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Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures'?

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Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures'?

Old 15th Jun 2015, 23:05
  #241 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: 41S174E
Age: 53
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MikeHotel, I think you and I are in agreement that the salary figures posted for other professions were inaccurate and that most in those professions earn nowhere near what was stated.
I do disagree with the concept of comparing the trials and tribulations of getting from PPL to an Airliner,with the trials and tribulations of gaining a qualification as an accountant or a lawyer. They are such different trials and tribulations that I don't think they can be compared, the old apples and oranges that you speak of.
For example, I could have quite happily lived in my home city and taken a $40k student loan, picked up a bit more work in the bottle store ( where 90% I studied in peace), continued my social life and gained my qualifications as an accountant twenty years ago. That would have been much easier than the road I chose with much heavier debt, much lower prospect of paid work at the end, 14 different living locations in five years, little social activity in remote locations, several life and death decisions to be made along the way and a whopping salary of 10k per annum as a reward for the first five years of slog when I finally joined a well known Airline.
Now, I'm sure there are examples of much easier runs and I'm sure there are horror stories of people trying to make it in other industries, but what I'm saying is that they are different types of stress and challenge and cannot be widely/ wildly compared.
Even if you could compare them it is pointless because people make their own beds which eventually, they have to lie in. To rail against that is tan attempt to avoid personal responsibility.
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Old 15th Jun 2015, 23:30
  #242 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: EU
Posts: 1,221
The routes to becoming a lawyer and pilot in the UK are ones I know very well, having done both. I am also married to a lawyer so have contemporary knowledge of the career I left behind. The routes I took into law and subsequently the airline industry are very common in Europe, though of course there are hundreds of people in each profession who have experienced more circuitous routes. Both professions have their stresses, but in my personal experience flying is both easier and more rewarding than the law. Like all career choices, certain professions suit certain personalities and skill sets. Some people persevere for too long, enduring a nightmare or chasing an unattainable dream.
I was merely making the added point that the legal profession is not as highly paid as Joe Public thinks and that many youngsters have been lured instead by a potentially quick and comparatively lucrative career in aviation. For each of those new joiners, many potentially excellent pilots fall by the wayside through bad luck. Equally, with P2F, there are some who join the profession who simply would not have passed rigorous selection. I hope that clarifies my point.
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Old 16th Jun 2015, 00:04
  #243 (permalink)  
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Yes. Thank you . I think we are largely of the same opinion.
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Old 16th Jun 2015, 01:07
  #244 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Downunder
Posts: 290
I've recently retired after 46 years as a pilot with 3 airlines. The only thing I miss is seeing my mates for a beer in the evenings. Airlines are run by bean counters, their job is to keep the show on the road no matter what, which brings me to an incident that occurred a few years ago in North America.
On fuelling the aircraft, fuel began spilling from the port surge tank. Engineering at main base told the problem was a fuel valve and laid it on very thick that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft and that I should get going. I suspected that there was more to this problem and finally went back to the hotel, very expensive. Engineering were furious and told me so, there were veiled threats. On reporting for duty the next day I was told by the local engineer that he had found a serious problem with the densitometers in No. 2 main tank and that the flight deck fuel gauge was in error by 5000kgs. This defect had been undetected for months since an overhaul in China. Despite requesting an explanation from those in head office, none was forthcoming.
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Old 16th Jun 2015, 07:53
  #245 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: England
Posts: 890
Skol, I have a few serious questions to ask myself. Fact finding with HR(me doing the interrogation) Not a chance and I've been told so.
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Old 16th Jun 2015, 22:30
  #246 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Another Planet.
Posts: 559
Pilots' morale before/after the alps mass murder.

Re my posting # 158, under the above heading, sent to my MP on the 25th May as promised:

Dear Mr Gyimah,
I do not expect you to do the research yourself, but I am sure your researchers will be able to quickly scan the postings to the attached website and to provide you with a summary of what they discover.

I hope for some reply with constructive comment on the content of this discussion and perhaps you might table a question in the House, to the Secretary of State for Transport, as to the risk to Air Transport, as regulated by the UK, by the observations made by those at the coalface of the profession?

Reply sent Wed 10th June
Dear (Barking Mad) Thank you for your email below. Whilst it is a convention that Ministers do not ask questions in the House of Commons, Mr Gyimah has had sight of your comments and passed on your concerns to his colleagues in the Department for Transport. We will of course share any response we receive. Kind regards,

A Researcher.

I'm going purple holding my breath................
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 09:50
  #247 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Good article.
The only thing I would argue is the final bit. No, it cannot be changed because we live in a world controlled by finance, speculation and profit. ANY industry, not only aviation, is in exactly the same situation, because the system is designed this way. 1% gets richer and richer 99% can't pay rent. Good luck to us
bringbackthe80s is online now  
Old 17th Jun 2015, 09:53
  #248 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: west aust'
Age: 57
Posts: 35
The corporation is a psychopath .
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 11:30
  #249 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
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One of the comments to her article said it all. Pilots have been their own worst enemies for too long. Respect is a two way street. If you want to be treated with respect, you have to earn it.

When you allow yourself to be browbeaten into paying out of your own pocket to get back home to fly when you are on assigned vacation time, you are part of the problem.

When you agree to working conditions that are far below industry standard, you are part of the problem.

When you agree to pay for your type rating in exchange for an airline job, you are part of the problem.

When union leaders negotiate agreements that sacrifice the WACON of new and low seniority pilots in exchange for protecting their own, they are part of the problem.
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 12:12
  #250 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Whilst there are pilots who let their hearts rule their heads then the businesses will maximise their opportunities. I flew with a girl the other day who mentioned that she couldn't afford to feed herself. When I asked why she did it the response was "living the dream".

A company, especially a stock market listed company, exists purely to meet the demands of it's shareholders. Shareholders like risk, but not too much of it. If the CEOs can tie down real risk (for example safety issues) to an acceptable level, then from their perspective it is game on as far as efficiencies are concerned. If that means recruiting starving pilots who will do anything to realise the dream then they will continue to do it. We need to work with the commercial side of our industry rather than pulling-up a barstool and reminising about previous generations.

PS. I gave my starving co a chocolate bar and suggested she re-visited The Dream.
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 12:31
  #251 (permalink)  
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Nightmares are dreams as well....
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 12:46
  #252 (permalink)  
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I had always thought the XAA's had a dual remit. One was to ensure the correct compliance of all aviation regulations, and to oversee the financial viability of the companies. If they believed an airline was trading in such a way as to be at great risk of failing in its obligations to transport its pax they could pull its AOC. Thus they could delve into its books and business model. This was put to use after many UK airlines went bust leaving pax stranded overseas.
I witnessed a few dubious practices, many years ago, whereby an XAA turned a blind eye to creative rostering schedules on a winter contract because it was a financial life line for a weak airline. (only later, when a unionised airline won the contract and the pilots refused the roster, did the XAA act. It was now public.)
I seem to remember an accident in USA where it became clear the FAA had a conflict of interest over the company and had been lax in oversight of it for alleged financial viability concerns. I thought the outcome, certainly the NTSB recommendation, was that the FAA financial oversight and operational/safety oversight be separated completely. I wonder if it ever happened, and if the same conflict, which was within European XAA's, was resolved by oversight separation? I doubt it, in reality. It seems now, even more, that the politicians and outside interests have a greater control over the industry's technical issues than the inside experts. Those outside interests are profit grabbers and business wallers, and guess who pulls the politicians' strings. Who has the stronger lobbyists? The pilots, engineers and other sharp end workers have been whistling in the wind for decades.
What are the true obligations, remits & oversight authority of EASA and local XAA's? Are they transparent? It would seem that each national pilot union is not concerned with the state of their industry, but only the T's & C's within their own national carrier's nest. ECA should been concerned with the overall state of the EU aviation industry. The unions, collectively, have enough financial resources to mount a concerted lobbying campaign to burn the pax & politicians ears. Why is it not happening? What motivation is missing? Where is the leadership of 'no punches pulled' 'tell it like it is' and a 'spade is a bloody spade' attitude? is it too cosy at the top?
I'm passed my sell by date, but there must be others out there who can do more than moan in the pub. A wonderful example is Captain Jonny Mercer and ex- Commando who is now an MP. Read his maiden speech in UK parliament and how he put the desk jockey generals (politicians) to shame. Why, because their deeds were far removed from their words. Sound familiar. Where is the aviation industry Jonny Mercer? A pilot, or group of pilots, who has lost their medical could do worse than follow his example. You might then get a reply when you write to your MP about these issues.
It is not so fanciful.
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 12:49
  #253 (permalink)  
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IATA has just announced that in one of the most profitable years for this industry, the airlines made $8 per passenger.
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Old 17th Jun 2015, 13:42
  #254 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: over there
Posts: 68
Blah blah blah

Respect this, respect that... whatever.

Can we find crew to man our flights? YES

Reduce conditions 5%.

Can we still find crew to man our flights? NO

Increase conditions 1%

Can we now find crew to man our flights?


Okay then.

Same for FTLs, duty whatever blah blah.

Under these FTLs, are we experiencing a safety problem?


Increase duty hours 5%

Under these FTLs, are we experiencing a safety problem?


Increase duty hours 5% again

Under these FTLs, are we experiencing a safety problem?


Reduce duty hours 1%

Under these FTLs, are we experiencing a safety problem?


Well, ok then.

Did you notice in all of this, how non-existent your opinions are in the management decision making process? 100% baby, 100%....

How many unfit for flight did you file last year? How many fatigue reports?

Didn't think so.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 19:20
  #255 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Москва/Ташкент
Age: 51
Posts: 838
Can we find crew to man our flights? YES

Reduce conditions 5%.

Can we still find crew to man our flights? NO
Not sure what planet you are on mate but at my last outfit (mostly 737 classics) conditions were reduced... yes we had bitching and moaning and threats to leave for the sandpit but what a surprise... a year later these people were still bitching and moaning.
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Old 22nd Jun 2015, 17:13
  #256 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 195
Originally Posted by clunk1001 View Post
Playing devils advocate - but you guys are limited to around 900 hours per year?

Many people in demanding jobs will do 900 hours in 3 or 4 months! plus commute! With earlier starts, and later finishes, and possibly for less money. I know 'cos im one of them.

And dont give me the about "responsibility for the lives of bla bla bla" - you are just paid to drive the safest form of transport on the planet!

So, you work half the hours as the rest of us, you are "officially" the highest paid profession in the country, and we keep hearing that you 'do it for the love of flying'.

And you wonder why nobody pays attention to you whining?

Flying Hours = Time a/c leaves gate to when it parks at destination. In my role, I am at work for about 2-3 times more than the hours I fly. This is known as 'duty' (but in reality I am at work around 1 hour per day more than I am on duty)

I work around a 50 hour week on average. Mr Clunk. I appreciate your anger, but I hope that clarifies.
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Old 22nd Jun 2015, 18:56
  #257 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: last time I looked I was still here.
Posts: 4,509

I do apologise, but with a name like that are you expected to be taken seriously on a pilots forum? Perhaps your latest assessment of the truth answers that question. The FTL limits, and which are often worked to, are 2000hrs work per year. This is not just the time spent airborne. That is 900hrs. 4 weeks holiday = 48 weeks for 2000hrs = >40hrs/week. But we work 24/7 = shift work with no compensation. Try it yourself, in a non-cosy environment with no regular breaks, and then report back.

Last edited by RAT 5; 22nd Jun 2015 at 20:39.
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 11:00
  #258 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: EU
Posts: 1,221
Better safety systems and procedures do not nullify the risks inherent in aviation. Those dangers are omnipresent and some cannot be cancelled out by technology, as any pilot will know.

Meanwhile, a large increase in cheap short haul aviation over the last twenty years has exposed an increaing proportion of the general public to flying. Perhaps this exposure experienced in a relatively safe environment has devalued pilot skills in the eyes of this new generation of passengers.

Why? Well, people regularly associate quality with price, ergo in a low fare environment of mass air travel there will be a perception that cheap, safe flying must be easy. If it's easy, it doesn't merit decent financial reward for pilots. And because the only downside from a passenger's point of view is the low risk of an accident, if FTL changes don't immediately lead to a spate of crashes, who cares?
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 11:21
  #259 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Norway
Posts: 286
Yup, MH152 I think you nailed it! Thus we will not see change until we have minimum 2 fatal accidents with a few hundred losses. Us informing about the problem is just "wining" and doesn't show up in the statistics. Statistics is the only language the bean counters understand, so here we are ....
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 18:54
  #260 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2000
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I still find it utterly astonishing that the working hours and conditions of a whole industry can be changed, apparently to the detriment of the workers, without any input from the same said workers. Astonishing. Equally without any meaningful opposition from the same said workers. Jack Jones & Arthur Scargill and numerous other union leaders would be shocked to the core.
The FTL's have become worse for flight crew, both pilots & cabin crew. However, if I understand correctly, the ground based links in the chain, i.e. office staff, ATC, engineers, even the XAA staff themselves have, enjoyed improved workers' rights under EU legislation. The general melee of pax, who are normal ground based workers, have also enjoyed the fruits of EU workers' rights. Why have the few donkeys inside the shiny aluminium tubes suffered so that the many can prosper? Can some of our erstwhile politicians and safety law-makers enlighten us as to the logic of this? And where was ECA while all this was happening?
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