Last edited by Max Angle; 10th May 2011 at 13:52.
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Old 10th May 2011, 12:59
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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This old chestnut. Talk to me when an incident is caused solely by the fact that the FO has 200 hours.
Are you talking about just an incident or a serious accident? Big difference. Remember that on Pprune or in the Western media, we cannot possibly hear of every aircraft incident/accident around the world. In addition there are certainly hundreds of incidents involving low hour cadets in the RH seat of an airliner that are kept in-house, or go unreported.

Ask any training captain in SE Asia where cadet pilots are in their multi-hundreds if he has ever flown virtually single pilot in bad weather because the cadet under his command was way behind the aircraft. Get away with anything often enough and the perceived risk diminishes considerably.
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Old 10th May 2011, 15:33
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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I'm with Max Angle. I'm amazed that nowadays it is allowed, even by the insurance companies, that there can be only 3500hrs total experience in the sharp end when 20 years ago, or so, it was 5000hrs just for the bossman. The same lowering of qualifications has not passed over into other insurance fields; indeed the opposite. (OK not apples & apples). However, there have been too many crashes where the F/O could see, or should have seen, said bossman making a horlicks of it and did not do enough to save the day. Many a/c were serviceable enough, and still flying OK enough, before terra firma gave everyone a headache. Include the Kenya airways B737 crash where they thought the A/P was engaged, but it wasn't. It is a crew. The training has to start somewhere. If the LHS is competant enough the RHS can have a well trained 200hr pilot in it. The automatics and SOP's will cover their backsides on most days, and in the LoCo's the learning curve is steep and continuous at 50 sector pm. Long-haul very different; it will take years, and 30% of that is asleep. In short haul it is when the sight deficient are leading the blind and both are unaware that the manure is about to hit the air conditioning and let it happen and then scream help. This is not in the book. Too late.
However, in ntodays cost conscious world of risk management the powers that be do not think there is a problem; so don't fix it. On statistics they may even be right. Remember after the Valuair crash the FAA did a cost analysis of retro-fitting DC-9's and B737's with cargo fire detectors and extinguishers. On a cost/risk analysis they decided it was not worth the cost. New designs are factory fitted; much cheaper, and after 20 years all the old 'risky' models are gone. Could the same kind of thinking be the cause of that until low experience of the crew is sighted in a multitude of crashes all is fine and nowt needs fixing?
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Old 10th May 2011, 16:36
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Agree with Max too. It is hard to swallow for anybody who went the long road that a 200 hour guy can the work as good as they do... I took me several months to loose the old tricks of the trade,,

A35 I think you are confusing any 200 hour with a well trained 200 hour guy or girl...
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Old 10th May 2011, 19:05
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The automatics and SOP's will cover their backsides on most days
But what about the days they don't? A level of experience will be the only saviour from making the potential of hundreds of lives from becoming sacrificial lambs because someone thought a 250hr guy should be sitting in the co-jo's seat to save/make money on him or her.
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Old 11th May 2011, 00:58
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with earlier posts that the main concern is low hour Captains, not FO's. I've flown with many low hour guys and gals and overall they're very switched on, when everythings progressing normally! But that's what you expect and when you're in the left seat, whether in a training position or not, it's part of your role to help the FO's progress as quickly and as efficiently as possible by passing on your own knowlege gained from years of experience. Unfortunately it my last company it was becoming the norm for FO's to get promoted with 3000Hrs total time, this is really pushing it in my opinion. There are SOME FO's who are ready at this stage but they're far from the average standard, the majority of FO's who are being coerced by the company to go for an early command assessment (where the standard required for pass/fail could easily be influenced by strong commercial pressures!) are simply not ready. Yes, they'll be fine 99% of the time when it's all running reasonably normally but put them in a never seen before position and mistakes will be made, combine that with them flying with a 200hr newbie and the pressure's really on! Promoting from within only works when you have enough suitable and experienced candidates, unfortunately in almost every airline that has seen rapid expansion there will be many Captains who simply shouldn't be there but have scraped through by the necessity of 'bums on seats' !
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Old 11th May 2011, 01:14
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I, as a brand new B737 captain coming from another aircraft was sent on a charter half way across the US and somehow was paired with a 21 year old FO that could not copy a clearance, called a clearance to climb to FL290, climbing to 29,000 ft and couldn't fly the airplane because the autopilot was broke. That is so wrong. Now we are trying to make it sound economically sound to save money? What is happening to this industry?
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Old 11th May 2011, 01:39
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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ideally, the copilot is a fully qualified pilot ACTING as second in command...not second in command because he isn't well qualified by hours or experience/knowledge.
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Old 11th May 2011, 04:13
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Why this is a big deal

I'm surprised no-one has said this yet, but the reason why the low hour/cadet Onestar scheme is something of note in Australia is this;

We have a very large GA industry and no shortage of pilots at all. It is not similar to Europe in any way. If an airline with good T+Cs asked for applications, they would probably get upwards of 20 applications from guys with 5000+ hours including 1000+2000 hours RPT Turboprop command or similar.

As an example of some of the expectations in Aus, here are the requirements for a few currently advertised positions.

Baron pilot (ie very light piston twin):
  • Total Time 800 -1000hrs
  • Minimum Twin Command Time - 100 Multi
  • Minimum 6 months remaining on MECIR with 2 renewals
  • Baron/ Traveller Endorsement
Cessna 441 Captain (not sure if this is single pilot or not)
  • 2500 hours Total Time
  • 1500 hours PIC
  • 500 hours Multi Engine PIC
  • 300 hours Turbine PIC
  • ATPL and 3 Renewals
  • C441 or similar experience preferred
And this is for a Beech 1900D position (doesn't state Captain or FO);
  • ATPL
  • 2500hrs total
  • 1500hrs PIC
  • 500hrs M/E PIC
  • 300hrs Turbine
Also in addition, there are none at the moment but usually you can't get a C210 job with less than 300-400 hours.

So as you can see, the culture of aviation in Australia is 200 hours=not enough to fly a C210 VFR Charter and 3000 inlcuding plenty of multi engine command=maybe about right to get into the RHS of a narrowbody airliner.

Jetstar are doing it for one reason and one reason only, cost. There is no reason they can't recruit suitable pilots except for the fact they don't want to pay what is required.

A 200 hour pilot can be very good (military fast jet guys for example) but the oxford training is not even in the same universe as the training you get in the air force and this is the issue.

Anyway I just thought this might help those unfamiliar with how things are done here understand why this is a big deal (obviously it wouldn't be in europe).
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Old 12th May 2011, 01:52
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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On a lighter note

Airlines are looking for systems administrators, not pilots. Thats exactly what these low time pilots are and most often pretty good at it. Plus you can get two or three for the cost of a pilot. As long as all the fancy tech is good to go, they are good to go. One day they might just be inflatable. Make the old timers look like incompetents the way they whiz through the FMS, set up the hold and approach. Show you all a thing or two in the Sim as well. Dazzle you with all you have long forgotten in your illustrious careers.
Your Airbus calls you a 'retard' approaching the touchdown zone (Not a bash at you Airbus drivers). We should all be insulted and take that as a sign of whats to come. Bet it didn't have the cheek to bark that out at Sully during his ditching. Doing his impression of Icarus in his winged tube of failed technology. Lucky him for having a seasoned FO at his side and all that useless glider time under his belt.
Reports of pilots averaging 9 hours of stick time per year. Over the atlantic in a thunderstorm.... RIP
Does not bode well for the future.
Know your limitations and that of your bird. Test them from time to time. Never know when they might come in handy. Hands off the FA and on your stick

Last edited by gadpilot; 14th May 2011 at 21:11.
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Old 17th May 2011, 17:35
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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a330

i just got a job in Qatar Airways on a330-300. i did my training in america and my jaa conversion in Oslo Norway. i have around 1200 hours, 500 multi engine.
i worked as instructor after my cpl, and got alot of experience compare to new cpl students who get put in the right seat right after their training.
but it all depends on the school and wich instructors u have, some cpl students can fly better than other instructors who have around 3000 hours.

im 21 years old and flying a big jet in a couple of months!!
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Old 17th May 2011, 18:31
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Gadpilot, you have no idea what happened in that accident and I think to imply that it was caused by the pilots is in poor taste given that they are not able to defend themselves.
I have flown with plenty of 10,000 hour wonders whom I want to be nowhere near in the case of an emergency (one springs to mind instantly - he learned to fly the 737 before the Wright Brothers). We all bring something to the table and there are guys with 500 hours that have vastly superior CRM skills than those with many more hours, ditto aircraft handling skills. The reverse also applies, naturally.
We're all different, all have different backgrounds and experiences. Good pilots learn to use the skills and qualities available to them to their advantage. The good leaders recognise who has skill in one area compared to another and act accordingly. IMHO, whilst the number of hours in one's logbook can tell you the likely breadth of experience, it is meaningless without looking at the leadership and inter-personal skills of an individual. Many people with many thousands of hours are sadly lacking in that department.
The bad pilots are the one's that spend all their time bitching about how much better they are than everyone else and how crap all their first officers are, which to me demonstrates poor leadership, judgement and manners.
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Old 17th May 2011, 21:51
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

Al Murdoch.
I'm in absolute agreement with much of what you say. I do not profess to know the cause of the AF accident. How could I possibly? What we do know, is that something went very wrong and was obviously beyond the ability of the pilots. Perhaps this speaks to the overconfidence in the technology and less and less emphasis on good old stick and rudder skills. I'm of the opinion that 'pilots' are being engineered out of the cockpit. That same technology that makes life so easy can, will and has bitten people in the rear end. At the end of the day we still need a machines we can fly when the proverbial hits the fan. Not to be bombarded and stumped by reels of computer generated garbage being spat out at us. When that does happen though, I would be happier as a pax knowing that the old guy up front can revert to his stick and rudder skills, make the right decisions and I really couldn't give a hoot about his CRM skills at that point. This is not a thread aiming to bash low time pilots. We all start there. It's more a concern about putting less experienced pilots in positions that for safety should perhaps require more experience. About the willingness of airlines to tap into the pool of hungry low time pilots and to exploit them while putting more pressure on higher time pilots to nurture them. The cumulative effect of this being less safety, richer CEOs and shareholders and pilots wondering why this job doesn't pay what it used to. Hope I make myself clearer.
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Old 18th May 2011, 02:38
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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IMHO, whilst the number of hours in one's logbook can tell you the likely breadth of experience, it is meaningless without looking at the leadership and inter-personal skills of an individual. Many people with many thousands of hours are sadly lacking in that department.
Al Murdoch:

You've hit the nail on the head: pilot selection is the key!

The problem, of course, is that it requires rigorous, impartial pre-employment testing and evaluation which is not easy to achieve in reality.
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Old 18th May 2011, 04:55
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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gadpilot, I agree with you. The FDR's and CVR's have been downloaded so we will soon know what happened. I think we will find the pilots in the cockpit couldn't deal with the pitot static error. Every airliner I have flown has had a checklist for unreliable airspeed that tells you pitch, power for your altitude and weight. I chose not to fly the Airbus so am not familiar with their procedures. I assume they had simular procedures, I don't know. I know flying through an area of weather would make it difficult to control an airplane using pitch and power but it was probably all they had. Relying on incorrect airspeed info would doom the flight. We will see.
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Old 18th May 2011, 08:07
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Bubbers44 said: gadpilot, I agree with you. The FDR's and CVR's have been downloaded so we will soon know what happened. I think we will find the pilots in the cockpit couldn't deal with the pitot static error. Every airliner I have flown has had a checklist for unreliable airspeed that tells you pitch, power for your altitude and weight. I chose not to fly the Airbus so am not familiar with their procedures. I assume they had simular procedures, I don't know. I know flying through an area of weather would make it difficult to control an airplane using pitch and power but it was probably all they had. Relying on incorrect airspeed info would doom the flight. We will see.
Bubbers, you need to sit down and read your post. Reflect on what you have written and DELETE IT!

You have no idea what has happened; you have no idea about the Airbus procedures or flight control laws. Yet you offer an explanation as to what has happened to AF! Incredible. How do YOU know they couldnt deal with a static error? How do YOU know it was indeed a static error? What a shameful, amateurish post.
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Old 18th May 2011, 09:46
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Bubbers, you need to sit down and read your post. Reflect on what you have written and DELETE IT!

You have no idea what has happened; you have no idea about the Airbus procedures or flight control laws. Yet you offer an explanation as to what has happened to AF! Incredible. How do YOU know they couldnt deal with a static error? How do YOU know it was indeed a static error? What a shameful, amateurish post.
I dont think he made any conclusions.Something brought it down didnt it and PS error is top suspect(as far as I know).And if that is the case,a pilot's inability to handle that scenario would be very pertinent to what we are discussing in this thread.Where has airmanship gone?The ADIRU and FMC are the 2 magic boxes aboard any modern airliner and theyre wonderful inventions but they can go wrong.How you deal with it when that happens is directly proportional to the pilots level of airmanship.Lets wait and see what the AF boxes uncover.Were 2 FO's at the controls and if so why did Capt plan his rest that way(airmanship)?Did they fly opt alt - or opt alt +?(airmanship)And what were their actions if they did indeed encounter a PS error at altitude near buffet margins?It shall be interesting to see.
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Old 18th May 2011, 10:09
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Funny how all the mircosoft flight sim wonders (and those with no airline experience) think that a 200 hour wonder is suitable for a right hand seat in a jet airliner.

By the way, most professional airline pilots are sick of wannabies pretending to be actual airline pilots and posting comments as if they know what they are talking about. Only a 200 hour pilot thinks that 200 hours is enough to sit in the right hand seat
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Old 18th May 2011, 10:14
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Funny how all the mircosoft flight sim wonders (and those with no airline experience) think that a 200 hour wonder is suitable for a right hand seat in a jet airliner.

By the way, most professional airline pilots are sick of wannabies pretending to be actual airline pilots and posting comments as if they know what they are talking about. Only a 200 hour pilot thinks that 200 hours is enough to sit in the right hand seat
Very much a case of you don't know what you don't know
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Old 18th May 2011, 12:39
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Funny how all the mircosoft flight sim wonders (and those with no airline experience) think that a 200 hour wonder is suitable for a right hand seat in a jet airliner.

By the way, most professional airline pilots are sick of wannabies pretending to be actual airline pilots and posting comments as if they know what they are talking about. Only a 200 hour pilot thinks that 200 hours is enough to sit in the right hand seat
Nice little rant there. Now, can you explain why the likes of Lufthansa, KLM, Swiss etc. still do exactly that as their main route into the company? After 60 years of experience doing it that way? And how far below the world average their safety standard is?

Never let facts get in the way of a good rant
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