VuelingAirbus From Spain, joined Aug 2005, 113 posts, RR: 2 Posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4183 times:
I recently read in another threat that some companies give flying jobs to people with 500 hours and the poster raised the question of how safe that is (and on a side note I had the incredible luck to get a job with 285 hrs. and frozen ATPL on MD-83 when I was 22). Since the other threat was about something completely different I would like to hear your opinion on low time pilots.
Most European companies hire people directly from the flight school at the moment and this makes me think about the positive and negative sides of this practice.
Low timers have naturally a lack in handling capabilities when they start their job and they are more hesitant to take corrective actions if needed (captains screws up...). On the other hand they are receptive to critics, willing to learn and very motivated and thankful. They usually have the most recent training and an above average system and general knowledge (not to be mistaken by experience and operational knowledge).
I am very interested in all of your opinions, doubts and feelings towards it.
Gg190 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 160 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 17 hours ago) and read 4100 times:
I think they are safe enough, so long as the captain is competant enough. If plane crashed with a low hour first officer on-board, because a captain screwed-up then it is the captain who was unsafe, a low hour F/O I don't think would be a factor, they're not there to correct the captains mistakes.
Also these low-hour pilots have to build-up hours somehow. Flight training is extrememly expensive, and then to have to spend time flying G/A aircraft to 'unfreeze' your ATPL may not be an option for some.
Barney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 825 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 16 hours ago) and read 4054 times:
Less than 500 hours TT and in the right seat of transport category aircraft? Absolutely not. Sorry folks, we as professional pilots get saddled with an endless litany of tests, restrictions and scrutiny all in the name of flying safety, only to be paired up with someone who needs constant instruction and supervision? I don't think so.
Quoting Gg190 (Reply 1): they're not there to correct the captains mistakes
They absolutely are. There is no substitute for experience, and having someone in the right seat without the experience/confidence to point out a potential problem is not conducive to a safe operation.
CX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6447 posts, RR: 56 Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 3985 times:
I think it really depends on the individual. I have seen plenty of higher time pilots whose skills are much worse than ab initio pilots with only a couple of hundred hours. Sometimes these low time pilots have entered straight into the airline having been trained by that airline to their standards. There will have been no bad influences from other sources. The pilot is 100% taught the way the airline wants and they are usually better off from it.
I think that to justify your question you need to sit down and have a look at statistics for crashes, crew error and the number of hours the crew member has. I doubt there is much of a correlation. Many accidents are from crews that have had bad training or a simple lapse in procedures, and this is far more to do with the airline and individual than the number of hours they have flown. I think you will find that most crashes are from pilots with many hours under their belts.
Having said all that, I do agree that a low hour pilot MAY cause a higher workload for the captain if they let their inexperience show, however when talking about crashes, I do not think the situation goes that far.
Amtrosie From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 274 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3835 times:
Absolutely NO low timers!!!!! From maintenance side of the house (dysfunctional though it may be), to have an inexperienced right seater is a recipe for disaster. They DO NOT have superior systems or general knowledge. Where is this knowledge gained? From hands on finger nails getting dirty EXPERIENCE!! I can not tell you how many times a "newbie" has created far more work and started the path to an accident, where an more experienced pilot or mechanic has had to stop that potential disaster. They must gain their experience on airframes less complicated and step-by-step proceed from there.
HAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31450 posts, RR: 57 Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3811 times:
I'd agree with Amtrosie on that one.
Low Time Pilots out here have created confusions.Even on Pushback/startup one can hear the PIC yelling out errors.
Recently there was an Incident when the brakes were applied on Pushback too.
I dont want to Generalise,But its in a Majority.
At Some Airlines the Low timers are allowed to fly SNY or as Observers for xyz hrs to help their confidence on that type,before taking the RH Seat.I'm refering to Commercial Airlines.
AirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3809 times:
I have asked relatively senior pilots this question before because it is an interesting topic. Both have said that they have flown with low time pilots and they believe that most of the low time pilots (flight academy graduates) have no business being in the cockpit. For them the job becomes easier and enjoying if they don't have to baby sit inexperienced pilots. Its true that back in the day major airlines hired pilots with only 1000 hours but they went as F/Es not F/Os directly like they do now.
HAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31450 posts, RR: 57 Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3796 times:
Quoting MrChips (Reply 9): I am going to walk away from this thread before I say something I'm going to regret later.
Let me guess.You are a Low timer.
Seriously speaking.... Better than walk away,Maybe you could express your opinion & prove us Wrong.Thats what this forum is for.If you know something Share it.
Alright...I've cooled off enough now, and I think Mel has raised a good point here...I should see what I can do to change some minds here.
A bit of background first. I am a low-time pilot myself - I currently have a Commercial Lisence with Multi-engine and multi-engine instrument ratings, and I stand at about 920TT, almost all of it command time in light singles.
First off, I must state that to lay down a blanket statement about low-time pilots being next to useless is the wrong thing to do, and I will explain that later. Now, I will be the first to admit that there are low-timers out there who I would never even dare fly with because of their lack of ability and an apperant lack of attention to detail and procedure...in effect, these pilots are behind the airplane right from the walk-around until the time they open the beer at the end of the day. Now having said that, I guarantee that there are airline pilots who fit that bill as well.
Relating to this, if an air operator properly does their job of training new hires and experienced pilots alike, and this air operator has a good set of SOPs to back up this training, then the experience level of the pilot should be almost a non-issue. It does not matter how experienced a pilot is, if he/she is trained improperly, everyone else's job (be it engineers, dispatchers, etc.) becomes much more difficult. Really, you could argue that the reason many of you "old dogs" (and I say this affectionately, not with hostile intent) have had such trouble with low-time pilots is not just that they have poor grasp of the task at hand, but they were never trained to be able to grasp it in the first place.
This brings me to my next point. There is no subsititute for experience...I know that I have learned much in the 670 or so hours I have flown since graduating from college. The problem is that with the way that the industry is currently set up, there is a classic Catch-22 scenario playing out - You need experience to get a job and move up, but a job is the only way to get the experience to move up. Now, unless you're lucky like I was, the only way a 220 or 230 TT commerical pilot will gain experience is to get a flight instructor rating...adding to the already considerable bills accrued from earlier flight training. Unfortunately, there are a good number of operators who will not look at flying instructors for this reason or that, even though they have gained experience in a manner recognized by the regulatory agency.
On the topic of training, another hinderance arises. 20 or 30 years ago, most airlines would scoff at "those flight school flunkies", saying that their training is substandard or completely inadequate, and that the only pilots suited to joining the workforce are those that are current or former military pilots. Now back then, this wasn't a problem - the military trained enough pilots to maintain their numbers and to keep a steady supply of pilots coming out the other end into the airlines/corporate world. Fast forward to today - the military is no longer able to easily throw away the millions of dollars invested in training a pilot after only 10-15 years of service - they want you for life now. Here in Canada, and I'm pretty sure its the same almost everywhere else in the world, the military simply cannot afford to train future airline pilots anymore. Enter the flight schools - they can fulfill the demand for pilots, and many of them are trained to the same level that military pilot would be at wings ceremony. Of course, there are again exceptions to this, but word travels quickly about which schools are good and which are bad.
Finally, we have the "big, bad captain" problem. I have friends already flying in two-crew environments, and they say that a substantial number of captains seem to go out of their way to make the F/O's job difficult. They will make comments like, "you know, we get 500 applications a week for your seat, so replacing you wouldn't be too hard at all". With that, the F/O is literally frightened into a state where he/she is literally dreading every leg with this person, because the captain has put them in a situation that they are afraid to bring to attention things that could pertain to the completion of the flight in a safe and expeditious manner. When asked why they do this, the captains simply reply, "when I was an F/O, my captains did this to me, so it's my duty to do it as well/it didn't hurt me any." Not only do I personally find this intimidation tactic to be reprehensible from a moral aspect, but I feel that it severely compromises the safety of the flight before you even leave the chocks. By intimidating your first officer, you could very well be throwing a very important asset out the window. In fact, one of my close friends, one who follows procedure properly, has a good grasp of systems and has superior airmanship; a first-class aviator in every respect, has recently quit the industry altogether because he was sick and tired of the intimidation that he experienced at not one, but two companies.
On a personal note, I am going to get this out of the way right now - I feel that the proper place for a 250 hour pilot is not at a major airline. You need time to mature and gain experience before handling a large and complicated aircraft like a regional jet. Now having said that, there is no reason under the sun that a 250 hour pilot cannot fly as an F/O in a King Air or on a Navajo.
Ralgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6 Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3777 times:
Pretty good post Mr Chips. Unfortunatly the operator can only train someone so much. In general, low time pilots will not do as well as the higher time ones. Of course there are exceptions, but they are exactly that, exceptions.
Stick a CFI will 1500 hours in singles and light twins in the right seat of an airliners, they're going to be behind the airplane, but they will, in general, catch up faster than a CFI with only 1000 hours would. Someone who's been flying freight in a slightly less light twin would catch up even faster. It's not only how much time, but what kind of time you have.
Many captains have told me that their job is much easier with a competant FO, and, in general, the more experience someone has, the faster they become a competant FO.
Quoting MrChips (Reply 11): Now having said that, there is no reason under the sun that a 250 hour pilot cannot fly as an F/O in a King Air or on a Navajo.
I'd rather be flying with a low-time, well trained, intelligent, CRM-able F/O with above avarage (hand-)flying skills, (The kind of pilots that flight academies a la Lufthansa, KLM an Sabena produce), then with a high time, but foolish -accident waiting to happen- Chiefpilot like Eduardo.
( , I'm sure Vuelingairbus knows who I'm talking about!)
PS: did he experience any "uncommanded go-arounds" lately?
VuelingAirbus From Spain, joined Aug 2005, 113 posts, RR: 2 Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3728 times:
First of all. Thanx for all your replies and your opinions.
The difference I can see here is that the people coming from an area with low time pilots tend to like them versus our North Ameerican posters seem to dislike them.
Its just a fact that in JAA countries you can get a F/O job on a transport aircraft like A320/B737/MD80 ... directly after flight school with minimum hours. My previous company (and in 20 years of operation with 20 Acft they had no single accident nor serious incident) even had maximum hours to get the job.
Quoting Sabenaboy (Reply 14): I'd rather be flying with a low-time, well trained, intelligent, CRM-able F/O with above avarage (hand-)flying skills
Reason for that politic is that we had many serious problems with those experienced guys. If they came from the military they had no clue about Airline operations, it was a one man show and there were no CRM skills present. Coming fom other Airlines they would kinda stick to their old SOP's and were not flexible enough. New guys from small GA operators, flying turboprop or CFI's did actually cause more stress to our TRI/TRE's because it was difficult to eliminate some of the ways they were used to operate the aircraft. On top of that many just wanted to get the rating and they would leave the company after the bond period for greener pastures.
The low time pilots on the other hand proved that they had a much better system knowledge (more motivated since it was their first rating). They followed SOP's correctly. After 3 to 6 month in operation they had good flying capabilities, good and correct standard ATC phraseology and they knew the airline operations. When upgraded to captain the company had less problems with them as well.
Woodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 932 posts, RR: 7 Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3697 times:
I thought the hiring process is different between the US and Europe/Asia. I thought it was the norm to hire right out of the flight academies with low time pilots in Europe and Asia.
So it's kind of like comparing apples and oranges between low time pilots hired in Europe and low time pilots hired in the United States.
I've heard that some countries will send their pilots with zero time to flight academies in the US, get their commercial pilot certificate, then they go back to their home country, and they're flying 737s, 747s, 777s in their own country with 250TT.
Edit: Japan Air Lines (from what I hear) will not hire you if you have any significant pilot time (more than a 100?) before being hired with them, they want you with zero time so that they can train you their way to fly their 747s and 777s.
[Edited 2005-09-08 15:31:33]
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from surviving bad judgement.
SlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 69 Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3675 times:
Some interesting responses here.
Quoting VuelingAirbus (Reply 15): The difference I can see here is that the people coming from an area with low time pilots tend to like them versus our North Ameerican posters seem to dislike them.
Right you are, but I think this is just rooted in our recent experience. Here in the US when a major airline goes into a hiring cycle it has an applicant population that includes low-time commercials, commuter captains and f/o's, fighter and transport pilots leaving active duty, reserve fighter and transport pilots living locally, corporate pilots and guys who were furloughed from, or who flew for another airline now defunct.
The military pilot pool has dried up somewhat, at least it is not like it was during the wind-down from Vietnam. But the pool of folks who flew for other airlines is pretty large. These applicants might bring four thousand hours in your type airplane. Now I ask you, with that kind of experience to draw from, how attractive are this year's graduates from ERAU?
From my point of view, I'd love to have a copilot with experience to rival my own. It fits my command style which is relaxed, casual, cooperative unless time does not permit such. I agree that it is more work babysitting a low timer, but that just may be part of the job.
Now in other countries where the pilot applicant pool is not like this, I can see an academy approach being not the best, but the only solution. In such a case, I think the airline would have a considerable safety burden - bringing these low-timers along until they truly carry their weight in the cockpit. I think that the cockpit now must be seen as an extension of the classroom and perhaps they should designate training captains who would be the only captains permitted to fly with low timers.
This training captain status should probably be based not just on technical merit (we should be able to assume that of all our captains) but on their personalities. They should be trainers, guides, and not tyrants. But lest I sound too warm and fuzzy here, they would also have the duty to weed out those who are just not going to make it.
Quoting MrChips (Reply 11): I feel that the proper place for a 250 hour pilot is not at a major airline.
Well here in North America I'd like to agree. But putting aside for a moment, the number of potential victims of his inexperience, the low time pilot is probably safer under the guidance of a good captain and in the structure of a flight ops department with clear guidlines for the task at hand than spiraling down to an airport in the bottom of a valley at midnight knowing if he doesn't pick up the boss he is fired.
* * *
For a bit of perspective, 250 hours is about what the B-17 pilots of the 8th Air Force had when they shipped over. It is about what the US Army helicopter pilots had when they arrived in Vietnam. Both these groups had high accident rates but that was as much the product of urgency-of-mission as it was their inexperience.
A few years ago I was looking at the brochure of the Canadian Air Force "Snowbirds" a great airshow team. The pilots had an average flying time of less than two thousand hours. Not even enough to get an interview at most airlines here. But no one can say they aren't great pilots! It is training, discipline and the strucure of our ops departments that makes us good. Personal talent is a lesser part of the equation unless something completely unheard-of happens. Then luck and judgement are about equal.
an opinion from an old gray head
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
Tom775257 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 153 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3667 times:
IMHO From what I have seen there is a very different approach between Europe and the USA.
In the USA it seems more of an apprentice style approach, with IMHO an easier CPL/IR but then requiring many hours spent building up experience with aircraft with increasing size.
In Europe we train to excess in theory, and the IR is tough. I have flown with fresh FAA IRs and I was not impressed, it could have been the pilots I know, but they had just passed.
I went straight out of training into my MCC on the B752 sims (level D, zero time) at BA Cranebank. This was to learn multi-crew flying, however between myself and my sim partner (both 250 hours) we had no problems flying the aircraft to a satisfactory standard from cold dark cockpit to shut down at the other end. Engine fire/ failure just after V1 MTOM no snags to successful landing, decompression at altitude, non-precision approaches, hand flown single engine approaches in 25kt cross wind etc. (Obviously prior to this we had learnt the SOPS, cockpit layout and the various TO/ Approach/ Landing/ GA profiles etc.)
All I am saying is that the JAA route seems to do a pretty good job at training you to fly commercial transport aircraft, if I can just get in a 757 with maybe a days reading previous and obviously advice while flying along from the instructors, but fly it safely to some very nice landings with faults happening, says something about the course.
My final flight as PF was with no help from the instructors. So this was two 250 hour guys in the cockpit. We were just given the flight plan and load sheet and took it from there. The flight was between Heathrow and Edinburgh. We had a decompression at FL370, so emergency descent, sorting the aircraft out, speaking to ATC, DODAR decision making between the pilots, speaking to the cabin crew, making PA to PAX, NITES brief the Cabin crew, speaking to the company, setting up the FMC for the diversion back to Heathrow etc. Low and behold one of the engines starts to surge, eventually engine fire, memory items then QRH, further DODAR continue to Heathrow single engine, ATIS and start the approach setup, sort performance, flap speeds, bug-up the speeds, approach brief etc. etc. Hand fly down the ILS into Heathrow, nothing seen at DA, single engine G/A then Heathrow closed due to an accident. DODAR and then request radar vectors to Gatwick, meanwhile injured pax so we must re-plan the approach ASAP, speak to senior cabin crew member, delegate PA, sort approach brief, go through all the checklists again meanwhile approaching Gatwick very quickly. Because of the large work load on the PNF I took the radio as well as flying through the approved hand-over. Requested vectors downwind so the moment we are ready, turn in (passengers injured). We sort it all out just as we are about the perfect position to turn base, get it down nicely on the ILS handflown to a good landing.
The BA pilot training us said that he didn't really have much to say that we had done wrong on that flight. So 2x 250 hours guys can sort out things in a complex jet with multiple problems successfully.
Oh yeah, and regarding a 1500 hour pilot being behind the aircraft, I will quote an instructor who put in my sim report 'Always way, way ahead of the aircraft.'
Experience is obviously massively important, I will not argue that, however please remember with correct training a 250 hours pilot can, IMHO, be a useful FO in a transport jet.
CX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6447 posts, RR: 56 Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3623 times:
I think it is easy to jump on the bandwagon and critisise low time pilots as the start of this interesting topic has begun, but it is good to see some different opinions on this topic emerge.
I firmly believe that experience is not the only thing that makes a good pilot. I hope that most would agree here. There are plenty of the old school guys who would never get a job in an airline like the one I work in despite their experience. A good pilot is made by good training and having the right stuff. Age and experience does not equal the right stuff. I know several experienced pilots who have no place on a flightdeck. Of course experience adds a very special element to a pilot, which cannot be trained, but is certainly not the be-all and end all of things.
I was speaking to a couple of very senior training captains and our chief pilot the other week who was saying that an aircraft like the 777 is much easier to fly than a 737 classic which he used to fly, and that there is absolutely no reason that 'new' pilots should have a problem flying with relatively low experience to the high standards demanded by an airline like ours (which incidentally employs some low flight time pilots, AND came 4th in having the world's best and safest operations of any airline - so we must be doing something right).
AirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1 Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3615 times:
Mr.Chips, good response although I'm not sure what your "Big Bad Captain" part had anything to do with your point. Some intimidating words are needed to keep the young F/Os mind focused on the job. They can either have an open mind or quit.
25 MrChips: Depending on the type of flying you are doing here in Canada, you need an F/O in these aircraft. Furthermore, compared to a single-pilot operation, y
26 Tom775257: Hi SabenaBoy: You are correct, DODAR is used as a decision making tool (by BA and others I think): DIAGNOSIS: e.g. engine fire OPTIONS: e.g. Land near
27 Sabenaboy: Thanks Tom, We use FORDEC: Facts Options Risks and benefits (of the different options) Decision Execution Check (keep re-evaluating) Different acronym
28 FinnWings: DODAR is nowadays part of JAA training and it is a decision making process for complex, unpredictable problems where SOP isn't practical. The process
29 Schooner: Funny that, I was a professional pilot flying the 757 with 300 hours. I think there is a definate difference in approach to pilot training and recrui
30 VuelingAirbus: Sorry guys but I didn't want to stirr up those kind of emotions when i started the threat... It's just because I have to fly with relativley new guys
31 Schooner: VuelingAirbus, just realised you said pretty much the same as me earlier on in the thread with much greater clarity! It just bugs me when some people
32 VuelingAirbus: sorry - did i miss something? - however, i know how you feel - seems to be a pattern in my life...
33 Schooner: Nope, was just qualifying my gentle jibe at some of our older and wiser friends on the other side of the Atlantic, thats all! Cheers.