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Old 03-19-2012, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Flying in China?

From a newsletter I receive. All comments, starting with "Interesting" are his-

Interesting perspective from an American pilot flying for a Chinese airline in China.
-----------------------------


Yes its true. You can make oodles of money here in China. I as a E190 driver make more than any widebody captain in the US, and
I have over 18 weeks paid holiday a year plus normal days off.

But there is a natural economy to this and its not the gleaming diamond you think. Your vision is of your life now, today, as it is, with all its comforts, cleanliness, proximity to friends and family, in a system you are familiar with, where everyone speaks your language and understands your culture.

This is my second contract overseas and I can tell you why we make this kind of money.

We have less job security and no seniority list. If there is any hiccup we are the first to go. We are the outsiders and the locals always remain. We have no pension. This is not a permanent gig. There are some longer term contracts but the company has no interest in keeping us on payroll any longer than necessary.

Kids pee on the street 10 meters from a bathroom, people spit everywhere, I see have seen people laying a nice brown heap on the sidewalk. I live in a country that not only has cornered the market on plastic toy exports but all the super infectious germs resistant to antibiotics. A place that routinely is polluted so heavily that you can stare directly at the sun without squinting.....if you can see the sun. A place where purple industrial waste lays meters from farmland. An economy so self driven that it mirrors Dante's Inferno's passage where no one can escape because everyone pulls each other down to get ahead.

A place where there are three kinds of alcohol. Fake, not so fake, and almost real. An underground that reuses cooking oil into infinity and buys bottles from authentic international places to re-bottle them with fake hooch. Unless you pay 3x what it costs normally you are not really drinking alcohol and even then that is not a guarantee.

The chemicals in everything you eat is life shortening. A country where just the simple task of getting to Facebook requires special "tunnel" program to circumvent the great firewall of China. Initially for 2-3 months you will heave all the colours of the rainbow until you are used to the bacterias of the East. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and most Chinese don't believe in God so they don't believe in Ajax either. One rag to rule them all cleans your bed, your floor, your toilet, your dishes.....in that order. The best overnight hotels are in comparison with the worst ones you have ever stayed back home.

There is bare minimum communication. Almost no one outside of Shanghai and Beijing speaks even broken English. Hong Kong does not count because lets face it....that's not Mainland China. Even fewer people read English. None of my ground crew speak English. There is a target on your back for you passport and your money. The first questions asked are...Are you single, do you have children, do you want children, where do you work, how big is your house, how much money do you make. Really, after what is your name these questions are the immediate follow up.

I have a 3 man cockpit in an E190 to keep me going through to 16 hours or more every day. I get holidays but even when I am off half the month I am burning 80 or more flying hours in two weeks. There is no 30/7 rule here only 100/month. Routinely the pilots time out at 1000 hours per year. The delays in summer mimic EWR. The ATC outside of Shanghai and Beijing barely speaks English and on runway 27 it is normal to be flying a 090 heading, off any charted approach on vectors, and have the controller say..."cleared for the approach". You are ATC. My ICAO English examiner could not understand what I was saying.

Your F/Os while smart are 200 hour wonder pilots. And when I mean 200 hours I mean they just checked out and this is their first jet airplane. The last thing they flew was a C421 for 40 hours. In my initial sim the F/O who didn't speak English did not give a call about my speed during takeoff roll. The sim tech put in a windshear and airspeed had stagnated and I had already transitioned to outside reference before V1 above 100 knts. The F/O said nothing. As we overrun I shoot a glare to the F/O and he says something in Chinese. The translator says "He says he is sorry he never saw this situation before"

Your FOM makes no sense-----Its all Chinglish.....

"The regulation of using checklist is the valuable experience of what had
happened before with high cost and scientific treasures summarized from
the bloody accident. The operation of checklist is used to standard
behavior, strict operation, detailed procedure, and it is the valuable
treasures of preventing mistakes and important tool of assuring flight safety."

The checkrides are old school. Multiple failures. I've had my RAT out single engine with a multiple hydraulic, screen failure, anti ice failure, decompression, Electrical malfunction all at once with an F/O who does not speak English. I've flown V1 cuts IN THE AIRPLANE to 500 ft circling patterns with a hood. Engine failures at 400ft and securing the engine by 1000ft is challenging and can be done but not when you need a translator to get it done. You make your own procedure and get it done by 1000FT. People add weight to takeoff performance when clearly the English says SUB or Subtract. But they don't know English.

Line Check Airmen can be old school military to completely not knowing a damn thing about the SOP. There are good pilots but few who can fly or know SOP.

The medicals are extremely difficult overseas. Everything from balance tests, blood tests of more than 45 criteria from white blood cell counts to blood sugar levels. Vision, periphery, depth, puffer, grip tests, EKG, EEG, brain scans, ultrasounds, reflex, ears nose throat tests, and many other probes. Half the people don't make it past the medical.

Many people leave after the first few days unable to cope with the culture shock. This is not Hong Kong or Shanghai. This is Mainland China where people smoke in hospitals and there is no such thing as pedestrian right of way....even on the sidewalks.

Most importantly you should never bring your kids here unless you appreciate them eating arsenic. The pollution is terrible. It is beyond terrible. Its hazardous. The US Embassy advises no to go out side for any period of time many days of the year in my city. Where the distributors know that imported food is in demand they counterfeit everything and even that imported Sunkist label is a knock off. Marriages crumble with the distance, children are seen twice a year and those who do commute back and forth age so quickly you encourage them to double up on life insurance.

Expats drink a lot to deaden the loneliness and pain. I've seen people who didn't drink put away a 5th a week.

There is no Meetup group or speed dating. This is make your own a la carte.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and I have mentioned almost nothing about the real cultural differences.

It could work out for you. You could marry that stripper and everything will work out. But the odds are you are looking at a disaster on your hands and that my friends is why I make more than the most senior Delta captain who comes home to his family every week.


China does not have the experienced captains that take 10 years of training to mold out here. And in all Asian countries its about 10 years. With foriegners reluctant to move here because of all these and other difficulties I am a drop of water in a desert.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, sounds like this guy has never been to China before.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No "Meetup group" or "speed dating". OMG!!!!!!
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, sounds like the guy hates it there. . . kinda' wonder why he bothers.

Anyway, I spent two years flying out of Shanghai and loved every minute of it. The Chinese have their own way of doing thing's, frustrating at times but not anything a reasonable person can deal with. Besides, as was pointed out, they are paying for it.

Our rules for duty and rest were reasonable. Some might argue the FAA's are not.

Many of the cultural nuances have been embelished. Again, not the good old US of A, but if you want that in Shanghai just go live around Thumb Plaza; done.

I hear these kinds of complaints from the odd person who should have thought about how much they loved their homeland before they left. So, perhaps, the letter is a good reminder for those who are unsure about jobs in China.

It is way different on many levels, but the people are great, I never once had any ladies asking me if I wanted to get married, I never once fealt threatened, if I wanted real booze it was there, real food, real entertainment. . . it was a great experience. Bt that's just me.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoruPilot View Post
Wow, sounds like the guy hates it there. . . kinda' wonder why he bothers.

Anyway, I spent two years flying out of Shanghai and loved every minute of it. The Chinese have their own way of doing thing's, frustrating at times but not anything a reasonable person can deal with. Besides, as was pointed out, they are paying for it.

Our rules for duty and rest were reasonable. Some might argue the FAA's are not.

Many of the cultural nuances have been embelished. Again, not the good old US of A, but if you want that in Shanghai just go live around Thumb Plaza; done.

I hear these kinds of complaints from the odd person who should have thought about how much they loved their homeland before they left. So, perhaps, the letter is a good reminder for those who are unsure about jobs in China.

It is way different on many levels, but the people are great, I never once had any ladies asking me if I wanted to get married, I never once fealt threatened, if I wanted real booze it was there, real food, real entertainment. . . it was a great experience. Bt that's just me.
Koru, I agree with you for the most part but you've never seen any one crap on the street? My last trip to Guangzhou, I saw a lady hold her little kid over the curb so that he could drop one! The ones that really bother me are the women, with the rented kids, begging for money.
Kombei!,
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I flew in China for just shy of 16 months.

Before I rant, the bottom line is that I would do it again if I had to ... but, I would go back with my eyes wide open. It did beat the heck out of flying in the Middle East.

The perspective offered above is accurate and realistic. Although there might be some companies out there that have "international standard" duty and rest rules, per the Chinese regulations, there are actually ways that they can almost extend your duty day indefinitely.

In many operations, safety is an afterthought. PIC authority is there as long as you do exactly what "management" wants you to do. I had "fights" refusing flights into known icing with inoperable anti ice systems .... calling fatigued at 4am after a 16 hour + duty day ....

I flew with proverbial 200 hour copilots. They're smart kids but they're doing the learning that they should be doing in a Seminole and they have no place in a jet.

That being said .... despite the fact that I'm a small town guy and will be until I die, I enjoyed being an active member of the international community. I was able to get my kids over there for a good bit and the experience for them was priceless ....

Except for predictable pockets, China is mostly third world. If you're thinking about going there expecting it to be like the US, you'll hate it. If you're going there because you have to pay a mortgage, you might like it .... at least until the point where you can get out of there!

The great thing about China .... I have interview stories to last a lifetime!
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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It did beat the heck out of flying in the Middle East.
Can you elaborate please?
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Once again for those looking to work in Asia take a trip over and check out the area that you,ll be living in .
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frozenboxhauler View Post
Koru, I agree with you for the most part but you've never seen any one crap on the street? My last trip to Guangzhou, I saw a lady hold her little kid over the curb so that he could drop one! The ones that really bother me are the women, with the rented kids, begging for money.
Kombei!,
fbh

There is a big cultural difference in the way that westerners potty train their children and the way it is done in China. Chinese kids are almost full potty trained by the age of 2. There is also a far smaller percentage of kids running around with serious diaper rash. It is shocking for westerners to witness at first, and it was for me too. Asians wouldn't bat an eye at a little kid peeing in the gutter or the occasional dump on the sidewalk.

Having now raised two boys in China/Taiwan, I can say it works pretty well and saves a lot of money on diapers. That said, we have always tried to be a bit more discreet about where the kids go, bathrooms are always a first choice, but when the kid doesn't have a diaper on you can't always wait until you get to one.



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Old 03-25-2012, 06:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I grew up in Europe in the late 1960's/early 1970's.

Seeing kids crapping in the street, or grown men peeing in the bushes, wasn't unknown back then.

Mom's would bend over and interlace their fingers to make a swing for the kid. Kid would face the mom, hold onto her arms for balance, and do the deed.

Major European cities.

Last edited by Sliceback; 03-25-2012 at 06:51 AM. Reason: spelling
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