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Thread: How Important is General Aviation Training for Airline Pilots?

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    How Important is General Aviation Training for Airline Pilots?

    Here is our newest real-world flying scenario - what are your thoughts?

    Do you think that flight training for airline pilots, by airliners, without general aviation training is a good idea?
    Last edited by Glory Aulik; 04-06-2016 at 08:05 AM.

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    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Works for the military. What's better: an ab initio pilot with low hours but stringent training and most of their experience is out flying the system or a CFI with a bazillion hours of mainly VFR right seat time spent doing basically the same thing over and over?
    Last edited by Auburntsts; 04-06-2016 at 03:35 PM.
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    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Some airlines do exactly that. An airliner, even a smaller RJ transport category turboprop is a different kind of flying all together (it's a different kind of flying). Of course, we've had some issues with pilots not realizing that the way to respond to stalls it to lower angle of attack, but that was Colgan and they have serious issues all around.

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    Jeff Point's Avatar
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    Not just Colgan. Air France 447.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Some airlines do exactly that. An airliner, even a smaller RJ transport category turboprop is a different kind of flying all together (it's a different kind of flying). Of course, we've had some issues with pilots not realizing that the way to respond to stalls it to lower angle of attack, but that was Colgan and they have serious issues all around.
    Well, in all fairness, it's not just a localized issue. The industry taught for a number of years that stall recovery in T category airplanes did not require reducing angle of attack. I think Paul Kolish single handedly convinced the entire industry they needed to change current methodology or more Colgan and AF accidents would populate the landscape. As usual, the story goes far deeper than what bubbles to the top for the press to skim off and create a headline story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Point View Post
    Not just Colgan. Air France 447.
    And FLG3701. But what's not readily understood is there were some inadvertent stalls during revenue ops where the crews managed to recover that never made headlines and it was industry wide, not just regionals, and Colgan
    Last edited by martymayes; 04-06-2016 at 09:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glory Aulik View Post
    Here is our newest real-world flying scenario - what are your thoughts?

    Do you think that flight training for airline pilots, by airliners, without general aviation training is a good idea?
    I was kinda waiting for a punch line to this but......

    Airlines may in fact train their future pilots but it won't start with a zero hour pilot being trained by "airliners" during line operations. A possible but not probable scenario would be an airline operating an "academy" which would be general aviation flying. More likely that would be contracted to a dedicated flight school, again GA flying. Highly unlikely the basic requirements for certificates will change so I don't expect a student pilot will be getting his first solo done in an Airbus anytime soon. Whining over the 1500h reg will be in full swing this summer, despite the exceptions already in place so I'm sure a lot of wild scenarios will be reported.

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    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Of course, we've had some issues with pilots not realizing that the way to respond to stalls it to lower angle of attack, but that was Colgan and they have serious issues all around.
    Definitely not just Colgan. I spent >10 (miserable) years flying both jets and turboprops at a regional airline that didn't start doing stall recoveries properly -- in any fleet type -- until forced by the FAA after the Colgan 3407 crash in Buffalo. Until then, this airline's training department insisted on keeping the nose up, just below the stick shaker, and powering out of a stall. Since all of these maneuvers were demonstrated in the sim at 10,000 ft, where excess power is plentiful, the illusion that this technique works was reinforced. Appeals by line pilots to basic aerodynamic principles fell on deaf ears.
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    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    But what's not readily understood is there were some inadvertent stalls during revenue ops where the crews managed to recover that never made headlines and it was industry wide, not just regionals, and Colgan
    Yes, indeed. The same airline I mentioned above had a series of high altitude stalls in CRJs until the Principal Operations Inspector, with backing from DC, levied an altitude cap on the airline's jet fleet until they could prove they had a handle on the problem. It was mostly an issue of pilots engaging "newspaper mode" during vertical speed climbs, but even this experience didn't teach them that the power-it-out stall recovery technique is utterly useless when you're behind the power curve at FL340.
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    I guess it comes down to the type of experience a GA pilot has that would make a difference, as not IP's are the same.

    Loads of folks become instructors in order to build the hours required as a route to a career. But not all instruction opportunities are alike. My instructor, for example, had his commercial ticket but almost all of his instruction time was in C172's in VFR conditions. It's a fine aircraft, but one airfield over is an instructor that does a lot of transition training for folks stepping up to twins and IFR training.

    Who is more viable as a candidate for a company? It's clear to me that the latter guy is going to get a much better shot at a job with a regional carrier.

    At the start of WWII, the US Army did it both ways - drafting GA pilots (mostly for liaison pilots and instructors) and training from scratch (due to the lack of pilots versus demand) and found it was a wash. In the 1960's as military craft didn't have good analogs to civilian aircraft it dropped off to where they prefer to train their own. A guy coming out of a college with a degree and a commercial ticket is on a mostly level playing field with the pay-as-you-go pilot with the regionals nowadays.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

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    Does GA training make a better airline pilot? Maybe - Maybe Not It is what is between the ears that makes a better pilot. A desire to learn and not grow complacent. A joy doing it despite the mind numbing and soul stealing attempts of the FAA and management to micro manage every aspect of the job. I have flown with some outstanding pilots that were GA and Military only. I have flown with some that were military that I wouldn't want my family to be in the airplane...but I have experienced the same thing with GA pilots. I have found that the very best teach me something all the time. I have flown with a couple that you had no idea of their background only to find out that he was a Blue Angel (said "It's no big thing" - I laughed and said "Ok, if we start going over then I am going to say...You got it).
    When I first started out trying to find a job, I interviewed for a small company that had a couple of Citations and King Airs. Chief pilot told me when he asked about my jet experience that he would rather hire someone with Beech 18 or check running time then a Lear only pilot. He said they had already seen a bunch and could fly. The Lear guy would just blast off and go on a/p.

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