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JetBlue Ab Initio Program ?

Blue Dude

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Cape Air isn't the Gateway 7 ab initio program under discussion. What are you talking about?
 

BeachBummer

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I'd hardly call a Cape Air pilot who's flown in the northeast during the winter a well trained switch monkey! It's a tried and proven program and it gives people who may not otherwise be able to fly the opportunity to.
The money? That's on you, your Union, and what it will negotiate for them.


Ill take a cape air guy any day who's flown the winter in the NE over a guy with 1000hrs of when it hits the fan, I need a break and can we do that again.
 

Mungusaurus

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Cape Air isn't the Gateway 7 ab initio program under discussion. What are you talking about?

Exposure to multi crew/ multi engine operations and gaining 1500 hours experience. Where is that going to happen?..... Cape Air.
 

macdu

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This isn't Europe or China. There is no shortage of already-qualified pilots in this country. There is a shortage of pilots willing to work for less than the waiter at Chili's. The JetBlue ab initio program is nothing more or less than an attempt to train up captive pilots willing to work for less because they'll have nowhere else to go. We need experienced pilots, not well-drilled switch monkeys.


As someone who came up through the ranks paying my dues as it's said, as a CFI for a couple years then a Beech 18 freight dog and finally a regional I felt I was prepared at that point for any thing the training department wanted to throw at me. There was a lot of on the job training so to speak and several, "damn I'm never going to do that again" moments. Is this the only way to create a seasoned pilot? Certainly not. As was mentioned earlier our military has done it since WW1 and the rest of the world as well. The record speaks for itself as do the facts.
I currently fly with your "switch monkeys " everyday here and I will tell you from my past experiences working at three U.S. carriers that there is not a difference when it comes to low time first officers, none. My only takeaway is the lack of radar knowledge, and real world weather patterns but that improves with time of course. Their aircraft knowledge, systems, FMS, SOP, company ops etc., is generally spot on. Do these guys(gals) have a lot to learn during the first few years of course we all did didn't we. I wish I had my NDB skills I had 25 years ago flying the Shorts. Wow did I learn a great deal as a TWA F/E. There are several ways to becoming a good pilot and the first and most important is a professional attitude. I see no reason to fear this program or its future protege. Your fear is the unknown. If you have concerns why not insert yourself in the program and become a part of the solution. Bad mouthing a particular path to becoming a professional pilot is not redeeming.
 

Blue Dude

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Gateway 7 is intended to hire non-pilots and train them in light aircraft and simulators for a multi-crew environment, much like some overseas carriers. Those are "switch monkeys" : pilots who can operate an aircraft by SOP under close supervision, with no real world experience outside a training environment. I have a problem with this, and so does ALPA. There is no legitimate reason - none - to settle for never-seen-the-inside-of-a-cloud ink-wet commercial "pilots" when so many others with real world experience are going unhired.

What I am not talking about are Cape Air, regional pilots, military, freight dogs, corporate, furloughed, etc., all of whom can operate on a much higher level on day one than any memorized-SOP newbie following a very narrow, prescribed work flow and with an inch-deep experience base. It's not just real world weather, it's facing decisions and bringing more to the table as a resource for the captain than the exact wording of page 319 of the FOM. A good FO is not just a ride-along seat-warmer who can read a checklist, he should be someone who can take command at a moment's notice with the safety of the operation never in doubt.

There is a deep pool of pilot experience in the U.S. and despite the decades-long alarm at the impending "pilot shortage", that pool isn't draining - for major carriers - anytime soon. This is not Republic or Mesa - this is the fifth largest major carrier in the United States, with more than 200 large jet aircraft and 3100 pilots. Let the Gateway 7 "pilots" get some experience at Republic or Mesa for a while first, and then think about applying here.
 
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bafanguy

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I guess I can see both sides of the issue. I agree there are plenty of experienced people around...or experienced enough.

Then why would JB go to all the trouble of setting up this Gateway 7 program ? Seems like a lot of trouble...
 

Blue Dude

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Because newbie pilots who have no experience other than JetBlue SOP are not going anywhere else and will be far less likely to push back against sub-standard pay and working conditions. Zero to hero in just a few years - think they're going to hold out for major airline treatment? They *want* compliant seat warmers. Pilots with experience have been there, done that with pilot pushing and typical management behavior. Newbies will have been carefully selected (and not necessarily for aptitude but for attitude), experienced a carefully structured, hermetic training program, spent a lot of time and money, and eventually placed in the right seat of an airliner. And then abused mercilessly, all the time being told it was necessary to "help out the operation" and aren't they the team players they were hired to be?
 
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PsubS

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It's not about "job abuse."

The critical issue at hand is safety.

I submit that ab initio pilots are less capable of making judgement calls, as they lack the breadth of experience necessary to do so.

The military trains aviators from square one and places them in positions where they will receive a great deal of oversight from day one, whether as a wingman or a copilot. While they are expected to perform, they have not attained the same level of safety that we expect from a pilot within a 121 operation.

Cape Air, the carrier frequently kicked around in this discussion, is a source of outstanding aviators. They are not the issue.

Discussing this topic in terms of "compliance" and "push-back" may be accurate, but making that argument dilutes the ONLY rational reason why this practice is not acceptable to the American public.
 

Blue Dude

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I don't disagree. The latest question asked was why the *company* wants it, not why the pilots oppose it. I've already laid out why switch monkey FO's aren't the best idea ever from a safety standpoint.
 

flyboyike

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Gateway 7 is intended to hire non-pilots and train them in light aircraft and simulators for a multi-crew environment...

Is it not fair to say that we were all at one point "non-pilots" who needed such training? That being said, if the union is opposed to it, that's their prerogative, they don't need a good reason...
 

PsubS

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Ahhhh, grasshoppah....you have just two choices.

You may allow your family to fly on a jet with:

1. An experienced pilot with 4500+ hours flight time, hired and trained to use their judgement to safely fly a 45 million dollar, .8 mach machine that holds 190 people and flies at 39,000 feet, through and around weather that would tear it apart,

or

2. A non-pilot, hired specifically to start and finish training with the capability to physically fly that same jet in the same conditions, but without the experience and judgement...
 

Blue Dude

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Is it not fair to say that we were all at one point "non-pilots" who needed such training?

Oh yeah, you got me. I didn't emerge from the womb with an ATP so obviously I'm a hypocrite for preferring to hire one of the (many, available, turning them away at the door) experienced pilots than someone with no flight experience at all.
 

bafanguy

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...hire one of the (many, available, turning them away at the door) experienced pilots...

Why is that happening ? Just the usual situation: lots more qualified people than the number of openings to be filled ?

Even IF the ab initio program comes about, any people produced by it are years away. Too many years to influence current hiring, I'd think.
 

flyboyike

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Oh yeah, you got me. I didn't emerge from the womb with an ATP so obviously I'm a hypocrite for preferring to hire one of the (many, available, turning them away at the door) experienced pilots than someone with no flight experience at all.

I don't believe I accused anyone of being a hypocrite. What I said was rather more nuanced. We all started at zero time, we all needed tons of training, this program (if it even comes to fruition) will be one of what appears to be at least seven paths to B6, and (from what I can tell) it will probably be the one least taken since the costs will be even greater than the "more traditional" routes, while, as bafanguy correctly pointed out, by the time any of these people make it through, the world will have flipped over twenty-seven separate times.

From where I sit, that potato farm will have more of a long-term impact than this program.
 

flyingitalian

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The FO of Air France 447, who held the controls full aft right into the water was an ab initio pilot.
 

bafanguy

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The FO of Air France 447, who held the controls full aft right into the water was an ab initio pilot.

And, IIRC, the Germanwings kid was also an ab initio product. So by your criterion of "one bad example as incontrovertible proof of the fitness of the entire group", not only are ab initios incompetent but also psychotic mass murders.

This ab initio bunch is clearly dangerous. :laugh:

[just pullin' yer chain :D]
 

oldxfr8dog

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One point about the Germanwings maniac: The traditional US method of time building gives countless greater opportunities for scrutiny. Perhaps he would have been detected earlier.
Ab initio arent necessarily dangerous, but the traditional route has served our industry well.
 

mike12345

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I was actually approached by someone at planet fitness who has seen me in my uniform before I changed who asked if he should still be flying JetBlue. Of course I reassured him (and insisted these guys wouldn't be flying until 2020 or so anyway and a captain til 2025-ish), but this program does have at least some of the American public worried regardless of whether it is common in Europe or not.
 

bafanguy

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I was actually approached by someone at planet fitness who has seen me in my uniform before I changed who asked if he should still be flying JetBlue.

I'm surprised the public is even aware of such a small program even with the occasional newspaper article talking about it.

Just keep those ticket prices low and John Q. Public will knock down the doors getting to your airplanes. :D
 

Vingus

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Please stop comparing civilian ab-initio programs to military flight training.

When these programs have students a 500 kts at the bottom of a loop or 3 feet away from another airplane at 90 degrees of bank, then you can talk. But until then......
 
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