Managing fast Captain upgrades...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by flyingcheesehead, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This one's for all the folks at regionals, 135s, and other places where people may be upgrading to captain in a relatively quick fashion... @LDJones, @jordane93, and anyone else!

    I'm curious if your carriers have some sort of a checklist of things that one must experience prior to being upgraded (or at least have some additional training on if they haven't experienced it)?

    For example, if you're based in a warm climate and only have one or two places you fly where there's a chance of ice and snow in the winter and/or you started flying as an FO in March and get upgraded to captain in November, and/or you happen to have good weather luck, and you get upgraded to captain without ever having been de-iced. Would they brief you on how that's done or what to expect?

    What is on the list of items one should experience as an FO prior to a captain upgrade? And if one happens to not experience them in a reasonable time, how would that be handled?

    Clarification: I'm not asking what gets you the upgrade, I'm asking what the airlines do to ensure that someone who is a captain has all of the knowledge they need to be a good captain.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  2. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    It comes down to hours and seniority. You could fail every checkride up to your upgrade and still get your fourth bar. There’s no merit system to the upgrade. It’s strictly seniority. There’s a guy at my company who’s attempting to upgrade for the fourth time. He’s failed the last 3 times. My impression was that you get 2 chances to pass upgrade and if you don’t, you’ll be asked to resign. I guess the union has saved his job.
     
  3. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Upgrade is determined by seniority and what you bid. Each person has to balance what is most important getting that 4th stripe or quality of life.

    FYI-after upgrade at an FAR 121 carrier you will fly with a specially certified Captain for Operating Experience (OE). After OE there are restrictions as to which FOs you can fly with, weather minimums, and from which airports you can operate.
     
  4. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm not asking what gets you the upgrade, I'm asking what the airlines do to ensure that someone who is a captain has all of the knowledge they need to be a good captain.
     
  5. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Systems training, CRM training, we have a Captain Leadership class. Odds are at most 121 carriers, by the time you make Captain you’ve seen most weather conditions.
    Now if you’re upgrading at a regional flying out of the Caribbean then...
     
  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    I saw an advertisement for I think Trans States where they are looking to hire Captains off the street.

    Times they are a changing.
     
  7. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    SkyWest is hiring into the left seat, as well, iirc.

    Upgrade experience is governed by FAR's and a whole lotta company stuffs. Of course, the FARs like "green on green, high mins, skillz consolidation" rules apply, (and the others I'm missing I'm sure). Some airlines do have extra qualifications. I know Alaska had(s) Artic qualifications, SE AK quals, ETOPS. LAX based pilots on the 737 may not every need the AK quals if they never bid SEA or ANC CA, but def gets the ETOPS. If the airline has a bunch of cool, gee-whiz add ons to their Ops-Specs, then there's that training if it is seat dependent. Plus, there's all the OE after the sim rides.

    The list of items that an FO should take notes on are the things that you'd never do if you were in that seat. Amazing how that makes a difference imho. That help?
     
  8. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    My upgrade training was at my regional was 22 days from start to finish with a few days sprinkled in between ground school and sims. 3 days of systems, 2 days of captain leadership, 1 procedures trainer to learn flows, 1 maneuvers training lesson to go through several emergencies, V1 cuts, crosswind landings, etc, and 2 line oriented flights which are flights from point A to B with abnormals and/or emergencies. Your upgrade training really begins in the right seat. No one really has any issues doing maneuvers and flying an ILS from the left seat. It’s more about soft skills like decision making, leadership, etc.
     
  9. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    You have to test for an upgrade? Isn’t it usually on the same equipment? Like moving from right seat to left seat in a CRJ?

    How do you flunk that 3x if you’re already flying from the right seat? Honest question. I’ll never make the airlines but have always been a dreamer.
     
  10. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Yes you have to take multiple tests to upgrade. Several written tests, maneuvers validation, line oriented evaluation, operating experience, FAA fed ride. At my regional we have one plane, however we split the variants. We have certain pilots that only fly the CRJ 200 and other pilots that only fly the CRJ 700/900. You can upgrade into either one depending on the company needs. It’s the same plane just slightly different systems, weights, handling characteristics, etc. Most of our upgrade failures aren’t from the flying portion. Most people fail due to the soft skills like I said in my other post. Decision making, time management, leadership, etc. Anyone can do a V1 cut or single engine ILS from either seat. It’s a lot harder to develop soft skills. You also don’t have upgrade on the same equipment. My dad was an FO on the 767-400 and took an upgrade on the 737. Even at the regionals you can be an FO on the CRJ and upgrade on an Embraer plane.
     
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  11. kc4wsd

    kc4wsd Pre-takeoff checklist

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    While I personally have no authority to answer the original post, the following is from my 23-year old son who has been with a regional airline for one year:

    FO Austin Vaden
    I started flying as an FO in October of 2018, I will have 1000 hours in the jet and eligible to upgrade in January of 2020. I'm going to upgrade in March of 2020. I'm doing this to experience two winters as deicing/anti icing and flying down to minimums(200 agl) can be a challenge when you are the PIC and responsible for 75 people. You also want to be ready for the oral and flight (Checkride). We have had people that put in for a March upgrade in January and management calls and want you to upgrade in February, so be ready. You should start studying.

    Also, just because you are eligible to upgrade doesn't mean you should. Make sure you are thinking like a captain. Observe the Captains that you fly with and think what would you do in that situation. Make sure you are hand-flying the airplane and comfortable to fly the airplane with no autopilot. These are just some things to think about. I hope this helps and good luck on your goals.


    @jordane93 I think Austin's response touches on a lot of what you posted. He's not active on PoA, but he likes me to keep him up-to-date on how things are going with you.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
     
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  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I think you’re looking for things after IOE...

    Certain approaches were banned below a certain number of hours as Captain even after IOE at many companies over the years. Mountain stuff especially. Usually also required a special checkride for some.

    That said, other things are taught and signed off like de-icing procedures as a specialty items at many 121s also.

    I know a 121 FO who is at a smaller 121 who flies Airbusses who was NOT trained on their de-ice procedures properly (and later proved it to the company) and didn’t realize X amount of ice on turbine blades was a no-go item...

    The resulting vibration destroyed an engine. Yup. Million dollar engine was trashed by it. Not enough during the flight to force a precautionary shutdown due to the vibration monitors going off, amazingly, but the blades were so bend up that someone noticed it after the first leg and grounded the airplane, an investigation ensued, and dispatch had their butts handed to them for using a reserve FO without the de-ice training on a day with ice.

    Very early in his career and he definitely still feels bad about it today. But the union and chief pilot backed him. Someone in training missed it, and dispatch also did. Cost the company a LOT of money.
     
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  13. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    The training, check ride and line evaluation are theoretically supposed to weed out the inadequate candidates.
     
  14. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    If it’s Winter conditions, you have the deice checklist, ‘clean wing’ concept & possibly an adverse weather chapter in the ops manual. Don’t forget to be careful with ground ops & landing too.

    Chances are it won’t be a full on winter storm the 1st time, just frosty wings or a light dusting.
     
  15. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @jordane93 what would the time mgt portion consist of?

    The time to push vs. depart or something? I thought all of that was scheduled and that you push at your time if ATC clears you?
     
  16. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Time to push, managing MELs, getting re routes, handling passenger issues, etc. You want to take your time with all these but then again you don’t want to spend an hour on each task other wise we’d never push on time.
     
  17. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Not that kind of time management.

    When the excrement hits the ventilation device and you have three things that need to be addressed RIGHT NOW, a prioritization process has to happen. A lot of time, there isn’t a whole lot of time to get it done. THAT is the time management Jordane is talking about.
     
  18. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    That too.
     
  19. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Being a good delegator helps too. Having your F/O, dispatcher, maintenance, cabin crew, etc. etc. participate in dealing with issues rather than trying to do it all yourself.
     
  20. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So, which of those would catch the de-ice scenario? I don't think they ever de-ice an airplane unless it needs it, so if IOE isn't at that time of year but the FO hasn't seen it yet (which doesn't sound like it's caught by any of the above), wouldn't you potentially end up in a situation like @denverpilot describes?
     
  21. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Every 121 training program is a little different. Without having direct knowledge of the program he is talking about I can not comment with any accuracy.

    That said in the three 121 programs i have direct experience with what happened to @denverpilot s buddy sounds odd. I have never flown a plane that had acceptable amounts of contamination for any rotating components of the engine. It had to be clean and free of contamination. No de ice training required for that ... just basic common sense about large, finely balanced things that spin really fast.

    Without putting it out there as fact or trying to discredit his buddy sounds to me like he just screwed up and got off on a technicality.
     
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  22. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree with Tarheel, thought sounds a bit odd. How many of us got our Private ticket without knowing that aircraft had to be ice and frost free?
     
  23. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    He’s pretty clear about it (and he’s been flying for them for a long long time now since then - in fact it’s one of those awesome jobs where the company isn’t growing and retirements aren’t happening so he’s “FO for life” hahaha. Ohhhh well, welcome to aviation!) that he’d never worked with any open high bypass turbine engines in his career prior to the Airbus and literally nobody had ever taught him that (somewhat obvious) thing. Turboprops and intertial separators and they never put him through winter weather class. Just got completely missed.

    They dug HARD into his training and past jobs and everything over the incident, as one might imagine and nobody could find any evidence the company or anything in his past career history would have specifically covered it. And of course with 121 programs all being different, it probably was just the Swiss cheese effect of all the holes lining up perfectly where an untrained early career FO is doing the walk around and doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

    He doesn’t talk about it much. It’s clearly embarrassing after the fact, but he really didn’t know he was screwing up in an expensive way at the time. If the company thought he did, they’d have canned his butt, I’m sure.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    In his case, a mandatory training step was missed. He wasn’t told it was even a requirement or he would have refused the trip.
     
  25. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Plenty, I'll bet. Anyone who trained in a warmer climate. All those people who train in Phoenix, for example.

    Find where in the ACS it says you have to learn this. If it isn't covered there, it won't be taught. There are much more important/useful things (like, say, how to fuel an airplane!) that aren't taught for the same reason.
     
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  26. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Rumor is some of these regionals are giving 16 sim sessions to get new pilots and some upgrades through training.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  27. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Not entirely true. There are no restrictions (at least for us, thus no FAA restrictions) about the “green on green” fallacy.
     
  28. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    And many here say “hours” have no meaning for knowledge. If you do this long enough you WILL experience many of these scenarios.

    Yes, HOURS matter.
     
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  29. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    Initial training includes winter operations and deicing. Yearly recurrent training includes winter ops refresher training and the ops manuals have a winter ops section.

    One of the two pilots must have more than 75 hours in type. New Captains have increased landing minimums for their first 100 hours in type. Certain unique airports require special training and/or a supervised entry requirement which requires the Captain to fly to the airport with a check airman before being able to fly there himself. JAC, ASE, EGE, and GUA come immediately to mind as supervised entry airports.
     
  30. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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    At the fractional that I used to work at, it was an unofficial policy that you had to see at least one winter before you could upgrade to PIC. I thought that was a good idea, being that we didn't have nearly the same support structure as an airline, and we were flying single engined turboprops around the northeast.
     
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  31. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not really - You said it yourself. "Experience" matters. More hours does not always equal more experience.

    I have a couple thousand hours, all GA. Your local airline-bound CFI might have the same. They've seen a lot of the pattern... But I've seen most of the country. I've flown in 40+ states, all sorts of terrain and weather, as many aircraft types as I could get my hands on, etc... So we might have the same number of hours, but I would say that I have more *experience* when it comes to flying, except the experience of having someone else try to kill me while I gave instruction. If the job is to fly (and not give instruction), that's the experience that matters.
     
  32. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    If your CFI spends 1500 hours in the pattern, he’s doing it wrong. I don’t know if I’d use hours and experience interchangeably but the 1500 hour pilot has seen more than the 250 hour pilot. You don’t know what you don’t know.
     
  33. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I’ve never heard that many extra sims at my company but I’m sure it’s possible.
     
  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now that, I can agree with.
     
  35. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Winter ops as the great pro flying equalizer? Meh, nothing a tablet CBT module can't catch you up with. Worked for the MAX -- oh wait..... :D
     
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  36. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's scary!

    How much longer before we see another Colgan 3407 because we're letting substandard pilots into the left seat?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  37. denverpilot

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    Technically they meet the standard. They’re not substandard, just under experienced.

    Of course the 1500 hour rule fixed all of that.
    (Sarcasm.)
     
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  38. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Um, we already did. Atlas 3591. The industry just got lucky this time because it was cargo and not pax 121, and they darted into Trinity Bay and not Humble/Atascocita. So the body count was minimized by happenstance. It wasn't a left/right seat thing in this case either.
     
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  39. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Still speculation at this point...

    Hopefully we don't have to kill another planeload of people to fix the problem, though.
     
  40. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

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    That was one of the 3 carriers who made up Endeavor's policy. Ultimately, the carrier that survived in terms of training department, didn't keep it.

    Generally speaking, the FO's who brag about when they'll have 1000 hours and are rushing to an upgrade, are the least ready. And the guys who know where they stand and can clearly tell you why they do/don't want to upgrade will probably be the best captains when they do upgrade. In my experience.