Starlionblue wrote:ECAMerror wrote:TTailedTiger wrote:
All fine and well as long as you leave that ego behind when you go to the airlines. My cousin thought he was better than civilian pilots and treated them as such. Like I said, he didn't make it through training and the airline sent him on his way.
Why do you take it as arrogance instead of accomplished fact? The arrogance factor is usually seen on the civilian side of the fence. People who have done a lot aren't usually arrogant. Would you call Chuck Yeager and Neill Armstrong arrogant? Would you call Sully arrogant?
Having read quite a bit both by and about the three you mention, my takes on their arrogance with regards to flying and perceived ability:
- Chuck Yeager - Arrogant. His autobiography is one long series of stories about how good a pilot he is and how others were often wrong.
- Neil Armstrong - Not arrogant. A truly humble man; hard working and quietly confident in his very high abilities. Coincidentally, Armstrong features in a story in Yeager's biography where Yeager is anything but complimentary. It reads as both petty and smacking of jealousy.
- Sully - Maybe arrogant, sometimes. An accomplished pilot to be sure, but I wouldn't call him humble. There are hints of arrogance in his media comments, often implying things about the perceived poor training of non-Western pilots, and the perceived shortcomings of non-Western flight control architectures.
My point is that these guys are being judged by the most superficial of characterizations. "Arrogance" might as well be "he is the meanest" or some other nebulous, useless metric. Elementary school kids use these types of words to describe each other. I bet you that, despite your extensive research, different people will have different opinions of each of these three men. You'ld be surprised how many uncritically thinking people formed their notions of arrogance from movies like "Sully", "The Right Stuff", and "First Man". Do we really have a grounded basis for claiming anyone is arrogant, or is that simply what people say when they aren't in the know?
Each of these men has substantial accomplishments in their background and no one can claim they are arrogant with the things they have done. Let me say the following as an ex-USAF test pilot and current legacy airline senior management/evaluator pilot... I don't care if people act, what you would say is, "arrogant". What I care about is whether they have an attitude of always wanting to learn or not. People don't ever wash out of any training program because of arrogance. That is not something you can put on the paperwork. People wash out because of procedural deficiencies or weak knowledge. For the most part, the military guys are already well aware they don't know everything, which is why they are very strongly motivated to self study. Their fundamental education has many elements that no civil pilot can ever get exposure to. Remember that each of the 3 guys I mentioned previously were all military guys. Sure, there are always guys from the military that slack but they are not representative of the system they came from.
The bigger issue is the pipeline of civilian pilots. There are excellent formal education university programs out there, and then there's everything else. You simply have no idea what you're getting, or not getting in the civilian world. It's a pretty safe bet most have never done actual stalls or spins in a jet, which is why the FAA is now requiring high altitude training. Again, this is something all military guys have been doing for decades because the military "system" throws A LOT of money at each pilot, whereas airlines do virtually nothing. All military guys do these things in real life, in real airplanes, in addition to substantially more simulator training than any civil airline training program. I'm giving checkrides in a Level D sim today and I can't help thinking that our simulator stall training is the bare minimum forced by the FAA. Many of these things are perishable skills and in the civilian world, doing it once a year just isn't enough. Every pilot should have a way to rehearse these things in a fairly representative simulator on a monthly basis (e.g. XBox360 based home flight simulator -- yes, that hardware is good enough to equal Level D aircraft emulation, except for motion). You'ld be surprised how many pilots screw up go-arounds in real life. The real issue is not arrogance, the real issue is the low amount of training all pilots get to be proficient on every single flight. At an airline, you go to recurrent training once a year. Emergencies can happen all year and a number of factors are involved that make a pilot's performance less than what they do at yearly sim training. For example, even though the FAA is in total denial about it, a pilot commuting in for 8 hrs to do a redeye is in no way at his best for that flight. Guys like Sully did the right thing (not following the QRH) because his military education and experience, as a system, formed a thinking problem solver rather than a reactionary checklist robot. As a fighter guy, he undoubtedly practiced and educated himself on High Key/Low Key engine loss patterns so that he knew energy management inside-out. Again, civil pilots don't practice these things. There is so much that goes into Sully's decision making that no one has ever talked about. As a result, praises to Sully are mostly vacuous in nature and limited to the ultimate result -- they all lived. What is never talked about is all the specific details of his education that led him to do what he did. The same is for Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.