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 Post subject: Pilots vs Plane Drivers
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:58 am 
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I got into a discussion with a lad in a 172 a few years back in CYKF. He pulled this rather bone head maneuver in the circuit, cut someone off turning base, asked for a left circuit, went right, that sort of stuff. He wasn't a new pilot, just didn'tseem to have much of a clue. Anyways, I was talking to him a little while later when he mentioned that he was the pilot of that airplane. I commented that he wasn't the pilot, he was just the one flying the plane.

I've only been involved in aviation since 1990 so not too long by career standards but it got me thinking about what makes the difference between a pilot and a plane driver. Training, attitude, ability, sensability and competence make for a good pilot but the lack of any of those makes you a driver. For those of you in this industry longer than most, is there a trend that you are seeing, have seen, or are in fear of seeing that will have a detrimental effect on the quality and calibre of people sharing the skies with you?



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:25 am 
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FL280 wrote:
For those of you in this industry longer than most, is there a trend that you are seeing, have seen, or are in fear of seeing that will have a detrimental effect on the quality and calibre of people sharing the skies with you?


I'm not an old guy, but the trend I saw in my instructing days is that unlike what Sully was pushing for, the brightest and youngest are not the ones attracted to aviation. The average joe who sees flying as something "cool" rather than "passion" seem to be the ones dropping money on becoming these so to speak, "future pilot's of the industry." Don't get me wrong, there will always be people who are passionate about this career and will do anything to improve, even at the 10, 000 hour level. The inability to spark the right candidate is what I feel causes the development of these so-to-speak "drivers" as you addressed them. Anybody can pitch a plane up and down while rolling it right and left. Anybody with a semi-intellect can coordinate a turn. Anybody can't strive to be the best they can possibly be, because that attitude requires a certain kind of individual in today's society, because life has become so easy - so why work so hard for it? The whole mentality behind why a high school student should work hard with their grades when they can pass with the bare minimum and still make six figures after a trades programme :idea:

I have a strong philosophy on this and it is that until the day the 22 year old can go and be an occupational therapist making 80k/yr as a start salary, our future generation will remain smart enough to not invest into flying as a career. Unless however they are so in love with this that they put up with the conditions as a means of paying their dues. While the latter are the ones that end up typically advancing and being the pilots we so-called respect, the truth remains that the smarter our future generation gets, the less "younger" and "brighter" individuals will step forward to invest into an industry where the LCC is going to convince them to work for peanuts :) Why not make money doing something that gives us the cash flow to go and fly on our own terms? This is a grand reason for why the doors will be open to any average joe to come in and simply get by with the bare minimum and even worse, settle for the bare minimum. I'm sure every one on these boards know or have come across somebody they are scared to share a flight deck with - the scarier thing being that these individuals are out there flying our families around. A prime reason why I never taught to the flight test guide, rather taught to a point where I would feel comfortable sending one of my loved ones with my students.

There's no such thing as gods gift to aviation, but the doors to a north american piloting career are too wide. Some control would facilitate a much better economic stamina for our industry - but then how would companies get away with paying us 19k/yr for a job that bonds you out at 25k? Or the company that takes advantage of the 250 hour noob that doesn't know any better and actually thinks that being paid 23k/yr to fly a B1900 is a privilege.

So in short, the answer to your question is that we need to up the standards for the candidates we take in to become pilot's and hope that these educated individuals won't settle for the industry's condition. A union to support them would aid a lot of benefits. The days of an operator paying the implementer of his/her business plan in KD needs to be over. Rhetorical question, does this mean that all of us are dumbfounded individuals settling for the bare minimums calling it "paying our dues" This can't be, none of us are average joe's, we are all a mix of Mavericks, Geese, and Hollywood's. :lol: Sarcasm, as I know some people are going to take it to heart.

Mind you, this is only coming from a thousand hour ding dong written in the perspective of a pilot (or driver lol) so maybe I'm just dumbfounded to the point that I might land and sit on the runway all day while I take pictures of these UFO's that seem to over fly the runway. Being a driver is so cool cause I can just pull up anywhere and watch planes.

Ok, time for me to put down my Serengeti's and get back down to earth :lol:

Cheers 8)



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:43 am 
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If somebody calls me a driver, I take it as a compliment. Kind of like being called "Horse", it means your a productive worker.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:06 am 
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There has actually been studies done on the stages a pilot goes through in his career. I think it was the Air Force that did it but not sure. We were taught about it many years ago in one of our college courses. The stages were listed as Student Pilot, the beginning of it all which last to about 500 hours, then you enter what is referred to as the Hot Pilot Stage, which is pretty self explanatory to about a few thousand hours. The next stage is known as the Airplane Driver Stage, which is the safest stage of them all. A person has moved from the Top Gun of aviation to just an airplane driver. The last stage and apparently the most dangerous stage is known as The Reluctant Pilot. This is apparently even more dangerous than the Hot Pilot Stage as the pilot now realizes he doesn't quite have what he used to have but starts trying to prove to himself and others that he still has what it takes.

Don't remember all the particulars but that is where the Airplane Driver came from. You never hear any Hot Pilots refer to themselves as Drivers but you do get to a point where that is exactly what you are. You will hear that term quite often when associated with seasoned pilots.



Last edited by CLguy on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:08 am 
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rigpiggy wrote:
If somebody calls me a driver, I take it as a compliment. Kind of like being called "Horse", it means your a productive worker.


+1

BBB



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:29 pm 
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Loopa, those were some very interesting points.

You said that the doors are too wide. I would have to agree with that, initially at least. It seems to me that, unlike graduate programs which only let in a certain number of people, aviation lets in everyone and then lets the industry itself trim off the fat. Most of the people who make it far would have to be fairly passionate about what they are doing.

I am hoping by the time I have my ATPL, most of the people I am flying with are both passionate about their jobs and intelligent enough to strive for better. Those who are not, hopefully have the intelligence to at least switch into another career and earn way more.



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:53 am 
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loopa wrote:
A prime reason why I never taught to the flight test guide, rather taught to a point where I would feel comfortable sending one of my loved ones with my students.


+1



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:26 pm 
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Quote:
I am hoping by the time I have my ATPL, most of the people I am flying with are both passionate about their jobs and intelligent enough to strive for better. Those who are not, hopefully have the intelligence to at least switch into another career and earn way more.


That's wishful thinking. For a lot of people, this career has simply become another job because they were either average joe's who didn't care much but ended up doing the job a passionate individual would do better at, or they advanced in their life situation to establish a family early on to such extent that taking a pay cut to move on is out of the equation. While this could be an unfair bias, the majority of such individuals in our industry (both ATPL and not) simply show up to work to collect a pay cheque to go home. While there are plenty of individuals who are in it for consistent self-improvement and the passing on of knowledge, don't be shocked if you run into that Captain at the ATPL level who doesn't give much care into what he/she is doing other than the bare minimum. Surprised?

Switching careers is harder said than done, especially when you are so established and comfortable in a career. To some people, flying converted from fun to a job. There's a poll on these boards about this topic, search it up and see the results - you might be shocked.

I've had to go through some ups and downs to get to where I am, but it was all part of the ride. While there has been times where I've questioned if I will ever find a job, I look back at it today and can confidently say that I've enjoyed every single bit of the ride, and look forward to the future. While flying with that grumpy captain might not be the best day, I know that I'll be sharing this story in a humorous manner one day with my crew members at the job I'll call my career job.

Wish you all the best! 8)



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:40 am 
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rigpiggy wrote:
If somebody calls me a driver, I take it as a compliment. Kind of like being called "Horse", it means your a productive worker.


+2

On the coast (or any serious float op), being called a "driver" is worn like a badge.



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:16 pm 
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loopa wrote:
Quote:
Wish you all the best!


Haha thanks.

I guess I was being a bit nieve in my beliefs, but maybe I just don't want to think of myself as being stupid for trying to pursue this dream :).

In every job out there, there are going to be people who dislike what they do, or wish they had gone a different route. For example, I know many doctors who say they wish they had been pilots. This always makes me laugh, knowing a lot of the comments many pilots have made on this forum are to the converse.

I guess the best advise that can be given to anybody is that you should pursue what you love.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:48 am 
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jackg737 wrote:
..In every job out there, there are going to be people who dislike what they do, or wish they had gone a different route...


and the grass is always greener on the other side.....except when you get there, it is usually painted astroturf.

BBB



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:07 am 
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rigpiggy wrote:
If somebody calls me a driver, I take it as a compliment.




As an AME, I'm more comfortable flying with someone who would rather be called a driver. That tells me he/she's not living in a delusional world, and they understand that that a driver is exactly what they are. Its disappointing to see situational awareness and smart decision making get overrun by arrogance and glory chasing. Not to mention respect for the equipment. Airplanes don't fix themselves.

If you walk into a room of 50 people, how can you tell the pilot?....



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:27 am 
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Dash 27 wrote:
If you walk into a room of 50 people, how can you tell the pilot?....


He/she will be the one giving you shit for your comments.

Just check your licence, what does it say? ATPL or ATADL?

Keep on degrading our profession :smt023



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:54 am 
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I have been an AME, Mechanic, Pilot, Driver, or whatever else you want to call me for over 25 years. I have seen many good, competent, reliable people maintaining and flying aircraft regardless of how they referred to themselves. However like all walks of life there will be some who do some incredibly stupid things. Hopefully they learn and improve.

Then there are Pilots, Drivers, AME’s, and Mechanics that can do a lot of damage due to laziness, arrogance and incompetence. I have spent a lot of time over the years picking up after those folks. I have also learned a lot from my mistakes and tried to be a better Pilot/AME.

Personally I prefer AME or Pilot….that is what is typed on my licence. :wink:

If you feel better to refer to your self as a Driver, Mechanic, or whatever more power to you! 8)



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:15 am 
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Hmmm .. very interesting posts, and we can almost see the time in aviation by the posts. As we age we become more like a fine wine as opposed to a new wine and aviation and experience change our perception of ourselves and the industry.

I was going to say more ... I deleted it ... less is more ....

We all need to try harder and teach those who need to try really really hard.

Thats all I am going to say about that.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:36 am 
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I would say to the instructors out there and the captains out there. That people in general always try to live up ro OTHER peoples expectations. People in general always graviate to the lowest level of resistance at some point. When I was starting out the instructors set the bar pretty high. If he told me to fly at 2500 feet ASL. He would question me as to why I was at 2,800 for the last 5 minutes and make me correct it. My first Captain or one of the first, gave me some great habits I still carry today. I can remember one instructor who would yell so much and so loud that you could hear him in the next plane and he DID NOT NEED A RADIO. He set the bar so high you needed a ladder to get over it. Probably trainined more Airline Pilots then any one else in Canada. But you had to get through him to a license. We were all scared of him, but we all love him, and we thank him today.

Training new pilots is like raising young children and sending them to school. Good teacher, goood student, great teacher, better student, lousy teacher lousy student. Set the bar high, demand good things, and we all become better and the bar is raised for everyone you and me included. I must admit there are some people up there I would not want my children flying with.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:08 pm 
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The Department of Transport signed off on me being a Pilot on Oct 13, 1967....
I don't own an aircraft anymore, nor do i fly very often but by God i'm still a Pilot



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:19 pm 
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There used to be a Doctor, Head of Surgery, at a major hospital who doubled as a Flying Instructor on his days off. And he was a good surgeon but couldn't filet a fish worth a damn. I can't coment on his instructing.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:36 am 
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When I'm referred to as a driver by someone in the industry I take it as a compliment but when someone off the street calls me a driver I tend not to enjoy it as much. At the end of the day though it's not something I lose sleep over.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:34 am 
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All very good points..

But stepping into the industry recently.. I think the fact that anyone with money for FT can just jump into it without requiring any set of basic limitations (except basic health) will always expose such undesired characteristics.

Even if I had the money, no medical school would just train me to operate on a human being so why risk other human lives by giving the controls over to someone who may be a risk ?

You can counter this point by saying it is like giving a DL to anyone with a car, but again, an engine failure in a honda civic vs a C152 can have gravely different outcomes.

As mentioned above, there are no restrictions to the entry point and thats where the problem stems from.



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