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Old 02-05-2012, 11:40 AM   #8  
Runs with scissors
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Joined APC: Dec 2009
Position: Going to hell in a bucket, but enjoying the ride .
Posts: 7,447

From above: Wait a minute ... the training you see in a simulator is not necessarily designed to familiarize pilots with a specific airport (yes, there are some circumstances where a simulator has been used to qualify a pilot into a new or different airport ... but spending the bucks to develop and modify a specific visual model for a specific airport just to qualify new captains, could get exorbitantly expensive, very quickly) – the airport model is often selected because it is easy (i.e., relatively cheap) to acquire, it has the attributes that are more like the attributes of a majority of the airports into which a particular airline flies – and in many cases, if the airport model used in the simulator is patterned after a “real world” airport used by that airline, the flight crews can use their own Jepp plates. But there is nothing that guarantees if you see XYZ airport in the real world, that same XYZ airport in the simulator will be 100%, 80%, 60%, or only 10% accurate.

I' talking about the training I've had over the past 26.5 years at Delta. We have always trained "airport specific" threats, with visuals to match, at least since I got on the 757+767 in 1989. Prior to that, in the 'old' 727 sims, generic was about all you could do.

With the newer sims (I don't recall what 'level' these sims are, but they have airport specific visuals) training is much better. The 777 sims we use have airport specific stuff and we train for all the 'problem' airports, as well as all the standard missed approaches, engine out, noise abatement climbs in TLV, slam dunks and last minute runway changes in LAX, all of that, and at my last recurrent we also did stall recoverys and a deep stall over water at night after unreliable airspeed, in effect, both the Colgan and A/F scenarios, minus the airframe icing. Seems Boeing just won't ice up like a (POS) Q400. I partly blame the FAA for ever certifying that thing.

I realize I've been lucky, Delta is one of the industry leaders, and many of the other 121's use generic airports for training, because as you point out, they can't (or won't) afford the better sims. I flew at another 121 ops and two 135 ops, and the Air Force prior to Delta, so yeah, I've seen 'other' training...I like what Delta is doing today.

Also from above: From my research (which has been just asking questions of several training departments around the country) it would seem that AQP airlines are pretty much “free” to establish what they want to do. Is that healthy? Is that what we all want to do? I don’t mind meeting regulations IF those regulations are logical and evenly applied. I’m really nervous about dealing with the kind of regulatory oversight that is apparently left up to the individual airline – particularly when it is almost exclusively management at the airline that makes the final decisions.

The bottom line is always Money. The FAA doesn't have enough money to hire enough oversight people, that's how they came up with allowing the airlines themselves to oversee their own training, which as you point out, is then again subject to "Cost Constraints" ie. do the absolute minimum to pass, and save as much money as possible. Training is expensive, just like good maintenance, so of course that will always be under -economic pressure- . I doubt the FAA will ever have enough money to hire more oversight people though, so...?
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