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Thread: Careers in Aviation dwindling

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    Default Careers in Aviation dwindling

    "Aviation E Brief"

    Today they stated that 15% of the pilots today will be retiring in the next 5 years and then 50% will retire in the next 15 years.

    Learning to fly today is nothing like the $700 it cost me back in 1967. Then the GI bill helped me get the necessary ratings to work in aviation for 45 years. I also remember when the airlines went to Boeing and Douglas and asked if they could make an airplane you could fly with only two pilots and sure enough they did. The airlines were trying to cut costs.

    Well I have felt that the next step is getting closer and closer. What step? Single pilot corporate, airlines and cargo large aircraft. Who flies the aircraft today, mainly the auto-flight system. Of course someone must taxi to and from the runway but we've had auto-land for years. If you can convince the passengers, cargo could care less, that an equal level of safety would be had with one pilot the airlines would jump for it. You could have the lead flight attendant trained to set up the plane for an auto-landing in the event something happened to the pilot. Or like the Military that flies UAV's all over the world from Tampa, Florida, you could have that kind of backup.

    When Amazon has a UAV deliver your package to your back door just think how soon they'll be flying their B-767's via someone on the ground. Really the only one's in aviation that may be able to extend their career are the mechanics.

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    Duly noted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATLcrew View Post
    Dully noted.
    Fixed?

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kent olsen View Post
    Well I have felt that the next step is getting closer and closer. What step? Single pilot corporate, airlines and cargo large aircraft.
    The doctrine of redundancy, task-sharing and crosscheck procedures will assure that commercial flights require at least two fully-trained pilots, and duty limits will require more on long-haul. There are also operational limits to autoland and times when the ground equipment is not functioning. And there is no 'auto-take-off' or 'auto-configuration'. These would require the industry to design and certify a new generation of aircraft and phase out the old ones. It will also require airports to replace ILS with something more capable and reliable, something more like LAAS. When you consider the costs involved, pilot salaries should look like a bargain. So I wouldn't worry about it in your lifetime.

    The thing you should would worry about is airlines cutting costs by paying lower pilot salaries and spending less on training them.

    The current method of pilot-supervised autoflight is pretty ideal from a safety standpoint, as long as the pilots still know how to take over when necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    The current method of pilot-supervised autoflight is pretty ideal from a safety standpoint, as long as the pilots still know how to take over when necessary.
    Which is kinda a dilemma. You have a pilot doing automation supervision 99.9% of the time and want him to be ready to take over on-the-spot and do what the automation was doing when the automation stops doing it correctly without notice.

    I was thinking a bunch about it and I am more and more convinced that, until we have the fully-automated-no-human-backup-no-pilot-needed-in-the-air-or-in-the-ground pane, we need planes with more automation but that at the same time behave more like normal Cessnas when in manual flight, plus protections. Pretty much (modern) Boeing style (and I am talking about the automation approach in the 777 and 787, not the management style). We need pilot to remain pilots and to be able to use all the knowledge, experience and skills they gained from hour zero and keep practicing them, as long as we need pilots at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Which is kinda a dilemma. You have a pilot doing automation supervision 99.9% of the time and want him to be ready to take over on-the-spot and do what the automation was doing when the automation stops doing it correctly without notice.

    I was thinking a bunch about it and I am more and more convinced that, until we have the fully-automated-no-human-backup-no-pilot-needed-in-the-air-or-in-the-ground pane, we need planes with more automation but that at the same time behave more like normal Cessnas when in manual flight, plus protections. Pretty much (modern) Boeing style (and I am talking about the automation approach in the 777 and 787, not the management style). We need pilot to remain pilots and to be able to use all the knowledge, experience and skills they gained from hour zero and keep practicing them, as long as we need pilots at all.
    Indeed, it is a dilemma that needs solving. The question is, should the pilots be expected to learn how to fly the advanced airplane or should the airplane advancements be restricted to mimic a bygone age of 'physical' manual flight.

    Both sidestick- and yoke-controlled planes are perfectly flyable by hand. The yoke-controlled ones can be said to be more familiar to those whose earned their wings on a Cessna, but the sidestick ones could be said to be more familiar to those who earned them on a SR-22 (although the SR-22 does provide force feedback). But there is no reason why force-feedback is necessary in manual flight, not if you are indeed flying the plane. Sidesticks took aviation in a logical way forward by eliminating the need to trim in manual flight. Envelope protections stood in for the awareness trim forces provide, but these are not needed in either case to a crew that is attending the primary instruments. Essentially, while Boeing still provides a 'physical' conversation with the airplane that pilots up the digital age have always relied upon, Airbus created an airplane that is commanded rather than physically flown, and that works just as well with less pilot workload and no formidable strength requirement in dodgy situations (see: Boeing 737-MAX).

    The dilemma isn't the type of aircraft, it's the access to real-world experience. I see three good solutions.

    One, a very high-fidelity SIM session, let's say once a month, in manual flight including upset recovery. The technology exists. The money certainly exists. The will seems to be missing.

    Two, a small fleet of aircraft leased or owned by the company or a third party vendor and dedicated to the purpose of manual flight practice on company time. Ideally, these are type-specific. At the very least, these are smaller aircraft where pilots can stay fresh on those hallowed basics of universal airmanship which, I'm told repeatedly on this forum, are all one needs in any case.

    Three, a policy of handflying a certain number of hours per month below RVSM when conditions are favorable and the risk of upset is low. (this needs to be augmented with SIM sessions for higher altitude upset recovery).

    I believe #3 is the current favorite, no? Just make it a loose policy requirement for whenever conditions are favorable (like one in every ten approaches that allow for it, and one in ten departures).

    Oh, and number four, GA flying on your own time. Because you are a serious pilot and take the responsibility seriously and you want to keep up on your basic fundamentals...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan
    One, a very high-fidelity SIM session, let's say once a month, in manual flight including upset recovery. The technology exists. The money certainly exists. The will seems to be missing.
    Ya know, why not just an extremely average fidelity sim session, but lots of hours...hand flying, hand this, hand that, emergencies, more emergencies, but then plane jane stuff...Hand flying in instruments, practice P + P = P FDnH flight after the airspeed craps out and a million warnings go off, maybe even do some actual stalls so you can FEEL what it's like to stall AND recover...

    You can even play 172 with a 777. By the way, from reading a certain, obscure aviation magazine a couple of years ago, a short statured airline pilot said that they now HAND flew a good ole-fashioned trip around the pattern...so it's not like we have a whole lot that the stupid insiders haven't thought about already.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Ya know, why not just an extremely average fidelity sim session, but lots of hours...hand flying, hand this, hand that, emergencies, more emergencies, but then plane jane stuff...Hand flying in instruments, practice P + P = P FDnH flight after the airspeed craps out and a million warnings go off, maybe even do some actual stalls so you can FEEL what it's like to stall AND recover...

    You can even play 172 with a 777. By the way, from reading a certain, obscure aviation magazine a couple of years ago, a short statured airline pilot said that they now HAND flew a good ole-fashioned trip around the pattern...so it's not like we have a whole lot that the stupid insiders haven't thought about already.
    Yeah, but here's what I don't want: handflying an unstable approach catching the glideslope from above any time now with the runway coming into view any time now, I've done this a million times, relax.

    I'd prefer any pilot handflying my ass around the approach to be established on the glidepath, on speed and visual below 1000 AGL. Otherwise, automation please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan
    I’d prefer any pilot handflying my ass around the approach to be established on the glidepath, on speed and visual below 1000 AGL. Otherwise, automation please.
    Ummm, I thought the new world was 100% automated EXCEPT for emergencies- so unless the plane is on fire with a broken autopilot, you won’t be victimized by someone with good airpersonship who (because of liberal, cheap sim time) can handle 2 to 4 degree slopes, and lateral alignment adjustments at 100 feet AND STILL BE FDnH.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Evan, I am too tired to argue today, perhaps tomorrow. In the meantime, find half of the answer in my previous post.

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    Once a month SIM sessions! Oh boy, sign me up for that! Let alone the cost and timing for the crews! Ludacris!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Once a month SIM sessions! Oh boy, sign me up for that! Let alone the cost and timing for the crews! Ludacris!!!
    Understood & valid BUT some interesting talk that things are shifting regardless of what we think. Near-total automated flight, with training growing in importance with actual flying being reduced...cue the example of flying “only” below ~400 feet.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Once a month SIM sessions! Oh boy, sign me up for that! Let alone the cost and timing for the crews! Ludacris!!!
    What about option 2? If the company gave you two hours a month of stick time in a T-38, would you find the time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Understood & valid BUT some interesting talk that things are shifting regardless of what we think. Near-total automated flight, with training growing in importance with actual flying being reduced...cue the example of flying “only” below ~400 feet.

    Guys you're missing the point. When the airlines wanted to reduce costs and the manufacturer agreed to build a two pilot aircraft the flight crews, specially the flight engineer, where just along for the ride. I think the unions pushed pilot training for the FE. I've seen in the last few years articles in aviation publications regarding aircraft with no pilots in the future. Granted with only one pilot, training and duty time would be a major issue. Believe me, one pilot or no pilot large aircraft is in the future.

    When Southwest first started operating the B-737-300 they required one leg each day be hand flown. Well that went away. Now some of the younger pilots are uncomfortable with hand flying. For instance just before I retired I was ferrying a Citation X into Las Vegas to pick up some pax. My new to the company, co-pilot, in his 20's was the non-flying pilot. Wx was about 1500 overcast, tops around 17-18,000. I turned off the autopilot as we approached FL180. He abruptly said "what are you doing, what are you doing?" I asked what was the matter and he said "you're not going the hand fly thru the clouds are you? I said "yes I am". He said "yeah but then I'll have to watch and make sure nothing happens". I said "yes and that's what the non-flying pilot is supposed to do all the time".

    My career in aviation went from light airplanes to DC-9's at Sunworld airlines, then DC-9's, DC-8's and B-747's with Evergreen. We always hand flew up to FL 180 and then back down from FL180 including the approach, (in the clouds). I finished my career with NetJets in the Hawker and Citation X. I still hand flew as before but most of the younger pilots used the auto-flight systems.

    My point is: The future may not be what you expect. Mechanics will still be in demand. But to the airlines it's profit and loss and pilots are expensive. If someone like FedEx or UPS makes the first step then it's only a matter of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kent olsen View Post
    Guys you're missing the point....I've seen in the last few years articles in aviation publications regarding aircraft with no pilots in the future...My point is: The future may not be what you expect. Mechanics will still be in demand. But to the airlines it's profit and loss and pilots are expensive. If someone like FedEx or UPS makes the first step then it's only a matter of time.
    1. Of course we are missing your point, we always do.

    2. But, you elicit a range of reactions here.

    Gabe:
    -Oh, hell no, you BETTER have a human as a backup for when the automation breaks...it DOES break, you know.

    Evan:
    -Oh hell yes, how soon can we do this, Airbus statistics show the value of automation.

    Bobby:
    -We have always done it this way and will continue to do so.

    3BS (Maybe Gabieee too)
    -So, like we ALREADY ARE a long way there. Some pilots click the autopilot on just after takeoff, and there's plenty of 'autopilot approaches' being done- ESPECIALLY when things are difficult, so we ALREADY have automation doing tons of stuff and pilots NOT flying all that much.

    To your point- I don't know what the future holds, and agree that we and you might be surprised...I SPECULATE Gabriel AND You are both PARTIALLY right...I can see better and more automation squeezing us CLOSE to Evan's (and your) 100.000%. I can see single pilot operation (there's your money saving). I can also see lower paid pilots, and lower cost sim training. I suggested that above- Do we really need fancier simulators or would the $ be better spent on more time in an "average" simulator?

    Your point is interesting and seems to have stirred all of us parlour talking ass hats up.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    What about option 2? If the company gave you two hours a month of stick time in a T-38, would you find the time?
    Just as ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kent olsen View Post
    Guys you're missing the point.
    Don't mind 3WE. He doesn't actually read what you post. His assessment of my position on this topic is proof of that.

    My position on this topic:

    Believe me, one pilot or no pilot large aircraft is in the future.
    Cargo, maybe, but not anytime soon. Passengers? Not in our lifetime. When airframers can convince the certification authorities that the odds of a failure of ANYTHING mission critical that cannot be dealt with autonomously are so remote that they are considered impossible, then perhaps pilotless planes will appear. The same goes for single-pilot aircraft, because something can always go wrong with the pilot, AND THEN something else can go wrong with the systems. Not to mention that the technology will have to reduce the pilot workload in both normal and abnormal operations to the point where a single pilot can confidently aviate, navigate and communicate AND troubleshoot without any human assistance. That day is a long way off. We're talking time-tested, autonomous AI.

    To get an idea of the point I am making, research the history of the Airbus FBW certification process. Ardous and demanding. Very remote odds—essentially impossible odds—had to be established for a systems failure that might leave the aircraft uncontrollable. That's the standard we have to maintain.

    When Southwest first started operating the B-737-300 they required one leg each day be hand flown. Well that went away. Now some of the younger pilots are uncomfortable with hand flying. For instance just before I retired I was ferrying a Citation X into Las Vegas to pick up some pax. My new to the company, co-pilot, in his 20's was the non-flying pilot. Wx was about 1500 overcast, tops around 17-18,000. I turned off the autopilot as we approached FL180. He abruptly said "what are you doing, what are you doing?" I asked what was the matter and he said "you're not going the hand fly thru the clouds are you? I said "yes I am". He said "yeah but then I'll have to watch and make sure nothing happens". I said "yes and that's what the non-flying pilot is supposed to do all the time".
    I hope you reported your co-pilot for not having an instrument rating.

    My career in aviation went from light airplanes to DC-9's at Sunworld airlines, then DC-9's, DC-8's and B-747's with Evergreen. We always hand flew up to FL 180 and then back down from FL180 including the approach, (in the clouds). I finished my career with NetJets in the Hawker and Citation X. I still hand flew as before but most of the younger pilots used the auto-flight systems.
    This is the dilemma Gabriel spoke of. Is it safer with today's (and tomorrow's) technology to leave the flight on automation whenever possible? Definitely. There can be no argument that almost all aviation crashes today are the result of pilot error, often in manual flight or under 'creative' selected guidance. There is no 'standard' pilot. They vary in skill and judgment. Systems, on the other hand, are standardized. A modern digital autoflight system does not stall, overspeed, get lost or fly into terrain. It does not forget to fly the plane. It does not skip over checklists or get distracted while flirting with the first officer. It does not panic. It does not suffer from over-confidence. It is not restrained by cockpit gradient. It is not vulnerable to somotogravic illusion. It does not monkey with the CB's. It does not let its children take turns flying. It does not have dangerous instincts.

    Is it safer when the flight crew are practiced in manual flight and ready to take over when a situation exceeds the autopilot capabilities or when the autopilot fails. Definitely.

    So how do we do both? Or do we have to choose one and let the other go? Dilemma. We have to heighten a certain aspect of risk to reduce another certain aspect of risk.

    Your post is a bit confusing because you are addressing two different topics. The topic of deteriorating manual flight skills is a dilemma without a perfect solution. The topic of moving to single-pilot or pilotless transport category passenger aircraft is a topic we can leave to future generations. One does not beget the other however. We can continue with two pilots managing an autoflight system for as long as we want.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Just as ridiculous.
    I meant subsonic : \

    Again, the dilemma: We have to heighten a certain aspect of risk to reduce another certain aspect of risk.

    The only was around this dilemma is to separate the handflying practice from the revenue flights. How do we do that in a non-ridiculous way? (NASA used the T-38, but they had a NASA budget)

    We can mitigate the dilemma somewhat by maintaining uncompromising pilot-vetting and pilot-training standards before pilots ever get into revenue flying, but given today's profit- and growth-minded industry, that is probably the most ridiculous idea yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoeingBobby View Post
    Just as ridiculous.
    I'd find the time though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Yeah, but here's what I don't want: handflying an unstable approach catching the glideslope from above any time now with the runway coming into view any time now, I've done this a million times, relax.
    Nobody wants that.

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