Are We Safe?

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Illya Kuryakin
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Are We Safe?

#1 Post by Illya Kuryakin » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:18 am

Bunch of hiring going on. Everybody with 1000 hours and a smile is getting hired. And these pilots are not going to the Navajo (example type only) but going to fly Q400’s or jets. The exams are written, off these guys (and girls...I’m using “guys” as a non gender specific term here) go to the promised land. A few short years ago ( months? ) these same pilots would be forking out bond money to sit right seat in baffed out crap in towns starting with Fort, or ending in Lake. Now, with the training given by companies where these 1000 hour wonders are ending up, and the experience levels of their left seaters, all is probably going to be okay.

But, the lower levels of the industry are in really serious trouble. Safety wise, and experience wise. King Air ads are asking for total time levels that just don’t cut it. Safety wise. Sure, there are extremely good pilots with, say 1000 hours....but they’re buggering off to the aforementioned Q400 jobs.......see where I’m going here?

Question is a simple one. Are you SAFE in the back seat of that Navajo? The experience level of a short time ago is gone. Personally, I don’t think you are. Again, I’m using the poor Navajo as an example. I think our industry at this level is in dire trouble. Hope I’m wrong.

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Re: Are We Safe?

#2 Post by sunk » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:00 am

I totally agree with you. I would not put my family in anyone that operates Navajo's or king airs. Same goes for most floatplanes. I've seen more runway incursions, sloppy radio work, planes touching down long on short snow covered runways, etc. I think it's only a matter of time. People are being put left seat before they are ready.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#3 Post by Illya Kuryakin » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:08 am

sunk wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:00 am
I totally agree with you. I would not put my family in anyone that operates Navajo's or king airs. Same goes for most floatplanes. I've seen more runway incursions, sloppy radio work, planes touching down long on short snow covered runways, etc. I think it's only a matter of time. People are being put left seat before they are ready.
It’s not just Navajos and King Airs, (used these as examples only) but any aircraft flown in this manner. I get that it’s hard to find experience. I really think we’re going to see an increase in accidents.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#4 Post by JasonE » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:27 am

Guess we have to either fly on wide bodies or fly ourselves!
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Re: Are We Safe?

#5 Post by sunk » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:16 pm

I was using Navajo and king airs only in name as well. It's all smaller aircraft. Airport operators in Manitoba have some pretty scary stories with the DC-3 in the last six months as well.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#6 Post by valleyboy » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:21 pm

Was anyone ever safe in a Navajo or cabin class twin and of course don't get started on single engine turbines on wheels and imc. Life is a crap shoot. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. 😈
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Re: Are We Safe?

#7 Post by digits_ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:58 pm

I can see your point, but there are a few things that could balance it out, or make it even more safe.

1) People can walk away from unsafe jobs. Feel forced into doing stuff you are not comfortable with? Leave and within 2 weeks you can have another job.
2) Low time people are most often aware that they are "low time" and act accordingly. Low time people might be more comfortable going around or refusing trips, where as experienced pilots (but possibly new to the type) might perceive a lot of pressure to get the job done because they are experienced. Closely linked to 1)
3) Operators themselves are aware that pilots are being more and more low time, so they might/should adjust how they deal with bad weather etc
4) Going of the runway/making bad landings are obviously things to be avoided, but are accidents/incidents that are usually survivable without big injuries. CFIT/bad weather/icing are the big killers, which is more related to flying in iffy conditions when you shouldn't.

So I'd say the chances of getting into an aviation incident/accident have increased, but the chances of actually dying in one, are decreased.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#8 Post by tired of the ground » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:09 pm

1) People can walk away from unsafe jobs. Feel forced into doing stuff you are not comfortable with? Leave and within 2 weeks you can have another job.

True, but when the people themselves are the unsafe part, they can't just walk away from themselves. So, No.

2) Low time people are most often aware that they are "low time" and act accordingly. Low time people might be more comfortable going around or refusing trips, where as experienced pilots (but possibly new to the type) might perceive a lot of pressure to get the job done because they are experienced. Closely linked to 1)

No. They don't know, what they don't know. History has taught us that inexperience is absolutely a killer. It can be mitigated (I.E. airforce) but it is expensive and not seen at your typical sub 705 operation.

3) Operators themselves are aware that pilots are being more and more low time, so they might/should adjust how they deal with bad weather etc

Maybe. Again though that is a lot of babysitting and micromanaging that would need a very experienced person to do...... who left last month to Air Canada. So, probably No.

4) Going of the runway/making bad landings are obviously things to be avoided, but are accidents/incidents that are usually survivable without big injuries. CFIT/bad weather/icing are the big killers, which is more related to flying in iffy conditions when you shouldn't.

No. Inexperience is how one gets into conditions they shouldn't be in, otherwise you'd know not to be in that situation. I'd say a 1000 hour King Air captain with a 250 hour F/O is way more likely to have a loss of control incident the likes of which we traditionally have usually seen in doctor killers.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#9 Post by Zaibatsu » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:25 pm

I think it’s going to insult a lot of sky gods when young pilots with a fraction of their hours and years of experience are going to do the same job just as good and hit the big iron pay dirt much sooner.

Seriously. You didn’t learn a lot on the ramp for years slogging bags waiting for a seat. You learned the basic ins and outs of the trade your first year as an FO... everything else was sitting on your ass, talking to the same guys on the radio, and going to the same airstrips until you got that coveted upgrade 2-3 years later.

There’s always hiccups and polishing your trade, but we have a lot of technology too that makes things already more efficient than they ever could have been in the old days. What’s going to happen when a 1000 hour King Air capt bends tin? Probably the same things that happen when a 5000 hour King Air capt did it.

I will say this, though. The lack of experience in Encore and Jazz aircraft is telling. But it’s more the efficiency than the safety aspect. Missing flow times. Not reading NOTAMs, doing full procedure Instead of contact, visual, or cancel on clear days, getting sprayed every time it’s colder than 0. Little things that are like... these are the guys Big Red and Team Teal are so desperate for?
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Re: Are We Safe?

#10 Post by C.W.E. » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:40 pm

I think it’s going to insult a lot of sky gods
Who are these " Sky Gods " Zaibatsu and how do we identify them so we can avoid them?
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Re: Are We Safe?

#11 Post by Redneck_pilot86 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:19 am

Its only going to get worse if/when these new duty regs come in to play.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#12 Post by TG » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:20 am

C.W.E. wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:40 pm
I think it’s going to insult a lot of sky gods
Who are these " Sky Gods " Zaibatsu and how do we identify them so we can avoid them?
No offence but you sound like one :mrgreen:
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Re: Are We Safe?

#13 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:55 am

I think it’s going to insult a lot of sky gods when young pilots with a fraction of their hours and years of experience are going to do the same job just as good and hit the big iron pay dirt much sooner.
Yes the newer younger pilots can do the same job and just as well as those who did it thirty years ago because the airplanes are far more reliable and far more easy to fly due to modern technology.

But I still don't get the comment about sky gods?
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Re: Are We Safe?

#14 Post by shimmydampner » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:54 am

I’ve thought about this quite a bit lately, as I’ve watched former copilots I flew with when they had 200 hours get picked up by the majors and now are going captain in short order. Some were incredibly competent for their relatively low time, and others less so. My hope is that the training departments across the country continue to maintain high standards and don’t start lowering the bar in view of potential staffing issues. I think things will be ok at the 705 level. Let’s face it, the vast majority of 705 ops are dead simple. Autopilot from one huge paved runway to a precision approach at another is something that a 1500 hour ATPL should be capable of on an average day. If they have to do full procedures to feel comfortable because they haven’t flown a visual circuit since flight school, ok I guess. If we can’t have highly experienced crews, let’s let the inexperienced ones take an extra 10 minutes to paint by numbers.
As for 703/4 ops well, some pilots that would have learned stuff in a 185 or 206 or Navajo will now learn it in a Beaver or Caravan or King Air. I don’t know that that will make them any more prone to error, it will just up the ante slightly.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#15 Post by Rockie » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:02 am

shimmydampner wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:54 am
Let’s face it, the vast majority of 705 ops are dead simple.
I would disagree with that opinion. And even in your view there's the corresponding "slim minority" that crews must also deal with safely.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#16 Post by atphat » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:03 am

shimmydampner wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:54 am
Let’s face it, the vast majority of 705 ops are dead simple.
Spoken again like someone who has never done it. I've done both. Major 705 ops are infinitely more complex. They aren't even comparable really. All flying should be paint by numbers flying, save floats and skis. That's what makes it safe. :roll:
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Re: Are We Safe?

#17 Post by C.W.E. » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:39 am

Major 705 ops are infinitely more complex.
In what way are they infinitely more complex?

Can you elaborate and give a few examples so those of us who do not understand the complexity can learn?
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Re: Are We Safe?

#18 Post by atphat » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:49 am

Nah I’m good. But I’ll edit by saying “vastly” rather than “infinitely”.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#19 Post by C.W.E. » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:51 am

Nah I’m good
So you are unable to back up what you posted?
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Re: Are We Safe?

#20 Post by atphat » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:50 am

C.W.E. wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:51 am
Nah I’m good
So you are unable to back up what you posted?
I just don’t care what you think or if you understand.
That’s all

Merry Christmas
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Re: Are We Safe?

#21 Post by HiFlyChick » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:35 pm

I think we can all agree that there 703/704 ops and 705 ops are all complex, but in different ways - you just have to look at the TSB reports and even the CADORS to see that. Sure, they're for different reasons and manifest themselves differently, but in the end, the question comes down to how the lack of experience affects the overall safety question. I'm hopeful that in the always-two-crew world of 705 there will be enough experience there to keep things safe, but it does get one wondering about small single-pilot IFR operators (of which I am one). I would venture to say that SPIFR in a Navajo in hard IMC is a really tough gig. The regs give minimums that are possibly adequate when the wx is 010 and 2 or 3sm, but when it's VV001 and 1/4 it's a whole different ball game. Add in some wind, and of course those Murphy's Law things like runway closures or finicky equipment and things can happen super fast.

I must admit, I had wondered at the fact that last year we had a few queries about the experience of our pilots, and now I see why. I guess it hadn't really occurred to me what results the flow-through would have on small 703 operators.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#22 Post by atphat » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:40 pm

Although I’ve never done it I would imagine single pilot IFR to be a very very tough gig. Well said hiflychick.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#23 Post by HiFlyChick » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:49 pm

There are a few oddities that nothing short of experience teaches you, too - like the fact that when you've got a big cross-wind from the left, at decision height you don't look directly over your nose where the lights usually are, you crane your neck to look over the starboard side, to allow for the fact that you're pointing left to hold the centreline. That one cost me an extra approach the first time I encountered it....
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Re: Are We Safe?

#24 Post by shimmydampner » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:42 pm

atphat wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:03 am
shimmydampner wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:54 am
Let’s face it, the vast majority of 705 ops are dead simple.
Spoken again like someone who has never done it. I've done both. Major 705 ops are infinitely more complex. They aren't even comparable really. All flying should be paint by numbers flying, save floats and skis. That's what makes it safe. :roll:
Your assumptions about my resume aside, I don’t totally disagree. Floats and skis, and I’ll add off-strip and a bunch of other bush types of flying are pretty tough to do “paint by numbers.” And painting by numbers does make flying safer. Which is my point exactly. Perhaps “dead simple” was a poor choice of words, but I’m in a rush to drink more adult egg nog so I didn’t wish to fully flesh out a wordy response. Maybe “cut and dry” would be more to your liking? “Black and white?” My point is, aviators have never had so many tools at their disposal to get from point A to point B safely. It’s a far easier thing to do now, relatively speaking, than it ever has been. From aircraft and automation advancements to training and SOPs, the deck is stacked in our favour like never before. Sure, learning and managing all that is a challenge, but the actual aviating is relatively simple. And that’s a good thing. I think that’s why it’s going to be ok with less experience sitting up front. It’s not because flight schools are churning out Chuck Yeager clones. It’s because the ways in which aviation has changed will allow less experienced crews to operate safely.
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Re: Are We Safe?

#25 Post by co-joe » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:37 pm

When all the king air captains had 4000 hours here, south of the border they had 1000 hour people doing the same job (single pilot in some cases). People always made excuses like Canada has shorter runways, and NDB approaches, and less ATC to coddle them, and blah blah. A pilot is as safe as their training, and the technology they have around them. With WAAS based LPV or LNAV+V approaches everywhere, full motion sim training, good fatigue risk management rules, and good 2 crew SOPs, there's no reason 1000 hour pilots can't fly safely.
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