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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 15th Feb 2011, 14:18
  #281 (permalink)  
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You may need a sense of humor for this (if only it wasn't a parody too close to reality):

YouTube - Tommy's New Job - Come Fly With Me - BBC One
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 16:50
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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I see Guppy is still going full throttle.Erosion of traditional airmen's skills is not to be underestimated or excused on the false pretext that they're no longer required.Thats an arrogant and dangerous assumption that may come back and haunt you.I dont say its a conspiracy though.Thats too convoluted.Its money.
To a certain extent,IT IS now a PUSH-BUTTON world so why not have button-pushers?On the surface,I'd go along with that.On the surface.

I can see where Guppy gets his POV.After all,he works for an outfit where you need a letter not to use AB.Why does Boeing have an OFF position then?
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 19:10
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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It's morally reprehensible to hire pilots that rely on systems that up until just a few years ago were considered luxuries. While the trend may be to reduce pilot error by introducing more reliable automation, it still doesn't account for the fact that machines break, and when they do, human intervention is needed. The chief pilots at major airlines have such a low sense of duty and responsibility towards their passengers that it should be prosecuted criminally. But maybe the saving grace is such, that the passengers, in search of lower fares, combined with a similar low moral conviction, coupled with sufficient apathy, in concert with the complete inept aviation authorities, time card punchers, with little interest in passenger safety, with more interest in making it to retirement...that from a very Darwinian standpoint...everyone is getting exactly what they deserve. Bottom line - It's hard to get worked up over bad hiring practices, supported from the top down, at all levels. Rant over. I have moved on from being the one guy in the room that believes a pilot has a duty towards his passengers, his industry, to his professional. Drag aviation further into gutters if you wish, but just keep in mind, some off us can still fly planes when all the lights go out, and that I am sure, makes you just a little nervous.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 19:24
  #284 (permalink)  
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tff suggests that
Originally Posted by tff
machines break, and when they do, human intervention is needed.
As a driving philosophy, this has to cope with, say, the history of major accidents in 2010. This might tell you, if we are going to speak in generalisations, that humans break during routine manoeuvres, and relatives of the deceased passengers - and others - might be wondering whether machine intervention would have been preferable.

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Old 17th Feb 2011, 03:41
  #285 (permalink)  
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Machines & systems do indeed break so designers & manufacturers invest (large amounts) of time & money to make them better, more reliable & therefore less likely to fail.

Through better design they become more reliable.

Pilots are subject high stress loads requiring high degrees skill & competence, depending on the scenario. As one of the human elements of the "system" of course it too can fail & will fail under certain stresses. Just like a spar that has a defined loading limit. How well designed & manufactured will define that breaking point.

The same can be said for airline pilot training & standards.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 10:32
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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Pilots are subject high stress loads.... it too can fail & will fail under certain stresses.
well said Top Tup. Stress is often overlooked among trained pilots, though they remain as susceptible to stress as anyone else. It is just that they probably learn to 'grin and bear'. And yet when stretched beyond limits...may lead to serious harm to themselves and/or their performance, in turn affecting safety.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 12:48
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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Hand fly or fall back on the automatics for a test?

That choice would surely depend on your confidence, personal flying skill and currency. Lacking the first two, the obvious answer is stick to automatics.
Frankly, how can an Examiner say afterwards the ILS that the autopilot flew on your behalf, was perfect - and then give you as the pilot, a top assessment for the manoeuvre?

One point of view is that a true proficiency test should be flown as 50 percent raw data non automatics and the remaining 50 percent a test of the pilots ability at programming the automatics. From reading PPRuNe it's a good bet there would an awful lot of pilots failing the test...

Last edited by A37575; 17th Feb 2011 at 13:06.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 12:55
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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That choice would purely depend on your personal flying skill and currency. Frankly, how can an Examiner say afterwards the ILS that the autopilot flew on your behalf, was perfect - and then give you as the pilot, a top assessment for the manoeuvre. One argument is that a true proficiency test should be flown as 50 percent raw data non automatics and the remaining 50 percent testing the skill of the pilot at programming the automatics.
There's no argument to be made, and that was my point. When the criteria is a coupled approach, one flies a coupled approach.

Given the choice to hand-fly an approach during a checkride, most will choose automation. It allows enhanced situational awareness, and it allows one to expand one's focus beyond the panel directly beyond one's face. It promotes a greater opportunity to pass. When one is under scrutiny and one's employment and certification is only the line in a proficiency check, how many prefer to hand-fly the procedure vs. doing it on autopilot?
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 17:11
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Guppy - No one discounts the benefits of the gear afforded to crews these days...the question remains, have the pilots learned to rely on the gear so entirel,y that should the cockpit go dark the plane is lost? I submit this: Having trained pilots - I have seen them overloaded with so much gear to work, that turning off extraneous instruments has allowed them to successfully complete an approach. I have also witnessed pilots, that can't fly a simple ILS, and hold two needles together, without the situational awareness provided by a moving map. In both cases, as I sat there, there was no doubt in my mind, that both pilots of commercial caliber, would have, had I not been there, kill all passengers on board, and wreck the aircraft. Fortunately, these deficiencies were found in the training environment. Anyone who feels that a pilot can be reduced to checklist reader and button pusher, is not operating in the real world of flying, and is putting people's lives at risk.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 17:57
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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Will the aircraft be lost if it goes dark? No one can answer that save those in that boat, but I can say that it's a scenario we get at every simulator recurrent, and we had it a few months ago on the line at night in a very mountainous hostile area. The stabilization items on that procedure are two in number, and worked. We had three distinct problems, but the first two steps gave back power and the third restored essential power. The rest was a function of the checklist.

The assertion of the thread isn't that skills might erode in the presence of automation, however. The assertion of the thread is that an intentional, determined effort is underway on an international basis by airline management "beancounters" to undermine and diminish airmanship. This is not happening.

Who has suggested that a pilot can be reduced to a "button pusher?"

The problems you witnessed were caught and handled in training, as you described. Accordingly, wherein in the failure of the system? Did the "beancounters" attempt to undermine this process and force the deficient into the system, or suggest that greater training would be a waste or excess of valued funds? Seems that your post suggests that the system does work. It catches, and corrects fault, and that training is beneficial.

For those who received the necessary training, were the problems solved? Is it possible, then, that without regard to rogue "beancounters" who run amok among us, training might be one of the key ingredients in ensuring standardization and proficiency, and upholding the indefinite yardstick of airmanship?
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 18:51
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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Guppy - I submit that your correct : there is no conspiracy...that as someone said about conspiracies...'most people are too stupid to keep a big secret'. Certainly I don't don't think Airline chief pilots are above this maxim. What I do posit as theory, is that the same set of reasons that has allowed our leaders to embark on unjustified wars, the collapse of the financial system, the imprisoning of people, later exonerated on DNA evidence...are the same as why chief pilots are now systematically hiring the most inexperienced pilots they can find : Profit, Greed, Apathy, moral vacuity, fear of losing their jobs, succumbing to group think, social and peer pressures, and probably a whole host of factors that basically add up to the very worst of human qualities. Maybe in the end, machines should fly the planes.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 13:03
  #292 (permalink)  
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"Conspiracy"??? That is something that was asserted by others: an assumption based on the factual examples given. No Oliver Stone style deep seeded plot was suggested by those of us stating that standards and airmanship have and continue to decline in today's airline world. What is suggested / believed is that in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, share price, quarterly bonus and endless trimmings of costs airmanship has suffered.

Airline systems and cultures that are willing to deliberately ignore better qualified and experienced pilots over those with little to zero qualifications and experience have what is known commonly as CAUSE and EFFECT. The same is said for short cuts in training and proficiency. There have been several of us on this thread recounting first hand experiences in numerous airlines where this is the case.

Those without such first hand eye-witness accounts seek to discredit them as a false "beancounter conspiracy".

For those who received the necessary training, were the problems solved? Is it possible, then, that without regard to rogue "beancounters" who run amok among us, training might be one of the key ingredients in ensuring standardization and proficiency, and upholding the indefinite yardstick of airmanship?
Too true. And for those who did not, do not and will never receive the proper training in standardization and proficiency?? What of the innocent passenger suffering at the hands of utter incompetence? The lives lost if another "pilot" is at the controls when the autopilot is disengaged and cannot recover from straight and level flight and the Capt the next time cannot get back into the cockpit? Again, I still look back at my experiences at Air India and of the ever increasing media reports showing [criminally] negligent practices still on the rise. The latest is of a Capt who's landing technique was to land on the nose gear of the A320 (DGCA finds fault with IndiGo pilot's landing technique : North: India Today) She was exposed, but only after a series of damaged nose gear assemblies. How the hell did it get to that stage?

Is there a "conspiracy"? Do airline management execs secretly meet together a mile under ground, with secret handshakes in sound proof bunkers to devise a Dr Evil-esque plan to lower airmanship? No. To believe so is idiotic. Could there be a perception that experience and credentials can be sacrificed and thus lower costs and increase profits? To deny that is naive and ignorant to all the evidence presented.

Cause and effect. No conspiracy needed.

Last edited by TopTup; 21st Feb 2011 at 01:13.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 04:00
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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Tip - What you fail to understand is that pay has nothing to do with this. A first year FO with 500 hours makes the same as a first year FO with 10,000 hours Chief pilots don't want experienced pilots in the system that can stand up to them. They want marsh mellows that take orders, ever if that means one going in once in a while, The plane is insured, there is no responsibility to the passengers, It's about getting away with what they can get away with.
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Old 25th Feb 2011, 02:40
  #294 (permalink)  
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Flick.... Yes and No.

Take the situation at QF / JQ. QF offers a promotion to their pilots (both QF and JQ seniority list) for a position in (for example) KL or SIN. The pilots look at but discover it's a (for example) 30-40% salary reduction. They cannot accept that for whatever reason. Integrity being one I would think. So, QF/JQ get precisely what they were after in the first place and employ local pilots on those local terms who do not have the same training or experience that the "home growth" pilots.

Another example. Say a pilot is earning $10 k per month and that is what his/her experience and credentials command. Jobs are offered at now $4 or $6 k a month. The pilot commanding the $10 k per month salary will not accept that slap in the face (as he or she may see it) however one with greatly less experience, less training who sees that salary as a promotion from where they are presently will. This is exactly what is going on at CX.

Personally, I am not about discussing salaries but one cannot deny the impact they have. To what degree is up to the individual. What I have been arguing all along is that airline managements who seek to lower terms and conditions, to lower training standards and allow the bar of skill, ability and airmanship to be lowered.... This is exactly what goes on at airlines like Air India where the xenophobic nature of the place is hell bent on kicking out the expats with 10,15, 20+ thousand hours of wide body experience and replace them with 185-220 hr FO's or 1500 hr TT Capts. As these kids see it, they have a CPL and therefore are "qualified". In theory they are, in reality they haven't a bloody clue to the extent where, and from what I witnessed, it's criminally negligent. I do not deny that these kids give it there all when in the seat but what is level or standard of their "all" when incidents have exposed the standards accepted (zero IF skills, fraudulent log books, Capts landing on the nose assembly, etc, etc, etc...)? Is their level of proficiency (airmanship) the same as one with vastly greater experience and training received from an airline with a different culture to standards, training, checking and airmanship? That is my point and argument.

I do not blame the pilots. I blame the numerous airline cultures whereby recruitment and training standards are permitted to slip to lower levels for the sake of profiteering. A TRE/I should be permitted to do his/her job and fail a pilot if need be or extend the sim time to offer training (not only checking!) when needed. As witnessed by myself and others on this thread some airline cultures try to force TRE/I's to pass pilots due commercial pressures despite the threat of safety and airmanship. That is for their own (TRE/I) conscience to work out.

I still argue and ask the question whether the skill and airmanship demonstrated by the examples offered in the very first post on this thread are a dying breed.

I have my opinion based on first hand accounts and what I see and hear every day (eg RT standards for one). Others have theirs. I'm not saying I'm right, just my opinion.
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Old 25th Feb 2011, 04:34
  #295 (permalink)  
 
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Whatever the reasons, as long as everyone is ok with the idea that once the cockpit goes dark, two kids will look at each in disbelief, and a plane load of passengers will be lost...carry on.
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Old 3rd Mar 2011, 16:15
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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When older guys look at these "kids" in disgust, they are forgetting something: they were once young and green too, and when they were, the older guys were looking at them the same way.
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Old 23rd Mar 2011, 13:14
  #297 (permalink)  
 
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I look at people who have more interest in operating a computer than in flying an airplane in disgust, regardless of age. A good story once told to me by a very senior CA at another airline (who started in a DC-6 and progressed through to the 767 over the years) told of him stepping out of the cockpit to take a leak, when he got back he heard the overspeed warning going off and his younger FO was laboring over the FMS to try to get the airplane to slow down, he took about a second to figure out what was going on and simply said "pull the power back". It's that sort of "computer dependent" mentality that people like myself don't appreciate. And I'm hardly what you might refer to as "old".
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Old 23rd Mar 2011, 17:49
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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I am so sick of what's going on in the industry right now, that I have considered going and working for the FAA. Someone has to look out for the passengers.
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Old 24th Mar 2011, 00:35
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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Plasmech,

You're a student pilot. That has a lot of bearing on your position in this discussion. Have you read the thread?
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Old 11th Apr 2011, 12:15
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Over here the 200 wonder cadet is a thing that has been normal for the last 60 years in airlines, so nothing new at all about it.
Flight International 5-11 April 2011.
Editorial Comment on page 9.
Headline: TRAGICALLY FAMILIAR

Excerpts: "If the circumstances surrounding the loss of Ethiopean Airlines 409 at Beirut evoke a miserable sense of deja vu, it is hardly surprising. Another dark and thundery night, another departure over featureless terrain, another fatal spiral. The similarities with the Kenya Airways 507 inquiry...make it hard to avoid wondering how far the parallels go. It will mean a fully functional 737 spent 4 minutes blundering aimlessly through Mediterranean airspace on a flight path punctuated by automated warning after automated warning. In which case someone needs to ask; where was the airmanship?"

The copilot had just over 600 flying hours with half that on the 737. In other words what some cynics would term a 200 hour wonder...skilled at watching an autopilot but precious little else.

From FI again: "It is hard to ignore the near-identical nature of the two accidents, and - with all due defernce to the final investigation report - hard not to suspect that the root cause of Ethiopean 409's loss will not be anything complicated, but rather something depressingly basic."

It makes you wonder if too much accent is placed on the use of automatics during simulator training - when by the looks of things the priority should be on hand flying raw data instrument flying skills.

Last edited by A37575; 11th Apr 2011 at 13:41.
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