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Old 02-06-2012, 07:34 AM   #11  
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Well, actually, I am a pilot ... having flown several “types” in my career ... and my first approach and landing at the controls of a US Part 121 operator was in June of 1980. I don’t like braggarts who proudly proclaim the numbers of hours they have logged – so suffice it to say I have more than enough to be aware of and comfortable with what it is I’m saying.

It is “he,” thank you … and I don’t think I’m forgetting “costs” – what I am interested in is the possibility of having my company (or any company for that matter) give-in and adopt an AQP (or an AQP-style) training approach. Apparently you are not aware of the differences in training program requirements between operators conducting training under AQP. Were you aware that until the Colgan accident there were some part 121 airlines authorized to NOT train OR check on recoveries from approaches to stall BECAUSE they were authorized to train on Windshear encounters? The justification was that a windshear and approaches to stall occur in the same portion of the flight envelope; therefore, you were authorized to choose one and forget the other. Were you aware that AQP operators are encouraged to exercise “...judicious analysis of training requirements and training equipment...” and there from “...enable a participant to significantly reduce the need to use a full simulator for training and checking? I presume you are aware of the merger arguments between CO (authorized to conduct LOEs in Level 6 FTD) and UA (required to do LOEs in a Level D simulator).

Sorry, but for me, the “focus” is on only 2 things: 1) how little can be done and still convince the Feds that whatever is done is “enough;” and 2) how much management can save by cutting down on the training expenses.

Oh, I agree that both programs have set standards for training and checking – that is not the issue on which I am focused. My concern is the fact that the standards for pt121, E,F, and H have the same standards, and that the standards authorized under the AQP are different – and may very well be different from every other AQP operator’s standards – and, in fact, many are different from all other AQP operators. Are you aware that the operator is authorized to establish “terminal training objectives (TPOs)” that, when developed, replace the FAA’s traditional compliance requirements and from there the airline is then authorized to make “additions, deletions, or changes” to these TPOs as needed. I am aware that the AQP staff includes psychologists – which is all well and good, perhaps even beneficial to some extent – as long as they don’t get involved in approving or disapproving training programs applicable to piloting an airplane. I have had one such person tell me that the reason a Level 6 FTD is authorized to be used the way it is in some cases has to do with the fact that it is the same as a Level D simulator without a motion system. That’s when I turned him “off.”

I wasn’t necessarily critical of an AQP program initially – but once I began reading what it was, what it demanded, and what it authorized, I began to get more than a little concerned and suspicious. And, no I have not been “through” an AQP program, but I have observed quite a few ... up close and personally ... and am currently formulating a recommendation to management as to our recommendations with respect to seeking approval under AQP. So far, I’m impressed … but not in a positive way.

Are you aware that not in all cases is the MV session conducted in a Level C or D simulator – if what I am told is correct, there are some who use (and others who are petitioning for use of) simulation equipment all the way down to Level 5 and Level 6 FTDs for this purpose? There are some now who are authorized to perform their Line Operational Evaluation (LOE) in Level 6 FTDs and others are petitioning to use Level 5 FTDs for that check (see above comment on UA and CO merger).

Actually, the Practical Test Standards (PTS), as a whole, are supposed to be applicable to all testing of pilots ... and a specific PTS is supposed to be applicable to all pilots seeking certain specific levels of certificates or authorizations. The Flight Standardization Board Reports are also supposed to be applicable to any operator operating the referenced airplane type. However, neither of these documents (the PTS / FSB Reports) are regulatory – they are both documents written to FAA personnel for their action – unfortunately, there is precious little information to those folks about what “action” they can legitimately take. And when someone is authorized to establish their “own” terminal proficiency objectives – what is said in a particular PTS document is no longer relevant to the issue. You might be interested to know that I’ve been informed that there are pending issues today as to whether or not an FAA inspector or an FAA designee can require someone to do something on a check simply because it is referenced in the PTS, or that during a check an FAA inspector or an FAA designee may authorize a person to not complete something that is contained in the PTS. Apparently, it’s not quite as “cut-n-dried” as many have believed.

This “ability” has been talked about quite a bit. However, there are several operators who regularly incorporate into their training programs those relevant issues that are been brought to their attention through those same programs – but none of the operators I’m referring to have an AQP approved training program. Obviously, having an AQP training program is not a necessity to exercise this “ability.”

I’m glad you brought this up – as this is part of what it is I am looking into. The most recent version of the proposed modification to the existing regulations addressing airline pilot training (the specific action to which I am referring is revising, and maybe replacing, the two subparts of part 121 that currently address training and qualifications). The rule that is being proposed includes a lot of what the US Congress has mandated as a result of the Colgan accident. It apparently includes a provision for more training time, and provides that at least some of that additional training is to be focused on recoveries from stall (not just approaches to stall), recoveries from “jet upsets,” and the potential problems that inadvertent encounters with icing conditions can cause, as well addressing the amount of flight time that has to be achieved prior to a pilot being hired by an airline for a flying position. Some of the “additional training time” that makes up some of the basis of this “new” rule, is apparently designed to be available to address the kinds of “other stuff” you describe that occurs in the real world.

Feed back from the line is definitely a good thing. But, I also think that being able to review some of the stuff that we do routinely shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t have a real problem with executing missed approaches – the few times we have to execute one in the real world – is because we regularly revisit them on recurrent training sessions. Additionally, I don’t necessarily want to argue about the amount of time that is available for simulator training. As far as I can tell there is no mandated minimum or maximum time that has to or should make up a simulator session. I do know that around the world there are simulator sessions that vary from 3 hours to 5 hours – not counting any breaks that might be taken. Perhaps this is where those psychologists can provide a more meaningful input ... how much “time on your butt” can one person take before the amount of information that goes into your head begins to decrease and eventually reach zero?

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. Of course there are limits, and to verify that, just recently each airport model available in the simulators we use in our training programs had to be reclassified as either Class 1, 2, or 3 … where Class 1 is very much like the real world … and Class 3 may be authorized only for certain aspects where there just may be limitations placed on the use that visual model. This is a requirement found the new simulator rule. We’ve always treated the simulator as a training and evaluation tool – an expensive tool perhaps, but only a tool, used to train and evaluate the pilot.

Obviously, I can’t comment on the decisions made at your airline ... but it may be that the acquisition of models of the Hong Kong or the Tel Aviv Airports that approach Class 1 accuracy may be beyond the capability (or willingness) of the purse holder. My position is that doing training at the simulated Miami airport isn’t about Miami – it’s about the airplane performance and handling qualities at a sea level airport. The airplane is likely to be very similar in its performance and handling qualities at any sea level airport on the planet. If one of those sea level airports has a more challenging departure or arrival – the airplane will perform and handle through those required maneuvers just like it did at Miami, had Miami required a similar departure or arrival profile. If your airline goes to some high altitude, short runway, airport in Central or South America ... the airplane will likely perform and handle much like it would if you flew into a simulator model of Aspen, Colorado. It’s not about the airport ... it should be how you learn to manage the airplane and make it do what you what it to do, when, where, and how you want it to. If you had to train in the simulator on every airport you operate into, your simulator training would be several orders of magnitude longer! In fact, we’re considering structuring a completely fictitious simulated world where there are 5 or 6 fictitious simulated airports – collectively representing the kinds of variances our company sees on our route structure. Yes, it would be more costly up front – but those airports would change only when WE wanted them to change and no one could criticize the fact that the terminal wasn’t right, the intersections were not properly spaced, or the surrounding terrain was to flat or too mountainous.

Well, that is the question isn’t it? Based on what the CVR and the FDR show, the Colgan captain apparently fought the stick pusher all the way to the ground. Did he not know what was happening? What’s up with the F/O raising the flaps without being asked to do so and without coordination? Two years ago no airline was criticized for not training on stall recoveries, because it was thought that training on recoveries from approaches to stall was sufficient – and that loosing zero altitude was the desired outcome. Today, these are not the thoughts that are making their way through the regulatory and training industry hallways of the world. And as far as Airbus is concerned, I have heard that only recently (after how many Airbus stall accidents?) has the chief training guys at Airbus acknowledged that perhaps pushing forward on the side-stick to reduce the angle of attack might be an appropriate step when the stall warning sounds. Training is a powerful thing – and bad training, lack of training, missed training, training that wasn’t taken seriously, or training that was missed all together, often takes pilots to their graves. In the Air France tragedy, there is a good chance that both of the co-pilots on that flight were trained prior to the shift in Airbus training policy with respect on the “forward movement of the side sticks.” At the very least, not taught, taught and forgotten, or taught and not taken seriously – there is little doubt that the person at the controls held a nose up input for essentially the entire descent. Some have been reluctant to point a finger at this person ... but no one doubts that the training that was originally delivered ... i.e., “rely on the airplane to get you out of trouble” … is not the current way Airbus is training their clients. And in the words of the chief executive of the Flight Safety Foundation with respect to this particular accident, “We have to get back to the focus on automation as a tool to manage the aircraft. It should be serving us, not the other way around.” I couldn’t agree more.

Certainly, training on what is known to cause problems for a flight crew is a good thing – but training to be able to fly the airplane should have always been the most important parameter.

Thanks for that answer – but my concern is not what the specific values are – but rather from where would we get those specific numbers – and why those numbers – and considering AQP, why would we want to see those numbers altered because a particular airline believes it’s okay to change them? Do we need regulations ... or should we allow each airline to rely on their own professionalism and let them choose what they want and when they want to do it? 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.
YGTBSM! Holy Crap! Talk about a jotting down a few notes...... Just sayin!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:21 AM   #12  
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YGTBSM! Holy Crap! Talk about a jotting down a few notes...... Just sayin!
Should give you an idea of how serious I am about trying to find the logic that still seems to escape me.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:24 AM   #13  
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Points taken ... but, if you will, can you say just what about your training today is better than the training you had prior to AQP - or, more appropriately - what does AQP offer/require that cannot be accomplished under the "traditional" programs?
I have trained at 4 different airlines using both methods. AQP is far superior because we don't have to spend time doing the vanilla maneuvers that we already know how to do. I won't hammer it too hard because the other guys have already covered it very well, but it's much more effective (read safer) in my opinion to use the data available (FOQA, ASAP, etc) to produce a tailored training program based on operational threats that DO exist for the specific airline/fleet as evidenced the the data collected from the REAL WORLD.

Another nice thing we've recently begun is targeting seasonal threats with our Quarterly recurrent training, via distance learning. That means every pilot will cover winter threats leading into winter, and summer threats leading into summer, in addition to the other stuff we receive. I remember doing recurrent an a different airline and reviewing Holdover tables and de-icing procedures in June, simply because the training program said we had to cover it. No pilot in that room was going to de-ice for at least another 4 months, and by then the info has been ram dumped.

Where I see a safety degradation is in self-teaching through distance learning during initial qualifications. In place of the "old way" where we received 2 weeks of systems ground school with a LIVE instructor, we now get to figure it out ourselves via CD's. See the whole cost vs. benefit discussion above for the reason this has come about. It saves the airlines a boatload of money, but I have personally felt much less prepared "right out of the box" as compared to initial qual courses where we had the full groundschool experience. JMHO.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:25 AM   #14  
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Should give you an idea of how serious I am about trying to find the logic that still seems to escape me.
I hear you brother and more power to you! I just dont have so much energy!
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:40 AM   #15  
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I have trained at 4 different airlines using both methods. AQP is far superior because we don't have to spend time doing the vanilla maneuvers that we already know how to do. I won't hammer it too hard because the other guys have already covered it very well, but it's much more effective (read safer) in my opinion to use the data available (FOQA, ASAP, etc) to produce a tailored training program based on operational threats that DO exist for the specific airline/fleet as evidenced the the data collected from the REAL WORLD.

Another nice thing we've recently begun is targeting seasonal threats with our Quarterly recurrent training, via distance learning. That means every pilot will cover winter threats leading into winter, and summer threats leading into summer, in addition to the other stuff we receive. I remember doing recurrent an a different airline and reviewing Holdover tables and de-icing procedures in June, simply because the training program said we had to cover it. No pilot in that room was going to de-ice for at least another 4 months, and by then the info has been ram dumped.

Where I see a safety degradation is in self-teaching through distance learning during initial qualifications. In place of the "old way" where we received 2 weeks of systems ground school with a LIVE instructor, we now get to figure it out ourselves via CD's. See the whole cost vs. benefit discussion above for the reason this has come about. It saves the airlines a boatload of money, but I have personally felt much less prepared "right out of the box" as compared to initial qual courses where we had the full groundschool experience. JMHO.
^^^^ +10 to all of the above, and to add one more thing I 'miss' about the good old days, not just a real, live instructor who would answer all your questions and give you a much better understanding of the systems (or Ops Spec, etc.) but I miss hearing the 'War Stories' from the other pilots in the room.

This web board is about as close as we can now come to sharing our experiences, good or bad, and trying to learn from other's trials and tribulations.

I know I learned a Whole Lot from those 'old guys' who had been there, done that. I always liked that part of the training, which is sadly missing now. For a while they even had some Flight Attendants mixed in with our CRM classes. That was very eye opening. I miss them too...just not as much as hearing the flying stories.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #16  
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I have trained at 4 different airlines using both methods. AQP is far superior because we don't have to spend time doing the vanilla maneuvers that we already know how to do. I won't hammer it too hard because the other guys have already covered it very well, but it's much more effective (read safer) in my opinion to use the data available (FOQA, ASAP, etc) to produce a tailored training program based on operational threats that DO exist for the specific airline/fleet as evidenced the the data collected from the REAL WORLD.
OK... I get the fact that there is some resistance to revisiting the tasks (the vanilla tasks, as you say) that pilots are supposed to know how to do. But, realistically, and not to be argumentative, just trying to get a handle on what you think, what tasks are you going to see in the simulated environment that you “don’t know how to do?” Do I understand you correctly to mean that doing something like an ILS with a crosswind is not something you should have to waste your time doing? I understand from AQP advocates that pilots do all (or most, anyway) of those vanilla tasks during their maneuvers validation session at the start of a recurrent training session. Is this true? And, if it is true, is this necessary or productive?

Right at the moment I’m not going to get into recurrent classroom subjects vs. “distance learning,” or some other alternative, but looking strictly at flight training ... what if there were 2 flight training sessions, one each on 2 consecutive days ... where one of the sessions looked at the vanilla tasks – perhaps some of them with some twists (with tail winds or with some interesting configuration anomaly) and the other one devoted to the kinds of things that may be brought to light from pilot comments or some FOQA data source – where each pilot would get something close to 2 hours at the controls each of the 2 days? And, since there is now a whole litany of recurrent schedules for any number of reasons ... where some are every 6 months (usually long-haul operations), some are every 12 months, and some split the difference at every 9 months. What gives you the most “bang” for your buck. If the recurrent flight training (with or without a Prof. Chk) were to be a 2-day affair, what frequency of doing it would be logical? How often should someone have to fly a Line Oriented Session ... and how “realistic” should this effort really be; and do both pilots have to be the pilot flying on such a Line Oriented Session? I’d also like to hear your thoughts on the logic of having 2 consecutive recurrent sessions (at whatever is the decided upon interval) where each session could be devoted to something that was not looked at or attempted during the last recurrent session (remember that each “session” is 2-days, with a simulator session each day) – whether that session was 6, 9, or 12 months ago. And the last question – should each of these simulator sessions be 3, 4, or 5 hours in duration – split between the 2 pilots – using a full crew concept (and if an F/E is involved – there might be 2 F/Es on-board).
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:53 PM   #17  
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OK... I get the fact that there is some resistance to revisiting the tasks (the vanilla tasks, as you say) that pilots are supposed to know how to do. But, realistically, and not to be argumentative, just trying to get a handle on what you think, what tasks are you going to see in the simulated environment that you “don’t know how to do?” Do I understand you correctly to mean that doing something like an ILS with a crosswind is not something you should have to waste your time doing? I understand from AQP advocates that pilots do all (or most, anyway) of those vanilla tasks during their maneuvers validation session at the start of a recurrent training session. Is this true? And, if it is true, is this necessary or productive?
It's not that I see the vanilla items as a waste of time, there just usually isn't ENOUGH time to do them and still leave room for the targeted training. I've been bouncing around so much here lately between aircraft that I can most recently speak to the initial qualification courses, but our Recurrent (Continuing Qualification, CQ) is set up so that each of these items is covered, just not in the "one-size-fits-all" approach.

To answer "what don't I know how to do?" I will point towards Airspeed Unreliable. Following the AF 330 accident, I went to CQ on the A-320 and a very similar scenario was given to us as a "first-look" item, that is it was not briefed and we were not expecting it. Let's just say I was less than impressed with my performance, and the instructor said he saw pretty much the same result every time he ran that scenario with a fresh crew. We didn't lose control of the aircraft, but it was a mess, and very easily could have ended badly. I consider myself well-prepared every time I step on the aircraft, as I'm sure the AF pilots did. We all KNOW what we're supposed to do, but I have a whole new perspective on that abnormal having seen it, been humbled by it, and then given the opportunity to try it again with a much better result. That in my opinion is very good training, and something I won't forget (hopefully) if I'm every faced with it in the real world.

I think it boils down to spending our training capital (time) in the most effective way, which it seems is the target of your inquiry on here. Neither way is wrong, I just think AQP provides the airline the ability to go above and beyond the standard to address their unique operational threats. Your concern seems to be the airline using AQP to avoid doing certain required maneuvers, and I have found, at least at Northwest and Delta, that it was the exact opposite.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:15 PM   #18  
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From above: Right at the moment I’m not going to get into recurrent classroom subjects vs. “distance learning,” or some other alternative, but looking strictly at flight training ... what if there were 2 flight training sessions, one each on 2 consecutive days ... where one of the sessions looked at the vanilla tasks – perhaps some of them with some twists (with tail winds or with some interesting configuration anomaly) and the other one devoted to the kinds of things that may be brought to light from pilot comments or some FOQA data source – where each pilot would get something close to 2 hours at the controls each of the 2 days?

That is exactly what we do now at Delta. Our recurrent is 2 consecutive days, 4 hours in the box each day, but each sim session starts with a 90 minute briefing on what we are going to do in the box, and some schooling on what's the hot toppics of the day, then we go do it. As mentioned above, they will always throw in a couple "First Look" maneuvers just to see what happens, they are using these manuevers to collect data, see where the weakness' are, and train accordingly. Then we debrief for 30 minutes (or more) afterwards.

We do all the FAA required manuevers, all the required approaches, the NP, GPS, PRM, VOR/NDB, ILS, etc. with missed approaches, and engine outs, V1 cuts, etc. and every fleet has to do that same stuff. Also stalls and windshear, aborted take offs, etc. When that's done, we take a break, then we do a "Line Oriented Training" event, where you do everything you would on a normal flight.

On this training event, you start from getting in the jet just like you would on the line. You check the log book, might be a write up you have to get signed off, or a procedure you need to comply with (1 pack out for example) then preflighting the cockpit, load the FMS, brief the Flight Attendant (for this you brief the IP, who when playing the F/A role, usually goes by 'Peter in the Rear') then you run checklists, pushback, start, taxi out, take off, fly the SID, everything you would do on a "normal" flight, to a real destination for your specific aircraft.

Then the fun begins. At some point in the flight a situation develops, could be a mechanical, like flaps won't retract past 5. Or it might be a pax issue, a heart attack, the Doctor on board says LAND NOW! But you are overweight, must dump gas, etc. Then the two of you deal with it, all the way to a landing, but the weather is crap, and the ILS is out...so you deal with it, real time, until you are on the ground and the parking brake is set, but then you might have to do an evacuation too...

It's all run in real time, start to finish. Then you get critiqued. They will also film it sometimes, and you get to watch yourself in the de-brief. Great fun that!

One thing I will say, every IP I've ever had, in every airplane I've flown at DL (727, MD-88, 757-767, MD11, 777) before we get out of the box, has ALWAYS asked us, "Is there anything else you guys want to see?"

And a few times I have said, "Yeah, I'd like to see This and That." They will happily stay as long as you want to stay there...until the next IP calls him on the sim phone and says, "Hey, it's OUR TIME NOW!"

I don't know what they are doing at other airlines, but I've got no complaints with what we are doing at the D. And any time I've wanted to see something unusual, they always take the time to do it until we are both happy. I have never felt the crush of Saving Money at DL, when it comes to recurrent training, but I have heard it exists at some other operations.

Where we have seen a huge cutback, as mentioned above, is in Initial training, ever since they got rid of the ground school systems instructors and put it all on a CD for you to watch at home. I don't like that part at all. That is 100% about saving money. I have a very hard time studying at home, where my kids are going in and out, the wife is yacking at me, the dogs are barking, the phone is ringing, and there's nobody to ask for clarification if there's a question about something on the CD. Too many distractions and the pace of the CD puts me to sleep.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:51 AM   #19  
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That is exactly what we do now at Delta. Our recurrent is 2 consecutive days, 4 hours in the box each day, but each sim session starts with a 90 minute briefing on what we are going to do in the box, and some schooling on what's the hot toppics of the day, then we go do it. As mentioned above, they will always throw in a couple "First Look" maneuvers just to see what happens, they are using these manuevers to collect data, see where the weakness' are, and train accordingly. Then we debrief for 30 minutes (or more) afterwards.

We do all the FAA required manuevers, all the required approaches, the NP, GPS, PRM, VOR/NDB, ILS, etc. with missed approaches, and engine outs, V1 cuts, etc. and every fleet has to do that same stuff. Also stalls and windshear, aborted take offs, etc. When that's done, we take a break, then we do a "Line Oriented Training" event, where you do everything you would on a normal flight.

On this training event, you start from getting in the jet just like you would on the line. You check the log book, might be a write up you have to get signed off, or a procedure you need to comply with (1 pack out for example) then preflighting the cockpit, load the FMS, brief the Flight Attendant (for this you brief the IP, who when playing the F/A role, usually goes by 'Peter in the Rear') then you run checklists, pushback, start, taxi out, take off, fly the SID, everything you would do on a "normal" flight, to a real destination for your specific aircraft.

Then the fun begins. At some point in the flight a situation develops, could be a mechanical, like flaps won't retract past 5. Or it might be a pax issue, a heart attack, the Doctor on board says LAND NOW! But you are overweight, must dump gas, etc. Then the two of you deal with it, all the way to a landing, but the weather is crap, and the ILS is out...so you deal with it, real time, until you are on the ground and the parking brake is set, but then you might have to do an evacuation too...

It's all run in real time, start to finish. Then you get critiqued. They will also film it sometimes, and you get to watch yourself in the de-brief. Great fun that! …
Well, I’m not sure I’d think it “great fun” to watch myself fumble around in a darkened cockpit trying to find my backside with one or both hands, but I DO, very much, appreciate your candid comments. This is exactly the kind of information I was seeking. The irony of it, however, is that what you have described as your recurrent “format” is exactly the kind of application I would like to see our company provide … but interestingly, several of our management believe that this cannot be achieved outside of an AQP authorization. What I described was taken directly from the most recent material published by the Feds in their Supplement to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (they call it an SNPRM) for how they would propose to rewrite the current training and evaluation rules while staying away from AQP. Their proposal calls for recurrent sessions every 9 months (that’s why I was seeking comments on preferences for 6 months, 9 months, or 12 months) likely in response to the NTSB and US Congress reactions to the public outcry for an increase in training after “Colgan.” Clearly, requiring 2 simulator periods on 2 consecutive days every 9 months is an increase in training – but it would also be an increase to have 2 simulator periods on 2 consecutive days every 12 months – and I think that deserves some consideration with respect to “increasing the training” that flight crew members get on a regular basis. And, if I’m reading that material correctly (and I think I am), the program I’ve described (and the program you are apparently living) does not need an AQP authorization to exist!

Perhaps my concern has more to do with what an enterprising airline manager may be able to do with an authorization granted by the FAA. I see no particular benefit to me if such a policy is instituted at my company that allows a lesser level of performance to be met for the individual crew members, disregards a substantial amount of the training that had been seen as “routine,” made easier for a “harry-numb-nuts” to get through the program, trumpets the “modern advances in training application,” while publically (and dramatically) de-riding the necessity to hire “psychologists” to meet the Fed’s requirements for being able to converse in Orwellian “double-speak” and quietly adding up the cost savings of bringing crew members in for training less frequently.

Apparently, it is obvious to some, and actually experienced by others, that having an AQP program does not mandate such an approach – but, from what I’ve seen, AQP certainly doesn’t appear to be focused on stopping it. Several of the programs I’ve researched have had rather major adjustments … first written, then reviewed and accepted, and ultimately “government approved” that actually makes it easier to achieve what is necessary to consider someone “qualified.” Some programs have such differences in authorizations that it’s hard to recognize they are operating under the same rules. In fact, I know a couple of FAA inspectors who attempted to correct some of the “over the top” foolishness that was becoming more evident … unfortunately one guy was actually reprimanded for his actions, and is now no longer assigned to that airline. That is really too bad … for him (as he had a pretty good reputation) and for the industry. The others have apparently either gulped the “Kool-Aid” or have simply moved on to other issues and are waiting for government retirement eligibility.

I believe in this industry and I want to see it made better – not used as a pawn for wealth building for a select few at the top. I am acutely aware that the days of airline pilot “play-boys,” tripping around the world with gorgeous ladies on their arms and keys to their Ferrari in their pocket, without a care or concern – as blithely portrayed on the new TV series “Pan Am” – while probably more fondly remembered than actually lived … but even then … are G-O-N-E … and are gone for good. No problem. That’s not why I am where I am – and it certainly isn’t why I’m doing what I’m doing … and I firmly believe I’m not alone in that attitude.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:04 PM   #20  
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We've had several different time lines for recurrent over the years. Many years ago it was once per year, 12mo. cycle plus or minus 1mo. from your 'base month'. Then (due to a UAL 747 takeoff incident I'm told) it was changed to once every 6mo. for the international categories, now we are at 2 days of consecutive sims, every 9mo. for everyone, domestic and international.

Who runs your flight training dept? Is he/she a former line pilot, with a seniority number, who still goes out and flys line trips?

Ours always has been a former line pilot, usually a guy who has worked his way up the ladder through the training dept. as a sim instructor and a line check airman. I've never felt like we were being shorted any simulator training, maybe that's why. But if there was a bean counter in charge, a -non-pilot, I would bet we'd be getting the absolute minimum in training, no doubt. It's always about money with them.
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