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Consolidation 14 CFR 121.434

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Consolidation 14 CFR 121.434

Old 07-24-2023, 06:40 AM
  #11  
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And what follows says -

“Crewmembers other than pilots in command may serve as provided herein for the purpose of meeting the requirements of this section.”

So the reg says as a SIC you can serve in that position to get your consolidation hours. How does your airline get their pilots their hundred hours if they can’t fly until they get a hundred hours? No one would ever be legal to fly.
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Old 07-24-2023, 01:58 PM
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I believe their logic is that you can only gain hours towards consolidation if you are the PF/PM. You have to be in the seat for TO/Landing. That is why they keep mentioning part A).

What I am trying to convey is that, that is not the case. If you take the literal definition of part A)

Crew member: means a person assigned to perform duty in an aircraft during flight time.
Position: The position would be the pilot station, so the left or right seat.
Flight time: Pilot time that commences when an
aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing;

Therefore, any time you are performing duties in an aircraft during flight time, in the pilot station, those hours would count towards consolidation.
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Old 07-24-2023, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by egothrasher View Post
I have read the regulation several times thoroughly and I agree with what you all said. I am trying to pass that on to my superiors without sounding like an ass. They keep mentioning the following part: 121.434 Operating experience, operating cycles, and consolidation of knowledge and skills.

(a)No certificate holder may use a person nor may any person serve as a required crewmember of an airplane unless the person has satisfactorily completed, on that type airplane and in that crewmember position, the operating experience, operating cycles, and the line operating flight time for consolidation of knowledge and skills, required by this section, except as follows:
121.434 Operating experience, operating cycles, and consolidation of knowledge and skills.
https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-1...ection-121.434

121.434(a):

No certificate holder may use a person nor may any person serve as a required crewmember of an airplane unless the person has satisfactorily completed, on that type airplane and in that crewmember position, the operating experience, operating cycles, and the line operating flight time for consolidation of knowledge and skills, required by this section, except as follows:
121.434(a)(1):

​​​​​​​Crewmembers other than pilots in command may serve as provided herein for the purpose of meeting the requirements of this section.
The regulation specifically states that you may serve, as the regulation spells out, for the purposes of meeting the requirements of 121.434.

So, yes, 121.434(a) states that no certificate holder may use, nor may any person serve...EXCEPT...and it's the exceptions that you must read. The very first exception, 121.434(a)(1), clearly states that you MAY serve as other than a pilot in command, to meet the requirements of 121.434.

121.434(a)(2) states that a PIC may serve as SIC to meet these requirements, and so on.

Additionally, the Administrator (meaning the FAA Administrator, and designated representatives) may authorize deviation from these requirements, and further, may withdraw such an authorization at any time.

Now, given that 121.434(a) states that one cannot act as a crewmember unless one has complied with the specific operating experience and consolidation requirements established under 121.434, look closely at 121.434(c), which states:

​​​​​​​In acquiring the operating experience, operating cycles, and line operating flight time for consolidation of knowledge and skills, crewmembers must comply with the following:
To meet the requirements of 121.434, crewmembers must comply with 121.434(b)(1-4). 121.434(b)(1) states that the crewmember must be qualified: that means holding the appropriate certificates and ratings. Those seeking PIC qualification must hold certificates and ratings appropriate to acting as PIC in that aircraft. 121.434(b)(2) states that the operating experience and consolidation hours must be completed after one has been trained in the airplane (ground and flight training--flight training through the type rating being done in nearly all cases in a simulator). One must be trained and qualified. Straight-forward. 121.434(b)(3) requires that those who demonstrated preflight knowledge based on pictures, must demonstrate a preflight in the actual airplane. Again, straight-forward. Now look closely at 121.434(b)(4):

​​​​​​​The experience must be acquired inflight during operations under this part. However, in the case of an aircraft not previously used by the certificate holder in operations under this part, operating experience acquired in the aircraft during proving flights or ferry flights may be used to meet this requirement.
121.434(b)(4) establishes that the OE and consolidation must be acquired in flight, in the aircraft type relevant, in operations under Part 121. That means while serving as a crewmember under 121. OE must be done under the supervision of a check airman. Consolidation does not need to take place under the supervision of a check airman. An exception to line operations under 121 is made for certificate holders introducing a new aircraft type that's not yet on the certificate (and thus can't be used in line operations): the relevant operating experience and consolidation can be conducted during proving flights and ferry flights.

121.343(c)(2) establishes the requirement that OE for a second in command be done under the supervision of a check airman:

​​​​​​​A second in command pilot must perform the duties of a second in command under the supervision of an appropriately qualified check pilot.
Again, very clear, very straight-forward.

I have two questions, based on your post, quoted here. Are you saying that your employer is not adhering to 121.434, and specifically, are you saying that your employer is telling you that OE (operating experience: those first 25 hours under the supervision of a check airman) and consolidation cannot be done in Part 121 line operations?

The second question is why you're attempting to educate your airline on the proper rendering of the regulation. Are you familiar with the concept of cooperate and graduate?

Originally Posted by egothrasher View Post
I believe their logic is that you can only gain hours towards consolidation if you are the PF/PM. You have to be in the seat for TO/Landing.
Your employer is correct: hours toward consolidation must be in the pilot seat; however, it does not need to be for takeoff or landing. There is no requirement that the pilot perform the takeoff, or the landing, for consolidation hours. Practically speaking, consolidation is the time to get as much hands-on experience in operating that aircraft, so as many takeoffs and landings as practical are best, and the regulation does provide an allowance for reduction of consolidation hours based on landings, up to 50% of those hours, on a one-for-one basis (one landing = one hour). Most employers don't apply the landing exception, and simply have the pilots consolidate their hours conventionally. All those consolidation hours need to be in a pilot seat.

If you're IRO, and you sit in the right seat for six hours of an eight-hour flight, then you can log six hours toward consolidation.

Originally Posted by egothrasher View Post

What I am trying to convey is that, that is not the case. If you take the literal definition of part A)

Crew member: means a person assigned to perform duty in an aircraft during flight time.
Position: The position would be the pilot station, so the left or right seat.
Flight time: Pilot time that commences when an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing;

Therefore, any time you are performing duties in an aircraft during flight time, in the pilot station, those hours would count towards consolidation.
You are correct in substance, but it sounds, from your posts, as though your'e a brand new guy, with no experience (hence, you're asking very basic questions that anyone who has flown 121 should fully understand). Why are you trying to educate your employer?

If your employer only allows you to count time in airplanes with a red stripe, then you cooperate, and you graduate. Pick your battles. A brand new guy trying to teach the company how to do it's business is not likely to end well for you. Learn the rules as they apply to you in your place, and follow them. Don't try to modify them, expand on them, or educate the company on them. Find out what your employer requires, and do that.

Last edited by JohnBurke; 07-24-2023 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 07-24-2023, 05:32 PM
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Thank you John Burke for that thorough explanation. I will probably just cooperate and graduate. Trying to go head to head is not a good idea.

My situation is that I have already completed IOE, and didn't receive the 100 hours in the allotted time. So, I had to do a PC check and my hours reset. I'm coming up on my allotted time again, have already been scheduled for the extension to 150 days. I just don't want to fall short once again and have to start from ground zero again. The only reason I was asking the original question was because currently my hours as IRO are not counting towards consolidation, according to the company. I had several trips where I was IRO and those hours would help me consolidate.

I will take your advice to heart and thank you all very much for your time and explanations, it is greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-24-2023, 10:43 PM
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You're saying that the hours spent as IRO, in which you were at the flight controls in a pilot seat, operating the airplane, are not being counted toward your consolidation hours, by your employer? Theirs is an incorrect understanding of the regulation on the company's part, if this is true, but I've seen that before.

I once observed multiple misunderstandings of the regulation by a particular operator which were causing nearly every new hire to be plucked out of the field and sent to the simulator, internationally. That operator had to buy the tickets, and between the lost service in the field, the airfare, hotels, simulator time, car rental, etc, it was a significant expense. I put together an analysis that showed the breakdown for a 12 month period; it was costing them about 1.5 million in unnecessary expense. Ultimatley, they didn't care. A non-pilot minimum wage expert said, "are you telling me that after ten years in aviation, I don't know the regulation?"

My analysis included the regulation, as well as multiple FAA Chief Legal Counsel interpretations; it was comprehensive, but wasn't going to rise above the dimmest bulb in the christmas tree string.

It sounds like you're doing ACMI work? It may be easiest to stay out in the field until it gets done. I've seen that practice used before, too...sometimes taking 45 days or so in the field to hammer it all out. Sometimes it helps to hound scheduling or your dispatch to get put on trips to get the consolidation out of the way. Your employer could reduce the consolidation hours by recognizing landings, but few do that. The employer should use OE hours toward consolidation, but I've seen operators that don't, as a matter of policy. Again, not in line with the regulation, but an operator need only comply with the regulation as a minimum standard; there is no regulation stipulating that an operator can't add more requirements. An operator could, for example, choose to make it 200 hours, instead of 100 hours, or only recognize hours assigned as SIC on the flight release, etc, even though the regulation only requires 100 hours, and any time in that pilot seat at the controls is creditable.

In Thomas (2013), the FAA Chief Legal Counsel addressed the question of logging time toward 121.434(c)(3) (OE, or initial operating experience). In this case, the question regarded operators who were counting all the flight time, not just time in the pilot seat, and the Chief Legal Counsel affirmed that only time spent at the controls in a pilot seat count. Time spent away from the controls, at rest, do not, for the purpose of meeting operating experience and consolidation. This is noteworthy because this is the other side of the coin: time away from the seat does not count, but time in the seat does count. https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/fi...rpretation.pdf

This legal interpretation also addresses both the history, and the current application of consolidation hours. At one time, consolidation was allowed for SICs by observing; it was then adjusted to requiring the SIC to actually be at the controls. The removal of time observing operations occurred in 1995, based on aircraft mishaps (crashes) and NTSB recommendations. Time credited toward operating experience or consolidation, the interpretation notes, must be while performing the duties of PIC or SIC, and cannot be done while at rest. Time spent not at the controls cannot be counted toward OE or consolidation. Again, one side of the same coin: time spent at the controls, by corollary, does count toward OE (with a check airman present) or consolidation (no check airman required).

Another question which comes up frequently is whether all time accumulated to date, can be counted toward consolidation hours. For example, if one reaches 120 days and doesn't get the 100 hours, then gets extended to 150 days, and still doesn't get the requisite 100 hours for consolidation, do any of those hours count toward consolidation? If one then goes to the simulator, gets "reset" and sent back to the line, do any of the former OE and line hours count toward the 100 consolidation hours? The answer is no, they don't. The clock begins again, and one starts with zero hours toward consolidation. This is made clear in Vyhnalek (2018): https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/fi...rpretation.pdf

Your base question appears to be whether the time at the controls as IRO can be counted toward consolidation. The answer is that yes, as far as the FAA is concerned, those hours can be counted toward consolidation. Just as time away from controls cannot be counted (even if one is the assigned SIC of record, on the flight release), by corollary, time spent at the controls can be counted (even if one is not the assigned SIC of record on the flight release). Short story, if you're a qualified crewmember on board, assigned as the inflight or international relief officer, who doesn't do the takeoff or landing, but does spend time at the flight controls, then that time spent at the flight controls is creditable toward consolidation. It then becomes a matter of whether or not the employer will recognize it within their own training program. If they won't, it doesn't matter that it's legally allowed. The employer doesn't have to recognize it, even though that failure to recognize the time is actually costing time and money. Insisting that only time spent as the SIC of record, or the SIC that is in the seat for takeoff and landing, counts, is a more conservative application of the regulation and doesn't violate the regulation; it's just more restrictive as a matter of company policy.
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Old 07-25-2023, 06:29 AM
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Once again, John thank you for all your valuable insight and references, they are beyond useful. Thus far it seems they are quoting the regulation, even if they are mis interpreting it. I completely agree with the fact that company policy could make the requirements more stringent with more hours. I have not yet gone down the road of explaining how their policy is not just affecting me but costing them money. There are several pilots who are all in the same situation. Company then made new CKS lines to help these pilots try and finish their consolidation. These lines include 3 days of OT. Multiple that by the number of pilots x number of months it takes for everyone to finish and you have quite a bit of expenses. Not only this, but you are affecting the rest of the pilot group by having less lines to bid from and 0 OT lines available for any pilots not in the CKS process. Since the pilots in the CKS process are being used for TO/Landings, you know have non CKS pilots falling out of landing currency. You then have to factor in costs for them to stay at a hotel, sim time for landing currency, flights to and from the sim. Each little bit adds up in expenses.

I appreciate everything you have shared and if there is any way I could return the favor, please let me know!
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Old 07-25-2023, 06:55 AM
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Good luck. I know it's frustrating. Depending on where in the backlog cycle a training department and airline is, it can take anywhere from three to seven months or more to get online and get all the consolidation out of the way, including one or more trips back to the sim to "reset." As you noted, nothing works in isolation, so one thing affects another. You may find that you no sooner get done with consolidation than you find yourself relegated to IRO constantly, making room for other guys trying to hammer out their hours doing OE or consolidation. When that happens, currency suffers, and then you're going back to the sim for landings, and you're frequently frustrated by the rust that keeps forming on flying skills and proficiency. It's a tough balancing act over which you often have little to any control, but it's also the nature of the beast.

Eventually as you upgrade to captain, you're giving away a lot of landings, and it's still hard to stay current...and then there are those days when you're the junior captain on a double crew, a F/O fills the IRO seat, and you become the "window licker" in the seat with a bad view, a frame that digs into your hip, and a cramped spot behind the other captain in what may be the cheapest seat in the house. Stages of life, I guess. At any rate, good luck.
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