Contract Airline Services


"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Future of Aviation

There is a viable solution to increase Aviation Safety, and address the pilot shortage all at once!


The Aviation Industry has 3 problems:
  1. Pilots losing their skills due to automation.
  2. Pilots not acquiring skills because they are learning on automated/glass planes. 
  3. Pilot shortage, and future students not able to afford training.

The FAA has attempted a fix at issues 1 and 2 by increasing flight hours to 1500 thinking this will help with the skill level.

The problem with their 1500 hour solution is that it is not necessarily increasing skill level because the pilots who have the money to build those hours will more than likely be flying them with automated aircraft on the autopilot.

Does 1500 hours make a better pilot? The same 1 hour flight 1500 times won't necessarily make a better commercial pilot, but fills the squares.


Thus, the fix for issues 1 and 2 (which is not a valid fix) is creating more of a problem for issue number 3... pilots not being able to afford flying which in turn is impacting the pilot shortage. A viscous circle.

How do we solve all three issues 
with one change?



Solution:
Change the regulations to enable pilots to use glider time for up to 50% of their total flight time. 

In the automated world we now live, glider flying will be far more beneficial acquiring aerodynamic skills and a scan. This will produce a generation of pilots who can fly a plane beyond managing the  computer. They will build a solid foundation.


I believe that if the pilots on AF447 and the pilots on Asiana 214 had been experienced glider pilots, the outcomes of both those flights would have been different.

To learn the solution for the current cadre of airline pilots who might not have the skills ... you will have to read Flight For Safety the see the answer to that dilemma.

Graduate school... Here I come! 



Getting into graduate school is going to be the first challenge. But I've got my books and I'm ready to study! Fall 2014, I will start the next journey.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about this idea, and if you can add to the solution. Together we can make a difference. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene

44 comments:

  1. Karlene,

    I can't agree more. As a pilot that has never flown automated aircraft, I actually feel sorry for those that rely so heavily on automation. Don't get me wrong, automation has it's place. We just can not forget the basics of flying, the stick and rudder skills that attracted us to flying to begin with. My favorite memories are of learning to fly taildraggers and flying low and slow with the windows open.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doc, Thank you for the great comment! This is so true. We do love the automation...but there is a lesson to be learned. I'm looking forward to flying a tail dragger too. Another goal on my list.

      Delete
  2. Brilliant! The skills that 'mostly glass' pilot would develop during glider flying are exactly the stick and rudder skills that used to assumed, but can no longer be. You are Brilliant.
    As for your post grad program, don't sweat it. You've already been through at least two and know that it is hard work. I have every confidence that you will lead your program. Best wishes, -C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! lol.... I have moments. This one is going to kill many brain cells and dollars, too. But, it will be so worth it.

      I'm not worried about the grad program... it's the test getting in. But I have my books and I'm ready to study!

      Delete
  3. Karlene, are you a glider pilot? I am not and I'd love to get the rating. The Air Canada "Gimli Glider" incident was piloted by a captain with a lot of glider experience. The Canadian NTSB determined that his experience was a major factor in safely landing the airplane. I read a book about it and thought it was really neat. While this was quite a while back, it still shows the importance of real piloting skills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daniel, I would love to read that book. I am not a glider pilot...but going to be. I bought all my books and ready to go. One flight at a time. I'm going to take lessons in Arlington. I think you should do it with me! But first... study hard.

      Delete
  4. The idea of counting glider hours is fantastic. I forwarded it to all my pilot friends. Meanwhile, best wishes for graduate school!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate the support. Get as many people to join the discussion... power in numbers for sure!

      Delete
  5. This is a really interesting idea. I've always heard that learning to fly gliders is one of the best ways that a pilot can develop aviation skill sets.

    The fact that gliding would also cost less while forcing the pilot to stay off automation makes this idea really interesting.

    I hope other people get on board with this concept!,
    -Swayne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swayne, I'm sorry I missed your comments. You should definitely learn to fly gliders...and then who knows. One day you may have the hours when the time comes. I know this is a change we can create.

      Delete
  6. G'day, Karlene!

    I think your proposal (allow a big chunk of glider time to count toward min hours) has great merit! (I'm sure the devil is in the details, but what a superb conversation-starter.)

    I shall look forward to your adventures in education. This will be fun!

    One question before I go. Do all sticky problems result in a viscous circle?

    Frank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank... Yes, I think they do. The reason is they are sticky and stick to each other and ball up, creating the circle. Yes... this is going to be a fun adventure. I'm really looking forward to starting. Taking my books to study for the test on my trip tomorrow.

      Delete
  7. Karlene,

    Take a look at Embry Riddle, they have a great "distance learning" program.

    http://www.erau.edu/degrees/ma-degrees.html

    Ric

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ric, that's where I am going! Thank you so much!!!

      Delete
  8. Karlene,

    At the airline level is it true some companies have some procedures in place that make use of the autopilot mandatory above a certain altitude? I think I saw one that said FL250 and above the autopilot had to be engaged, and only after stabilized on approach for landing which would mean around 1,000' AGL?

    I also think the RNAV, and RVSM play apart in the automation reliance also. As you know these approaches require precision and are like the reason for rules such as what I wrote about in the above paragraph, especially the RVSM.

    As for the glider thing, it's worth a shot but unless it's mandatory you will still have the all glass 1500 hour pilots that use only airplanes.

    And lastly in my humble opinion, the requirment to have a 4 year degree adds to problem number 3 also, unless those students go to an aviation university.

    I would suggest dropping the degree requirement, especially since most people get a degree in a field that's non aviation related anway. That would certainly save people some money, and pilots having a degree didn't save AF447 or OZ214 did it? While those of us still in training at my level find those two accidents almost impossible to comprehend as they are drilled into our minds early and often.

    Just my thoughts, thanks for the wonderful post as always.

    Justin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Justin, That's a good point about the degree option. I know many did not have in the past. But... the problem is, there is an electronic computer, new type of thinking than when we first started learning. I still think there needs to be an aptitude test.

      I'm thinking that any pilot will jump on the glider hours do to the expense. But this brings a great point. And maybe we'll transition to mandating. But baby-steps.

      Delete
    2. Congrats on Grad school also! As far as the new type of thinking and learning the new generation of pilots wil not need a degree to work a flight computer, they've grown up on electronics, ipads, computers and cellphones from child hood. I'm a network administrator without a degree just my certifications. You can see where I'm going though.

      As far as the glider hours I'd gladly do it not just because of expense, but I like to be the best I can be in everything I do already.

      Delete
    3. Justin you are so right! Kids are growing up on a diet of computers and technology... and they can program anything. But... that does not teach them to think, use good judgement, communication skills, etc...

      My middle daughter, when she was 14, got in the 747-400 simulator and did an excellent job flying it. The instructors laughed and told her pilot hiring was down the hall, she had done so well. Better than many pilots their first time. But that doesn't necessarily promote her ability to think and create decisions when something goes wrong, and use decision making skills necessary.

      Do we need school to fly? No. But I am not sure that I want to promote uneducated people to be managing our planes of the future.

      This also is a huge responsibility, requires inhumane strength at times flying international with the body messed up with time zones, dehydration, and all it takes to fly around the world. There are times that we need to think outside the box... skills learned...like AF447. Thus, I believe that pilots should expect high salaries.

      Not so sure we could keep those salaries up there, if we downgraded the job to anyone can do it... no education required.

      Not sure if non-educated people deserve to be paid 200K per year to fly our families.
      But...there is a way to help with those education hours. I will definitely be thinking about that.

      Thank you for your thoughts. There are some things worth the money, and a good education is one. (Not the degree...the education that goes with it.)

      Delete
  9. Karlene, that's definitely a great solution to lower the cost and increase stick and rudder skill at the same time!
    I always suggest my friends who are interested in flying to start with glider. It removes all the fancy distractions inside the cockpit and force us to pay attention to all the fundamental things about flying.
    Once during my aerobatic training I told my instructor that I'm also a low time glider pilot, and he responded "you know, every second in the glider counts"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Kai! I think it's a great recommendation. I wish I would have. But... it's never too late. And I'm on it! I love that statement too. So... where should I go fly? Arlington? Snohomish? Need to find the best!

      Delete
  10. Great idea about glider hours. It would help pilots to learn some real control and sharpen skills. How do you teach the FAA a good idea though?

    Re pilot shortages: bring back cadetships :)

    I've no idea about US airlines but in Europe airlines are getting really big on CRM. So many accidents are due to poor communications.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you teach the FAA a good idea?

      Get my PhD. and go to Washington and change regulation! That's my plan! If anyone can do it, I will. Determination. Background in safety. Background in training... human factors... and a PhD in Aviation Safety. I'll do it!!!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      Delete
  11. I love your idea Karlene! I learned more about the nuts and bolts of aviation from glider flying than just about anything else I've done. I would add tailwheels to that list as well. I can't think of an automated tail dragger. They require mastery of takeoff and landing skills of the type so often missing in those flying TAA airplanes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...Tail wheel is on the list! Okay... I'm on it. And that's a good point about a non-automated tailwheel.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  12. A new journey, how exciting! And it sounds like you're on to something great there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Heather! Lots of work... but I will do it!

      Delete
  13. Wait for me ... I will be right there next to you in this adventure towards creating solutions for increased safety!
    I too have what I feel great ideas on how to increase the effectiveness of today's training :-D and recurrency

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle! And I love your idea. I know we were starting in 2015...but if I can pass the GRE...I'm in in 2014. I need to start sooner than later as we need the change yesterday.

      But we will be in this together. Always! You're awesome!!! Brilliant! And taking aviation to the next level. Keep up the great work!

      Delete
  14. Hi Karlene, The NTSB's preliminary report on Asiana's hard landing leans toward FLCH trap. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_07_22_2013_p25-597816.xml&p=1.
    This report could be a narrative for the video. I believe that flying gliders would be beneficial and counts for total time now as it is. It took me a solid year to get comfortable flying a flight director in a glass cockpit following hand flying anything I could get my hands on that I could afford. But I looked at every trip as an adventure and loved every minute. I think that people that don't fly an airplane and believe that they must get all their experience in a simulator are really missing out. I have suggested this to new pilots and they look at me like I am from Mars. The industry is suggesting that if you don't have glass cockpit experience you are not marketable, but every time there is an accident we tend to believe that basic flying skills are ignored. Relax and fly the simulator. I didn't know you could fail a GRE test. cheers! Skip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Skip, Thanks for the comment and then link. I hope I don't fail a GRE. lol. Actually, I am sure there is a level they require. But I will be prepared. I agree...those who think they can learn in a simulator, (computer) are missing out. The current accidents are about piloting skills, and lack of them. Time will tell where we go with this, but one thing I know...we need to do something. I appreciate your thoughts!

      Delete
  15. Gliders is how the Germans trained their pilots that would later become fighter pilots to get around the restrictions of the Treaty Of Versailles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, that's very interesting. I had no idea they did that. Good ideas are universal. Thank you for your comment.

      Delete
  16. Interesting reading your goals and comments of others. As a glider instructor out of Air Sailing, Reno, NV (think Reno Air Races nearby), I can attest to the fact that learning to fly gliders makes for the better pilot. I started out in power. I REALLY learned to fly (after 1800 hours in power) when I went to gliders.

    The Air Force has two tracks, one of them being gliders. The AF comes to various gliderports during the summers, including Air Sailing, to fly contests and to increase the experiences of their pilots.

    Pilots who train in gliders first usually blow their power instructors out of the water with their skills. Starting with the glider ticket, all you add are the power plant, the glass and other ATC procedures for the SEL since you can already do most of the maneuvers (and well!). Additionally as a gliderpilot you will have learned more about the weather, know the earth more intimately, i.e, know on which side of the valley to fly on a given wind direction and strength day, know more about the effect of the sun on flying, all helping to make better decisions (think climbing out of Denver on a wave day).

    Glider pilots are also heads up! We make more decisions each minute than the average power pilot..... the glider doesn't just coast along, it requires a captain each and every second.

    Lastly, learning to fly gliders first cuts the cost of learning to fly by a huge amount.

    Check out ssa.org and click on the link for the gliderports in your area.

    N



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the comment!! My friend from Boeing sent me an email and suggested Reno, Air Sailing. This is going to be my option, and I will be coming your way soon. Thank you so much!!

      Delete
  17. Wonderful post Karlene, I agree with you 100%. I completely agree with many of our fellow aviators here who, in their comments, have endorsed the idea of glider training and tail wheel time for good skills building. I started by flying gliders, did that for 3 years as a cadet back in 1982. My first job was flying tail draggers and had a great time in PA18-150s, Citabrias etc and also flew fidgety tails like Luscombe 8A! I hope it helped my skills down the road. I'd strongly recommend your suggestion to other friends in aviation. About Grad school..my hats off to you! All the best with that and I'm sure you'll top that! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Captain Murthy, Thank you for the great comment. It's wonderful to hear pilots with experience like this. And... I'm studying now to get into school. Fingers crossed they let me in. lol Thanks again.

      Delete
  18. I think you might have a really good idea with this.
    In a glider, all you have is a stick and rudder, therefore those skills have to be good. Especially if you want to stay in the thermal and the sky for more than five minutes.But that is not the only thing that flying gliders is good for:

    There is no engine, so you quickly learn about energy management, what to do when too high, or too low, too fast or too slow.

    There is no automation, when you do cross country flying, you have a paper map and do all the calculations manually.

    As posted a couple of posts above, you are constantly making decisions in a glider. Does that cloud look like it has a thermal under it? Am I high enough to reach the airfield? And sometimes you have to make a decision that a powered pilot will very rarely have to do: I am going to interrupt the flight and land in this field.

    I have been flying gliders for three years now, and this summer I have started my PPL on C172S G1000. The transition has been very rapid and I've been able to focus on the glass cockpit usage, because of the skills acquired through glider flying. But even though there is an autopilot and a big moving screen display, I still prefer to hand fly the aircraft with a map on my legs. In a way I suppose that those two systems will never breakdown...

    I wish you good luck with your studies, and lots of blue skies!

    Tim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tim, Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. That is so cool that you did the gliders first and this made the transition that much easier. Keep that glider flying going! If I have my way you will be able to count it as hours toward your total time. Fly safe and welcome aboard!

      Delete
  19. This sounds like a great idea, Karlene! I'd love to see how you develop the idea; looking forward to your updates on this new journey. I think someone mentioned it above, and I agree: experience in tailwheel aircraft will certainly help. Additionally, basic aerobatics are a consideration (however, this would probably increase costs which is antithetical to your proposal). I completed a URT course on an Extra 300 earlier this year, and, this was an excellent way to get back to basics, and get comfortable with the extremes of aircraft control. Any type of flying that builds a solid foundation should be encouraged.

    I was also following your conversation with Justin above, and I'm concerned about the digital natives (the generations that are growing up on electronics, etc.) and flying. There is the argument that the more time we spend networked, the greater the effect on our brains: decreased attention, lessening of critical thinking and decision making skills, etc. (e.g. N. Carr's "The Shallows"). Will those effects have long term effects on younger pilots? If we grow up expecting automation/the internet to have all the answers, will it affect the way we relate to automation in the aircraft?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the great comment! Yes... what about those digi-gen pilots we are growing? This networking and connection on our brains if fascinating. I bought The Shallows to see what Carr has to say, and have yet to read it. You've just move that book to the top of my list.
      But this automation and our children is so true. It literally is changing how our children's brains grow and think. For the better? Not so sure. Time will tell on that.
      And... this is a subject I will delve into with school too.
      It's all about safety.

      Delete
  20. I stumbled across your blog, and i actually agree with you, am an aviation safety officer in an african country, and we all know that to be more properly traineed,one needs to advance his eduactional background. I want to take the next step for studyong for a masters degree,especially an online degree,but as you said, education is costly. Does one sits back and continue to rely on trial and error method of learning on the job?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes... a formal education is costly. But you can always learn by reading, studying and learning from others. Keep up the great work!

      Delete
  21. Karlene, I agree with you. You're idea is great and I think it has great potential if you further develop it. Do you have any idea what you will be writing your master's thesis on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaron, Thank you so much!! We are working on this now in school!

      Delete

Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!