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Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures'?

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Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures'?

Old 7th May 2015, 20:53
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Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures'?

Just wondered if it's yet too optimistic to think the tide might actually start to go the other way?

Airline pilots 'buckling under unacceptable pressures' - BBC News
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Old 7th May 2015, 21:40
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I'm just nitpicking here, "practised a rapid decent" (sic)
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Old 7th May 2015, 22:29
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The International Air Transport Association told the BBC: "The aviation industry takes the issue of pilots' mental health very seriously and is open to well-thought-out ways to make any aviation system even more robust.
"The industry will continue to look closely at its procedures."
What a joke. Nobody cares. Not a single airline management, not the public and certainly not the various authorities involved. It's all about profits and cheap tickets.

As John-Something wrote on another thread here, T&Cs for airline captains will continue to be eroded and first officers will eventually all be some type of pay to fly. Max sectors, max hours, max profits and cheapest tickets. Everybody happy.
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Old 7th May 2015, 22:29
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deptrai : Agreed, and I've complained to the BBC website about its standard of grammar more than once!

However, and from the article (my italics):
Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced it is setting up a taskforce of experts to review aviation safety regulation, including pilot health checks, following the crash. So how much pressure are pilots under?
This European Commission taskforce has much it could investigate regarding the demands made upon pilots. However, my own pessimistic feeling is that not much will change once any report and/or recommendations eventually transpires. Even that's assuming such ever sees the light of day!
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Old 7th May 2015, 22:35
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Accountants in big companies are blunt instruments who have little compassion for pilots and cabin crew. The FTLs are a limit to streamline the operation for profits.

Regulators couldn't care so the crew either keep cooking or stay out of the kitchen. Germanwings was a Curveball to this equation. The thing they will never know is, is there another nutter out there!

Treat people well, with compassion and with a duty of care and this will be an airlines best defence, but it goes against the grain for most management now days.
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Old 7th May 2015, 23:26
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Profit before anything else

What used to be the typical child's dream of becoming a pilot is now the parent's worst nightmare.
The world of degenerated capitalism is going crazy by the day.
Working for an airline used to be a dream job, today is basically a modern form of slavery. Unfortunately the entire system, not only the airline industry, is designed to maximise profits at all costs, the well-being of human beings is ignored. Large Companies are managed by "bonus seekers" paid to maximise profit by brainwashing their workforce and convince all, including themselves, that a constant improvement is achievable, so constant reduction of costs is the main target.
Results is that modern workers are very often getting squeezed to the limit, modern employees are working longer hours than previous generations, jobs satisfaction is degrading and the vast majority of modern workers is over stretched, stressed and exhausted. Very common for workers, because expected, to check emails during holiday and late at night or week-end.
This is the result of massive corporate brainwashing: to expect workers not to take a lunch break or join a Union is now very common.
I am seriously worried about the mental health of this society and I am especially concerned about the future working life of my kids.
This trend must be stopped. How?

Last edited by ILS27LEFT; 8th May 2015 at 23:38. Reason: corrections
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Old 8th May 2015, 03:27
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I flew for 35 years, but I am so glad I'm out of the industry now.
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Old 8th May 2015, 05:30
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With at least an average of one Hull Loss each month this year, please explain how the Airline industry remains the safest form of public transportation? Do we right off one train every month? Do we sink one commercial passenger shipping liner every month?


Looking at the five Hull losses that are headline within the industry:




German Wings A320
AirCanada A320
Turkish A320
Turkish A330
Asiana A320


The accident which resulted in fatalities was the one regarding medical issues; remaining accidents which could have easily resulted in fatalities, appear, all to be the result of poor basic handling. Should we therefore not be much more focused on handling than on the much smaller possibility of an accident being caused by a medical problem.


It does seem that the regulators see there role as being "industry friendly" rather than "safety oriented". The regulators also need to compete much like the Airline industry to make their "flag" sufficiently appealing to the operators, this is clearly a conflict of interest. In my view the truly independent regulator is the FAA and in my opinion we, in Europe, need to be taking our lead from the FAA.


Going down the Chinese path of extreme medical evaluation is detrimental to safety as it excludes many otherwise very capable "safe" pilots.

Last edited by kungfu panda; 8th May 2015 at 06:13.
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Old 8th May 2015, 07:40
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One thing that has made the job more stressful for me is the advent of digital notifications through the company issued iPad.
The company sends me several emails daily and some of them mean nothing, others are important operational information. If I go on leave and try to "switch off" from work by turning off the company email I feel a little anxious knowing that the day I go back to work I will have forty plus emails with operational information sprinkled throughout. The way to avoid that feeling is to periodically check them as my leave winds up but then that defeats the purpose of trying to " switch off" .
I'd be interested to know if others have felt this creep in over the last five years or so. I used to not think about work at all while on leave but now the changes seem to come so thick and fast it's a daily chore keeping up!
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Old 8th May 2015, 08:34
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Looking from the otherside of the of the door, I believe that the public does not have a clue about your stress and conditions. I've never been a commercial pilot but I do know a few of you. When I tell people what you have had to do, pay and endure to become pilots and how poor the pay and conditions are on too many airlines, they don't believe me.

I feel for you. Two of the most unpleasant people I have ever met run airlines.
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Old 8th May 2015, 09:00
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A Conduit for Concerns

Any concerns that affect safety should, of course, be brought to the attention of those who are best placed to address them. In most cases, this will be the employer, ie the operator, maintenance organisation, etc, but if this doesn't result in a satisfactory response, then it might be necessary to contact the regulatory authority.

In many cases, the reporter may not wish, for any number of reasons, to do either of the above, in which case for those employed in aviation in the UK, pilots, cabin crews, ATCOs, maintenance staff, ground handling, etc one other option exists, and that is to contact CHIRP where every report will be handled in absolute confidence and the substance conveyed to those who should address it in such a way that the reporter will not be identified. CHIRP is a charitable Trust so as to ensure its independence from the UK CAA and every other agency.

Therefore, if you have a concern that you think CHIRP might usefully address, why not contact them? They now have a revamped website www.chirp.co.uk that makes confidential reporting pretty straightforward and a free App that provides direct access to disidentified reports.
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Old 8th May 2015, 09:02
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I agree effortless: there are a lot of very unpleasant people running / managing airlines. It was very different 20 years ago.
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Old 8th May 2015, 09:28
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From my understanding, chirp has been branded a toothless beast nowadays.

The regulators need to get out on the line. Talk to crews and understand what is happening in the industry, but regulation is a paper exercise today.

NGS, nobody gives a ....
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Old 8th May 2015, 09:35
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ILS27LEFT, my sentiments exactly. What scares me most is that we seem totally powerless to stop this aggressive cancer from spreading even further. It's totally out of control.
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:12
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there are a lot of very unpleasant people running / managing airlines. It was very different 20 years ago.
On a point of order, no it wasn't.

I'm not a full-time commercial pilot, but I worked in the '80s and early '90s for two of the most unpleasant, bullying, totally profit-motivated rogues I would ever hope not to meet again. I knew of others just like them. By and large they shared two common features; the airlines they ran they also owned, and they had a contempt for all forms of regulation. One was based at an airport that now hilariously calls itself a "London" airport.

It was very easy to keep a CAA FOI quiet in those days; they all liked the good life. It's not that difficult now, but for very different reasons.

There were also top-notch people, exemplified by an accountant who ran two airlines (consecutively, not at the same time) as excellent businesses while being very aware of the need to respect and acknowledge the jobs done by all, including aircrew, while never, ever, sacrificing safety to financials. It is possible.

The best boss of all I've ever had was an accountant and an ATPL holder, who kept himself current on at least one of the fleet. That was in the '70s.

I'm not saying things are better now, but let's drop the rose-coloured view of the past.

(In one of those airlines I mentioned, pilots were required to fly at least 4 long sectors a day for 20 consecutive days, on an overseas contract in a very hot and sandy country, in aircraft that should have been scrapped. Then they got 7 days off in UK. See above re FOI. If they didn't like it, they could off, said the boss. Trouble was you only got a flying job in that airline if you were unemployable elsewhere (with some exceptions) and the owner knew it.)

Last edited by Capot; 8th May 2015 at 12:02.
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:25
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With at least an average of one Hull Loss each month this year, please explain how the Airline industry remains the safest form of public transportation? Do we right off one train every month? Do we sink one commercial passenger shipping liner every month?


Looking at the five Hull losses that are headline within the industry:




German Wings A320
AirCanada A320
Turkish A320
Turkish A330
Asiana A320
According to Wikipedia there have been 22 serious rail accidents since the start of 2015, many involving fatalities. If you must use statistics please use them properly. And yes the "ooh! look all airbus!" sideswipe is equally unjustified, and simply distracts from the real point of this thread.
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:28
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Is the job compulsory?

Non-pilot. Airline customer, from time to time.
I'm puzzled. Are people forced into becoming pilots? Do people contemplating joining the industry completely lack information about the nature and conditions of the job? That would surprise me, given that even non-pilots with a passing interest in aviation matters (like, er, me) have ready access to PPRuNe, to mention but a single source. I'd have expected anyone contemplating a career as a pilot - particularly if they're paying for their own training - to investigate what they're getting into.

I don't dismiss the issues that surface regularly in response to grave incidents such as that committed by Lubitz and incidents where fatigue is a precipitating factor but a couple of things always occur to me. If pilots think that they have a really, really lousy job, then quit; you only get one life and anyone who has had a brush with really serious illness or accidents (of any kind) will tell you that money definitely isn't everything. There are millions of people out there with really, really, really terrible jobs - and lots of them also have onerous responsibilities for other people too. Their jobs lack all "glamour" and recognition and their situations often preclude any alternative. I doubt that that applies to anyone with the intellectual acuity required to attain an ATPL.

There was a time when workers in any sector were able to organise themselves against exploitation such as that often convincingly described by many pilots here on PPRuNe. Of course the entire concept of unions has been discredited by Big Capital (via its political smokescreen) and their functions largely dismantled. Even more insidiously, workers themselves have been persuaded to see unions as against their own interests! The ball's in your court, pilots - accept the status quo, organise, or quit.

Before anyone asks, I'd certainly accept moderate increases in ticket costs consequential upon improved t&c's for flight crews. In any case I doubt that such improvements would be the critical factor in airline economics. I haven't noticed people abandoning the rail system in UK as a result of the insane prices and appalling overcrowding; Branson hasn't had to sell off his private island so far.
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:31
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I totally agree with you framer, I want to be OFF whenever I AM OFF, period. Any thing job/company related is too much. The direction is the other way though.
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Old 8th May 2015, 11:48
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skridlov

Do people contemplating joining the industry completely lack information about the nature and conditions of the job? That would surprise me, given that even non-pilots with a passing interest in aviation matters (like, er, me) have ready access to PPRuNe, to mention but a single source. I'd have expected anyone contemplating a career as a pilot - particularly if they're paying for their own training - to investigate what they're getting into.
You're not wrong, but the problem is a lot of people have already made their mind up before visiting this place. They're simply checking in to find out how to live for real their MS Flightsim dream and aren't going to heed a lot the advice freely given here. Many can't or won't contemplate the pitfalls...no amount of discussion will penetrate the rose tinted spectacles and change the mindset. Then the training organisations pitch in with their pictures of A380s and 4 bars on the shirt.......

If pilots think that they have a really, really lousy job, then quit;
Easier said than done for many who are up to their ears in debt.

As I've said to my kids - if I could gift you the career I had I would - but I can't, so don't even contemplate starting down that road.
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Old 8th May 2015, 11:52
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There are millions of people out there with really, really, really terrible jobs - and lots of them also have onerous responsibilities for other people too. Their jobs lack all "glamour" and recognition and their situations often preclude any alternative. I doubt that that applies to anyone with the intellectual acuity required to attain an ATPL.
Let me put that in a different format. I went through a period where the job left me and I can tell you that despite the supposed intellectual acuity I could not even get a job stacking shelves at a supermarket. Why? Others don't see your skills or intellect as being transferable so you can resign and find yourself in a position no better than what you have left. Airlines are not the only industry that are experiencing loss of staff morale and a declining job satisfaction rating however this is a forum for those in the industry.So this is the repository of airline industry complaints. As you say you are a non-pilot and occasional passenger so please tell us what is wonderful about your occupation and how we can access it.
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