Does FOFT = Ab Initio?

enigma

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Re: The recently promoted ERAU First Officer Flight Training program. Is this really ab initio? I think not.

It was always my belief that true ab initio was a situation where the employer hired unqualified (in an aviation sense) persons then provided them all of the training that they needed to accomplish the job. Hired first, then trained, all on the employers nickel. I believe that this is the way most European carriers operate. They recruit, then hire, the best and the brightest straight out of college; they then train that person at no cost to the employee.

DON'T LET ERAU FOOL YOU. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER SCHEME TO SEPERATE PILOTS FROM THEIR MONEY, AND TO ENSURE THAT MANAGEMENT ALWAYS HAS ENOUGH PILOTS TO ABUSE.

Additionally, anyone thinking of this type of arrangement must consider the current state of the airline industry. *************In the past, it was reasonable to expect that once one paid ones dues, he would have a fair shot at earning a high paying job at a major airline. **********************Edited to change the previous sentence to the following. In the past, it was reasonable to expect that once one had spent his time at a regional/commuter, he would have a fair shot at earning a high paying job at a major airline.
That situation is in serious question at the current time. As we speak, mainlines are shrinking and regionals are growing (except for wholly owneds). Why would any prudent person spend over $30K to buy into a position that pays less than $20K per year, and will not get better for the foreseeable future?

regards
8N
 
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bobbysamd

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ERAU P-F-T

. . . . is really what it is. Go read the other thread for an exhaustive discussion of this "program."
 

surplus1

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Enigma,

Interesting post. I can't really disagree (not that I want to) with what you've said, but you have me thinking and I have some questions that maybe you or others will answer or comment about.

Re the term "ab-initio" --- you're right about the European application of the term. My question is this: Was the term "ab-initio" coined in Europe and then given a different meaning in the US or, was it conined in the US and given a different meaning by the Europeans? I may be wrong, but I think the latter is true.

No US carrier has ever had the "shortage" of pilots that caused the Europeans to develop their version of ab-initio programs and, to the best of my knowledge, no US carrier has ever conducted a European style program. Back in the 60's there was a short cycle of pilot "shortage" that resulted in a couple of US major airlines (there were no "regionals", in today's sense of the term back then) hiring pilots with very little flight experience.

I can think of United which, very briefly, hired some pilots who did not even have CPL's. They were private pilots, with very low flight time and were trained to CPL certification at the expense of UAL, then trained in the a/c and put on line. The program was successful and more than one of them retired as Captains and rose to positions of leadership at the national level in the ALPA.

Around the same time, ALPA was forcing a 3-man cockpit crew in the 737. UAL (the ALPA unit that is) "championed" this idea and, if I'm not mistaken, that's how these guys were initially used "gofers" in the JS of a 73.

Ab-initio in the US was always associated with "starting from scratch" to learn how to fly, in a quasi structured program. It was not airline oriented or airline funded, required no pre-screening of the "students", and was in no-way similar to the European sponsored airline programs. Sort of apples and oranges and two very different applications of the same coined term. I think that prevails today. Anyone care to comment or correct me?

Another thing I find interesting is the concept of "paying your dues". Where did that come from and who invented it and when? What does it really mean? Who says that a new commercial pilot has to "pay his dues" before he gets a decent job? Is that really necessary and if so why? How exactly does one "pay his dues' and how much is enough?

Does a military pilot, who joins the service, gets his training, quals as a fighter jock, serves a minimum tour and then leaves, (with about 1500 or fewer hours in fighters) and goes directly to a major airline pilot position "pay his dues"? If so when and how?

Since airlines don't fly fighters and the training and "hot-shot" attitude of a fighter pilot, is quite different from that of an airline operation, why is this guy a "better candidate" or "better qualified" than a civilian pilot with double the flight hours in civil aircraft? Is the military training really that better or does this guy get the job because most of the pilots at the hiring major airline are also former military pilots? Again, where did this pilot "pay his dues"?

BTW, I happen to be a former military pilot with both fighter and multi-engine training, so please don't accuse me of being anti-military.

Speaking only for myself, when I left the military I had about 2200 total hours. Just over 1000 of those hours was in a 4-engine transport quite popular with airlines. The rest was in jet fighters and other smaller twins. I also had some civilian hours acquired prior to joining the military (not many).

When I left the military and tried to get an airline job, the timing was poor and there was very little hiring. I did get a couple of interviews, but when I got to meet the decision making pilots (HR wasn't it back then), they didn't hesitate to tell me that I didn't have enough experience and should get some, then try again. I don't remember anyone saying anything about "paying my dues", and it never ocurred to me that I had or had not. I knew that I was a "tiger" and the "world's best pilot" (the AirForce convinced me of that) and was quite surprised to discover that I was the ONLY one who knew that. I didn't get hired and wound up working for a foreign carrier in another country.

What makes today's military pilot believe that he has some sort of "entitlement" to a major airline job that is superior to that of a civilian pilot? Is it because he's paid more "dues" and if so, how and why?

How does a flight instructor, with 3000 hours in the traffic pattern in a 172, come to have "paid his dues"? as opposed to a 1500 hour civilian pilot that's been flying all night, in all sorts of weather, in some beat-up light twin, single pilot, carrying checks or boxes for the last 1000 hours who hasn't "paid his dues"?

How does a guy who gets hired in the right seat of a King Air at an air taxi, logs 1200/200 hrs total "pay his dues"? As opposed to a guy who goes to a "airline training program", gets 500 hours and is hired into the right seat of an RJ, "pay his dues"?

Why are some "dues" apparently more valuable than other "dues" and who says which is which and why do we accept any of that stuff?

My point is that I think this "pay your dues" stuff is basically BS, invented by people who want to be chosen themselves in preference to others. Isn't it really all meaningless?

Why do I (today) see so many very green pilots seeking employment in their first airline job, asking "how long will I be on reserve" and "what's the upgrade time"? They barely know how to keep the airplane right side up, yet expect to be "captains" over-night when in reality, they have no clue as to what being an airline Captain really means. IMO, they ought to be d@mned happy that they can get ANY job and consider themselves super lucky if they CAN'T upgrade over-night. But, what do I know?

Why will one airline "upgrade" you to captain of a jet, with virtually no experience, while another won't let you touch it with a 20-foot pole?

I'm just rambling along, but these are questions, mostly unanswered, that go through my head from time to time.

Now I'd like to see how some other folks think. What answers do you have? Go ahead and "flame" me if you want, it doesn't matter. I'd just like to see how you all think and it doesn't matter to me if you fly a 74 or a 152 or an F-15. Bring it on.
 

flydog

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Ab initio is latin. Literally translated it means from the beginning. I guess you could assume this means one would have zero experience or training prior to starting this program
 

throttlejockey

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Many of the questions that Surplus1 has raise are interesting. But, it seems that they are rhetorical questions that lead me to believe that he thinks that PFT is o.k. It is not.

1. European Ab-Initio has both PFT and non-PFT qualities. In either case, you are guaranteed the job if you successfully complete the course. The non-PFT programs are similar to "scholarship" programs here in the U.S. and are often paid for by the governments themselves (since higher education is free in many European countries). In the U.S., there is both a flight school approach (accelerated training with a "in" at some hiring departments), and a classic PFT which is a airline program that make you pay directly for airline and type specific training. The latter is still around but not as prevailent as it was a decade ago.

2."Paying ones dues" is a misnomer. Rather than talking about "paying ones dues", it is much easier to assess a value to those who have built quality experience. Those who have taken the time or have been lucky enough to build a portfolio of quality experience tend to have spent more time in the "trenches", so to speak. Therefore, those with certain types of prior experience are inherently better employee candidates than others. Naturally, low-timers are less desirable candidates than those with experience.

3. You go through a litany of various pathways of career progression and ask how each one is "paying ones dues?" Well, you are correct in asserting that it is difficult to place a value on "dues", but it is very simple to place a value on the quality of flying experience we each bring to the table. I will not go through each of the ones you have describe because it is very easy to come to the conclusion that low-time "wonder boys" who have bought their jobs are inherently less desirable candidates than you or me, except for financial considerations.

4. Those that truly are responsible for making the decision about desirability in hiring is ultimately the decision of the company. You can learn a lot about a company and the way it intends on treating its employees by the way it values the quality of experience of each potential candidates. Good companies hire those with experience. Bad companies "hire" PFT'ers and those willing to work for free. Its that simple.

5. Is it all meaningless? Absolutely Not! PFT skews the marketplace in two ways: 1) The hiring of extremely low time pilots that PFT puts less qualified personnel in the cockpit over those that have a better portfolio of experience, which defies the laws of supply and demand, and in the end could be unsafe. 2) The hiring of PFT'ers undermines wages over the long term by slowly devaluing the profession.

6. There is a differance between the Accelerated Flight Training approach (ALL-ATPS or American Flyers, etc.) versus the classic airline type specific PFT with the latter being distructive to this industry. The first one is harmless since the student is only buying his/her ratings (there is value to having the ratings in hand). The second works to undermine this profession by BUYING ones job.
 

enigma

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Re: ERAU P-F-T

bobbysamd said:
. . . . is really what it is. Go read the other thread for an exhaustive discussion of this "program."
I don't consider self funded ab initio PFT. Simply because PFT is a very specific situation where the employer requires one to buy a job. Employers were quite ingenious when the coined the term "PFT" because they wanted to muddy the water as much as possible, and confuse the issue; but their intent is clear. And that was to base a hiring decision upon an individuals ability to write a check, as opposed to basing the decision on qualifications.
Under PFT, a pilot could have a type rating in the aircraft and 10000 hours of 121 PIC in it, and still have to pay for his new-hire, right seat, check out. PFT was the direct result of the desire of certain pilots to shortcut their progession to the majors. Indeed, it worked for some; but its legacy is that airline management looks at most if not all lower level pilots as back-stabbing whores who will put up with anything to get into the cockpit.

Nobody ever promised that the world would be fair. If someone can afford to shortcut the normal civilian training process and do it all at once with ERAU I really have no substantive fairness based argument. Remember, I started this thread to call the ERAU "ab initio" program another way to "seperate a pilot from his money". I just want the wannabees to understand that ERAU's program is at best a questionable investment, especially at this time.

Further, If the ERAU program is linked to preferential hiring from some employer, then I would call that PFT, and I despise PFT as much as I think you do. If you don't, well I hate it anyway. But for as much as I dislike managements use of the practice, the ones to blame are the wannabees who write the check. I rail against PFT in an attempt to make a potentiall PFT'r realize that he may only be undercutting himself (and us) in the long run.
To quote my original post,
"Additionally, anyone thinking of this type of arrangement must consider the current state of the airline industry. In the past, it was reasonable to expect that once one paid ones dues, he would have a fair shot at earning a high paying job at a major airline. That situation is in serious question at the current time. As we speak, mainlines are shrinking and regionals are growing (except for wholly owneds). Why would any prudent person spend over $30K to buy into a position that pays less than $20K per year, and will not get better for the foreseeable future? "

I should clarify one point in that quote, I said that when one pays his dues, and what I should have said was, In the past, it was reasonable to expect that once one had spent his time at a regional/commuter, he would have a fair shot at earning a high paying job at a major airline.

Once again, my intent is to warn potential suckers, that this may not be the best time to spend a pot-load of money to get into this industry.

regards,
8N
 
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enigma

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Re: Enigma,

Surplus1, I'm way too scatter brained to keep up with all your points at once, but I'll try and respond semi-intelligently.

Before I begin I should address your comment about paying ones dues. I mis-spoke (mis-typed) when I wrote that in the begining post, and I didn't realize it until I was responding to bobbysamd. I should have said this: In the past, it was reasonable to expect that once one had spent his time at a regional/commuter, he would have a fair shot at earning a high paying job at a major airline.

Now to your points.

#1. Sorry, I don't have a clue who stole the term from who.

#2. About the US recognize definition of ab initio, you're probably correct.

#3. About the concept of paying ones dues. Again I didn't mean paying your dues in the original post. I don't know where the term came from, but here is my definition of "paying your dues". Paying your dues is the practice of gaining experience one step at a time. In paying ones dues one step at a time, one is afforded the chance to increase his knowledge/skills/decision making ability, at a pace that allows him to be successful at the next level. Paying my dues was what allowed me to go into DC9 upgrade training without a great deal of sweat because I already had hundreds of hours in a sim prior to the upgrade training and multiple 121 ground schools.
One has paid his dues when he is able to successfully move to the next higher level with a reasonable amount of instruction. Not the multiple "downs" that politically correct applicants are afforded.

#4. Under my definition of paying your dues, the military fighter jock has not paid his dues. However, it is generally acknowledged that zoomies are the best of the best, and as such they are not required to pay their dues. I have no idea why today's military pilots assume that a major airline job is somehow their entitlement. I'm not former military, so I'll leave it at that.


#5. No the 152 driver with 1500 hours in the pattern has not paid his dues for an airline job. He has paid his dues to get to the next level, probably that job flying boxes in a Caravan or Baron.

#6. I don't believe that the "dues" issue is meaningless. Especially if you look at "dues" as a minimum level of experience to move to the next level.

#7. You're right about guys looking for their first airline job and focusing on things like upgrade time. But that is just todays generation, to generalize. I actually believe that most young pilots are probably the best of the younger generation. I can only imagine what the average youth of today thinks he is entitled to. That's not actually true, I do know how unrealistic my teenager is.:)

regards,
8N

BTW, you must type fast.
 

Typhoon1244

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A small point:

The people I've encountered who are mad as hell about pay-for-training (and other related programs) don't have much to say about people who, say, buy a 737 type so they can work for a particular mustard-colored airline. (I beg your pardon: mustard-under-sky-blue.)

A reminder:

With regard to the experience level of people coming out of ERAU, FlightSafety, etc. My father got hired (like many of you) between 1964 and 1969, one of the biggest hiring booms the industry had ever experienced. He stepped in the front door of Eastern Air Lines with three hundred hours. He was too young to hold a F/E ticket, so he went straight to the right seat of a Convair 440 and, later, the DC-8-61. Many of his fellow newhires had never flown all-metal airplanes before. This idea that in the past people had to "pay their dues" is a crock. It depends on the state of the industry at the time.

Finally:

If you have close to 10,000 hours flying checks, doing on-demand charters, instructing, cropdusting, or whatever, and the airlines still haven't hired you...it might be time to blame someone other than ERAU and FSI.
 

enigma

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Typhoon1244 said:
A small point:

The people I've encountered who are mad as hell about pay-for-training (and other related programs) don't have much to say about people who, say, buy a 737 type so they can work for a particular mustard-colored airline. (I beg your pardon: mustard-under-sky-blue.)

That's because acquiring a type rating from whomever you choose is different than paying SWA for the job. Also, SWA doesn't require you to buy a type, they only require that you have one. Big difference. At a PFT airline, you could have types for all of the airplanes in their fleet, and you still have to write a check. Yes I went out and payed for my own type in order to try and overcome my ( then) lack of a bachelors degree. I didn't make it on to SWA, but I do have the type in my pocket and it did help me get the job I have now flying DC9's. Someone who PFT'd at COEX, for example, and didn't make it through the new hire program has nothing to show for his 12 grand. Big difference.


I realize that you didn't address the last statement directly at me, and it doesn't apply to me, but I've got one point to make about it anyway.
I don't blame FSI/ERAU, etc, for not working at a major. I blame them, and the people they fool into paying, for keep the pay low, and the work conditions bad in the regional industry.

regards,
8N
 

Typhoon1244

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enigma said:
I realize that you didn't address the last statement directly at me, and it doesn't apply to me, but I've got one point to make about it anyway.
I don't blame FSI/ERAU, etc, for not working at a major. I blame them, and the people they fool into paying, for keep the pay low, and the work conditions bad in the regional industry.[/B]
You're right, I was not addressing you, or anyone, directly. (I guess I was using the royal "you.") My apologies if anyone took that personally.

And you're right about the effect PFT has had on the industry...but it is changing. Slowly, but it's changing. And the working condition aren't that bad, actually.

I do take offense to the idea that people are "fooled" into paying. I walked in with both eyes wide open. When you break it down, I shelled out $5.71 for every seniority number I currently have. Many of the guys I knew who wouldn't or couldn't pay are on furlough somewhere now. Are they better pilots than me, more deserving of my job? Maybe. Maybe not. Do the ends always justify the means? I would have to say "no." But I do feel very lucky.

Oh, you're also right about SWA. But are you telling me that they count on people who just happen to have 7-3 types? C'mon. There's a reason there are a hundred 737 type rating "mills" out there. And I think--again, I'm not talking about you, enigma--some of their customers are getting fooled.
 

surplus1

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Thanks everyone for all the responses. I was going to wait for some more before saying anthing else, but I'm getting too far behind so permit me to interject some more weird ideas.

To the person who said my questions where rhetorical, the answer is yes. I'm just feeling around in and effort to get a reading on the various attitudes/opinions out there in hopes that I'll learn something in the process. I already have my own opinions and won't change them easily, but I like to learn what others think and sometimes that knowledge will change my own views.

I'm not "in favor" of PFT. Neither am I a crusader against it. As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure exactly what it is. From the different opinions expressed, I gather there is considerable difference of opinion in what exactly is PFT and what is not. If I can ever figure out a precise definition, perhaps at that point I could decide to oppose or support. Basically I don't like gray when I know there is black and white somewhere. I'm searching for the B&W.

In another thread, I outlined a program that used to take place at my own airline and asked if it was PFT. The answer was yes and, I think I agree. However, the evils that I see it is supposed to create (in this thread) were, in my view, not present.

First of all the airline did NOT lower its "qualifications" for employment. They remained the same as they were before the program was instituted. As a result, we did not hire anyone who was "less qualified" because he/she paid to be trained. Hundreds of pilots were hired over several years who went through this "PFT program". I know a lot of these people personally, have flown with many of them and would compare their "quality" as airmen to anyone else.

Among their ranks are many former military pilots ranging in experience from a B-52 wing commander, to a former air boss on a super carrier, to fighter pilots, bomber pilots, and lots of army aviators from hi-tech chopper combat (some of the best in the lot) and a few coast guard types from Falcons and that neat amphibian the Albatross. Included too are civilian pilots ranging from CFI's to freight dogs to commuter airlines.

Once they became employed, they earned and worked on the same pay scale that existed before their advent. I don't accept the idea that their PFT experience had anything at all to do with the wages and benefits in the pilot contract. They didn't undercut anyone or cause the rest of us to be paid less and it happens, we have one of the best contracts and highest pay scales in our segment of the industry.

It is true that if those people had not paid their $10K for the training they got they would not have been hired. All that means is that somebody else would have paid it and been hired instead. The supply exceeded the demand. To me, it's simply about market forces.

I know a few people who said (don't know them personally) that they would not come to Comair because it was PFT and violated their principles, so they went to American Eagle instead. Well, I'm all for principles, but the fact is, the people who went to AE are hardly better off than the people that came to Comair. They are paid substantially less, have one of the worst contracts in the business and fly mostly obsolete equipment and the company hires more inexperienced people than we ever have. That's not their fault, but neither is it the fault of the guys that came to Comair. Eagle's hiring policies did not change because they were not PFT, and Comair's didn't change because we were PFT. Where does that leave us?

Now we never had anything that even resembles remotely what they do at Gulfstream. No pilot here ever paid a nickel for anything once he got hired. All the paying took place before the hiiring and it did NOT guarantee that you would be hired. However, it was guaranteed that if you didn't pay you would NOT be hired. The airline didn't establish the program so it could lower standards or hire unqualified people for less. They did it to make money and reduce training costs. That they accomplished.

At the same time we also hired quite a few pilots that came from the ab-initio program at the Comair Academy and still do. Those folks also went through the PFT program when it was in place. Today, we still hire the "best" kids from the ab-initio/instructor program but the PFT is long dead and buried. The "quality" of the new hire has not changed one way or the other.

Overall, the number of applicants has always exceeded the number of available positions and the airline has always been able to pick and choose who it wants to hire. In today's market, the competitive numbers "off the street" are higher than they used to be, but the minimums haven't changed. The truth is, that a large number of the more "experienced" (in terms of hours) people we're hiring today bring with them quite a few more "problems" than the military guys or the less experienced youngsters. There is nothing harder than trying to change the bad habits or the different habits of someone who thinks he knows a lot more than he really does.

I also don't really buy in to the "pay your dues" concept. That is also poorly defined. As I tried to point out rhetorically, I defy any one to tell me difinitevely how I can tell when you've paid enough dues or you haven't. As long as you have the required minimum hours, licenses and education, there is no need to be "paying dues" in my book.

In most airlines, the people doing the hiring are not pilots. They are Human Resources folks who know nothing about airplane driving. They are hiring a "profile" that management has determined it wants. Yes, you do have to have the licenses required, but your attitude, your degree and your ability to answer psych questions that paint your "profile" have a lot more to do with who gets hired than your flying skillls.

There really is no accurate means of determining your flying skills in a pilot interview. Many airlines, large and small, don't even put you in a simulator any more as part of the process. Others put you into some albatross of a training device that anyone who flies real airplanes would have difficulty controlling. It's a farce.

Luck is perhaps a major component of the equation and networking, particularly if you are former military, plays a major role. Many very compent pilots with thousand of hours can't even get an interview, while others with far less experience or flying skill, get the job.

What is the real difference between using a buddy that has an "in" to get you a preferential interview or spending a few bucks to buy some training to get an interview? Both give you an advantage over the guy that doesn't have either.

Based on those conditions, if you can find a way to get your foot in the door ahead of the next guy, why shouldn't you? Once you get the seniority number, the airline will teach you what they want you to know, and pay you to learn it. If you spend a few bucks to get a head start on that number, so what? Over a 35 year career at a major, 10 seniority numbers that you don't have could cost you a million dollars in real money.

Even at a small airline like Comair, 10 numbers that you don't have can cost many, many bucks lost while you're working, affect your quality of life seriously and definitely impact your retirement.

Once you get hired, I don't think you should have to pay for anything. Most real airline contracts won't let you do that anyway. IMO, and outfit like Gulfstream is not an airline. It's a scheduled air taxi/flying school where the pilots in both seats are paying to learn. Yes, its owners are taking advantage of those kids, but what do you expect? They are well known scabs.

On the "quickie upgrades" well, I have my problems with those too. The truth is (and you can flame me if you want) I don't allow my family to travel on airplanes with amateur captains, even when its "free". There are enough outfits that don't promote people with no experience that I can get around on.

I will never become expert and flying and airplane. I've done it long enough to know that. I realize that everyone has to learn and no one knows everything. I also know that a lot of young pilots do very well. A lot more are just plain lucky and you don't know about it. I just don't want to be in the back of an airplane when I'm not reasonably certain that the guys in the front are not guessing about what they do.

In most cases I realize I'm just assuming that is the case. On the other hand, if you've been in the business awhile, it's not a great big secret who has low standards and who doesn't. When a so called airline is willing to push its luck with novice pilots flying as captains, chances are it is also pushing its luck with a lot of other critical things and is probably pilot pushing to the max. I can do without those thrills.

As an example, when an airline captain briefs an approach by saying "there's no going around", prangs the machine until it nearly breaks and doesn't even know it, something is very wrong at that airline. The Lord knows we have enough difficulty without that.

I'm sure I'll catch h*ll for saying that, but it's how I feel personally. I don't ask anyone to agree.

However, if you think I'm full of it, please tell me where I've gone wrong and how I should adjust my thinking. I'll do it if you can show me a better way.
 

Typhoon1244

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Some interesting remarks, Surplus. Some very true, but...

I'll concede that there are captains out there that probably don't need to be in the left seat. Some are young and low-time, others have vast experience and decades with the company. Remember the KLM captain that plowed his 747 into a Pan Am jet in Tenerife? Pretty darned senior, wasn't he? How about the guy that put Air Florida 90 into the Potomac? How about Bob Loft, who drove a perfectly healthy L-1011 into the Everglades? How about the heroes who flew another '1011 directly through a thunderstorm in Dallas? Or hey, how about the B-52 driver that wiped out his whole crew hot-dogging down low? (Granted, he wasn't an ATP, but...) All together, these guys had millions of hours in the air...but all that "experience" and "dues-paying" didn't save them.

Experience, in terms of flying hours accumulated, is a vital part of maturing as a pilot, but if an individual lacks the necessary temperment and decision-making skills...well, we've seen what can happen. You don't have to be young to be foolish.

Don't forget that before a new captain is turned loose on the world, he's carefully observed by company check-airmen and an FAA inspector. And that's after one or more grueling simulator check-rides. It's not easy for someone who's totally inept to bluff their way through that process. Yes, some have, but I believe they are a tiny minority.

(By the way, since you mentioned scabs...my father, whom I mentioned earlier, was at Eastern from '66 to '89. Went out on strike and never went back. Just wanted to get that on the record. He actually started training at a small DC-9 carrier in ATL...until he found out their "union" chairman was an EAL scab.)
 

bobbysamd

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ERAU FOFT v. ab initio

Enigma is correct. In the strict sense this "program" is not P-F-T. It may as well be. Maybe more of a bridge program. Definitely, a way for Riddle to separate people from their money.

Many non-U.S. carriers train their pilots themselves or through vendors via ab initio programs. This is really a very simple concept. People who want to be pilots apply directly to the airline. The airline screens candidates, hires them and trains them its way and to its standards while paying them and/or providing per diem. Example with which I'm familiar are Alitalia, Swissair, Asiana and Lufthansa. FlightSafety in Vero was a vendor to the first three. FSI provided all or part of their students' Commercial training. Lufthansa owns ATCA in Phoenix. Lufthansa students receive a good part of their training at ATCA and the rest in Germany. This is really the only correct definition of ab initio. For that matter, UPT is ab initio training.

MAPD calls itself ab initio training. That is true only to the extent that MAPD students learn Mesa Airlines' line procedures, callouts and checklists during their training. The students pay to learn to fly at MAPD. They have not been hired or even been guaranteed an interview at Mesa. All they're doing is taking training for their Commercial. Of course, "the interview" is a big-time incentive.

Comair is similar, except that its students must earn their CFIs and build time before they might get "the interview."
 
3

350DRIVER

I believe that when someone says and attempts to explain how one should "pay the almighty dues" that one can come up with many different "opinions" on how this comes into play- Operators like Tab Express, Gulfstream, Eagle Jet Intl, and many others are a perfect example on how to "avoid" paying any debt, dues and taking a seat away from anyone who HAS "earned" and deserved the right to that job however these companies are acting as a middle man taking the job away and selling it to some fresh low time pilot who is willing to "buy" the right seat.- Is this "paying dues"?- I would have to say absolutely not and it is hurting the many pilots who have been working very hard to make themselves marketable in this industry..... I think it is a true disgrace to the industry as a whole when someone with less than desirable flying skills is able to "buy" a job because Daddy has more money than the CFI who is up to his neck in debt and doesn't have many options out there to better himself.- So yes their is such a thing as one "paying his dues" and that is the bottom line- - - -

As for the young captains at some carriers .......- The fact is that EVERYONE of them had to PASS the exact same sim checks, line checks, IOE, etc., etc. ,etc., etc., as the much older captains so with that being said I will rest my case.....- That is just a fact since airlines don't incorporate different sim and line checks for different ages. (food 4 thought)


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surplus1

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Typhoon,

Thanks for your reply. A little garbled in some cases but mostly we're on the same frequency.

Typhoon1244 said:
Some interesting remarks, Surplus. Some very true, but...

I'll concede that there are captains out there that probably don't need to be in the left seat. Some are young and low-time, others have vast experience and decades with the company.
We agree. I'll concede that there are many fine young captains with realitively low time. One-size never fits all in this profession of ours. My remarks are generalities (dangerous I know) and there are always exceptions. Sounds like you might be one of them.

Remember the KLM captain that plowed his 747 into a Pan Am jet in Tenerife?
We don't agree on that one. The experience was there on both ends and I don't happen to believe that pilot error (on the part of either) was the cause. I'll leave it there.

In the Air Florida case, evidence appears to point to lack of experience on the part of the crew. Very unfortunate.

We agree on the L-10 in the Glades. In the Dallas event, there, but for the grace of God, go I. 'Nuff said. I'm unfamiliar with the B-52 reference.

In any event, my concerns are not related to the ability to "fly" the aircraft. Most everyone can do that and do it well. It can also be evaluated objectively. Judgement, is a horse of a different color. It is much more subjective and difficult to evaluate. Most of the "troubles" I'm thinking about had nothing to do with manipulating the controls. It's a delicate issue and we have to be very careful in trying to discuss it. There are no "pat" answers.

Someone defined "experience" as: "the exchange of the errors of youth for those of age."

The point I was really trying to make is that I don't believe that "dues paying" has any truly significant relevance. I think a pilot should do what he can to get hired as soon as he can. The training and the experience will come thereafter.

I worry about the too quick upgrade, because I've seen it result in too many judgement errors, most of them occuring on the ground, that created "records" that ultimately prevented very good young pilots from achieving the goals to which they aspired. Now they are stuck where they don't want to be. Had they waited for some more maturity, perhaps those difficulties might have been avoided.

Experience, in terms of flying hours accumulated, is a vital part of maturing as a pilot, but if an individual lacks the necessary temperment and decision-making skills...well, we've seen what can happen. You don't have to be young to be foolish.
I agree with you rather completely. No argument, especially with the last sentence. The issue I refered to is not "age" related. Experience is the product of exposure to different scenarios. It can be achieved at any "age" or never. Thus, a pilot can have 10,000 hours of experience or one hour of experience, repeated 10,000 times. Hopefully you'll agree there's a substantial difference.

Don't forget that before a new captain is turned loose on the world, he's carefully observed by company check-airmen and an FAA inspector. And that's after one or more grueling simulator check-rides. It's not easy for someone who's totally inept to bluff their way through that process. Yes, some have, but I believe they are a tiny minority.
Now, that's where you and I disagree. You're talking about the acts of flying and I'm talking about something else. Also, as soon as you mention "FAA Inspector", that makes my hair stand up. There are exceptions of course, but most of those people are there because they couldn't get hired somewhere else. It fascinates me that a person who can't do my job himself, is legally able to evaluate my ability to do that job.

When we had GADO's and ACDO's it wasn't so bad 'cause airline pilots didn't have to deal with the GA "experts", but when they created the FSDO and combined the wheat with the chaff, I gave up completely. It is even excruciatingly difficult to get two FSDO's/POI's to agree on the time of day, let alone anything important that has to do with airplane driving. I remember one POI that had never flown anything bigger than a twin Comanche, yet suddenly became an "expert" on airline jet flying. Your dad may remember another who created a mess at EAL and was ultimately run off. I remember yet another banned from TWA who wound up being farmed out to Afghanistan where he could impress the towel club (long time ago). Don't get me started on those guys.

Bottom line: I have very seldom flown with an FO who couldn't "fly" the airplane better than I could. They are younger, can see forever (I use bi-focals), have better reflexes and give a da*n about "grease" jobs. However, my airline pays the First Officer to "fly". That isn't what they pay me to do. I am paid to "manage" the operation. Occasionaly, I get a chance to try to do some "flying" too, in hopes that I can partially retain the manipulative skills of yesterday that I gained as an FO. Two different ball games.

The complexity of the operation, changes the demands on the Captain. When my airline gives me a 300,000 # hunk of aluminium, with 250 wierdos and 9 fussy women in the back (as it did for many years), and sends me off to some place 5,000 miles from base, my ability to move the controls correctly is the smallest part of my job. It isn't quite the same as a boring hop from MCO-FLL or ATL-SAV, in my sexy corporate jet (called RJ). Likewise, a few turns between DTW and TOL or MIA -EYW, in my Beech 1900, is not the same as ATL-JFK in the RJ. Different tasks require much different levels of judgmental ability, while all of them require pretty much the same flying skills. An ILS, is an ILS, pretty cut and dry (or should be).

In the simulator, I learn how to deal with the ILS and the engine fire, and some FAA idiot's idea of what kind of holding entry I should make (as if anybody really cares), etc. There's not a word about how to deal with and irate FA at that special time, a weirdo RA, a disgruntled CSR, a pushy Chief Pilot, a sadistic VP of Ops., and "expert" mechanic (who knows it's "normal", when you know it ain't), a caterer that doesn't cater, or the po'd multiitude that demands to know why you're delayed when it's "only a blizzard". That's why they pay me "the big bucks" and pay the other guy to do the flying.

Did your airline send you to school on how to be a captain before you upgraded? Was it a two-hour quickie or a two-week we're serious experience? Or did they just give you some system GS, a few hours in the sim and a check ride? [BTW, we do but not enough.]

(By the way, since you mentioned scabs...my father, whom I mentioned earlier, was at Eastern from '66 to '89. Went out on strike and never went back. Just wanted to get that on the record.
Kudos to your dad. You come from "good stock". My hat's always off to any rEAL pilot. Had a lot of close friends there. They did a lot for the rest of us and paid a very high price. Some of us won't ever forget the Silver Falcons.

Regards,

PS. Know what a National whisper-jet whispers? ....... fly Eastern.
 

surplus1

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350DRIVER said:

As for the young captains at some carriers .......- The fact is that EVERYONE of them had to PASS the exact same sim checks, line checks, IOE, etc., etc. ,etc., etc., as the much older captains so with that being said I will rest my case.....- That is just a fact since airlines don't incorporate different sim and line checks for different ages. (food 4 thought)

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See my comments to Typhoon about the checkride stuff. What I'm talking about is not flying skills and "young pilot" isn't chronological age.

You can have a 23-yr old pilot with 5 years of excellent and solid experience. At the same time, you can have a 50-year old pilot who hasn't done much more that fly around in the practice area and the pattern for 20 years. In that case, I'd much rather have the "young" guy (age wise) in the left seat.

Judgment can compensate for low hours to some extent. I don't think it works the other way around no matter how old you are on the calendar.

Hours, depending on what you did in those hours, give you the exposure to different scenarios that I call experience. If you have the rest of the "right stuff" you'll be able to make the right calls.
 

BigFlyr

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Re: Enigma,

surplus1 said:
Why do I (today) see so many very green pilots seeking employment in their first airline job, asking "how long will I be on reserve" and "what's the upgrade time"? They barely know how to keep the airplane right side up, yet expect to be "captains" over-night when in reality, they have no clue as to what being an airline Captain really means.
Their first "airline jobs" are the ones that they want to grow out of as soon as possible and with at least 1000hrs of PIC turbine time, that's why they want a quick upgrade. Not to mention that FO pay at a regional is never above poverty level. If their first "airline jobs" were with one of the majors, then they wouldn't care how long it takes to upgrade because the money is there as an FO.

As far as a true "ab-initio" program in the US... it never has and never will exist because there are enough opportunities out there for pilots to get the necessary airline qualifications.
 
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