Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

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RedAndWhiteBaron
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by RedAndWhiteBaron »

ayseven wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:43 am I do think, at the end of the day, Hangry is right. It is a harsher world out there than Mr Baron wants it to be.
Both of you are right. It is a harsher world out there than I want it to be. I don't appreciate the way he phrased it, but he's not wrong.

But is it that way because it needs to be, or because it's always been done that way?
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Hangry
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by Hangry »

RedAndWhiteBaron wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:02 am
ayseven wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:43 am I do think, at the end of the day, Hangry is right. It is a harsher world out there than Mr Baron wants it to be.
Both of you are right. It is a harsher world out there than I want it to be. I don't appreciate the way he phrased it, but he's not wrong.

But is it that way because it needs to be, or because it's always been done that way?
:roll:

That’s an actual saying. Didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
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shimmydampner
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by shimmydampner »

RedAndWhiteBaron wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:40 am Why would it be a burden to place a newbie in a right seat in place of someone else for the odd pairing? You're still (or at least, could be) paying everyone the same, assuming a salaried position. There may be some labour strife over loggable hours, but that's the only concern I can envision.
Generally speaking, operators run with a certain number of crews based on variables unique to their operations, including number of aircraft, crew scheduling, flight schedules, charter operations, and a bunch of other factors. That number of crews is budgeted for not only in terms of their compensation, but also in terms of training costs associated. And don't forget, once you train someone, those training costs never go away as recurrent training is required every 6 or 12 months. So, if a company operates with say, 8 FOs and 8 rampies, you would essentially be unnecessarily doubling your training costs for something that is providing zero return on investment. For easy math, let's say it costs $10k for an initial per pilot, and $2.5k for a recurrent. If you promise to check each rampie out after 6 months but they don't actually have a position until 2 years in, you've just increased your training costs by $100,000 over that time frame for no reason. That's not chump change for any business, let alone your average small or medium airline with very tight margins.
Then there's the problem that you've already hinted at: you've got to do something to keep those people in the air at least occasionally. To do so, you have to take hours away from the people actually in that seat, hours that are pretty valuable at that stage in a career. Not only might that factor into how that person is compensated, but it also almost certainly factors in to their upgrade progression. Someone scooping 10 or 20 percent of your hours can have very real short term implications in a person's earning potential and career progression.

Flying jobs for all is a nice thought, but as has been pointed out, the reality of this business is not so warm and fuzzy.
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gooseinbc
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by gooseinbc »

RedAndWhiteBaron wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:40 am
shimmydampner wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:05 am
RedAndWhiteBaron wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:30 am It's more the "pilot in waiting" idea in general. While I don't have an issue with it per se, it's the uncertainty around it I abhor - The "6-24 month waiting time, depending on company demand" caveat. I don't think that practice is acceptable. Now if, on the other hand, the arrangement is "you will work a ramp for one year, after which you will copilot a King Air. If we think that's too much iron for you at that time, we'll put you in one of our Navajos.", it is an entirely fair arrangement in my view. Please understand that I am not arguing against pilots starting out by mopping floors and hauling drums. I am arguing for more certainty.
Your idealism belies a naïveté about how an aviation business actually operates. Promising someone a flying seat after x number of months sounds great in theory, but what happens when that time comes and there is not a position available because the industry movement is stagnant and no one has moved on?
Oh, certainly I am naïve regarding the matter. I accept that. I've always been idealistic.

Why would it be a burden to place a newbie in a right seat in place of someone else for the odd pairing? You're still (or at least, could be) paying everyone the same, assuming a salaried position. There may be some labour strife over loggable hours, but that's the only concern I can envision. Is it that once you've made it to a right seat, you are now entitled to not perform ramp/dock/dispatch/following/whatever duties again? Because that sentiment smacks of hypocrisy, considering many of the comments in this thread.

I suppose these arrangements depend on there being "ramp boys" and "fly boys", and never the twain shall meet? I don't understand why those duties cannot be shared where there are insufficient flyable hours to allow for everyone who's paid their dues to actually fly.
Hangry wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:57 am Just shut up and get to work. Seriously. Either you or someone else.

Either you want it bad enough or you don’t. Those that do, do what it takes.
The employment arrangements I am speaking out against fail to even define "what it takes". 12-24 months depending on company demand tells me that the boss's nephew is quite likely to land the seat I have been patiently awaiting while paying my dues.

Besides, either add something constructive, respond to my arguments in a civil manner, or shut up and stay out of the thread. Your dismissive and condescending attitude is contributing nothing.
Q: Why would it be a burden to place a newbie in a right seat in place of someone else for the odd pairing?

A: In a way this does happen lots where possible in my experience. Most pilots are actually eager to get guys they enjoy working with stick time, and the company don't care if does't effect their ops. Whether its someone filling the empty right seat of a single pilot plane, or a swamper/rampie coming for a ride and getting some cruise flight stick time on a empty leg in a two crew machine. Neither of these examples are loggable time, but great experience..

Now if what you are really getting at is a situation where rampies get actually trained and can fill in as a legit copilot on a kingair or navajo every couple weeks when the company doesnt actually need them on flight line, this gets tricky. Here's two reasons why.

1.) Pilots are whores.

Air Tindi used to do this part time copilot thing with their rampies on the beech/twotter when they were having trouble enticing people to come up to ramp in Yellowknife. What would happen is some rampies would get fed up only getting to fly a trip every two weeks, and @#$! off to the first southern operator needing copilots on the same type with their shiny ppc.

2.) Training is dumb expensive, and needs to be kept current.

I think this is the biggest thing you aren't factoring in. A Company estimating 12-24 months ramping means 1-3 training events before you are actually needed on flight line. This is a huge investment on the companies end put into someone they don't really know or need, and probably doesn't really want to live in shithole lake as a rampie.

Q: Is it that once you've made it to a right seat, you are now entitled to not perform ramp/dock/dispatch/following/whatever duties again? Because that sentiment smacks of hypocrisy, considering many of the comments in this thread.

A: That is not how it works, at least for operations that have a need for "pilot in waiting". The rampie is expected to do ramp jobs. The copilot is expected to do copilot jobs first, and will 100% be expected to do any ramp jobs as required (busy day, not enough rampies, to get out faster whatever).

Becoming a copilot is just phase 2 of the "apprenticeship" to become a captain, and anyone who thinks that they are somehow above those duties will not get far in a small operation.
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by RedAndWhiteBaron »

shimmydampner wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:11 am
RedAndWhiteBaron wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:40 am Why would it be a burden to place a newbie in a right seat in place of someone else for the odd pairing? You're still (or at least, could be) paying everyone the same, assuming a salaried position. There may be some labour strife over loggable hours, but that's the only concern I can envision.
Generally speaking, operators run with a certain number of crews based on variables unique to their operations, including number of aircraft, crew scheduling, flight schedules, charter operations, and a bunch of other factors. That number of crews is budgeted for not only in terms of their compensation, but also in terms of training costs associated. And don't forget, once you train someone, those training costs never go away as recurrent training is required every 6 or 12 months. So, if a company operates with say, 8 FOs and 8 rampies, you would essentially be unnecessarily doubling your training costs for something that is providing zero return on investment. For easy math, let's say it costs $10k for an initial per pilot, and $2.5k for a recurrent. If you promise to check each rampie out after 6 months but they don't actually have a position until 2 years in, you've just increased your training costs by $100,000 over that time frame for no reason. That's not chump change for any business, let alone your average small or medium airline with very tight margins.
Then there's the problem that you've already hinted at: you've got to do something to keep those people in the air at least occasionally. To do so, you have to take hours away from the people actually in that seat, hours that are pretty valuable at that stage in a career. Not only might that factor into how that person is compensated, but it also almost certainly factors in to their upgrade progression. Someone scooping 10 or 20 percent of your hours can have very real short term implications in a person's earning potential and career progression.

Flying jobs for all is a nice thought, but as has been pointed out, the reality of this business is not so warm and fuzzy.
True, I hadn't fully accounted for training costs. However, assuming those 10 rampies will eventually make it to the right seat, you're not so much increasing your training costs as you are front loading them. This wouldn't affect capital expenditures, but it would affect credit, interest payments, and/or cash-on-hand. Then I suppose we could assume that not all 10 rampies will stick around long enough - in which case, you have a valid point. I would assume though, that by guaranteeing a flying position, more of those rampies would stick around, and that too would skew the math further in favour of my argument.

As for losing 10 to 20 percent of your flying hours, I don't see that as an issue, because you're not really losing them. You'd have flown those 10 or 20 percent while you were still a rampie. I think it would likely work itself out in the wash.

So yes, interest payments would go up assuming you use some sort of debt to pay for it, and you'd have to eat some lost training costs, which admittedly are significant. Less than you envision though, I think. As much as I also argue against training bonds though, they would seem to be a reasonable compromise - a training bond in exchange for a guaranteed flight line position after some agreed upon period of time. This would be a far better arrangement than your typical pilot-in-waiting position, I think. No less fair to the employer and certainly fairer to the employee.
Hangry wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:51 am That’s an actual saying. Didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
I was unaware of this saying until now. Don't worry about me, I wouldn't be arguing such an unpopular opinion if I couldn't handle the backlash. I just found the comment to be condescending and unhelpful, and in general, representative of the attitude I am arguing against. Didn't mean to hurt your feelings :smt040
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Re: Pilots in waiting NWAL Post

Post by scdriver »

The whole system of low time pilots working the ramp is far from ideal and I agree with the sentiment from Baron that it's often bullshit and low timers get the unfortunate side of a very one sided arrangement. That being said, I don't believe there's an easy solution at all to the problem, and at the moment an opportunity like this is probably a good move for someone with 250hrs and no other job prospects in the industry. The shitty thing about that is it perpetuates the cycle. Nothing will change until no low time pilot will work the ramp, and that's unlikely to happen unless turnover gets back to and exceeds 2019 levels. The best thing to do for aspiring commercial pilots is to do everything you can to avoid this situation once you get your licence. The day you decide you want to pursue a CPL is the day you should be looking for work at a commercial operation, if of course it's feasible. You'll be a lot more willing to do the work before you get that CPL sticker, you'll learn a hell of a lot, and you'll likely be the next guy that the operator will stick in a seat.
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