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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 Dec 2010, 14:41
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SNS3Guppy - 50%??? Fail a portion of the upgrade or completely fail and get fired?
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 16:09
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Historically our captain upgrades have run at about a 50% pass/fail rate.
If that is the case you either have a big problem with initial selection or a big problem with your training department. If you hire the right people, train them well to start with and continue to train them so they are adequately prepared for a command course then the vast majority should pass. 5-10% wash out would be more normal I would think.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 17:00
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Two training failures, and they lose their job.
With respect, that seems a crazy approach to me.

So by virtue of the fact they can't pass the upgrade, they're deemed to be incapable of performing the (S)FO role as well?

Which begs the question, with a failure rate of 50%, who would take the risk of upgrading?

Whats the logic behind this?

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 20:55
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my respect!

@SNS3Guppy
If your statements are true, --- and i myself have no doubt about it---, your company and your training departement has my highest respect! The system reminds me of military flying training systems of several western countries.

There is no use to train people in an endless process of hours and time, that way you can get anybody to the RH or LH seat. There has to be a given timeframe reflecting the ability and the willingness of the individual to learn and to adapt to new tasks. Even a car mechanic has to finish his job training in a given time, if he fails and refails, he is out. Why the hell should it be different for piloting 400 PX around the world?

When the sh*t hits the fan, there might not be enough time available for slow thinking and learning.

In my (longretired) oppinion the main human resources problem of the modern flying industry.

franzl

Last edited by RetiredF4; 20th Dec 2010 at 20:25.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 23:49
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SNS3Guppy - 50%??? Fail a portion of the upgrade or completely fail and get fired?
Depends. Fail the second time, and the company has the option of dismissing them entirely. Fail any training event (not only an upgrade, but any training event, such as bust an item on a recurrent sim ride), and one is seat locked for a year, must fly 500 hours additional in type, and can't bid out of that seat for that year long period. If two training failures take place in two years, that's the magic axe.

So by virtue of the fact they can't pass the upgrade, they're deemed to be incapable of performing the (S)FO role as well?
A flight engineer who doesn't make the grade as an FE goes back to being an FE. A FO who doesn't make the grade as a captain goes back to being an FO. Second time it happens in a two year period, goodnight gracie.

If one can't pass the ride, one can't pass the ride. The same standards are applied to the right seat, as to the left.

Which begs the question, with a failure rate of 50%, who would take the risk of upgrading?
About half the applicants, right?

Whats the logic behind this?
Ask the applicants. There are a million stories in the naked city. In a seniority-based system, an applicant who has the seniority to upgrade will be given the opportunity; it's his or hers to win or lose. Applicants are strongly urged by the company to be prepared when they apply, because they know the consequences in advance.

In the past, that policy was not in place. Given that the seniority system allows those who have the seniority to bid, and receive an open position, and given that simply because one is senior doesn't mean they can cut it, the result was far too many bidding who weren't ready, who wasted training resources and company time, and consequently washed out. Enter penalties to reduce the number of frivolous applications for upgrade positions.

The point isn't the number or the stat. I don't know what the current value is. I know that the training department continues to evolve and improve and I just went back through, and I liked what I saw. I felt that their attitude in the sim, in the classroom, and in the training department was considerably more progressive than it once may have been. In other words, good things are happening. I can't quote the current statistics, and don't concern myself with them. The actual numbers are superfluous; the point is that the company isn't hiring idiots, does care about whom they hire, and does care about who passes the training. It's never a "gimme."
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 01:10
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Cool

SR71
The failure to upgrade and the subsiquent relegation to PERMANENT F/O is a blow not many can absorb and remain an effective crew member.

I was involved in the training dept that witnessed this process in an Asian carrier and the lack of interest, willingness to operate as P1 on sectors and general interest in most tasks was noticably lacking in most who went this path.

The initial selection of upgrade canditates and the monitoring of their training progress is vital to a sucessful conclusion for all involved. How far you take this back to actual initial employment is assuming beyond what most mortals can know.

I and others recommended termination for a particular Cadet in jet training, were ignored/overuled and watched him battle his way into the larger fleets with difficulty. However 10 years later, 4 bars up and away on the 777.
There is now magic bottle to rub, just good training and hard work on the canditates behalf seems to work the trick

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Old 20th Dec 2010, 03:40
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sadly, being a good airline pilot cannot be taught.

certainly you can learn many things from other people, however there is something, somewhere in the mind that must come from within and WANTING to be better.

for someone to NOT want to upgrade is a clue that you will not do a good job as a copilot.

you must constantly want to improve as a pilot...it sharpens the mind...playing the ''what if'' game, even to yourself is a great brain challenge and training device.

being a ''cadet'' can teach you only so much...being out there, confronted with the dozens/cubed real life situations is just the start.

I still remember the time ATC gave me a fouled up holding instruction...I questioned it and it was obvious the controller didn't know the format, or that his instructions would do precisely the WRONG thing.

Now, how many times in the cadet simulator program do THEY practice getting poor holding instructions and correcting ATC?

Or how many times do you request a clearance through a restricted area, receive it, and when precisely in the middle of it have ATC say: sir, are you aware you are in a restricted area?

really, how can a cadet in a simulator learn something like that?
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 06:56
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I've been there. You know you can't leave the cockpit and know everything is under control so you hold it and pee just before shutting the door. Didn't use to be that way.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 10:47
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What a sad little place PPRUNE is....anyone who has spoken up for more experienced pilots as an obvious solution for increasing safety has been banned....

The term 'sell out' isn't quite strong enough to define the type of person who supports practices that put kids in the seats of airliners at the expense of the passengers in back.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 12:09
  #90 (permalink)  

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greybeard,

I'm not sure I'm any closer to understanding SNS3Guppy's company policy...although I like his sense of humour.

A FO has a go at a Command upgrade and fails. He/She have another go at a Command upgrade, fail, and are now deemed to be unable to perform their role as a FO as well, whereupon he/she is fired?

We are not talking about a proficiency check here, merely a "hoop to jump through" designed by the company in question. On what basis are they fired? Their ability to function in the right hand seat is not being tested in a Command upgrade, is it?

I like the sound of the rest of the stuff.

A seniority driven system in extremis is useless. Add some performance criteria to the selection pool - good. I'm all in favour of an applicant presenting themselves in a fit state for the job they expect to be able to do. Spoon feeding is out.

But my guess is that the ex-mil fraternity who respond better to the "Beat me with a stick and I'll up my game!" are a minority, and that a more symbiotic relationship between candidate and Training Department is likely to extract the best out of them. That is what the airline wants right?

When I passed the pass rate was 10% but I don't think the pressure did me any favours. We all go off the deep end at some point.

I like the sound of studi's outfit...but then who wouldn't.

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Old 20th Dec 2010, 15:53
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Up or out policy. F/E to FO, fail the upgrade, you're fired.

FO to CA, fail the upgrade, you're fired.

It's a long process to get fired. It doesn't occur often but it happens.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 22:59
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some people don't seem to understand this bit about not being able to upgrade to captain.

its this simple...an FO can instantly be a captain if the regular captain is unable to perform his functions.

how can someone who demonstrates they can't upgrade to captain with simulator sessions and an instructor be expected to takeover if the captain eats the fish (read is incapacitated).

no airline worth its salt hires permanent FO's.

if there is a minor medical problem prohibiting obtaining a first class medical and this is the only thing that prohibits upgrade, there might be some wiggle room. but this is a rare thing.
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Old 21st Dec 2010, 15:59
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A FO has a go at a Command upgrade and fails. He/She have another go at a Command upgrade, fail, and are now deemed to be unable to perform their role as a FO as well, whereupon he/she is fired?
Failed to read, or failed to comprehend?

Whether the FO is capable of performing as an FO is irrelevant. The stakes are set before the applicant before the application is made: be sure you can make the grade: your job is on the line. Take it seriously. If you bid frivolously, you stand to not only lose the upgrade, but your job. How serious are you about making this move? This isn't a question of competence as an FO, but a question about ensuring that those who bid take the full gravity of the matter in hand.

It's a matter of policy. Not at all a matter of being unable to perform as an FO. There are many things that will get a pilot fired. This is one of them. Fail two training events (doesn't have to be an upgrade attempt) in two years, any two training events, and the company has the option to dismiss.

We are not talking about a proficiency check here, merely a "hoop to jump through" designed by the company in question. On what basis are they fired? Their ability to function in the right hand seat is not being tested in a Command upgrade, is it?
Merely a "hoop to jump through?" You see upgrading as merely a hoop through which one must jump? Hardly. The company doesn't see it that way, either. The assertion at the root of this thread is that standards for pilots have dropped; my assertion, based on my example, is that they have not; they are strict and they are tight.

We are talking about a proficiency check. We're talking about a recurrent check. We're talking about an upgrade check. We're talking about a type check. We're talking about any training event, bar nothing, which the applicant fails or fails to complete. The company in this case is staunch enough that even if one leaves the training event for personal reasons, it's considered a failure to complete that training. If one bids for a position and then changes one's mind, it's still considered a training failure. If one drops out of class half-way through and doesn't ever take a checkride, it's still considered a training failure. Two such training failures, in any form, in any combination, in a two year period entitle the company by policy and by union contract, to terminate the employee.

Does this always happen? No.

But I will admit your trigger happy attempt to make that out as the case is amusing!
Mate, I use only your quotes and respond only to your examples. If you want separation from your own words, then plan accordingly when you write them. If you feel you get lumped in with your examples, because you failed to clarify, that's your problem. It's no fun to get hung with your own words, but there you are.

I mentioned the type of questions that were being asked at the [now] CX interview as examples of lowering standards, and you attempted to ridicule it.
I certainly did, because you tell a lie.

You attempt to assert that a cadet applicant, fresh from his mother's breast, signifies the type of questions being asked to pilot applicants. A wannabe learner cadet is not the same as a professional pilot being hired into a pilot seat. A cadet being hired into a training program, a school, isn't the same as a pilot being hired into the cockpit.

You also attempted to cloud the issue by insinuating that HR questions provided an example of lowering pilot standards, and went so far as to suggest that they represented the basis of hiring these days. When drawn out a little more, you were finally revealed in that two sets of questions were given: one was HR. The other involved pilot questions which did, in fact, include technical interrogatives.

Specifically, in your opening post, you stated: "Interview questions used to be along the lines of "How did you accrue your hours? What lessons did you learn? Tell me about Vmca / Vmcg (piston vs twin jet).... How does the IRS work (then strap down gyros, etc...) Nowadays it's: "What do your parents think of you becoming a pilot?" (refer CX Wannabes forum)."

You failed to provide a citation for these CX Wannabe Forum posts, and not until called out later did you provide detail. We know for a fact that Cathay leans heavily on technical questions. You mixed HR questions with examples of what you think should be technical questions, and attempted to draw a parallel. This is deceit at best, and frankly, a lie. Given that HR questions frequently run the gamut from "tell me about a time" to "how does your wife feel about," it's no surprise that an applicant to a cadet program will be asked familial questions. Let's face it: Cathay has long used the cocktail party with the spouse as part of the interview process, and this certainly isn't a technical interrogation, either.

The world does not begin and end at your backyard.
Of course it does. My back yard circumnavigates the globe. Yours too, I imagine.

Hey, if what you write is true then a) if you're happy, good on you! and b) from my experience I would be questioning both recruitment standards and training standards to have a 50% failure rate: something you boast about??!
I haven't boasted in the least. You asserted that standards are low and dropping. I assert that they are not. For your example, you used deceit and a lie. For mine I used an example of strict standards which give little quarter and certainly don't suggest a lowering level of acceptance. If you find the fact to be a boast, you quite possibly see arrogance in a blank sheet of paper. Facts are facts, and the fact is that quality assurance tends to increase.

You strike me as the grizzled antique captain that really does think he's God, who runs the good old-fashioned cockpit with an iron fist, and who believes CRM is for sissies. As training has evolved, we see integration, improvements in views, attitudes, and perceptions, and the trend is toward safer, better training and higher standards. Individuals who used to cut it in the old world won't cut it now, and are either slowly weeded out, or simply retire into oblivion.

Then I pointed out examples of someone elses' post to prove you wrong.
You sure failed there, didn't you? (You did) The problem for you is that you attempted to use deceit to make your point at the outset of the thread, going so far as to suggest it's all mommy and daddy questions these days, not technical questions, then showed us that you referred to two different and distinct groups of questions...which did in fact include technical questions. You stepped on your own anatomy there, mate. What I find comical is that you continue to pound the desk and hold it up as an example. You screwed up.

You put this thread out in a section frequented by non-flyers and the media, some of whom are hungry for a story. What better story than the dizzying downward spiral of pilot quality, and the hapless public that hangs by a fraying thread at their mercy? Your assertion, of course, is in error and a lie, but it didn't stop you not only from putting it out there, but defending it, adamantly, insultingly, and incorrectly. That you continue to do so isn't surprising, because let's face it, you used very little integrity to float this crap in the first place.

I'm not sure I'm any closer to understanding SNS3Guppy's company policy...
Not really that hard to understand, you see. One and one, equals two, and all that. Even a caveman could get it.
A seniority driven system in extremis is useless. Add some performance criteria to the selection pool - good. I'm all in favour of an applicant presenting themselves in a fit state for the job they expect to be able to do. Spoon feeding is out.
I agree whole-heartedly.
But don't you think 50% pass rate on the upgrade is a little low?
I would think so, but that was really the point. The seniority system allowed individuals to bid an upgrade if they had the seniority to do so. It was then their training event to win or lose. They didn't have to be ready, they didn't have to be up to the task, they just had to have the seniority. A number of individuals took a shot, and didn't make it.

I will add that I know a number of those individuals who are now captains, having given it some time, some preparation, and having returned ready to go. Some of them had failed in the simulator, a few didn't make it through the ground school (hard to fail the ground school, both because it's strictly a learning environment, and because that program has some top-flight instructors), and some didn't make it during their line training. Whatever the case (and it's not my place to evaluate who did or didn't make it and why), their failures relegated them to a seat lock position, a long wait, more time in type, and the opportunity to retry after a year, if they desired. If they had elected to try again (for whatever reason) and failed (for whatever reason),then the company would have had the option of sending them packing.

This is company policy. This is also the policy to which the pilot union agreed and which was written into the contract under which the pilot body operates.

Are you seriously that polarized?
No, except insofar as my correct assertion that you're in error, and that you're promoting a lie.

I will grant you that some nations and some companies offer lower standards in training, maintenance, etc. This is the reason that some nations or airlines can't fly into the EU, for example, and the reason that some operations (in some cases) see more problems. We've recently seen a lot of material on pilots in India with false credentials and experience: certainly this represents a lowering of the bar. It's not an indictment on the airline industry, or the aviation industry on a global basis, however, and is related to a select few.

From what I hear it should be more in the region of 90%, everything below is a show of poor initial selection and insufficient training. Or does your company not hire F/O's to be CPT's one day?
I don't know what the current pass or fail rate is among applicants. I know what it's been in the past. I suspect that due to improvements and changes, it's substantially different than what it was, as numerous factors have changed, from personnel to programs to volume; many aspects of what goes on are different. I don't work in the training department, I don't speak for them, and I'm not privy to the statistics today, this morning, right now. I don't know what they should be relative to those whom may apply: shoulda, woulda, coulda. The applicant makes the call; either he cuts it, or he doesn't.

In my initial hire class, the reasons people didn't make it were their own and I won't speculate as to their rationale. I know several didn't make it through the ground school. Some dropped out, some didn't actually pass. One was an experienced airline captain with a major operator who was experiencing a divorce. That individual elected to separate during the class, without any notice. I can't say I blamed them. Another found the material was just too much, and left or was dismissed. I knew two very knowledgeable individuals who were upgrading to the right seat, who didn't make the upgrade. Both knew the airplane well. Both prepared; both went out and rented sim time at great expense, both studied hard Both had years of experience in type. Both had very low pilot time, however, and while they met the company requirements to bid the upgrade, neither were able to make the grade in the simulator. Both had a previous training failure; one due to a family emergency, and the other for unspecified reasons. I still fly with them regularly; neither lost their job. And so on. As I said before, a million stories in the naked city; each an individual case.

I don't think the company presumes one way or the other here, and I think everyone is treated on their own merits.

The individuals who do the hiring are very experienced, and dedicated. They do not hire anybody who walks in off the street. In fact, they've been quite selective. I've recommended a number of individuals thus far, and haven't had any success yet.

I think there's a sense of entitlement with goes with the affirmation "we hire captains." I've had first officers in the past who assured me that my job was to make them a captain. To them I said what I'll say here: my job is what I'm assigned at any given time. If I'm a first officer, my job is to be the best first officer I can be. Nobody owes me an upgrade. If I'm a captain, my job is to be the best captain I can be. I don't owe anybody mentorship or an upgrade. Now, I'll bend over backward to help someone, and I'll study and work hard to upgrade...but nobody owes me the upgrade and nobody will assure me one. If a company hires me as a copilot, then I'm a copilot.

The notion that the company hires captains and that a first officer seat is a transitional job through which one will naturally pass, transcending to the glory of the left seat, is philosophical at best. An individual is hired, and hopefully all will progress and upgrade. Some may make it on the first try, some may not.

One need not be a natural-born captain right off the bat, even though one may hold the seniority to make the attempt.

The company may hire a very competent and qualified pilot who does a wonderful job in the right seat, but who hasn't the international, heavy, or widebody experience to be in a command position yet. Given that upgrades may become available in short order, and given that pilots in other areas may take ten or twenty years at other companies to have that same upgrade opportunity, it's not surprising that an applicant might reach for the stars a little too soon. This doesn't mean that the individual won't make a great captain later, but when seniority allows the employee to reach up before he or she is ready, it's not an indictment on the company. The company hasn't failed to hire someone who will eventually make captain. The employee has failed to wait until he or she is ready, and this is the critical distinction.

Rather than ballyhoo the company that has a high failure rate, look to the employees who run before they should walk, or who try, and who fail to keep in mind the wise advice that simply because one can, doesn't mean one should.
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Old 21st Dec 2010, 17:58
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SNS3Guppy,

Failed to read, or failed to comprehend?
Not really that hard to understand, you see. One and one, equals two, and all that. Even a caveman could get it.
I'll let my flying do the talking not my keyboard but I would suggest you lose some of the attitude.

Were my original questions unreasonable? Is your condescension really necessary? Is it impossible your explanation ever lacks clarity? Is your keyboard persona anything like your flightdeck persona?

Just curious.

Not one of us knows the answer to the original question posed in the thread title because we all occupy only our own little corner of the phase space.

Whereupon no need to be dogmatic about it eh?

Merry Christmas.

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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 02:01
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SR71: My sentiments exactly.

I've oddly gone from be accused of being a wannabe/failure of a cadet to deceitful aggressive, assertive Capt. Am proud to say neither.

As this thread draws to a close at the very least "most" managed to contribute to a constructive & professional argument. Others chose a self indulgent means to express and belittle thus highlighting the theme of this thread.

Merry Christmas to all. Have a safe & professional 2011.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 06:08
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You asserted that standards are low and dropping. I assert that they are not.
I dont concur but it depends on whats important to you as a pilot.Theres too much automation-reliance and SOP fixation in todays flying and I wouldnt mind so much if it wasnt at the expense of airmanship and good stick-and-rudder skills,but it is.I too have seen pilots who just wont take the automation out or who cant fly a simple ILS manually without any aid.And if its anything more complex like an arc or hold,then forget it altogether.I see pilots who are so rote-oriented that they'll actually blanket out an ATC call or something else important so that a piffling procedure thats supposed to be performed at a set time can be accomplished instead.KInd of reminds me of that Swiss Captain who told his FO to watch his speed in the descent when the plane was burning.Or the Turkish crew who forgot to just fly the aircraft and monitor basic parameters on approach.Rules and procedures in the cockpit are fine and I'm not making light of them.But rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.Corny but absolutely true.I think its sad when I see a pilot that can quote the SOP manual verbatim but cant actually fly the plane except via the AFDS.To me thats a clear case of priorities gone haywire.

You strike me as the grizzled antique captain that really does think he's God, who runs the good old-fashioned cockpit with an iron fist, and who believes CRM is for sissies.
Very emotive language and a complete exaggeration.Is Sully grizzled?Because believe me,you cant do what he did without a very high level of airmanship borne of years of exprience.His decision to immediately exclude a landing on terra firma wasnt based on anything you find in a book or manual on how to fly.Plus apparently he was fighting complex Airbus laws on what pitch he could command in the final seconds.HOw about them apples?You think you get through something like that with an SOP manual and flying by numbers?

I remember a post from SNS3Guppy a while back about returning for a cat 3 landing when only cat 1 qualified to save the life of a passenger.His opinion was if the card said cat 1,you were cat 1 and thats the end of it.Didnt matter that you may have had years of experience of cat 3 approaches and that your authorization may have just lapsed.If you are experienced in cat 3 approaches and can genuinely save the life of someone aboard by returning immediately instead of flying one hour to find a cat 1 field and have the passenger die,then to me the answer is clear.Its an emergency and you are the Captain,you make a command decision.Thats old-school and thats the way I like it.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 06:16
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Because believe me,you cant do what he did without a very high level of airmanship borne of years of exprience.
You can't make a forced landing off-field? Better pack it in now. You're not worth a grain of salt.

I remember a post from SNS3Guppy a while back about returning for a cat 3 landing when only cat 1 qualified to save the life of a passenger.His opinion was if the card said cat 1,you were cat 1 and thats the end of it.Didnt matter that you may have had years of experience of cat 3 approaches and that your authorization may have just lapsed.If you are experienced in cat 3 approaches and can genuinely save the life of someone aboard by returning immediately instead of flying one hour to find a cat 1 field and have the passenger die,then to me the answer is clear.Its an emergency and you are the Captain,you make a command decision.Thats old-school and thats the way I like it.
That's not what was said, but if you can't bother to link it, don't say it. You might try sticking to the subject, but you appear to do what most eventually do; with nothing intelligent to offer on the subject at hand, introduce irrelevance and hope it smokes and clouds the issue.
His decision to immediately exclude a landing on terra firma wasnt based on anything you find in a book or manual on how to fly.
Sure it was. Student Pilot 101. There's even a checklist for ditching. Go figure.

It wasn't "terra firma," incidentally.

Is it impossible your explanation ever lacks clarity?
Nearly anything is possible, but not very likely.

Is your keyboard persona anything like your flightdeck persona?
One, and the same.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 07:49
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One, and the same.

At last Guppy has admitted he is a keyboard pilot!!! Still waiting for your admission that you don't know how an Allison T56 reduction gearbox is lubricated Guppy. Nothing in Tech Log or an e-mail.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 09:14
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Summary of thread so far:

SNS3Guppy and others make some solid arguments which are hard to argue with (especially if you donít want to be ridiculed).
So for the sake of argument, let us accept the points that he is making:

1) Airmanship is irrelevant and following CRM and SOPís is enough to avert disasters.

2) Training is enough to bring even novices up to acceptable FO standard, prior GA experience is irrelevant.

3) Those who cant make the grade will be cut by those airlines which maintain a high standard.

On the other hand we must also consider the consequences of this line of thinking. It is indisputable that cost control is a strong force acting on management and the current trend has been to cut T&Cís in order to generate maximum profits in what is after all a cut throat industry.
The trend of pay to fly line training, where candidates use money to jump the queue and gain experience in the RHS may therefore result in the following outcomes in SOME airlines (not necessarily Guppys airline which seems to be beyond reproach):

1) The candidates which should have been culled out due to lack of ability instead remain in the RHS till the completion of their line training hours due to the profit motivation of management (and maybe beyond if they are prepared to accept even lower T & C's).

2) Once T&Cís has been cut to the bone then the next facet of cost cutting might become the training itself.

3) Conceivably this cost cutting could eventually extend to the LHS where Captains who are highly renumerated are replaced by the promotion of someone who will cost less (for as Guppy said, all that is required is training and adherance to SOP's, experience counts for nothing so why should airlines pay for it?)
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 12:50
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Not at all a matter of being unable to perform as an FO.
And how about the recalcitrant F/O in a large domestic airline who has been the subject of at least five reports for insolence and deliberate smart-arsing back to captains yet management has a policy of not sacking pilots. The inference from management to those who went to the trouble of writing detailed reports on this character was DEAL WITH IT and don't come to us with your problems.
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