AVmail: November 11, 2013
Letter of the Week:
Airline Pilot Training
Regarding the new flight training regulations: I flew for the airlines most of my life (retired now) have more than 23,000 hours and several type ratings. When an airline I worked for first got the Canadair CL-65 regional jet, the failure rate for upgrade was more than 70 percent.
These were talented and experienced pilots, so why the high failure rate? As with most things, it boiled down to money. The airline wouldn't spend the money on sim training. At that time, applicants were given four simulator training sessions and were expected to pass a type ride in the sim.
The policy was then -- and I believe is still -- that unless the applicant is already a type-rated captain in another of the airline's planes, he was immediately terminated if he failed the sim check in the CL-65. The pressure on the applicants was off the chart. It was not unusual to see applicants with diarrhea and vomiting before the check ride.
Maybe the new FAA ruling will allow for more sim time.
I would think an august aviation publication such as AVweb would more properly state the changes issued by the FAA for pilot training. Unlike the statement in the first sentence of the article, this rule does not affect the training of commercial pilots, and not even airline transport pilots, seeking a certificate.
This rule creates requirements for Part 121 operators in training air crews and, as such, is addressed specifically to air transport operators. Use of correct terminology is considered important in aviation and is something to which most pilots are sensitive. I expect more precise phraseology in AVweb in the future.
Good point, and thanks for the note. The term "flying commercial," meaning the airlines, has become so common that it slipped by us, but you're right, a "commercial pilot" has a more specific meaning in the regs.
Insurance Is the Big Cost
Regarding the cost of flying, I own a single-engine, two-place, VFR, amateur-built and fly about 10 hours a year. Thus, my costs are about $300 an hour!
The largest expense is insurance, not fuel or landing fees (so far). I think I should pay a base fee, and then by the hour, as I'm not exposing anyone to any risk while the plane is parked!
And, yes, I'd be "safer" (or less of a risk) if I flew 50 or 100 hours a year, but that's what the base fee and deductibles are for. Seems to work for the automotive insurers!