Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > PPRuNe Worldwide > South Asia and the Far East
Reload this Page >

China Pilot Medical Failures

South Asia and the Far East News and views on the fast growing and changing aviation scene on the planet.

China Pilot Medical Failures

Old 7th Dec 2011, 10:42
  #21 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hotels Mainly
Posts: 54
Thanks to those who sent me PMs.

Damn, im surprised there are any expats passing their medicals and flying in China.
It explains why they are constantly advertising for pilots, the failure rate must be huge.
Great if your under 30 or so.

Im getting mixed reports. Do the Drs work for the CAAC or the airline your applying for.

Has any pilot or the airline, (that your aware of) had to pay 'bribe' money to pass their medical or is it nothing to do with corruption?
Soab is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 17:45
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Find me a sewer.
Posts: 35
WYOMINGPILOT summed up the situation very well. The CAAC are strict on many things, and can also make arbitrary demands for extra tests (or simply deny a medical) to protect their own jobs. Much of their BS would not be tolerated outside China.

I have seen the CAAC micromanage the local doctors, forcing them to pull medicals or do extra tests on foreign pilots. If you get an airline job in China, save your money and do not expect job security.
POWDERFINGER is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2011, 02:55
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: who knows
Age: 55
Posts: 58
Hey Soab
I am one of those who was in China and failed the medical for total BS reasons, if you want to know the details I will gladly share them with you but the fact of the matter is the CAAC could care less about you and your career and from my own first hand account and from watching many others at my former Chinese company. They will fail you even if you check out fine, if they think you do not fit the mold they will just keep ordering tests to be done till you cry enough. I can honestly tell you all that you have heard about this back assward, Chinese NASA physical is absolutely true. From the chest xrays, ultrasounds to hunt down those killer gall stones, trying to produce an epileptic seizure with flashing lights, and the notorious blood PSI check, For 25 years took them twice a year in the US, always around 115/74 but come to China and now 125-135/85-95, hmmmmm, wonder why, could it be that the cuff is made to fit a 5'4" 140lb man who's only exercise is curling cigs and TsingTao to his lips, so when they try to fit the "one size fits all Capt" to a 6'6" 275lb Westerner who does exercise hard 5 times a week you end up with the Chinese medical comedy routine of one guy pumping the thing up and another holding to my arm. Not lying, they actually thought this would work, when I told docs. back in the US (after taking my blood psi. with a correct size cuff and reading 112/70) their advise "I'd pick another country before they hurt you"

Last edited by cameltoad; 22nd Dec 2011 at 02:56. Reason: left out word
cameltoad is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2011, 03:34
  #24 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hotels Mainly
Posts: 54
cameltoad,

Thanks for the reply.

I would be interested to hear what they failed you on exactly, what your readings were and what their limits are.

You could PM me if you prefer.

Thanks.
Soab is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2011, 13:42
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 56
china pilot medical services

I was a bit unclear about the doctors. Perhaps because I am a bit fuzzy on it myself and have not bothered to check...Either the doctors are CAAC employees who also work for the airlines, or airline employees who work for the CAAC part time..Not sure which, but the same doctors are in the airlines that do the CAAC medicals.

Lets be clear here though. The medicals are thorough, and the limits a bit stricter, but they are not impossilble. I am flying on an age waiver , and still manage a class one...as do thousands of other pilots....class 1 , that is, not the dinasaur waiver.

Dauphene Dude....you mentioned you were young and low time.. Be careful. Rose colored glasses will get you skinned alive in China.

Last edited by treykule; 22nd Dec 2011 at 13:56.
treykule is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2011, 14:43
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wherever the wind takes me...
Posts: 90
Thank you, I have been warned by several

I should develop an escape plan, hehe.
DauphinDude is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2011, 22:04
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: china
Age: 56
Posts: 321
Treykule;
I also wonder if they are CAAC employees, company or whatever, but TIC. This is China. That means a lot of things, including that I will never understand anything here, even if I am here 10 years.

CAAC employees? Yes. Brother in Law of Air China chief pilot? Probably. Cousin of Chief Purser at China Southern. Yes. Taking kickbacks from China Eastern to pass their pilots? Who knows. I would guess yes.

The only thing I know for sure here, is I don't know squat, and will never know squat. I have just had to learn to live with that and be happy every month when they pay me.

Good luck!
USMCProbe is offline  
Old 24th Dec 2011, 18:17
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Find me a sewer.
Posts: 35
I just have to share this one:

In Xiamen, the CAAC doctors rejected a pilot for having one testicle too much larger than the other. They nixed another pilot for having "gall sludge" visible in an ultrasound.

It's an arbitrary world - you must be able to seriously keep an even keel when dealing with China.
POWDERFINGER is offline  
Old 25th Dec 2011, 04:17
  #29 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hotels Mainly
Posts: 54
POWDERFINGERI just have to share this one:

In Xiamen, the CAAC doctors rejected a pilot for having one testicle too much larger than the other. They nixed another pilot for having "gall sludge" visible in an ultrasound.

It's an arbitrary world - you must be able to seriously keep an even keel when dealing with China.
I didnt realise the Chinese were such healthy people compare to the rest of the world.

I assume all the CAAC and airline Drs are much better than the average population.

http://www.google.com.au/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country: CHN&dl=en&hl=en&q=life+expectancy+chinese

http://www.google.com.au/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country: USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=life+expectancy+usa

World Bank, World Development Indicators - Google Public Data Explorer

World Bank, World Development Indicators - Google Public Data Explorer


Expats are contract pilots and can be laid off at short notice. They also require pilots to be current on type with 600-1000 hours PIC on type, so training would be minimal and on revenue earning flights, so the cost would be minimal to the airline.
They cant claim large amounts of money are being spent training Expat pilots so their medical standard must be significantly higher than Class 1 standard.

Strange!

Last edited by Soab; 25th Dec 2011 at 06:09.
Soab is offline  
Old 25th Dec 2011, 05:45
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: wyoming
Posts: 214
@Soab
"Im getting mixed reports. Do the Drs work for the CAAC or the airline your applying for.

Has any pilot or the airline, (that your aware of) had to pay 'bribe' money to pass their medical or is it nothing to do with corruption?"

The CAAC has its own doctors who perform the medicals every 6 months by coming to the airline and accomplishing all checks for the medical and review the preliminary tests you accomplished before they arrive like blood, urine, ekg etc. Each airline has its own doctors who work for the airline and are there to keep you flying and also act as liasons with the CAAC. As an individual pilot you will never be able to perform bribes but the company doctors travel to the regional offices to perform special administrative tasks read that however you like. If the airline likes you and wants you then your chances on passing are much better.
Blood pressure requirements in China are 140/90. If you are close they will require a 24 hour BP monitor. Abnormal EKGs can also send up a big flag here in China. The medicals are not extremely difficult but they are very THOROUGH. They expect pilots to be like astronauts when in reality we are more like bus drivers.
WYOMINGPILOT is offline  
Old 25th Dec 2011, 08:04
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA-China
Age: 53
Posts: 207
In simple words, do not bet you "Chinese Career" on your health...

CAAC Docs are owned by the airlines/CAAC. You will pass your medicals in they need you, want you, and like you... It's as simple as that!

GL
JotaJota is offline  
Old 26th Dec 2011, 09:17
  #32 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hotels Mainly
Posts: 54
WYOMINGPILOT,

Thanks for the info and the limits.

How does the 24Hr BP monitor work. Do you stay in the hospital for 24 hrs.

I didnt expect the pilots to have bribed the Drs directly to pass medicals (although working in Asia for many years, I shouldnt be surprised if it happened), but did wonder if the airline did to get their applicants 'approved'.

I may be well off here, (PMs also taken into consideration here) but does it appear the medical may be used as a way to fail applicants they dont wish to employ. Has anyone failed the application process by other than medical issues.
I realise there are also quite a few medical renewal failures or issues, so its not only initial applicants that are failed.

One PM I received said he failed on the static BP test, but the test was hardly a true static test.
Soab is offline  
Old 26th Dec 2011, 12:02
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: china
Age: 56
Posts: 321
Soab;
One of the important things here is to understand, that we will never understand how it works. If understanding everything that goes on around you is vital, this may not be the place for you (or me).

If you have to ask "why", and get an answer, you will probably fail the blood pressure test (as I did). Then you get to take the 24 hour test, like I did (passed this time).

The one they put on me was just an automatic, battery powered blood pressure tester that tested my pressure every 15 minutes, exactly. Next time I will just pay an 18 year old chinese person to wear it.

Smile and be happy in your ignorance. It is working for me so far. Most of the time.

LOL
USMCProbe is offline  
Old 26th Dec 2011, 15:59
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Austria
Age: 62
Posts: 30
Definitely second your comment. On my (small) half yearly checkup I failed the urine test, they told me to redo it and drink more before submitting it.
I put my sample on a desk with ca 50 others and they promptly lost it (;-))
Well, I was on my way to Europe when they realized it so I did the test here in Austria and sent the results, No problem...and a merry Christmas to you all
BTW: CAAC Hospital PEK
tcas69 is offline  
Old 27th Dec 2011, 19:14
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 4,683
I first arrived to fly in China on a joint venture offshore helicopter operation in Shenzhen. I, like the rest of the foreign pilots when flying the Chinese registered aircraft, did so on a CAAC endorsment of my British CAA ATPL(H). The UK 'G' reg aircraft, when flown by Chinese captains, who had been to the UK and had obtained a British CAA ATPL(H). All the co-pilots flew on either Chinese licences or validations from the CAA.
Come 1960 and my sixtieth birthday and it was considered that I could no longer fly in China. I flew a bit of contract in the UK and came to China in 1964 where I discovered that the CAAC would respect the limits of the host country inasmuch as the age limitaions were concerned. My previous employers were strapped for pilots and in a short time I was back in China in command.
The United Kingdom bins pilots at the age of sixty-five so in 1965 I left with the advice to get an Australian licence so as to continue my career. (Australia has no age limit and the company had confirmed with CAAC that they would respect the Australian limitations as well). This I did and I returned to China with an Australian ATPL(H) that was endosed by CAAC so I was back in command again. I was now employed and paid by a major British helicopter company but I was prohibited from flying their, G reg, aircraft; so I stuck to the Chinese ones.
A year or so later the scene changed. The days of unlimited endorsment renewels was over so I had to get a Chinese licence to continue flying in China. This took time, as opposed to the month it took in Australia, so I had to work there and commute to China to pass the various stages. I obviously passed the so-called astronaut medical and all the complicated catch questions in the exams and I was awarded a Chinese ATPL(H) at the age of sixty-six. The British part of the operation then ceased.
I now flew directly for the Chinese company on short term contracts until they no longer needed me in late 2008 and I finally retired two months before my sixty-ninth birthday still with a Class One medical. All is not bad in China. I had no trouble with any of the CAAC licensing or medical staff, quite the reverse.
The last years that I flew in China capped my career with a golden crown. I only wish I could do it all over again.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 28th Dec 2011 at 10:43.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2011, 04:39
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: who knows
Age: 55
Posts: 58
Chinese med failures

Hey Soab,
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you, You said you wanted the details of my issue, it's lengthy but here it goes.
First a little background, I have never had any medical issues of any kind in 25 years of flying, and have always exercised. That being said also know that I am 6'6" tall and weigh 290 lbs, I wear a a size 16 shoe. (or 1.98 meters and 130kg)
The initial medical I had no problems whatsoever except the blood pressure showed high. The Chinese limits are 140/90 and I was right at it. I had just had a first class a month ago and knew it was normal. But even though I am not a doc. I knew the fact that the cuff barely could fit on my arm could be the issue.
I was sent back to America and told to have a 24hr. blood psi. test done. They wire you up, put a cuff on your arm and a little electric box records the twice hourly psi readings for 24hrs. My average was 117/74.
Back in China with this info the Chinese still kept trying to take my psi. with their "one size fits all" (Which according to the Cardiologist that I consulted back in the US a too small cuff will show a false high reading 10-15 psi. high)
Finally I was sent to a Hospital with a Cardiology center and with the right cuff guess what, a normal reading.
Even with this CAAC was not convinced, like so many others I was now on their radar, I had to do another treadmill stress test, and even after that was fine I had to do a CT Angiogram, They shoot you up with a radioactive dye, and make a 3-D imagine of your heart. That went fine, no sign of coronary heart disease.
In China as you guys know the 6 month medical isn't as severe and even though with the still to small cuff (this is also the time where in amazement one doc held the cuff to my arm while the other pumped it up for a reading, I'm not kidding, actually happened. While I'm on this subject I was informed by docs. in the US there should be 4 inches of overlap, the CAAC cuff barely had a half inch, when they would pump it up it would just rip off) they claimed my psi. was ok.
On the next year check I knew I was ready, I had been exercising a lot, had been checking my psi before every trip with the co. doc using the same crappy cuff. I did the whole two day medical and everything was fine, so of course the docs wanted more checks in the form of a treadmill stress test. I did it and was told it was fine, but when compared with the one from a year ago from another hospital they didn't exactly match. So now they asked for another 24hr. psi monitor, a sonogram of my heart, and a CTA scan, this is when they shoot you with a radioactive fluid, run you on a treadmill then make an image of your heart, then the next day yet another dye and another image of your heart and compare them, all three of these test were fine.
Along with this I took it upon myself to see a Cardiologist in Hong Kong just to be sure. He ran his own test and look at the data from China and said I was fine and didn't understand their paranoia.
Even after all this the CAAC would not renew my medical. They wanted an Angiogram. This is when they cut into your artery, run a cable up to your heart, inject a dye directly into your heart and take an image. Needless to say there are risks associated with this. I had a meeting with the head of the Guangzhou CAAC Med. division to ask for a little common sense and why such extreme measures were needed. He told me and I quote exactly "Captain we know there is nothing wrong with you but this is China, the First Officer's you fly with may not be able to land the plane by themselves if something happens to you and we would be in much trouble so we must be absolutely sure"
So I refused, and came home, you have read a lot of theories on this and all are more or less correct. I do believe and have it on a very good source that some Airlines are on a lot better terms with their local CAAC docs. than others and where I was they did in fact have the highest rate of expat guys failing medicals (for what its worth Chengdu has the best). I know China well enough to know that I do believe that once you do "hit on their radar" you will always be watched extra carefully, and the reality of China as well as for these Docs is that there is no upside to using a little bit of common sense and a whole lot of downside. At the end of the day failing an expat guy on a med. check has no impact on them whatsoever but a problem not caught would most certainly cost them their job and prob. some jail time.
Sorry for the long thread but you wanted to know
cameltoad is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2011, 05:15
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 56
china pilot medical failures

USMC probe posted some real wisdom, as did some of the others.

This is China. You can accept it and work within it, or fight it. The latter will not work. You will never understand it.

The comment about first officers is absolutely true. The whole learning process here is about memorization. Not understanding. Some are natural pilots and a pleasure to fly with.. Others...well...not so much. If the plane was going straight down they could tell you with 100% accuracy that you have exceeded Vne, but not realize you are going to hit the ground.

A bit of thread drift there. Most companies have handlers to walk you through the medical.. It is a bad sign if it takes you the full two days to complete your medicals. Means you are on your own. We are typically in and out in a few hours..butting into line is also a Chinese cultural tradition....you are next...right after me.

As to the get rid of you syndrome.. Yes.. It is done. Our company does a non medical version of it.
But to allow someone to save face it is better if the do not pass a medical than to be told they are just incompetent or not working well in the system. Not agreeing with it. But it is the way it is..and you must learn to accept that nothing is as it seems if you want to work here.

Our company once had our AOC suspended because our CEO, who is an honorable man, refused to have dinner with a corrupt senior CAAC official.
Cost us a lot of money until we got it straightened out.

I cant over emphasize..It is the way it is here..It is not the US, UK, australia, or any other country. The culture is different.
treykule is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 16:41
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: In t'sky
Posts: 576
Does anyone know if it's possible to sit the CAAC medical BEFORE going out to China? I'm toying with the idea of some far east work (China or Japan) but I suffer from a mild form of IBD. No problem for the CAA but I bet I would have problems out there - I don't want to jack everything in here then find myself with no job.

Horgy
MrHorgy is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 09:23
  #39 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hotels Mainly
Posts: 54
Hey Cameltoad,

Yes a lenghty post, but I and maybe some others watching this thread appreciate it.

The guys Ive talked to have commented on the local pilots too. They use two Capts and two FOs each flight, but the Expats are always PIC. The local Capts are probably classed only as cruise Capts (and may well be for the remainder of their career by the sounds). There are local Capt with different designations that are rostered as PIC on their flights.

I would hope they wouldnt fail you on the medical simply because they dont like you. I would much rather been told im unsuitable for the position rather than subjected to medical screening as Cameltoad was, and then failed.

Cameltoad BTW What airline did you apply for with all the ridiculous medical checks. You could PM if you dont wish to post here.
So I can avoid applying to them.

Cheers

Last edited by Soab; 2nd Jan 2012 at 09:54.
Soab is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 10:11
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 56
china pilot medical failures

I would hope they wouldnt fail you on the medical simply because they dont like you. I would much rather been told im unsuitable for the position rather than subjected to medical screening as Cameltoad was, and then failed.

....SOAB.. You need to reread some of the posts...TIC ...This is china...they do things their way. If you are going to fly here you have to understand that it is a different culture. We all play by their rules...
It is sometimes difficult for foreigners to work here if they think their way is the best way, or even the only way.

As to the medicals...they are CAAC medicals. Unless you are flying on a short term validation, everyone takes them
treykule is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.