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Working as a Pilot in China

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

Working as a Pilot in China

Old 15th Jul 2015, 18:47
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Working as a Pilot in China

Beware flying in China.

There are lots of ads with big money out there; the reality of living, working and in flying in China far outweighs the benefits in this humble pilot's opinion. Remember, if it's too good to be true, yadda yadda; there's a reason the offers are so exorbitant.

In the interest of disseminating information to fellow aviators, a few friends and I have put together a comprehensive document of the recent experiences of various expat pilots in China from a number of sources, anecdotal exchanges to company memos. Most of the stories circle around the toilet bowl that is Tianjin Airlines, but there are others in the mix as well. Suffice it to say, most of what is related applies to Hainan Group in general (of which mighty gorgon Tianjin is a wriggling tentacle) and can be extrapolated out from there to China in general as the reader sees fit.

Flying Upside Down:
Zippyshare.com - Flying Upside Down.pdf (zippyshare)
Zippyshare.com - Flying Upside Down.pdf (filedropper)
[31.77mb Flying Upside Down.pdf]
There are just too many stories to tell to be honest, but this should give people interested in the theater of ops a good taste of what it's like. Friends don't let friends fly China, and any aviator is a compatriot in this matter of grave significance.

Others who have stories, please do share; or send a PM so we can add what you have to share in our next volume if you don't want to post here. Comments of disbelief welcome; keep the flames to a minimum (we already know it's you, China); this document was prepared for free, accept no imitations.

干杯!
(Gānbēi)

(This post is a duplicate from here: Working as a Pilot in China - Airline Pilot Central Forums)

PS: IF you want to re-post this pdf elsewhere, please feel free. Our team would appreciate original credit, but other than that the intent of the work we all did was to inform people about realities and cut through the sunshine being blown up would-be contract pilot's asses. If someone beats us to the punch we won't be disappointed. We'll simply pop in, thank the effort and add our 2-3 cents as necessary.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 11:07
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Join Date: May 2004
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Superb and very informative, given how comprehensive this is ever thought of selling it as a self-published book on amazon? hate to see all your efforts not rewarded.

Had a laugh at
Even the Indians think the Chinese are crooked
That takes some beating!

Last edited by flash8; 16th Jul 2015 at 11:25.
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 19:25
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^ Sent!

Thanks for the kudos folks, we've gotten more views and downloads than we ever expected. Enjoy!

CS
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Old 19th Jul 2015, 20:22
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Loosey,

Half way through...very entertaining !

Strikes me as a Public Service Announcement akin to, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk.".
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Old 24th Jul 2015, 13:12
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Loosey,

Read your book cover to cover. Can only say, "wow!!"; you're a better man than I.

For those of us in the Peanut Gallery, would you (or anyone else who's read the book and worked for other Chinese carriers) say the circumstances at Hainan are representative of all Chinese carriers, some of them or just the absolute bottom of the Chinese barrel ?
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Old 28th Jul 2015, 01:25
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Thanks everyone for checking in and reading our work!

bafanguy, I'd like to send a shout-out to the other homies from around China to add their two cents regarding your question; in short, I will answer yes. Why? Because this just happened:


Wanna haul around a bunch of cheap rubber doggy-doo outta Hong-Kong? It will be a lot safer than taking the locals from A to B! Good luck getting any support from company XYZ (take your pick) if something like this happens to you... Then again, $300k off the street to fly a 737 around, bump and grind mainland China... HMMMMM. SOUNDS FISHY.

Cheerio!
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Old 28th Jul 2015, 09:58
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Sadly, but true, all Asia is an another world for a Western pilot!
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Old 1st Aug 2015, 14:05
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Thanks for the amusing read.

I took the liberty to upload this on Scribd, which is easier to access for people that don't want to bother with downloading 30MB PDF files:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/273231452...pside-Down-pdf
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 08:01
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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I appreciate the attempt at humour and the attempt to be helpful to would-be expats, but you're painting the landscape with a very wide brush.

At the green & white airline in the big city down the coast things are considerably better than what you describe. There are many good Chinese pilots- good not only as in competent- but in personality. Treat them with respect and fairness and you get it back. While it's true that many things are backwards and frustrating by western standards- the Chinese are growing their industry a heck of a lot faster than we grew ours and we need to cut them some slack.

Maybe the individuals in your story deserve the treatment you've provided but without knowing you and projecting the other side of the story- I have no way of being sure. But I think you're really being unfair in your portrayal of Chinese airlines and the culture and country as a whole. There are a lot of good, high-quality people here.

Providing a required skill or not- we're guests in this country and I wouldn't blame Chinese completely unconnected to Tianjin for being greatly offended by you and your book. I sure hope they don't tar all of us with one brush like you did with them.
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 11:45
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Very well said. I fly for a Chinese airline in another big city and what you write is exactly what I would describe here.
Actually I enjoy my time flying and I enjoy my weeks off when I can live a comfortable life with my family spending the money I am earning.
Maybe it is just for me but I find myself living a quite pleasant life here. There are obviously many things you need to adapt, but for me better China that Middle East...at least 100 times.
So please, if you do not like it just quit and do not spend so much time in writing: we that work here prefer to keep the nice relations with our Chinese colleagues.
Regards.
Regards.

Originally Posted by wellfedCanuck View Post
I appreciate the attempt at humour and the attempt to be helpful to would-be expats, but you're painting the landscape with a very wide brush.

At the green & white airline in the big city down the coast things are considerably better than what you describe. There are many good Chinese pilots- good not only as in competent- but in personality. Treat them with respect and fairness and you get it back. While it's true that many things are backwards and frustrating by western standards- the Chinese are growing their industry a heck of a lot faster than we grew ours and we need to cut them some slack.

Maybe the individuals in your story deserve the treatment you've provided but without knowing you and projecting the other side of the story- I have no way of being sure. But I think you're really being unfair in your portrayal of Chinese airlines and the culture and country as a whole. There are a lot of good, high-quality people here.

Providing a required skill or not- we're guests in this country and I wouldn't blame Chinese completely unconnected to Tianjin for being greatly offended by you and your book. I sure hope they don't tar all of us with one brush like you did with them.
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 13:44
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Joe and Wellfed

In wich one are you working?

i am thinking to move to mainland, I got an email asking me to go to the interview next week, but trying to dissipate my doubts...
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 13:47
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Would it be fair to interpret Falchetto as "false modesty" in Italian?
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 15:13
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There is no good company in china to work with?

Really?
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 16:22
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I don't know: everybody is free to make the best guess and Interprete my words as he likes.
By the way, I just stated my experience and what is funny is that I know directly a lot of colleagues that every day complain about the same issues...but strangely they are at the second or third contract. Just to be completely honest, it is not difficult today for a captain to find another airline in another place maybe closer to homeland where to fly...so if I stay in PRC is just because I like it.
Regarding "falsa modestia" Italian is a very complex language and sentences may have a lot of different meanings...almost like english.
Regards.
Originally Posted by dignified View Post
Would it be fair to interpret Falchetto as "false modesty" in Italian?
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Old 2nd Aug 2015, 16:24
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Hi. I can give you only one suggestion: go and see by yourself. You will have the chance to talk directly with some laowei there that will give you the best inside look about the candidate airline, and you also will experience a little bit of the Chinese way of living.
Ciao.
Originally Posted by Oscar84 View Post
Joe and Wellfed

In wich one are you working?

i am thinking to move to mainland, I got an email asking me to go to the interview next week, but trying to dissipate my doubts...
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 04:34
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Very well said. I fly for a Chinese airline in another big city and what you write is exactly what I would describe here. Actually I enjoy my time flying and I enjoy my weeks off when I can live a comfortable life with my family spending the money I am earning. Maybe it is just for me but I find myself living a quite pleasant life here. There are obviously many things you need to adapt, but for me better China that Middle East...at least 100 times. So please, if you do not like it just quit and do not spend so much time in writing: we that work here prefer to keep the nice relations with our Chinese colleagues.
Regards.
I appreciate the attempt at humour and the attempt to be helpful to would-be expats, but you're painting the landscape with a very wide brush.

At the green & white airline in the big city down the coast things are considerably better than what you describe. There are many good Chinese pilots- good not only as in competent- but in personality. Treat them with respect and fairness and you get it back. While it's true that many things are backwards and frustrating by western standards- the Chinese are growing their industry a heck of a lot faster than we grew ours and we need to cut them some slack.

Maybe the individuals in your story deserve the treatment you've provided but without knowing you and projecting the other side of the story- I have no way of being sure. But I think you're really being unfair in your portrayal of Chinese airlines and the culture and country as a whole. There are a lot of good, high-quality people here.

Providing a required skill or not- we're guests in this country and I wouldn't blame Chinese completely unconnected to Tianjin for being greatly offended by you and your book. I sure hope they don't tar all of us with one brush like you did with them.
Hi Joe and Canuck, thank you both for offering your thoughts and insights. I'd like to begin by referring to the introduction where it is stated and developed that the opinions and methods of 'FUD' and 'Duke' are not going to sit well with all; so, your points are respectfully taken and noted. I'd also hazard a guess that you both possess exceptional negotiating skills, coping skills as well as flight deck skills. China is obviously working out for you with the facilities and mentality you bring to the theatre of operations, and that's great.

However, it has been my experience that you two are in the minority (maybe not on the flight deck, but certainly in people skills). I have seen firsthand at least 5x the current on-property expat pilot contingent (~40-50 at the time) interview, come and go at Tianjin, and I've heard similar numbers apply at other carriers over there. Would-be expats have flashy paychecks waved in front of their noses by recruiters (which should be an immediate tip-off: if it's too good to be true blablabla...) when what they need is an honest-to-gosh discussion, pub-style, explaining the intricacies of the threats and risks they WILL meet on a daily basis operating over there. Again, we went for the "Jerry Springer" approach over the snooze fest of "Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators" and the numbers of downloads, personal messages of support and thanks in general indicate our choice was well made. Judge accordingly as you find appropriate.

Without going tit-for-tat with you, which would be argumentative and disrespectful, I would like to change the subject and solicit your observations. I'd like to invite you to discuss a number of issues in the preferred "Naval Aerodynamics" style if you have the time and interest.

First and foremost, would you describe the demographic breakdown of the expat pilot group at your respective carriers? Total number on property, Male/Female, White/Black/Hispanic, N. American/S. American/European etc? I'm curious to know the figures at some other carriers (which you mention and we did not have contact with). I'm curious to know if other carriers reflect what comprised Tianjin's contingent as it came and went over the years.

Best regards,
L.G.

Last edited by looseygoosey; 6th Aug 2015 at 01:00.
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Old 5th Aug 2015, 05:42
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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Have to admit was a pretty funny read....and after being in China back in 90s watching it gear up......already I could see what was coming down the pipe all these years later in your write ups...nice to see it become full blown crap fest.


Everything from grabbing the yoke with a death grip when they encounter any turbulence, do we know what TRIM is? to the backstabbing bs that makes them think they will get ahead....saw it then....its just been refined by 2015. Airways denied due prob of CB...lol...saw the gamut of stupid shit.


For those that passed comment like mentioning the green and white in HK. if you had a clue you would have already noticed the HK locals are rapidly distancing themselves from the Mainlanders....and that's just in matter of public discourse let alone in complicated operational tasks of flying. The only reason the green and white is above the grade compared to any mainland operation... it has a western operational management style at its heart, with no billing on QAR incidents.
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Old 6th Aug 2015, 00:59
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Thanks for stopping by with your comments, Score.

It's nice to get the firsthand observations of people who experienced China in different decades; establishing a pattern is extremely powerful when trying to convince pilots and win approval. If you have a chance, could you email me your favorite story of flying in China? We want to add it to our next volume. Alternatively, if you want to post it here that's cool too!

[email protected]

All the best,
L.G.
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 02:30
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: china
Age: 56
Posts: 321
Here is my favorite story. I happened every day:

"When I show up to work, and set my flight bag down, that is the last time I pick it up until the end of the day when I am finished. The FA"s carry it to the aircraft and back.

When I go back to use the lavatory, the first FA that sees me open the door rushes into the bathroom first and closes the door. She has to make sure the bathroom is clean enough for the Captain.

Then, every month, they paid me a whole bunch of money.?

There are some bad stories as well. But there are enough wankers on these forums complaining, I will leave that up to them.
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 03:43
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Global Nomad
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One could argue that there's plenty of wankers complaining about others telling as it really is.
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