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Is this a dying breed of Airman / Pilot for airlines?

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Is this a dying breed of Airman / Pilot for airlines?

Old 19th Jan 2011, 21:34
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sevenstrokeroll:

How about we disregard irrelevancies and discuss the topic?
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Old 19th Jan 2011, 23:29
  #242 (permalink)  
 
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The 1500 hrs rule has to be the most ridiculous solution to increase safety.
Agreed. It was chosen as a benchmark because it's the minimum experience level for the ATP certificate.
Is there any evidence to suggest this will do anything other than perpetuate the problems for the struggling pilot on minimum wages who commutes across the states because he/she can't afford to live close to base and needs a second job as dish washer to make ends meet?
Entry level is entry level, no matter how you slice it.

The 1,500 hour requirement doesn't hurt or help that fact.
As I asked before: are Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, BA any less safe than airlines in the states?
I don't think so. They have stellar reputations and are world class operators.

GA experience is of limited use in the airline environment.
I disagree there. One must be specific about what experience and how it applies, but certainly the very broad general aviation field has ample application to the airline environment.

One could say that the airline environment is the corporate environment greatly simplified and dumbed down. The corporate pilot does all his own calculations and planning, generally, as well as handles all aspects of the flight from ordering fuel to arranging transport for passengers, to setting up catering. The general aviation corporate pilot flies the same routes, but many more, too, with greater variety, more frequent changes, and a much greater range of types of operations. The corporate pilot does everything the airline pilot does, plus much, much more. Accordingly, there's a lot a corporate pilot has to offer the airlines; much transfers. Conversely, the airline pilot has a lot of specific experience that transfers to the corporate arena.

If one wants to compare airline flying to crop dusting, or banner towing to commuter operations, one has a wider gulf to bridge. None the less, many facets still apply.

One shouldn't discount external experience to one's operation, but one must also keep in mind that the nature of airline flying means one operates in a narrow range, deep inside the safest parts of the envelope; one often has little chance to use greater skills or experience. Though this is the case, one may also correctly state that those external experiences enhance and color judgment (weather is weather, for example, whether one is in a J-3, LR35, BBJ, or B757).

Blanket statements to this end should be qualified for specifics, because when all's said and done, it's the same air we fly in, the same forces of flight we use, and we all learned somewhere; many in general aviation.
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Old 20th Jan 2011, 00:04
  #243 (permalink)  
 
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[QUOTE Reducing costs doesn't mean training has been diminished, that pilot capability has been diminished, and most critically, that pilot performance is less.
][/QUOTE]

Depends on one's personal experiences in this area. I know of one instance where a pilot failed his recurrent proficiency test in the simulator. The check pilot then ticked all the boxes and gave the pilot a pass reasoning it would be difficult due cost cutting to arrange for more training for this pilot. I wonder how many more failures are given the benefit of this thinking because the check pilots know that extra training will cause gritted teeth further up the management line because of financial costs of arranging more sim time.
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Old 20th Jan 2011, 00:28
  #244 (permalink)  
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I wonder how many

A check airman is exercising a regulatory delegation when he wears his checkie hat. If the fenceline is to be moved as described then it gets to the point, very rapidly, where the check airman ought to be failing himself and either reverting to the line or further up into non-checking corporate management roles ?

To pass a failed ride because of extraneous considerations undermines the entire system.

Perhaps the other systems technique of a training session prior to the checking session would go a long way to avoiding the problem in the first place.
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Old 22nd Jan 2011, 04:44
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Just a thought - Going from a jet to a turboprop or down to a light twin always seemed molasses slow...hence much easier...

Can't speak for what the airlines actually hire for en mass, but there are some pretty stark examples of top notch aviators being passed on for low time newbies. My personal experience is that they are currently hiring team players rather then accomplished aviators that can quickly assume command position should the position open, or the need arises.
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 05:59
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My personal experience is that they are currently hiring team players rather then accomplished aviators that can quickly assume command position should the position open, or the need arises.
That is close to the truth. One operator in Australia seems to place great significance on the interview process where every question to the candidate is based upon how well you get on with your various captains during previous jobs. "Tell us about the time you disagreed with a captain's intended action and how did you cope with it".

Not one question of operational significance such as knowledge of high speed flight, airborne weather radar, slippery runway ops and so on. The candidate might have been the type to stop studying after completion of the ATPL exams and simply gone through the next few years flying in general aviation aircraft on charter ops - but failed to read up on the myriad of subjects available via the internet and which would have placed him in good stead for interviews with such advanced airlines such as Cathay. But woe betide the candidate if he gives wrong or politically incorrect answer to the HR lady about human factors in the cockpit. Out foul spot and get ye back to single pilot GA.
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 06:04
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Oh yes.

Dutchy,

you may have missed the SF340 cartwheel courtesy of KLM.

Experience ?
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 07:45
  #248 (permalink)  
 
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Quoting Tee Emm, >> [rest snipped] "But woe betide the candidate if he gives wrong or politically incorrect answer to the HR lady about human factors in the cockpit."

Now this is worrisome, where an HR personnel is going to apply their bookish understanding of HF for employing potential candidates who are professional pilots. I have seen it in my part of the world where psychologists talk about aviation problems without ever seeing the tail of the aircraft...The repercussions may not be there for all to see immediately, but hiring a politically correct guy is dangerous for professionals, who has to be competent him-/herself before they can toe others (Captains, here) line!
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 14:46
  #249 (permalink)  
 
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Given that the single greatest area of improvement in safety in the airline cockpit isn't knowledge of runway bearing weight, isn't a deep and abiding appreciation for detailed mach compression issues, and isn't an related to the understanding of airborne radar operations, it's little surprise that airlines are very interested in issues relating to Human Factors. Human Factors issues are a key, critical area, and more effort and more research, and more revolution in the cockpit has surrounded this topic than any other. The advance of CRM and subsequent relationship training in the cockpit has entirely changed the way flights are managed and conducted from the front office from the former days of the dictator-captain.

Little wonder, then, that airlines take a strong interest in personality, decision-making ability, judgment, and other Human Factors aspects of an applicant.

Testing of applicants in the airline environment has involved written tests, personal interviews, and oral individual and panel interviews for a very long time. Airline interviews include watching applicants interact with each other during lunch breaks or even in the hotel van to the interview itself. Cathay has long held a cocktail party for applicants to see how they interact with others in a social setting, as well as how they interact with their own spouse. This is nothing new.

A poster attempted to infer that technical questions have been supplanted by superfluous interrogatories involving parental approval, although he was making reference to a cadet program (where one might expect such a question; especially among young ab initio applicants). The poster (and numerous other posters) have attempted to suggest that these questions are indicative of a global conspiratorial effort by "beancounters" to lower the standards of airmanship.

The logic of this thinking fall flat, given that HR questions, tests, exams, observations, social sessions, and so forth have long been an integral part of airline testing and evaluation. Applicants for decades have been given psychological tests that asked questions like "If you have to kill your mother or your brother, which one would you kill?" "How often do you prefer to use recreational drugs: a)often, b)daily, c)weekly, d)monthly."

Such questions are not intended to determine whether one wishes to kill one's mother or one's brother. Such questions are not aimed at determining the frequency of drug usage. Such questions are designed by psychologists in concert with various airlines to test consistency, reactions, judgment, thought process, and other areas of interest. These are not new interests.

When an airline includes a written test asking an applicant to determine what geometric shape a pattern of paper would be folded to make, the airline isn't interested in whether the pilot-applicant is good at orgami. The airline isn't interested in a pilot's ability to build a box. The airline is interested in the thinking process; the airline is interested in what makes the applicant tick.

Questions regarding how one relates to another co-worker in the cockpit are directly relevant to what one does in the cockpit. Tell-me-about-a-time-that questions are very common parts of the the interview lexicon, and the information they yield, as well as the way in which the applicant responds, is an integral part of the interview. In fact, for decades, applicants have been counseled to prepare for interviews by coming up with anecdotes and answers to these types of questions, numbering in the hundreds. One should go to an interview prepared to relate a time when one handled an emergency in flight. One should be prepared to discuss one's greatest strengths, greatest weaknesses, and so forth.

That airlines ask these questions of applicants is no indictment on those firms regarding a secret agenda to lower airmanship. Indeed, airmanship is far more than hours, far more than one's understanding of a slick runway, far more than one's knowledge of transport category minimum takeoff performance criteria. Airmanship is largely defined by the apparently intangible, and it's those functions of airmanship that many elements of the interview process are intended to divine.

One may give applicants a written test covering ATP questions and will expect that most applicants will score high on the scale. If the applicants don't score so well, they've no business being there in the first place. This says nothing about the applicant's fitness for a crew position in the cockpit. Book smart doesn't a good crew member make. Technical questions, in fact, are asked as a random check to ensure that the applicant meets the expected understanding of various areas; these aren't a test to see which applicant knows the most, in order to put the most knowledgeable applicant in the seat. It doesn't work that way.

CX has always strongly emphasized an applicant's knowledge of Hong Kong, and has dwealt heavily on the applicant's genuine desire to move to and live in Hong Kong. This isn't something only asked of Cadets, but all applicants, and persons applying to CX have long been counseled to let their answers indicate their desire to live in Hong Kong. Again, not a new development. Given that the CX hiring process is part of the training pipeline (as the intake and introduction to the company and training program), the interview process there is also considered one of the toughest, most discriminating, and best in the world. Let's face it, if you can pass an interview at Cathay, you can pass an interview nearly anywhere. Cathay's interview is so broad, it leaves most others wanting; if one is prepared for an interview there, one is prepared nearly anywhere.

That HR questions are asked as part of the interview process is nothing new, nor does it represent some sinister development in a conspiracy to lower airmanship.

Airline wages, especially those at the entry level, have long been dismal, yet how is it that many of those operating at the upper levels of the industry managed to survive those low wages and work their way up? No, it doesn't drive away the "best and the brightest," because those who want to fly for a living have always faced an uphill battle and a long climb through the land of low wages, long hours, tough schedules, and hard work, to get to the "good jobs." Again, nothing new. There's no conspiracy here. No great changes. No lowering of the bar. No driving away the "best and the brightest."
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 16:35
  #250 (permalink)  
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A37575: Sadly, I too witnessed the same and when that same scenario was attempted to be forced on me, I resigned. Those of us who have WITNESSED such behavior and/or airline culture know what we're talking about. Those who haven't hope, at best, that it isn't true and thus deny what they have not witnessed.

CX ask MANY technical questions as a technique to judge a candidate's knowledge and study/preparation. (It is a common joke amongst interviewers regarding the response to swept wing questions: who read which book will provide a different regurgitated answer. The response from one author, and blindly accepted by the candidate was too funny - "Ace the Pilot Interview" I think it was or is??) They ask questions knowing that the candidate does not really know the full answer, or deliberately press a candidate to a direction in the hope they have the integrity to say, as & when needed, "I don't know." This shows the candidate, while able to provide an answer, also knows when to admit fallibility. This is believed to therefore show "trainability". No one likes a know-it-all or anyone who cannot readily accept they are wrong. The fact that CX now include such questions as "What do your parents think about you becoming a pilot?" is but ONE SMALL indictment in the interview due the management preferred CEP of recruitment over DE recruitment. The CEP pilots receive approximately 50% of the salary the DE pilots receive. Some deny the obvious that this is pure and utter cost cutting. Again, those of us who know can testify to this.

The below was received by earlier via the email network of colleagues, colleagues of colleagues, etc who forward such material amongst each other. Apologies for the length. It is from the Oz Senate Inquiry into Aviation. I searched for a link to post instead but none available (as yet?). When searching I did come across this link which is also worth reading:

Senate inquiry: Australian airlines abandon exceptional excellence in pilot training – Plane Talking

So, here's another experienced (oops....there's that swear word again) pilot's perspective. I've cut and pasted it, left all typos, etc as received. It would be interesting to hear from a JQ pilot out there regarding this? (Posted in 2 x posts due the length).

SENATE INQUIRY INTO PILOT TRAINING AND AIRLINE SAFETY
I have been a pilot in the aviation industry for over 25 years. I am a captain on the Airbus A320 with Jetstar. This submission is provided on the basis that my identity remains confidential. This is due, contrary to parliamentary privilege, to the strong probability of reprisal from Jetstar management.

Pilot Experience
Jetstar have instigated a pilot cadet program and intends to place these cadets as first officers on their aircraft. These cadets would have around 200 flight hours at the time that they start to fly for Jetstar. To put this into some perspective, I sometimes fly 200 hours in two months. It is not a lot of experience. Jetstar policy under the requirements of its operations manual (OM1) as approved by the government regulator, CASA, has a requirement of 1500 flight hours for initial intake for employment as a first officer. The cadet program would appear to be at odds with this policy, as approved by the regulator. Of the three airlines that I have worked for, the Jetstar operation would be by far the most complicated. In great part this is a result of the low cost model and the lack of resources that this model provides. For instance, traditionally, airlines have load control departments that look after the entire weight and balance of each flight and once completed, a load sheet is handed to the captain of the flight. The only input that the flight crew have is to provide the required fuel figure. This department look after all facets of the loading of the aircraft including passengers and where they are seated, baggage and where it is loaded, cargo and where it is loaded, including the carriage of special loads and dangerous goods with their special placement in specific positions on the aircraft and many other variables including the segregation of certain types of dangerous goods and the non carriage of particular dangerous good on particular aircraft due to such things as lack of ventilation in the cargo hold of some specific aircraft in the fleet. At Jetstar, this load control function is undertaken by the flight crew, while looking after all of the other aspects associated with the flight and all on 30 minute turn around. Jetstar recently outsourced its flight planning department to Manila as part of a cost saving initiative. This has resulted in many mistakes being made in the flight plans which are provided to the flight crew including, but not limited to, insufficient and therefore illegal fuel loads being provided. This results in increased work load in a time limited environment for the flight crew, to ensure that the flight departs legally. The Airbus A320 requires, by certification, a runway that is 45 metres wide. Jetstar, by way of a narrow runway exemption from the regulator, CASA, have approval to operate the aircraft into and out of 30 metre wide runways. Landing and takeoff on such a narrow runway, which also tend to be short, leaves little room for error with regard to both lateral deviation from the centre line of the runway and touchdown due to the runway being short. If asked off the record, few managers in the flight department of Jetstar would argue that operations into such ports are not without risk, yet these people lack the courage to voice these concerns to the commercial department of Jetstar, which basically dictates where we operate to. The A320 is the largest aircraft in Australia to be granted such approval. The A320, apart from being a high performance transport jet also has a unique flight control set up. Instead of a control column that is in front of the pilot, it has a small side stick on each side. With the conventional control column, each movement made by the pilot flying the aircraft is also made by the column in front of the pilot that is not flying. The pilot not flying can see every control input, because they can see the movement in their column. If needed, some assistance on the column by the captain, for instance, would not be that unusual if the inputs being made were deemed insufficient during landing, for instance. The side stick on the non flying side in an Airbus, however, remains neutral at all times and if this happens to be the captain, he cannot feel or see the inputs being made by the first officer. Additionally, if both pilots were to make inputs, they are algebraically added. This means that if both pilots make the same input, the effect on the aircraft will be doubled and if both pilots make equal but opposite inputs, the effect will be zero input. Neither of these may be have good outcomes depending on the situation. This is known on the Airbus as dual input. It is non standard procedure to have dual input on an Airbus and the procedure, if required, is for the captain to take control of the aircraft. This is very rarely required and a last resort. It is a fine line between taking over too early when it is not required and taking over too late, especially on landing. This makes the A320 more challenging for the captain with an inexperienced first officer, who through no fault of their own, still makes errors of judgement due to inexperience. Additionally, Jetstar scheduled services operate into airports that are outside of controlled airspace without the assistance of a control tower or air traffic control radar services, sometimes at night. These airports tend to have 30 metre wide, short runways and tend to have a large amount of light aircraft traffic associated with them as these airports were built for lighter traffic. It is the responsibility of the pilots at these airports to maintain separation from each other. This system is only as strong as the weakest link and the information that is provided by the pilot of the light aircraft. This pilot can sometimes be a student pilot flying by themselves. If the position and/or altitude information they provide is inaccurate and if the crew of the larger transport aircraft are not on the ball, then this single person light aircraft has the potential to bring down an aircraft carrying close to 200 people. Jetstar pilots can fly up to 1000 hours per year. We do this around the clock, 24 hours per day. We can work up to 14 hours per day up to six days in a row. Under present roster protocol, we can and do, sign on as early as 5 AM for up to four days in a row and fly up to four sectors per day and on the fifth day we could be signing on at 10 PM to fly until 7AM the next day, to then extend beyond this time due to delays. This last sign on time is probably an hour or more past bed time of the previous few days and the duty period is 180 degrees opposed to the previous duties from the clocks view point. These shifts are known as ‘back of the clock’. There is no way to be adequately rested for such a duty, as is required by law, and there can be no fatigue risk management in such rostering practices. Conversely, we could finish at 6AM after working all night, and then be signing on at 5AM the next day. Still no chance to be adequately rested with such a lack of routine.
Engineering, like all other departments, are under resourced and their attitude is sometimes that they have not got time to fix things that are wrong with the aircraft and ‘push’ flight crew to take the aircraft and have it fixed some other place or at the end of the day so that the schedule is not affected by their department. Flight crew however, have responsibility for the overall operation and at times have to insist that something is fixed prior to departure while under some pressure to continue regardless. Add to these Jetstar specific threats, the normal ones of bad weather and instrument approaches, thunderstorms, fog, cyclones, general traffic, international operations with limited support, diversions to unfamiliar places both within Australia and internationally, high terrain and single runway operations, where if an aircraft becomes disabled on the runway, the flight may be unable to land and will probably have few options available with regard to other airports with the available fuel, and you really start to see the complication of this Jetstar operation overall. As a captain on the A320, I rely on a competent and aviation experienced first officer for support in high work load and non normal/emergency situations. When all is good, one could probably fly the aircraft alone. It is when things are not good that you need the experience sitting beside you and, you can never tell when that will be. Jetstar, by providing insufficient resources in other operational areas, place a great deal of responsibility on the flight crew, particularly the captain, to ensure that the operation is not only carried out safely but is also done within the requirements of the law. This can add significantly to the pressure of an already, well known to be, stressful job. I have provided a lot of specific and general information under this sub section of ‘pilot experience’ quite deliberately, and that is to show that this Jetstar operation specifically and regular public transport jet operations more generally, are complicated and sometimes high risk and are no place for a pilot with 200 flight hours or the experience equivalent of two months in the industry.

USA 1500 flight hours requirement for RPT services
As is shown on page 4-20 of the Jetstar operations manual (OM1), as approved by the government regulator, CASA, Jetstar already have a requirement to employ pilots with in excess of 1500 flight hours to act as first officers. For all of the reasons already stated in sub section a, this seems to be a reasonable level of experience to start on an operation as I have described it and, indeed, is seen as such by the Jetstar flight department and CASA. Jetstar have started a pilot cadet program and intend to employ first officers with as little as 200 flight hours, which is well below that which is required by the operations manual. They have done this, not due to the fact that there is a lack of suitable pilots in Australia, but purely for financial reasons. The list of cost saving and money making exercises that Jetstar have running is long and none of them have safety as a consideration, but most are outside of the terms of reference for this enquiry. For the record, policy of Jetstar senior management is for a 10 percent cost reduction per year. This is absolutely unsustainable. There are many examples of major accidents of aircraft that were operated by companies that, for whatever reason, were in the process of long term, aggressive cost cutting programs. Jetstar are possibly making a profit from the substantial training costs associated with the self funded cadet program. One hundred and seventy thousand dollars, seems to be a rather large amount of money to train a person to be a first officer on an A320. On top of this is the fact that once employed (there are no guarantees), these pilots will be on a much inferior contract to the certified agreement that the rest of the Jetstar Australia pilots are on. Add the possible profit from training to the significantly reduced wages that these pilots will be on and you start to see that this is not about demand for pilots but about a new recruitment method which fits in with Jetstar’s constant drive to undercut wages and reduce costs and, for the reasons mentioned under sub section a, this will have a detrimental effect on safety. Qantas have long run a successful cadet program, employing pilots into their company with 200 hours or similar. The difference however, is that these pilots are employed as second officers and are not in the control seat for takeoff or landing. They are there for in flight rest purposes on long haul flights and it is the captain and first officer who conduct the flying. These pilots gain experience on the job over some years and would have some thousands of hours experience by the time that they become first officers on, say, a Boeing 737. It needs to be remembered that the USA 1500 hour requirement was introduced as a result of a catastrophic aircraft accident in the United States that was deemed, in part, to be the result of crew inexperience. Let us not have to introduce such an initiative after an event.

Pilot Recruitment and Pay for training schemes
I have touched on Jetstar pilot recruitment and my belief of the reasons that Jetstar have set up a pilot cadet program, in sub section b. That reason is to reduce wages costs and has nothing to do with the availability of suitable pilots from within the industry and that it will have a detrimental effect on safety.
In days past, a pilot would be employed by an airline and that airline would be responsible for, and take the risk for, the provision of all costs associated with the training of this pilot including the endorsement on the applicable aircraft. This investment in this employee was taken seriously at the recruitment stage, as the investment was large. So seriously, in fact that, in days gone by, an applicant would not even be considered if above the age of 26. This was so that the airline concerned would get a reasonable return on the investment made in the individual. Additionally, due in great part to a strict seniority system (date of joining determines promotion ect.) and the fact that terms and conditions were much better than they are today in low cost carriers, a pilot would, in almost all circumstances, stay with the first airline to employ them until retirement.
Today, however, things are very different. Today all of the risk is placed on the employee and the company have little from a cost view point. It costs around $35,000 dollars including GST, for a pilot to gain an aircraft endorsement on say an A320. (The pilot is required to pay the full amount even though Jetstar claim the GST as a business expense and pocket this in spite of it being paid by the pilot) As the pilot has paid for the endorsement, after a small amount of company provided induction training, what remains is line training on the aircraft. Unlike in the past, the first time that a pilot in Jetstar actually flies the aircraft and probably the first time that they have flown a jet aircraft will be with a load of passengers on board. I make this point to show that even under training, this pilot is providing revenue for the airline and is of no cost. If at the end of this training, which takes around two months, the pilot is considered unsuitable, then their employment will be terminated. The $35,000 is still paid by the pilot. This means that the recruitment that in the past was taken so seriously is no longer as critical, as all of the cost risk is now transferred to the pilot and little cost has been incurred by the airline through this process. This may mean that a pilot, who would not have been found suitable at the recruitment stage, in the past, is let through to the training stage due to the low cost risk for the airline. This pilot may slip through the net and, even though substandard, will remain at the airline. Along similar lines, when substandard pay and conditions are offered, such as those offered in New Zealand by Jetstar, then this means that the best applicants are not attracted to these positions. Jetstar seem willing to accept this unarguable reduction in safety so long as there is a commensurate reduction in wages costs. In days past, the employing airline provided the training via their own simulators with training conducted by airline employees who were generally current senior training and checking captains who were obviously up to date with current airline procedures and processes. Today, these aircraft endorsements are provided by third parties and not an airline. The instructors are generally not current pilots and may not have flown for many years. In the case of my A320 endorsement, my instructor had never flown a jet aircraft and had little idea of Jetstar procedures. This makes it much more difficult for the trainee to come into the Jetstar system and achieve a reasonable result at a training level. It must be remembered that the first time that the trainee flies the aircraft will be with passengers on board. This has not always been the case, with airlines previously providing takeoff and landing training in the aircraft without passengers. This makes the endorsement training now, so much more important than in the past, when in fact, the training is, for reasons stated above, much inferior. Combine this type of training with low experience cadet pilots and the safety implications really start to multiply.

Retention of experienced pilots
In sub section c, I explained that in the past a pilot would join an airline and stay with that airline for their whole career. This was due to a strict seniority system (date of joining) which determined, amongst other things, promotion. If the pilot, after a number of years, left one airline and joined another then they would start at the bottom again and, from a promotion view point, the time spent in the previous airline is wasted. These days, in low cost carriers at least, the seniority system tends to be much less rigid, if it exists at all, and therefore I could spend many years at Jetstar and have a more junior pilot take a promotion ahead of me at the discretion of management. This has already happened on numerous occasions in the history of Jetstar. It means that the guarantees that were provided previously are no longer there and that to leave is not with the same risks as 1; I may not get the promotion that I would be due under a strict seniority system and 2; If I leave and go to another airline I may take a promotion at the expense of another pilot at that airline and thereby do not take such a risk to leave the first airline. This does, however, mean that the first airline looses my experience and possibly replaces me with a first time captain who, now, is a new captain flying with first officers with 200 flight hours under the Jetstar cadet scheme. This may be okay as a single event but if you end up with a mass exodus of captains from one airline due to, say, a foreign airline setting up a base in Australia offering better terms and conditions, then this becomes a serious safety issue, with inexperienced captains flying, constantly, with inexperienced first officers. This brings me to my next point. In the past, apart from a strict seniority system, airline pilots were paid well and the conditions associated with the job were also good. Additionally, due to the fact the pilots were well supported with resources to do their job well, as opposed to low cost carriers, the job was easier. Today, however, in low cost carriers such as Jetstar this is not the case and we are not, by world standards, well paid. Jetstar A330 pilots would be some of the lowest paid in the western world. This manifest itself as a negative safety outcome due to lack of retention of experienced pilots when, for instance, the new foreign airline opens its base in Australia and for the reasons stated above there is a mass exodus of experienced crew, leaving a hole in the experience base. It is by no accident that Australia has the exemplary aviation safety record that it has. That it does has is, historically, due to well structured training systems in airlines, due to stable working conditions and due to well maintained aircraft operated by highly experienced crew. As the industry stands now, I feel that the jury is out on what the next few years will hold if there are not significant changes made in the legislation that allows airlines to now operate in very different ways to that which has seen our airline safety record as the envy of the rest of the world.
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 16:37
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(continued)

Type rating and recurrent training
I have covered the negative aspects of the way type ratings are obtained under sub section

c.
With regard to recurrent training, the point that I will make is that once trained to the ‘line’ on a particular aircraft, and apart from some recurrent courses through the year, there really isn’t any training. The great majority of time spent in simulators is not training at all but, instead, checking. A great deal of opportunity is missed to improve standards by taking this approach. Yes, one has to meet a minimum standard and as long as this is met there is no training. Once again this comes down to a lack of commitment by these airlines to improving standards by committing funds, not to meet minimum standards, but to exceed them.

Capacity of CASA
Casa have in the past allowed Jetstar to vary minimum industry standards to the detriment of safety for commercial reasons. That is cost cutting. As one example, is the reduction of required flight attendants on the Airbus A321. In their constant pursuit of cost cutting, Jetstar approached CASA with a view of reduction below minimum crew. This involved many changes to standard procedures to make things work. This means that there are different procedures in place, both normal and emergency, between the A320 and the A321. It needs to be understood that pilots and flight attendants fly on both of these aircraft. Some flight attendants also fly on the A330. This lack of standardisation affects safety and, adds pressure to, and makes crew jobs more difficult. On the A321, due to the crew reduction, the cabin manager is, during takeoff and landing, up the front by themselves, when normally and on the A320, two crew are at the front of the aircraft. During the pre-flight briefing, passengers are required to be asked to help with an evacuation even when all crew are conscious. It is one thing to brief passengers on the use of an over wing exit but quite another to require them to use a primary door just so that Jetstar can reduce the crew compliment by one. What if the passenger wants to have an alcoholic drink or two in-flight? Are they still fit to be assisting a flight attendant to operate doors during an emergency evacuation? During a ditching, the procedure for the first officer is varied on the A321 when compared to the A320 due, once again, to Jetstar reducing below minimum crew to cut costs. This means that the first officer needs to remember to vary this procedure depending on the aircraft type involved. All of this has a negative impact on safety, complicating further, an already complicated operation and I feel that CASA have erred in granting this approval to Jetstar based on commercial cost cutting and have negatively impacted safety in the process. This will not be the only instance of CASA approving company requests, for commercial reasons, which have a negative impact on safety. Legislative immunity to pilots reporting safety matters Pilots need to be provided with legislative immunity when reporting safety operational matters as this will encourage the reporting of such matters, without the fear of reprisal and will thereby have a positive effect on safety.
j. other related matters

1. Fatigue risk management system
Australian airlines should be required by law to adhere to a common and acceptable FRMS in order to combat poor and unsafe rostering practices.

2. Flight attendant training
Jetstar recently cut by around half, the training provided to cabin crew. This has resulted in new flight attendants being stood down by both Cabin Managers and Captains due to a lack of operational knowledge. In one instance, a crew member did not know how to arm an aircraft door at the start of the flight even though they had completed training and had been cleared to the line. Airlines should have to meet acceptable training standard for flight attendant training.

3. Operating manuals
Jetstar pilots are not provided with up to date company documents for study purposes. Instead, we are provided with a CD with these documents on them. This type of information dissemination has a number of problems. Jetstar procedures are constantly changing, and after being thrown a disk with thousands of pages of information, amended as necessary, one is left with much work trying to work out what has changed. It is very difficult to effectively study on a computer screen and in the format provided, it is not possible to highlight text. Further, Jetstar do not provide equipment to read these disk and don’t seem concerned that some pilots may not have a computer and therefore have no way of accessing critical procedural information. Even our cabin crew are provided with hard copies of their manuals. I don’t think that the travelling public would think it good that the pilots flying their aircraft were not up to date with the latest information. Jetstar should be required to provide its pilots with up to date manuals in hard copy form or at least give the pilot the option of such.

4. Qantas group safety survey
A Qantas group airline safety survey has recently been conducted, with input sought from all staff. If this information is available to this Senate enquiry, then this may provide some interesting comparisons between the views of Qantas Airlines’ pilots and those of their Jetstar counterparts. I feel that the views of safety in the respective airlines will be vastly different and that Jetstar will be seen as much less safe, as an airline, by its pilots. If this is the case, then it would show a lower level of safety in the low cost model, as seen by the pilots, and that, in Australia, would be unacceptable.

5. Endorsement GST cost
If able, this Senate enquiry should investigate the fact that Jetstar claim the endorsement cost GST back as a business cost and pockets this money, even though the pilot has ultimately paid this money and not Jetstar.

6. Legislative powers granted to airline flight departments and safety departments
If able, this Senate enquiry should investigate the possibility of providing legislative powers to airline flight department and/or safety departments so that they alone, are responsible for the safety of the airline operation and have the power to determine how and to where the airline will operate, with safety as its primary focus, with severe penalties for not operating with safety as the primary focus. Airline safety departments should be made, by law, to be separate and independent from the commercial departments of airlines, just as the judicial system is separate from government, in the interests of safety. If an airline, such as Jetstar, is to maintain the ‘privilege’ of having the responsibility to determine its own safety outcomes by the regulator, then they need to take this responsibility seriously by allocating sufficient resources to allow safety departments to do their work and, indeed, should be required to do so by the law. Jetstar, I feel strongly, do not provide even nearly enough of these resources and they do not take safety nearly seriously enough.

7. Pilot Morale
Since the inception of Jetstar in 2004 and even prior to this in Impulse Airlines, this pilot group have ‘bent over backwards’ to ensure the success of the Airline during its continued growth in the absence of suitable operational resources as has been explained elsewhere in this document. They have accepted substandard wages and conditions, by world standards, to ensure the viability of the model. All that they have expected in return is for Jetstar management to honour the commitments, both legal and inferred, that they have made to this group. Of particular note, are notices written by then C.E.O Allen Joyce in the lead up to the 2008 Jetstar Pilot’s EBA vote. These notices indicated that if the 2008 EBA was voted in the affirmative, that this would ensure that the pilots covered by it would share in the future growth of the aircraft covered by it, most notably the Boeing 787. The 2008 EBA was accepted by the majority of the pilot group on this basis. As it now turns out, Jetstar decide that they are no longer willing to play by the rules set in good faith by EBA 2008 and by contrast have decided that they will offshore, in one instance, these jobs to overseas ports and in the second instance, start up a new contract company within Australia, no less, featuring, no doubt, based on past performance, vastly reduced terms and conditions. All the while reducing its wages bill and reneging on its commitment that it made to its pilots in 2008.
The cause and effect of this is difficult to reconcile. The cause is the way that Jetstar operate at an industrial level and is in no way covered by this Senate inquiry. The effect however, is the potential to have a very negative safety outcome for aviation and is therefore absolutely covered by this inquiry. I have described previously how complicated that this Jetstar operation is and it needs no further expansion. With such an operation however, comes a requirement for, at times, absolute concentration of thought. In a company where a pilot, rightly or wrongly, feels to be under constant ‘attack’ this can prove difficult. I can tell this inquiry through this submission that, rightly or wrongly, a great deal of time on Jetstar flight decks is spent discussing the industrial relations strategy of Jetstar management. This probably happens on every Jetstar flight deck every day to varying degrees.
Pilots are a different employee group to any other by virtue of the fact that we tend to be very long term. Contrary to Jetstar managements’ appalling ‘catch cry’ that they don’t expect their pilots to last more than around five years, as we will be ‘burnt out by then’, (this is a stolen catch cry from Ryan Air CEO Michael O’Leary) the vast majority of pilots will be around for many years longer than this. Indeed, the average pilot will be around many times longer than the average manager, including senior management. This is why pilots take the future direction of a company so seriously. Long after the managers have left, taking their KPI performance based bonuses, achieved through cost cutting, with them, it is the new management and the long term employees who are left to pick up the pieces and try to make things work. The attempted private equity buy out of Qantas by, amongst others, TPG and Macquarie springs to mind and the open joy that this was met with by then CEO Geoff Dixon, based on greed. Qantas would very probably be bankrupt now, given that the whole transaction was based on debt and that the future, at the time, would see the global financial crisis take place and claim a great many companies worldwide with high debt profiles. In my 25 years plus, in aviation, I have never seen morale amongst a group of pilots nearly as low as that of this Jetstar group. I strongly believe that the Australian travelling public deserve much better than to be flown around by pilots of a major Australian airline who feel under constant threat and who are worried about their futures. Jetstar management have, I can confirm, been warned by some very senior pilots, who see what goes on on Jetstar flight decks, that they have a major problem in this regard. The reply by these managers is typical, and to quote, ‘’we don’t think we have a problem’’. I wish to state for the record, that I strongly feel that this low morale amongst the Jetstar pilot group is a huge problem and has the potential for a negative safety outcome. If a solution to this problem is beyond the scope of this inquiry, then CASA should be commissioned to recognise that the problem exists in the first instance, and to then work with Jetstar and the pilot body to find solutions to its cause.
Conclusion;
The low cost model generally and the Jetstar model specifically, are operated with minimum resources allocated to them in the interests of cost savings.
These airlines are operated to the limit in all areas, with the allocation of resources based on a perfect outcome every time. In reality, however, this is never the case. As soon as one aircraft runs late, for instance, the operation, which relies on the perfect outcome each time, is adversely affected.
James Reason, an aviation risk expert, devised a simple model some years ago, which I have included as a diagram. The model consists of slices of Swiss cheese lined up on end. Each one represents a layer of resistance, representing procedures and processes that are designed to ensure safety. Like all systems, there will be flaws and these are represented by the holes in the cheese. Invariably, one layer will be penetrated via a hole, only to have the next layer trap the threat and the problem is averted. When it just happens that something goes wrong, and it so happens that all of the holes line up, then the treat gets though each layer that is designed to trap it and the accident occurs. The first of these layers tend to be systems and procedures controlled by senior management and are representative of the way that the airline is run. Pilots tend to be the last layer of this model and thereby represent the last chance to save the operation from an accident or an incident occurring and this is often the case. When an airline is run right to the limit every day, in all aspects, as I hope that I have been successful in describing throughout this submission, then the odds of the holes all lining up are vastly increased. As detailed at the start of this submission, my name and contact details must remain confidential and appear nowhere in any document that could reveal my identity.
SENATE INQUIRY INTO PILOT TRAINING AND AIRLINE SAFETY
Summary
Pilot experience
An explanation of how complicated an RPT jet operation is, particularly one that is of the low cost model and my view that it is no place for an inexperienced pilot.
USA 1500 flight hour requirement for RPT
An explanation of the Jetstar minimum experience requirements, as approved by the regulator, the fact that these match the new USA minimum requirements for RPT and the fact that these US requirements were introduced as a result of an accident and that we should act prior to not after an event.
Pilot recruitment and pay for training schemes
An explanation of the way that recruitment and training in airlines used to be conducted and that today it is not as good as then, even though the operation of low cost carriers is a complicated one and now, the first time that a pilot will fly the aircraft is with passengers on board.
Retention of experienced pilots
An explanation that a strict seniority system and good pay and conditions in the past ensured that airlines retained their most experienced crew members and that today with low cost carriers possibly having neither of these two things, that experienced pilots may be hard to retain.
Type rating and recurrent training
An explanation that simulators are not, but could be, used to much greater effect for recurrent training to not just meet, but to improve standards.
Capacity of CASA
An explanation that CASA have previously granted concessions to Jetstar, requested for commercial reasons, and that these concessions have an adverse affect on safety.
Legislative immunity to pilots reporting safety matters
Self explanatory.
j. Other related matters
Self explanatory.
James Reason’s Model.
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Old 23rd Jan 2011, 19:04
  #252 (permalink)  
 
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Remember it the Luddittes.

Around here there USED to be a joke that we have more PHD waitresses then anywhere else...back when the hiring profile was to employ the best people available.

So what's changed. There is a newer school of thought now in that you hire the lowest, barely acceptable employee that you can: He will not leave, his is already at his potential, he will complain less, you can pay him less.

If domestic jobs can move overseas for the simple fact that you can hire a villager who can't read to do a job for a tenth that a domestic worker...then it follows that in cockpit you hire a lowest barely qualified individual as well.

So what is required for a pilot to sit right seat, flying the same canned flights for the next six months, he will not accomplish on iota of flight planning, not making any decisions, he will help the captain and be there for him. For all intensive purposes, if he can grab the gear handle and move it up and down, he is qualified to fly for most airlines today...given that he captain doesn't keel over, adjust his seat wrong, or fly the plane into a mountain.

With the advent EGPWS...and TCAS they pretty much took care of the last problem....and since we have been on auto pilots for some time, hand flying skills seems a thing of the past...

So as long as automation is allowing for less 'pilot'...and profits are the motivation....then it's no wonder, that less and less 'pilot' in the cockpit will be the trend...even Embraer and Ryanair's CEO think airlines are going single pilot in the future..

I imagine that the flight engineers railed at planes coming out without the third seat...no wonder in the future career first officers will complain of their jobs going way as well..

Curious if surveillance pilots in the military are complaining about UAVs taking their jobs.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 06:03
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I imagine that the flight engineers railed at planes coming out without the third seat...no wonder in the future career first officers will complain of their jobs going way as well..
The FO will always be there as the push to get rid of them, which originated in Europe, has now been supplanted by the profit that can be made out of making them pay for their training.
Maybe they will soon bring back the third seat when the beancounters realise just how much money they are missing out on by not being able to sell it also.
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 07:16
  #254 (permalink)  
 
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Curious if surveillance pilots in the military are complaining about UAVs taking their jobs.
Actually, that's a valid question, and one that opens a big can of worms. In short, while the USAF graduated more UAV operators the year before last, than pilots, there are still many manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platforms in use; these numbers are also increasing.

Given the nature of ISR operations, discussing the pros and cons here is inappropriate, but suffice it to say that there are strong arguments in favor of manned platforms over the UAV for many applications. Among them is cost.

The FO will always be there as the push to get rid of them, which originated in Europe, has now been supplanted by the profit that can be made out of making them pay for their training.
The pay-for-training argument has been around for a long time now, and is so tired and worn-out that it usually marks the beginning of a juvenile discussion involving rank amateures. "Beancounters" don't decide if a second pilot is required in the cockpit. Certification and operational regulatory requirements make that requirement. Any grandstanding for the press by an Irish CEO to the contrary doesn't change that, one iota, any more than the notion of standing seats or free oral sex for passengers does. Sensationalism won't alter the regulation.

Maybe they will soon bring back the third seat when the beancounters realise just how much money they are missing out on by not being able to sell it also.
Interesting that you should bring that up. It's nonsensical, of course, but no, we're not seeing a trend toward adding flight engineers to aircraft that don't have them, or future designs. Certainlyk, the FE would be a welcome addition. Those who haven't operated with an FE as part of the cockpit complement don't know what they're missing.

Many of us who have operated in a three man cockpit are also former engineers or hold engineer certification, myself included. Most all engineers left flying today are very experienced, and generally are PFE's, as opposed to inexperienced kids working their way up. I've been fortunate to be a part of three-man operations in piston, turboprop, and turbojet equipment, and formerly instructed flight engineers.

Seeing as you mentioned it, however, the flight engineer seat has long been an entry level position. Today it's the FE seat, but in former times it was the Second Officer position; a place for neophyte pilots who were working their way up the chain. It's also a place where individuals with no flight experience at all, in many cases little more than a mechanic certificate, a commercial pilot certificate, and a minute smattering of flight time in a logbook, could upgrade to the right seat, and eventually the left.

Thus, in a discussion in which you and many others have cited the great "beancounter" conspiracy, you point to a traditional pathway to the left seat for pilots with nearly no experience outside the airline cockpit. You suggest the FE seat as a technique for "beancounters" to make a profit, as though it might be a detrimental dumbing down of the global airmanship quotient, yet apparently fail to recognize that it was one of the principle paths to command for many decades, in aircraft so equipped. You can't really have you cake and eat it too, you know.

Around here there USED to be a joke that we have more PHD waitresses then anywhere else...back when the hiring profile was to employ the best people available.
Of course, there's little point. Having a PhD doesn't make one the best person for the job, just extremely over qualified in some cases. Overqualified for what, is a different matter. Sitting behind a stack of books doesn't necessarily qualify one for much more than passing tests and writing a thesis.

Staying with the tongue-in-cheek analogy, however, the waitress with a PhD is wasting the degree, To replace all waitresses with no degree isn't a loss in quality of waitresses, because the degree is largely irrelevant to the position. Likewise, the same may be said for a pilot, too. A degree isn't necessary to fly an airplane. In fact, it makes no difference it all in ability, or capability to fly an airplane. If one suddenly had non degree'd applicants from which to choose, then it wouldn't change airmanship, capability, or judgment in the cockpit. Just the number of degrees.

With the advent EGPWS...and TCAS they pretty much took care of the last problem....and since we have been on auto pilots for some time, hand flying skills seems a thing of the past...
I find that to be the case with very experienced pilots as well as inexperienced pilots. If one were to really drag out the "beancounter" argument as far as it could go (to validate it), one might say that getting rid of the autopilots would save installation, acquisition, maintenance, and training costs. Ironically, it's been proven that the autopilot does a better and more accurate job than pilots do. We don't see autopilots being replaced, nor do we see pilots being replaced. Go figure.

So as long as automation is allowing for less 'pilot'...and profits are the motivation....then it's no wonder, that less and less 'pilot' in the cockpit will be the trend...even Embraer and Ryanair's CEO think airlines are going single pilot in the future..
Less pilot in the cockpit? Michael O'Leary preaches that business class passengers will receive free oral copulation, too, but it's nothing more than bluster. Personally, I prefer a hand-flown approach and I do all departures by hand; often until RVSM calls for autopilot engagement. I know individuals who apply autopilot as early in the flight as possible, and who disengage it as late as possible. Sometimes their call, sometimes an employer call, but you're going to have a hard time quantifying that "less pilot" notion. Less hours doesn't necessarily mean less pilot, and neither does less experience. Again we go back to operations such as Lufthansa and KLM, which utilize ab initio cadet programs, but which definitely do not suffer for professionalism.
I imagine that the flight engineers railed at planes coming out without the third seat...no wonder in the future career first officers will complain of their jobs going way as well..
Setting aside the certification requirements, at what point do you think the public is going to buy into that notion?
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Old 24th Jan 2011, 21:11
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Certainly there isn't outrage publicly at 200 hour pilots in the cockpits now...and I am sure that if the ticket prices were low enough, you could probably pack passengers onto a pilot-less plane, given some reasonable assurances of safety.

I suspect the public, knowing little technically of aviation, might actually be 'sold' on a bank of computers flying the plane, vs a very human and fallible being at the controls. Maybe not in this century, but after a hundred years of UAVs flying around, they might come to be trusted.

If history can be counted on to the predict the future...most embrace technology...with the exception being those that are out of a job because of it.

As sad as this sounds, the only reversal I see in a trend of hiring less qualified aviators is the Darwinian result where even the best equipment can't stop a future trend of plane crashes...with the inevitable result of chief pilots being forced to hire more qualified pilots in place of team players.
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Old 25th Jan 2011, 11:08
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Certainly there isn't outrage publicly at 200 hour pilots in the cockpits now...and I am sure that if the ticket prices were low enough, you could probably pack passengers onto a pilot-less plane, given some reasonable assurances of safety.
Don't get me started on the limitations and evils of the unmanned platform. It's something I can't and won't discuss here, for reasons I can't and won't discuss here, beyond saying that for the myriad advantages such platforms offer (presently primarily military in nature), the limitations and drawbacks are nearly overwhelming. That such programs exist presently is largely a function of politics and strings being pulled, not operational necessity or superiority. With that verbose non-statement, let me sum it up further by stating for the record that the platforms in use today, for all their expense and publicity, are NOT what they're cracked up to be.

I've never had so many near mid-airs as I have when operating in close concert with unmanned platforms. That's all I'll say on that subject.

You're probably right; a percentage of the public is more concerned about the bottom line than anything else, and may very well fly regardless of whether a living, breathing pilot is in the seat, or an inflatable "Otto" (like in the movie).

Before the industry deteriorates to that level (a quantum change from the current situation; one can't draw a linear path from here to there and attempt to show it as the inevitable conclusion, or even an extension of current events), the public will become informed. While those who might push the agenda of a pilotless platform would have every reason in the world to sell the public on safety, pilot unions, interest groups, lobbyists, and a host of others would pile in with a campaign to inform the public. Nobody is going there blindly. It's one thing to sell an arms committee on a ridiculously-expensive platform that's ridiculously undercapable; it's another entirely to sell the world population down the river in an unmanned transport.

Ultimately, a particular design platform is purchased by an airline because of it's economical viability. While the so-called "beancounters" might see some measure of savings to be had in a "pilotless" platform, such savings are minor compared to any issues which might develop.

Several days ago I experienced a TCAS Resolution Advisory while departing a busy terminal area. I was where I was supposed to be, at the altitude assigned. Another aircraft descended into us. The TCAS advised a descent, which was performed, and we returned to our altitude as soon as the event was clear. We advised ATC. We also advised ATC at that time that we were returning, and that we had seen the other aircraft. Automation could be made to execute the avoidance maneuver in concert to a TCAS alert or resolution advisory, but it wouldn't have provided a report of "traffic in sight" or information on the other aircraft. Human intervention, in concert with advanced, capable cockpit avionics, provided the information we used to operate safely.

Today we do use a lot of equipment in the cockpit which surpasses by orders of magnitude the computing capability of the last moon shot. We use equipment which is capable of incredible accuracy, of precision, of safety. Often pilots are directed to use autopilots because the autopilots can give better rides than we can, and they can do it more precisely with less bracketing, less oscillation, easier transitions, fewer (if any) overshoots, and so forth. This capability sometimes gives rise to the fanciful notion that if the autopilot does so well, we should allow the autopilot to do all the work. Again, it's extended logic that sounds good on paper, but falls flat in practice, and we (in the cockpit) all know why.

We're not hired for our ability to be physically present. We're not hired because we're switch throwers or manipulators of controls. We're not hired for the monkey-skills of flying an airplane. We're all expected to have those basic capabilities, but we're hired to think. We're hired for judgment. We're hired because the buck stops with us; when the spring comes unwound, when the sky actually begins to fall, when the normal no longer ceases to be the norm, there's us. It's what we do. In the end, when automation ceases, when the FMS goes blank, when the reservoir goes dry, and when the fire quits, what stands between angels and the passengers is the pilot, and it's the pilot who acts on behalf of the angels.

We all know that autopilots don't fly airplanes. We know that pilots fly airplanes through autopilots. We all know that when ATC tells us "turn right heading two seven zero, for traffic," we're the ones who make the change, but we're the ones who say "unable right due weather, suggest..." and then act based on our own judgment. Sure, a computer might be able to command that right turn into weather, and it might be programmable for algorithms that view a storm gradient mathematically, but in the end the computer can't judge. We can. We're not quiet about that fact, either.

There's no logical progression here to elimination of the first officer/copilot. There's no logical progression here to elimination of the crew entirely in favor of a fully automated cockpit. The automation we do enjoy is a tool through which we work, and nothing more. This is no secret among crews, though perhaps news to the public. To promote an agenda of crying the sky is falling and that airmanship is on a steady decline and death spiral on the tip of an agenda propagated by airline "beancounters" is to incite false excitement among the gullible. Not to reveal the truth.

Everyone has to start somewhere. Nobody is magically experienced in the cockpit. Traditionally, first officers and copilots are the least experienced complement of the cockpit. This isn't true of all equipment, of course; some equipment, some seats, are senior in the business and aren't filled with neophytes. Many, however, are. At what point does one draw the line? The new pilot in the Beech 1900? The new pilot in the B737? Is that any different than a new pilot in a B757?

We look to the training provided each pilot. I have sat at the end of the runway with a new pilot as he whistled under his breath, looking out at a picture-perfect low ceiling on departure, and heard him say "Wow, this is just like the sim," and I've shaken my head and chuckled. I've looked back across my career and seen three ways I've grown and learned, none of which should be removed or supplanted. I've been mentored, taught by those with far more experience and wisdom. I've been instructed and trained in classrooms and in flight and in simulators. I've been in situations that taught great lessons (as the character Steve McGarrett from the TV show 'Hawaii Five-O' once remarked, "We don't make mistakes here; we just learn great lessons). Experience. We all have to get it somewhere.

The military pilot is placed in a very expensive, very advanced cockpit after very few hours, all of it training, and shot off the deck of a carrier into the night to fight a war in a high performance turbojet aircraft loaded to gross with fuel, weapons, and complex equipment. This same pilot flies formation, handflies approaches to minimums where no approaches exist in the middle of the ocean, flies down canyons in the dark, and operates precisely enough to shoot down other aircraft. Nobody decries that pilot; he's lauded and celebrated, and we can look back over many of the heroic and acclaimed military aviators to find they made their mark as an inexperienced, low time neophyte. How could they do it?

Training and judgment. The various militaries can place a 250 hour pilot in the most advanced cockpits in the world and send some of them to do some of the toughest jobs in the world, yet we're hearing people here whine and complain that an airline can't put a low-time pilot in a seat and have him or her fly a middle-of-the-road one-way point-to-point fly-by-the-numbers airline trip, deep inside the safety of the pre-predicted (and guaranteed) performance envelope?

How do we explain the outstanding professionalism and safety record of the airlines currnently using cadet programs? Contrary to what some initio isn't a suggest, ab initio isn't a cheap way to bring pilots on board, and it's not an easy way to an airline seat for applicants, either. Don't get me wrong; I scrimped and scraped to get where I was going. It was a very difficult path. To watch a 250 or 300 hour pilot bouncing into place isn't an easy thing to swallow, for me, or for other posters here (especially those who quit their position or couldn't get hired somewhere). One can develop a case of sour grapes, cry the sky is falling and whine to high heaven or one can recognize that these things aren't new, airmanship isn't dead, and that this is the world in which we live (deal with it), and move on with life.

Personally, I elect to move on. The sky really isn't falling. Airmanship really isn't dead, and we aren't under attack by a secret order of "beancounters." Inexperienced pilots in the cockpit aren't new, whether it's the upgrading second officer/FE, or the minority programs run by flag operators such as United Airlines (a 500 hour ethnic or female applicant hired over a 5,000 hour anglo male, for example), or the hiring that's been taking place over the last 60 years of low time pilots into airline seats; this isn't a new thing. It's not a new development. This isn't the end. There's no great conspiracy. It's another day in an evolving industry that runs in ups and downs, cycles, and lives upon the one constant we all know and understand: change.
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Old 25th Jan 2011, 17:46
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It begs to ask the question that unless something changes...the kids will be flying the big gear, back and forth, in a very antiseptic environment, programming the plane to fly to the same place, same alts, same approaches...


And the old work horses are off in far flung places, flying junk in austere conditions, as they are the only ones who can still do that type of flying.
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Old 26th Jan 2011, 05:31
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The new pilot in the Beech 1900? The new pilot in the B737? Is that any different than a new pilot in a B757?
Hell yes it is fella. Those of us the LHS and checking/training roles and departments of airlines realise this.

The various militaries can place a 250 hour pilot in the most advanced cockpits in the world and send some of them to do some of the toughest jobs in the world.....
Yeah right.... Air Force pilots graduate with a shiny CPL with 250 hrs TT and go straight into operational ops in a FA-18E, Eurofighter, or F22 Raptor. Yeah, that's how it's done..... Forget the 100's of hours of high performance trainers (often turbo props), then into fighter jet trainers for a few hundred more hours, not to mention the 30+ hours week in the classroom, the 8 hr debriefs from a 1.5 hr sortie where EVERY maneuvre, attitude, selection & decision is analysed to the n'th degree, the hours of briefing & prep for each training sortie, the time flying as a low ranking officer until the experience is earned and accredited to posses the responsibility for such a highly sophisticated and demanding job. Whereby for every 1 hr of "real time" operational flight is serviced by hundreds of hours in training..... Shows once again your utter and sheer ignorance of the pedestal from which you preach. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt" - Mark Twain.

I spent a period in the time out box simply for doing some minute looking to discover who are and the sand that is the foundations of your opinions. I would invite others to do the same. It won't take long.

No fella, you are the chip on a vast many a user's shoulder on this forum. That is & has been all too easily highlighted from your past encounters. I resigned from the said position to keep my integrity in tact and NOT bow down to a corrupt and abusive safety and training department that is AI. Please look that word up: "integrity". It'll be as alien as "humility". Even though you have ZERO experience in such airline management cultures, you'll deny they exist. For the record, I took 4 weeks off after resigning from AI and then took a job that was offered to me as TRE/I on the 777. "Couldn't get hired"? Experience and credentials have afforded me never to be in that position.

"Wow, this is just like the sim," and I've shaken my head and chuckled.
I'm glad that amused you. Lining up in a 2 or 4 seater about to do some circuits or steep turns in the training area must have really had you worried! But when similar comments are presented from a 175-250 hr TT FO on a B777-200LR/300ER when you're about to depart with 340+ pax over Afghanistan and N.A.T. system with very poor wx ahead, that same situation isn't so amusing. Again, FACTS witnessed at AI as a TRE/I that you'll deny despite ZERO evidence, experience or credentials to do so.

Ozzie aviation is holding an entire Senate Enquiry into the issues facing aviation there. HIGHLY experienced CAPTAINS and FO's are compelled to submit reports on the industry as they see it, based on their FIRST HAND experiences, as shown in my earlier post. Of course, they are all wrong in your eyes? Those who share their eye-witnessed accounts here are all wrong? TRE/I's who see the degradation standards day in, day out are all wrong? Blatant evidence of airline managements ignoring vastly more experienced candidates in the stead of little to zero experienced candidates for the sake of cost cutting that you say doesn't exist?? Despite the 3rd party testimonies offered and shared here??? Only you it seems is the sole benefactor of all that is right despite having none of the above experience, no airline recruitment, airline training or examining experience.

At the risk of speaking for other experienced Capts here, give me an FO with a few thousand hours of night circling approaches, of experience with severe wx, hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic failures, of lessons learnt to develop sound decision making AND an airline management culture (as well as regulator) prepared to respect such experience and credentials, over a 175-250 hr TT FO able to regurgitate the FCOM but zero knowledge to draw from owing to zero experience to assist is non-normal situations or can be trusted when the Capt is not readily available.

Last edited by TopTup; 26th Jan 2011 at 10:43.
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Old 26th Jan 2011, 07:31
  #259 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Guppy
....myriad advantages such platforms [UAV] offer (presently primarily military in nature), the limitations and drawbacks are nearly overwhelming. That such programs exist presently is largely a function of politics and strings being pulled, not operational necessity or superiority. ..... the platforms in use today, for all their expense and publicity, are NOT what they're cracked up to be.
Let me support Guppy's statements on UAV's.

Essential reading is some work of Chris Johnson. His paper at SAFECOMP this year: http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~johnson/pa...10/CWJ_UAV.pdf and something he wrote for a meeting organised by the DFS: http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~johnson/papers/DFS/UAV.pdf

Chris is very concerned about the politics. He says (in his SAFECOMP talk which I chaired) that there is some political pressure on the UK to accept unmanned freighters in civil airspace in the near term, and given what he knows about UAVs, he judges the technology as nowhere near ripe enough in terms of safety for regular use in civil airspace, let alone for such large aircraft as freighters. Apparently some ATM providers, such as NATS and DFS, are quite keen on the idea, though.

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Old 26th Jan 2011, 11:28
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I see you're more interested in personal attacks than addressing the subject matter again, but this has typified your discourse thus far, and is part of the reason you were banned for a time. Welcome back. Generally when one has little to offer, one resorts (as you have) to personal attacks. One isn't surprised.

Yeah right.... Air Force pilots graduate with a shiny CPL with 250 hrs TT and go straight into operational ops in a FA-18E, Eurofighter, or F22 Raptor. Yeah, that's how it's done..... Forget the 100's of hours of high performance trainers (often turbo props), then into fighter jet trainers for a few hundred more hours, not to mention the 30+ hours week in the classroom, the 8 hr debriefs from a 1.5 hr sortie where EVERY maneuvre, attitude, selection & decision is analysed to the n'th degree, the hours of briefing & prep for each training sortie, the time flying as a low ranking officer until the experience is earned and accredited to posses the responsibility for such a highly sophisticated and demanding job.
Perhaps this is a foreign training pipeline to you, so a little explanation is in order.

Whether one is a "low ranking officer" or not has no bearing on one's ability to fly a mission in a single seat, high performance tactical aircraft. Neither the atmosphere, nor the machine have any respect for time in grade (rank). A new Lieutenant will die as quickly as a Lieutenant Colonel. Accordingly, the "low ranking officer" is prepared and ready to fly; the low grade doesn't mean that the mission is any less demanding, or the aircraft can be handled with kid gloves.

You appear to assert that upon completion of pilot training, the pilot is put back into a training pipeline again, and sent back to train in turboprop equipment. While this is certainly true if the pilot is going to go fly a C-130, it's not the case for those in a fighter or bomber track. The entire training regime takes about a year, and includes 25 hours of flight screening, 90 hours of flight training, and 120 hours of specialized track training. The advanced turboprop T-6 training takes place during that time. Upon completion of the training program, they receive specific training at Formal Training Units, in the equipment they'll operate. Upon finishing this, the newly minted pilot has less than 300 hours, and is ready to fly tactical missions as a fully qualified officer and aviator.

Interesting that an individual can be taught, trained, and depended upon for the defense of his nation at so low hours, but you think the sky is falling if an airline trains an ab initio student into a much less demanding cockpit environment in the civilian world.

JSUPT - USAF Military Pilot Training Information

Have a read, for an overview. You might learn something.

Of course, they are all wrong in your eyes?
Again, at the risk of being repetitive, perhaps you'll put words in your own mouth, and not mine.
Blatant evidence of airline managements ignoring vastly more experienced candidates in the stead of little to zero experienced candidates for the sake of cost cutting that you say doesn't exist??
Again, I said no such thing. You're having a comprehension breakdown, again. You really must learn to speak for yourself, rather than others.

The great "beancounter" conspiracy that you allege exists, that airlines seek to lower the airmanship quotient on a global scale, is a lie and a falsehood.

Airlines may hire whom they will. If I own a brick laying company, I do not need to hire the most experienced brick layers if I don't see fit. I can hire and train a brick layer. I can hire inexperienced brick layers and train them. I can do nearly anything I wish to do, because after all, it's my company. If I do hire an inexperienced brick layer and train them to operate at the required standard, then I get an employee to has been built in the mold I seek for my operation, and no other.

Of course a company seeks to save costs. Fuel costs, labor costs, equipment and maintenance costs, advertising costs, operational overhead costs; every corporation and every company seeks to save. That's the nature of running a business, you see.

Running a cadet program involving ab initio training isn't cheap, of course, although you still can't explain why operations such as Lufthansa have such stellar reputations and histories, while maintaining a longstanding program of hiring inexperienced pilots and providing ab initio training. How is it that they're not falling out of the sky?

Perhaps it's because the sky isn't really falling, after all.

Last edited by SNS3Guppy; 26th Jan 2011 at 11:39.
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