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CX SO: All you need to know

South Asia and Far East Wannabes A forum for those applying to Cathay Pacific, Dragonair or any other Hong Kong-based airline or operator. Use this area for both Direct Entry Pilot and Cadet-scheme queries.

CX SO: All you need to know

Old 29th Nov 2011, 10:46
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: SA
Posts: 30
Sense of humour? Cracking, my favourite. Well you're a bunch of moaning, selfish bed wetters.

I love this game! Send some back my way. No no , let me guess...

I bet I'm stupid. I bet I'm a clueless kid. I bet I lack dignity.

I'm close aren't I?!
bangout is offline  
Old 29th Nov 2011, 12:21
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: asia
Posts: 950
Geez bangout, most of these guys have been flying longer than you've been alive, great attitude and way to typify gen Y.
I have no doubt you are destined for greatness at CX
hongkongfooey is offline  
Old 29th Nov 2011, 12:34
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: SA
Posts: 30
Wow wow wow HKF where's your sense of humour?
bangout is offline  
Old 29th Nov 2011, 20:07
  #24 (permalink)  
Dancing with the devil, going with the flow... it's all a game to me.
Join Date: May 2000
Location: England
Posts: 1,693
At the time when I was turned down after stage 2 of the CEP selection process I felt rather low and questioned my reasoning for applying. Not unsurprisingly as the whole process at times felt like it was designed with one purpose in mind - to thrust you headfirst into the wall in order to observe how you react. Most here know about the rigrorous selection process and those who have yet to experience it will hopefully soon be a part of it, should that be their desire. The initial feelings of inadequacy over my failure after stage 2 soon gave way to the realisation that it was probably the best outcome afterall. One has to question the logic behind some components of their recruitment process but I guess it works for them? I do not wish to bad mouth the company as my reasons for the above statement are really just a simple reflection on the fact that we were not suited - too much of a punchy corporate alpha male vibe for my liking - and I screwed up some rather taxing mental math calcs in the tech interview - that's the top and bottom of it. Que sera. But this is why we have job interviews, right? You check them out and they check you out. It is all on the day and a CX interview is pretty far down on my list of fun things to be doing when I've not slept properly for nearly 72 hours.

I would imagine that there are some very good points to joining CX as DEP but wannabe CEP's need be under no illusions that they will almost certainly feel little sense of respect in the workplace. One strongly senses that after the initial highs of being flight deck crew subside, they will more than likely be left wishing they had chosen another path to the airways. I heard some pretty horrific stories about SO's treatment at the hands of some old dogs on the flight deck whilst I was at Cathay City. It is amazing what you can find out by doing just a little digging and schmoozing within the inner circles of CX glitterati...

Take it from people who have been around in aviation a bit longer and trust them. I can usually gauge situations and people rather well and after attending two interviews at CX can honestly state that the impression given here by a vociferous minority is just the thin end of the wedge. In aviation, your gut feelings are something you learn if and when to rely upon. What do your gut feelings tell you about this scheme given what you read here on PPRuNe? Never have I before seen so much hostility surround a particular topic. Can over two years worth of postings on this matter ALL be the malicious, rancid and vindictive hot air of a bunch of devious, cynical old salts who wish nothing more than to stop enthusiastic youngsters from entering their chosen career? I know PPRuNe has gone down a rather negative alley in recent years but.... c'mon, most of us know how to sift out the wheat from the chaff here - even a hefty pinch of salt still leaves an awful lot of bad air. In short: there HAS to be some validity to the hostility evidenced here, wouldn't you say?

After stage two the option to reapply was offered me... however, I shall not be reapplying. Two interviews at a legacy carrier chalked up as experience. I learn from my experiences - it's what has kept me alive in aviation for over 10 years.

Trust that voice. Be afraid, be very afraid!


Last edited by VFE; 29th Nov 2011 at 20:56.
VFE is offline  
Old 29th Nov 2011, 21:50
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sky
Posts: 439
Ahh, thanks VFE for your input, a wise thing to read.

But what are you doing now? Do you now have an airline pilot job or did you study something else and working in another environment?
captain.weird is offline  
Old 30th Nov 2011, 20:32
  #26 (permalink)  
Dancing with the devil, going with the flow... it's all a game to me.
Join Date: May 2000
Location: England
Posts: 1,693
Thanks Capt.Weird, just the musings of yet another number looking for a job. It has been seven years now since I came on the airline job market and the CX scheme was the first call to interview so I was understandably thrilled at the prospect of having the opportunity to impress recruiters face-to-face at last. Seriously, I doubted my chances from day one as everyone knows that CX are the toughest of toughest to impress, such was the irony that they were to be my first airline interview!

Stage one was not spectacular from my point of view but obviously I did something right as they invited me to HK for stage two, which was a good feeling and ignited some self belief which is oh so important with these type of affairs. I wont bore you with the blow by blow experience I had at stage two, suffice to say I knew there were areas I had screwed up but dogged persistance through to the end of the day seemed to be the order and the interview right at the end probably was the coup de grace. The HR interview was okay but the tech interview was pretty horrific towards the close. The chap interviewing me gradually upped the level of questioning "in order to find the limits". Fine, bring it on captain! It was okay but eventually ended up with ridiculous mental maths calcs about height deviation with ISA ground temps at +30C, +40C and being 3 miles out on approach, 5 miles out... etc. Lovely stuff! Not. I knew it wasn't going well at this point and he knew I knew but I kept on with tenacious determination as I figured that maybe this dude is trying to see me break? Hmmm. But it was when he asked if I knew anyone working at the airline that I knew I had failed. That question came right at the end when he stroked his chin with a pained expression on his face. As I said before, if there's one thing I am good at in life it is weighing peoples reactions up very quickly.

I could elaborate more on my experiences but unfortanately by doing so would highlight an apparent favouritism towards guys who either had experience working within CX or with, Anzac origins. To go any further would incriminate to some degree those who were selected above myself on that particular day so I shall keep some finer points to myself for the sake of all concerned. Suffice to say on my particular day, some of the successful candidates did not get any technical questions in the so-called technical interview. Furthermore, one successful candidate was even completing his logbook in the waiting room prior to the interview. Interesting huh? But hey, that is all water under the bridge and I am not personally bitter because in aviation you take the leg-up if it's offered you, right? But what it does mean is that as wannabes we are not on a level playing field and this has deep implications when it comes to assessing ones career in the larger sense, as I shall elaborate below....

So what am I doing now? Well, I am still involved in general aviation and work more in a ground capacity because in all honesty, over 3000 hours spent in light aircraft is quite enough thank you! I am earning decent enough money and am enjoying life after spending 5 years on the rough end of GA, barely earning enough to eat at times. My plan now is to reassess my station in life, take a step back, keep my ear to the ground but to move forwards financially (hopefully) and maybe ultimately be in a position to rekindle my airline flying aspirations via some IR sim training/ type rating in maybe 5 years time when A) I have more money behind me and B) the job market has hopefully picked up.

I am not giving up, just taking a step back and reasoning, given my age, what is the best way forward from here. Pay off debts, save some money, get back on my own two feet again and then get a type rating in a few years time before I hit 40 seems like the most sensible option. I really cannot justify borrowing any more money to further my career given that I appear to have very little or no control (see above) over some aspects of recruitment. You hear people talk about the 'lottery of pilot jobs' so it simply does not stack up in my mind that my career balances on the luck factor to the degree that it currently does. To hang in there, whilst all evidence suggests I'm on a hiding to nothing really does go against the logic that we are all supposed to possess in abundance as potential commanders of aircraft with hundreds of lives on board! Do I gamble decisions when I fly? Of course not. Yet my whole career seems a gamble at this point in time, and I already have all the licences and ratings, would hate to be at the start.

Does that answer your question? Sorry to ramble but by actually putting these words down for public consumption it kinda crystalizes my thoughts and helps put the past behind and move forward. Globally, we are entering very unpredictable financial times and it is with a heavy heart that I have to say that aviation is not the most financially stable industry to be getting wrapped up in with a shedload of debt right now. It is still risky at the best of times, nevermind the worst!

Think very carefully about everything - that is my advice.


Last edited by VFE; 30th Nov 2011 at 20:54.
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Old 30th Nov 2011, 23:24
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: KGRB, but on the road about 1/2 the time.
Age: 56
Posts: 607
I know a guy who was accepted as an FO by Cathay an placed in the pool. They dissolved the pool and he re-interviewed and was accepted as an SO. He turned down the offer.

I think Cathay will have to DRASTICALLY change their hiring plan in the next 1-2 years, as the pilot shortage accelerates.

PS-Thought the initial postings were quite hilarious!
atpcliff is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2011, 05:33
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: up here, everyone looks like ants!
Posts: 952
Why are they "hilarious"?

You DO know that the initial postings are TOTALLY accurate, right?
Cpt. Underpants is offline  
Old 3rd Dec 2011, 15:56
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Asia
Age: 51
Posts: 2,588
I think that the regional airlines may also be a good place to start, though not as good as Cathay as an SO. If a pilot starts at Cathay, he will experience alot of positive transfer when he upgrades.
Youíre kidding me right? Your comment couldnít be further from the truth. The reality is a pilots flying skills are extremely perishable. The longer they donít use them the worse they get. How much this affects each pilot depends to a great extent on their experience level. The more experience you have the better you will fair. Unfortunately for a cadet pilot they have very little experience to start with therefore they have the greatest to lose the longer they remain an SO. Regional flying will give a new pilot a solid exposure to hands on multi-crew flying which is one of the best foundations a new pilot could be exposed to. There is only so much one can learn by watching someone else doing their job.
404 Titan is offline  
Old 10th Dec 2011, 18:25
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: All over
Posts: 621
Pilot Job - Cathay Pacific Airways - PILOT CAREER CENTRE


(Advertised Dec 6 apparently)
boocs is offline  
Old 1st Jan 2012, 12:32
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 126
I have a question regarding the Cadet Pilot program.

In the flying experience form, there are two fields, one 'dual' and one 'solo'.

Please confirm, should we write PIC (P1) hours in 'solo' or just the hours when we are the sole occupants of the aircraft.

Thank you.
SV_741_India_Bravo is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2012, 14:05
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: pearl harbor
Age: 35
Posts: 86
triple love on this thread! right on the money.
ixg888 is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2012, 23:33
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Perth
Posts: 12
Out of curiosity how long does it take for the excitement of being flight crew subside? Also, is the life as a SO described here roughly the same through the whole industry? Or are we just talking CX?
Easie is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2012, 16:40
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: ME
Posts: 9
No, solo, per se, implies PIC but PIC doesn't imply solo!
Ghastal is offline  
Old 8th Feb 2012, 17:12
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: south africa
Posts: 1
Thumbs up cx initial interview in south africa

hi gents,
first of all i would just like to say great posts by akota and vfe. Its really worth it to sit here and read posts that actually helps me in one way or another with my knowledge in aviation and with obtaining a career in this industry.

I recently attended my initial interview for the second officer programme but got rejected due to ( and this is the confusing part ) lack of experience? now i would like to point out why i find myself confused:

Ive got 7 years aviation experience in which i have been appointed head in the following positions just to give you an idea:

1. aircraft maintenance - (2 years)
2. aircraft parts buying and supply manager - (1 year)
3. flight operations manager - ( 4 years )

and just to add to this experience ive recently finished my commercial pilot subjects and ive had my private pilot licence for a year and one month now.

so now my question is...if im already well experienced in various fields of this industry as well as being a qualified ppl...how exactly did they come to the conclusion that i do not have what it takes? i thought about this a lot and for a while now ive felt no less than useless and worthless but i refuse to give up on my airline pilot dream just because some old lady at cx thinks she knows better right? anyway, there were only 3 of us at this interview...the first guy didnt have one hour of flight time...no licence at all and looked like he just finished school...then there was me with a ppl and various qaulification certificates such as ( flight dispatching ect. ) and then there was another guy which wasnt even from south africa...he was from england and he already had his ATPL licence....?! so all my interviews went very good because i went there very much prepared ( i went ahead and studied from books such as : how to ace your technical interview ect ) so all my exams and interviews went flawless. so the only conclusion i can come up with why i didnt make it was because they chose the one guy that was already qualified up to atpl.....

so my only question would be...why whould they have to different application forms : 1500 hrs or below and 1500 hrs and above and also say that you dont need any flying experience...if they are going to put you up against a guy with well over 2000 hrs experience...i myself only having a 100hrs tt now? why invite me and give me hope in the first place if they are just planning to shoot me down anyway? my background in aviation is soooo solid even my dad was an airforce pilot and later went ahead and flew for british airways so where exactly did i go wrong as we have no way in speaking to anyone to tell us in the cx company what we did wrong in the interviews?

all and all im just letting some steam off because ive had no one to complain to about the Quote: un level playing field that we are on in this industry. Just going to an airline interview was an awesome and very educational experience so not all of it was bad. And i know some guys say that being SO is a bad place to be and so on but hey...in a way its like the army right...one day youll be captain and youll hopefully be a bit less cranky or stuborn with a new so below you because youll remember how you felt when you were there.... it all comes down to who you are as a person i think! but thanks guys for all the great informative posts...i really get to learn a lot from all the guys here at PPRuNe!
bushwacked.747 is offline  
Old 21st Feb 2012, 07:07
  #36 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Dont take this th wrong way, but I'm afraid parts buying and dispatching aren't going to be in the least bit useful to you for this programme.

Regarding your experience, well, more is expected of you due to what little flying experience you have.

Likewise, your industry knowledge, due to your experience in other parts of aviation.

My guess is that you fell short in your commensurate knowledge. Or personality. Or aptitude testing.

Lastly, on a personal note, you may wish to watch every word of your posts. The reason being is that you have very easily identified yourself: SA, dispatcher, buyer etc... Food for thought.

Best of luck.
Old 4th Mar 2012, 21:48
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,484
This was a fantastic thread - very illuminating!

This may have been already answered, but let's say someone accepts the SO position on the 744 fleet, after 4 years of a hard slog, what is the typical aircraft fleet upon graduating to the FO level for current SOs? A330/340? 777? Any fleet trends lately for SOs making the move to FO? What would be most likely for the next fleet and how is that determined (are SOs asked for a preference or does that not matter)?

Also, do the 744 SOs fly the cargo flights as well (mix of passenger and cargo flights)? Would that include a mix of 744F and 748F flights?

Iver is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2012, 14:46
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Up in the air
Age: 53
Posts: 196
Traditionally upgrade to JFO was either on Airbus or 777. Lately 747 has been included, personal preferences are not considered, you have to take what they offer you. Note that CX als employs SFO on the 777. Every pilot in CX has generally to fly pax and freight. Be aware that the 747-4/8 fleet will soon be a pure freighter fleet, which are both flown by the same crew. On the 777 the ratio pax to freight a/c will likely be around 5:1.
My guess would be that you are more likely to be placed on the 777 ( either right away or as JFO) or the Bus, simply because of higher order numbers on that side.
Rumors about orders of a 748 pax version ( or A380) are wandering around, no idea what's behind it.

Last edited by 711; 8th Mar 2012 at 15:27.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 20:44
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 678
What's the likely time frame from initial application (to the SO position) to having a "yes, we'd like to interview you" email?

So far I have heard nothing, and my application has been in for a while.
WX Man is offline  
Old 24th Mar 2012, 00:07
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Airside
Posts: 16
I had just under 3 months from application to invitation for initial interview. Advanced Entry course.
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