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"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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pilots Staying Current

The FAA requires three takeoffs and landings every 90-days for pilot proficiency. This came about with long-haul flights with only one takeoff and landing between four pilots. Makes sense. How else were International pilots supposed to stay current? And when they don't meet that proficiency, they end up in the simulator.


But, did the FAA anticipate that these pilots might not see the inside of an airplane for 3-months, 6-months, 9-months, a year or longer when they implemented that rule? 

Are three takeoffs and landings in a simulator enough to keep pilots proficient in a plane they rarely fly? What about you, how long does it take you out of the cockpit before you lose the edge?


When you read Flight For Safety, you learn there is a far reaching sinister plot fueled with greed and disregard for human life. Where those you expect to keep you safe, are the very people who are putting your life in jeopardy. But in reality with the current regulations, are the incidents so far reaching? Or could they be industry related to an FAR that is perhaps being abused?
 
If you have not read Flight For Safety yet, it's time. 

And part of the plan to help and industry keep our passengers safe and provide great jobs for future pilots.. Please join me on the journey and remember to leave a comment for Flight For Control and Flight For Safety (the sequel), on Amazon in order for a chance to win a NWA 747-400 model!




Stay proficient. Fly safe. 
Create a jobs we can all be proud of. 
We're all in this together.  

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

18 comments:

  1. Kindle sale not available in Amazon UK :(

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    1. Oh no! I'm sorry. Okay... here is a link directly to the US Kindle. http://tinyurl.com/ogr4osf
      Now... if you still can't get it, there is a computer program that hides where you are and you can get it. Let me know if this works!

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  2. Karlene.. I totally see what you are saying and agree with the skill retention of Long haul pilots, especially of those who sit reserve and are not called into fly often or only on holidays. Flight for Safety definitely is a wake up in the need for more programs and training centers.

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    1. Imagine if all those events really did happen. Oh... wouldn't that be scary!?! Do you think they could be attributed to proficiency, or lack of? Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I only fly light aircraft, but I notice that after 2 weeks, I have to start thinking about things that were more automatic. After 30 days, much more so. 90 days is stretching it. OTOH, it doesn't take long for it all to come right back. I feel the same way on the first skiing trip of the year, but within 5 minutes I wonder why I started out on the bunny slope :) The skills are still there, just not as immediately accessible.

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    1. So.. what do you think is easier? More simple? Complexity and currency is an issue. Check out tomorrow. Thank you so much for your comment!

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  4. I only fly small general aviation aircraft. If I don't fly for a week I'll start to feel a little awkward when I get into the air next time. I doubt if other people can really tell that I'm slightly rusty, but I know that I have to try extra hard to fly precisely.
    When everything is working fine, it's not hard to fly "safely" even if the pilot it's not that proficient. But if there are some problems occur during flight, such as bad weather, heavy traffics at the airport or airplane having its own malfunctions, the level of proficiency will greatly impact flight safety.

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    1. You are not alone on this. And you made a good point... if everything is normal... we're good. Perhaps that's why we have so few accidents in the airlines...the planes are so good. Thanks so much for your comment! And keep flying! I hope you're enjoying our beautiful sunny days.

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  5. Interestingly, I used to think that after a week I would forget how to fly a plane. Recently I went a year without flying, and although some of my good habits suffered (like radio calls), my skills were mostly intact. Granted, I only fly little planes, not complex airliners.

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    1. Christine, Thanks for your comment and good to know! I'm wondering which would be easier. I'm thinking remembering the many procedures is more challenging in the big birds. Not so much the flying part. Okay... come fly with me!

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  6. I don't know how long it takes to become rusty. I fly every week. But I did hear about a study that showed surgeons become rusty after only a weekend off. The dexterity of their hands as well as memory showed improvement after a day back at it. There's so much to remember in the cockpit, I'm sure staying practiced is critical for piloting skills. I knew someone who accidentally pulled the little red knob instead of the throttle. Yeah it's red for a reason!

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    1. Syd, That's fascinating about the doctors. And I'm reading a book about all the protections engineers do so we don't pull the red knob. Maybe you can't design something for everyone. lol. Thanks for your comment! And... keep flying safe!

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  7. It's different for smaller aircraft I guess. I am consistently flying but mostly the Beech 99, and though I am still technically current on the PA31, I have only flown it twice in the past 2 months. But the funny thing, those two flights included my best landings on that airplane. And they are completely different airplanes, the Beech 99 only has electric trim and has a flying tail, with no wheel, while the PA31 doesn't have electric trim on the right side and has conventional tail. Just like riding a bike!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Ramiel! I really think it doesn't matter what you fly, as long as you fly. I've noticed the best A330 pilots fly small planes. Completely different. Might be an interesting study.

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  8. A simulator can definitely help, but it can't make up for really being in actual conditions in a real air plane. when I've come to one of my lessons having practiced on my Window's flight sim, my teacher definitely knew I had practiced and could see the diff. So I'd say the sim is a great tool to keep proficient, but you should get out in a real plane at least every couple weeks if not ever week. Rent an LSA if you have too, it's the more in expensive way to go :-)

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    1. I couldn't agree more. The only regulations airlines have are three takeoffs and landings. Not much flying. I think the home sims would be good practice. But you're right... not like being in real conditions. Thanks so much for the comment!

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  9. There is a difference between current and proficient. We can all get current inside an hour of training regardless if that is in a simulator or in the airplane with a CFI. But are you really proficient? What about transition to a new airplane. I know you have heard this phrase: “It takes a year to learn how to fly it.” Is the pilot who has been flying the new airplane for six months proficient? According to that phrase, the answer is no. I have been in the 757 for six months and I do feel comfortable. But could I pull a Sully, on the first night of the month? I don’t know and isn’t that at the heart of what proficient should be?

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    1. Rob, you may just have helped me fix this one. It's about the language. And we need to ask... do we want our pilots just current or proficient? THANK YOU!!!

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