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Korean Air for expats

Old 25th Mar 2013, 18:14
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Korean Air for expats

I just went through the entire training program at KAL. I was just one flight short of the check-ride, feeling great and fully ready for it when based on the opinion of one person, with total disregard of a trouble-free training, my contract was terminated with the only reason given as "following company procedure"

The training is between 3 to 4 months long and ok during ground school. I was there 4 and a half months. FTD training which is like fix based simulator with korean instructors is the beginning of the stress. Some of them are very demanding and treat you like you are stupid and has never flown before. They emphasize so much SOP's but on the other hand each instructor seems to have his own agenda and his own way of doing things. You need luck to be paired with a good and reasonable instructor. Full flight simulator is ok since most instructors are westerners and very reasonable, mostly retired airline pilots from US, Canada, Australia or Europe.

They don't let you get away with anything but they work with you. The real nightmare is during OE training. In my case I was failed for time management because my instructor wanted me to finish the long landing briefing they demand way before top of descent. Their own procedure states just before TOD but he wanted it way before who knows why. Everything else being ok he failed me for that, saying I had time management problems, and that was strike one. I was sent to the FTD and the junior instructor failed me because he put me in a holding, then all of a sudden changed the STAR and Runway and I made the horrible sin in his eyes to ask for an additional holding pattern to prepare for the new arrival and he wanted me to proceed immediately in an unfamiliar area.

I insisted in an additional holding pattern explaining I would be ready after it which I was but he failed me saying I still had time management problems. That was strike two. After that I was placed on another FTD with a training manager who found no problems whatsoever and gave me the green light to continue OE. However, on my recommendation flight, my instructor wrote about some minor mistakes on previous flights and unfortunately I almost missed my gate while taxiing in since there were 2 wing walkers in place at an adjacent gate and I got confused. Reason enough to report I had no situational awareness on the ground and not recommending me for check ride. That was strike 3 and they terminated my contract just like that.

They said their procedures call for automatic termination after 3 failures.

I appealed to my good training record and these being minor issues to no avail. So it's a matter of luck.

I am now another unlucky unemployed pilot that invested 13 grand plus hotel and airfare to get typed on the airplane only to be merciless dismissed with total disregard of a good training file and the good opinion of one of the training managers and all my simulator instructors. They don't count good things, only the bad. Any small thing or issue will be used against you, you can count on that.
KAL is a nice job if you make it through training. If you make the money investment like I did it is kind of a gamble.

I never studied as hard in my career. 27 years of experience, over 7000 PIC time hours and learning all their procedures and callout verbatim did not help me. They never compliment anybody. In my case the only compliment that I got as outstanding flying skills did not help. Like I said, only the negatives are considered to make a life changing decision there against a pilot who had made the investment in time, money and effort to get there and to stay there. If you decide to apply and get a class date, make sure you can get your old job back if you don't make it, be prepared to be humiliated, yelled at in some cases (not mine, I must admit) or treated like stupid and if you are going to pay to get your type, you have been warned, its a gamble. It will be worth every penny if you make it but it will be extremely painful as I can attest now if you don't.

I heard some similar stories of this happening to several experienced pilots before I went there and saw myself 3 of such cases while I was there in training. I felt so bad for them. Little I knew I would be next. I wish whoever decides to go there better luck than the one I and others have had.
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 04:51
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Many thanks for highlighting the pit falls of an Asia experience.

One more time letting all know that one should never, repeat never attempt a pay for training gig.
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 07:35
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Jimmy please don`t mix up the two it`s not the pit falls of an asia experience but the pit falls of Korean Airlines. There are lots and lots of of write ups on Korean Airlines on PPRuNe, its a crap shoot, more than likely people will encounter problems there, do a search its all here good luck to anyone going there.
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 08:47
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I heard Asiana give you 2 line checks if joining as PIC? 1 Company and 1 Government.

If the Government guy doesnt like your face then u fail.

can see why people advise to think twice.
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 13:46
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Cediazf,

Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

I have heard of many similar experiences at KAL. It's a big risk to give up a job/stump up for a rating then join this mob!
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 13:52
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But is Korean Air as an expat employer good? I've read too much bad things about this company (regarding expats).. Not really 1 good story..
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Old 26th Mar 2013, 23:07
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Thumbs up

Cediazf
Thanks for sharing your story; I feel sorry for you; but it confirms Korean Air is the 100% CRAP airline NEVER to apply to!
And yes there are plenty of nicer airlines in Asia! And Asia starts in the Gulf! EK, QR and EY are better! THY, as well! Not perfect, but there the pilots are not racists like in Korean!
By the way what is your "new" type rating? 777? 744? A330?

All the best,

FBY 390
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Old 27th Mar 2013, 02:32
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Sorry to hear that cediazf but yours is yet another story in the hundreds I've
heard over many years. Even if you had made it you'd still have problems of
"surprise" line checks, FOs who report you to their miserable masters over
just about anything no matter how trivial, etc etc. KAL isn't happy unless
you're stressed every day.

There's Asian airlines and then there's bloody KAL and its institutionalised
racism. I'm not talking about the popular Western synonym for name-calling
but the true definition of racism - being behind the eight-ball from day one
through no fault of your own simply because you are not of the same genes
and blood of the host.

Stay away from them - the buggers are definitely not worth the effort and
stress.
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Old 27th Mar 2013, 16:42
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Cediazf, sorry for you troubles.

I applied through an agency for KAL B744 DEC position. All was well until the little advertised requirement of four years of Airline First Officer experience. Didn't matter the total hours in the right seat, nor years/hours as aircraft commander/PIC or as Flight Engineer, RO, etc-had to be four years. I was shy 2 months as First Officer, so I don't get to play. It's their game and their rules.

Although I still need a job, I realize now how unreasonable and obstinate these folks are and feel fortunate that I wasn't offered a position.
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Old 27th Mar 2013, 22:42
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My new type rating

It is on the B777
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Old 27th Mar 2013, 22:45
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Yes Service Monkey. Unreasonable seems an understatement. I tried not to be insulting but is good to refresh the mind of those considering Korean. Like I said, if you make it through training after putting up with lots of BS is not too bad but you are always at risk, a check ride away from dismissal. However, I must say that even some korean first officers are unhappy since they are treated like inferiors and expected to please their korean captains. especially those captains coming from the military. Even some young korean captains cannot take the pressure anymore and have left to China. But whether the koreans like it or not, they need the expats and hopefully if the pipe starts to dry they may have to revise their unfair and some time terroristic practices. I must say that I know some guys who are happy with the job but have witnessed many injustices and speak about them all the time. It's sad that you have to depend on luck to get and keep a job. I just hope to save somebody from unfairly having his hopes and dreams destroyed the way I had mine.

Last edited by cediazf; 27th Mar 2013 at 22:54. Reason: Just want to add another comment
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Old 28th Mar 2013, 05:21
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For some reason, on the B777 98% of the non-rated guys get killed during OE training.
In 2012 just 2 non-rated captains, out of many, made it all the way through.

The 777 still seems to be the darling-fleet, and experienced 757/767 guys seem to be not good enough to steer those.

It's a shame.

Best advise is to have a plan B or just don't go there at all if it's for the 777.
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Old 28th Mar 2013, 15:26
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How are things on the 737 fleet?
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Old 28th Mar 2013, 18:14
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Dear Mr. Cediazf,

When reading your thread, I initially felt a little sorry for you, but after reading both, I'm glad I'll never meet you.
My favorite line you wrote was "It's sad that you have to depend on
luck to get and keep a job." REALLY ?? You mean that ? So being in my second decade at KAL, it's been all luck so far? The 400+ ex-pats at KAL
are sure to be impressed by your assessment, after your lengthy 4 month tenure.
You talk about your trouble-free training, yet it was stressful. You
seem excited about the long landing briefing THEY DEMAND. Guess what
dude? That's SOP. Long-winded, I agree, but it's their program. I do a long
briefing all the time, why? It's SOP. Missing parking spots, callouts, etc.,
become part of the book they keep on you, and the book is not the one you carry with you, trust me.

You knew in the beginning it was a gamble. You say, you heard
similar stories before. Yet you still rolled the dice, and lost. So now it's time to press on. You stated you have "outstanding flying skills", your
words, and a good training record. Get a copy, and with your outstanding
resume with a 777 rating, you'll be all set.

I'll continue on at KAL, and hope my lucky streak continues, because as you stated, that's how us KAL guys keep our job.

If you are still in the gambling mood, take Miami over Marquette.
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Old 28th Mar 2013, 18:25
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54fighting. Are you an adult?
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Old 28th Mar 2013, 23:10
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I'm sorry 54fighting to disagree with you on one thing about your post.........Miami will beat Marq........with no problem whatsoever
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Old 29th Mar 2013, 00:30
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Well 54fighting. You are entitled to your opinion. I heard from several guys flying there who looked at my training record that they made far worst mistakes than the ones I made and they made it. Their instructors debriefed them and were glad those happened on OE and they were able to talk about them and correct them. They got an extra OE and problem solved, they made it. I was denied the extra OE with a very decent training record. If that is not luck you tell me what it is. Had I had one of those instructors maybe I will be there. Sorry but other than luck I don't know how to call it. I strongly believe in SOP's and for your information never missed a callout. I did the long briefings even though I disagreed with some of its parts but I adapted. Good for you that you like those and I obliged as part of me adapting to their program. I will not apologize for being human and make non safety related mistakes like we all make and I have a 27 year career incident and accident free to prove it in far worst flying conditions than there. They know that non rated pilots made an investment to be there and unfortunately seems that they are not willing to work with the guys that made the extra sacrifice and effort to be there. And don't tell me than in your long time there you have not witnessed a good deal of injustices. I was clear. I have some friends there who are happy with the job but at the same time they all invariably speak about some unfair practices and some nonsense going on like a Guy who barely speaks english going in a flight to supervise how good your ATc communications are or at least half a dozen cases I heard about the OE instructor screaming to the trainee below 10,000 feet when nothing serious was happening, so much for SOP and Flight Safety. I am glad you are there and enjoying. I would surely be happier had I made it but was already aware of some unfair practices and decisions that happened while I was there. Yes, I took my chances, expected a fair treatment and it did not happen for me. Just think they should stop offering a chance to non type rated pilots unless they are willing to make the effort to help them make it like they do with their korean pilots. Sadly I found out too late the non type rated pilots failure rate. Most pilots who pay for their type are merciless failed in a percentage that seems to be on the 80%. And those are the pilots who should receive a little extra help as long as they do their part and are safe, And whether you believe it or not, I was as ready as anybody. What they counted as my third failure should have been the first. Failing me for time management or for following their book not letting ATC rush me as they advice was unfair and I was "unlucky" to have that kind of instructor. Ok, I may take back the part of needing luck to keep you job after passing the training but you definitively need a good deal of luck to pass OE or FTD depending on the korean instructor you get. Don't judge anybody until you have been on their shoes.
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Old 29th Mar 2013, 02:20
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If you're lucky enough to make it through the first few years, it's harder for the Korean check airman to fail you. How could you have made it earlier with no "situational awareness"?
Truth is you made it through those years because you were lucky. 54fighting (and I) were lucky. Cedia is not wrong in his assesment, he was honest regarding his (minor) mistakes, I've made worse. At any reasonable airline, those issues would have been discussed, but certainly not led to failure.
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Old 29th Mar 2013, 20:24
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Good to be told also. Most koreans are nice people. The guys in the expat department were super nice even in my last moments there. The biggest problem seems to be in the training department and their unfair practices. They have a tough screening and a tough training and somebody who passed the screening and once there makes it to the last segment of the training virtually troublefree deserves some extra chance. They spend over 50K dollars per person in that training. It does not seem to make sense to through it all away for not doing a couple of extra OE flights on guys with an otherwise a good record. Since they are reluctant to change their procedures, even less if advised from someone who is not korean, I just want those considering Korean to have more information on what to expect that what I had. Yes, I am deeply hurt for how they finally treated me, unemployed thanks to their insensitivity and with another debt to pay but I will survive. I would not say forget about korea. If you are typed and unemployed, give it a shot but know what to expect. If you have to pay for your type, think twice unless you have alternative plans in place. All the best to you all.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 04:45
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North just declared war on south and US

Good luck to those in the area
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