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The poor practical standard of freshly minted EASA CPL holders

I do a little aerial photography from time to time. Nothing demanding maybe 150 miles from base in a SEP.

I am constantly dissapointed at the standards of CPL holders and the ones who have trained at integrated provider’s are particularly lacking.

To me a CPL holder with a current SEP rating should be capable of performing such a flight with the only training required being how to perform the photographic part of the flight.

However the following seem to be pretty common

They dont know the VFR minima
They have never actually flown in cloud or visibility that isn’t CAVOK
They dont know/refuse to fly IMC outside of controlled airspace.
They will only fly on a traffic service
They have never flown at an uncontrolled airfield.
They believe you should file a flight plan
They have never used safteycom
Unless they are told which runway is in use they can’t figure out which one to use.
They land and take off with a tailwind.
They have never filled an aircraft with fuel
They have no idea what type of oil to put in. Or even know how to put oil in.
They have never flown into or out of a grass airfield – because they were trained to be airline pilots.
And the one that annoys me more than anything else is they use aileron rather than rudder during the take off roll to remain straight – WTF

Now I used to think that I was getting the dregs from the training providers. The ones that failed the airline interviews etc

However this would appear to be so common that the only thing I can conclude is that the EASA training system simply doesn’t prepair people to be commercial pilots.

I think you had posted a similar rant a while back on pprune, IIRC.

To me it seems to reflect the state of training in the UK rather than “EASA”. I would say I learned about half of the points you mention as lacking at my aeroclub during the PPL. But that is because you fuel yourself, you replenish the oil yourself (though on the grade used I’d say it is the owner’s decision so good on your pilots for asking), you clean the aircraft after the flight yourself, and you put it away yourself.

On some other points (not flying in cloud in class G, filing flight plans, refusing “basic service”), it seems that it’s actually them having a higher standard, only that this type of operation is clearly not fitting their image of what they were going to do with a CPL.

The solution, if you don’t want to teach them this regularly, is to let them fly for 2 weeks with another pilot who has been doing the operation for a longer time. That is in fact how the airlines do it as well, nobody is expected to know on their first day who you need to call for fuel etc.

Last Edited by Rwy20 at 17 Mar 09:54

They should have gone for the PPL then :)
I think I (and most other people trained where I trained – EGLM white waltham) would have filled the requisites. Did all but:
- safetycom (did that later when flying to small fields in france)
- fly in IMC OCAS (well, did that about straight after PPL, at same airfield, with IMC rating)

I think a lot of the problems are that CPL and ATPL in Europe are seen as fully professional ratings leading to airlines so they typically don’t train them for what is essentially old-school commercial or PPL flying. That is fine if they are going to the airlines but not so great if flying a clapped out twin off a grass strip. They are taught to fly from one ATC controlled airport to another.

Last Edited by JasonC at 17 Mar 10:02
EGTK Oxford

Bathman wrote:

They have never used safteycom

What is that?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

An Air/Air frequency used at small UK airfields that don’t have a discrete radio frequency. 135.475.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 17 Mar 10:33
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Presumably this rant is about CPL/IR holders, not CPL holders. As far as I know, the CPL in itself doesn’t bring any IFR privileges, so flight in IMC isn’t allowed.

EIKH Kilrush

I think this is true of “sausage factory” type flight schools pretty much anywhere. Low time commercial pilots end up leaving the system having only ever flown in the training environment and somewhat cocooned.

Something funny I remember from when I was living in Houston. I had a half share in a Cessna 140 with one of the line guys at my home airport, and he had taken the “scenic route” to getting his instructor ticket (lots of GA flying on a shoestring, 90% of it for fun and outside of the training environment). He taught his first student as a freelancer in our Cessna 140 (probably the first time in decades that aircraft had seen primary training). He soloed his student off a nearby grass airfield.

A couple of days later, his student was doing a supervised solo at our home (a mile of asphalt) airfield, and another instructor who was from the “airline pilot sausage factory” school was doing the same. They were chatting about their students and my friend mentioned that he’d soloed his student at the nearby grass airfield, and the other guy was horrified and was asking “Is that safe!!?” (we actually have it on video!) Their school had all sorts of draconian rules about airfields you could use, they had to be about a mile long, absolutely nothing but perfect hard surfaces, ridiculous weather minimums etc. The result was the instructors who were going through that training mill had less experience than the just post solo students who had been learning off part 61 freelancers.

Andreas IOM

Bathman wrote:

…I can conclude is that the EASA training system …

This has in my eyes absolutely nothing to do with EASA. At least not where I fly and instruct. Our national system was not much different. For me the problem are the individual instructors. There are schools who employ real instructors who love to teach and who try to do the best possible job. And there are those who employ “career instructors” who just count to 1000 when they will have accumulated the minimum required hours for applying with the airline of their choice.
Commercial aviation and aviation training have at least duplicated during my own flying time, probably even more. The number of instructors by choice has remained stable, as this job – apart from the satisfaction of doing it well – has nothing to offer. Poor income, zero securitiy, no social standing, crappy working hours, … This means that more and more students get trained by those career instructors who don’t care the least and for whom a good student is just a competitor when it comes to landing an airline job. But this has nothing, not the least bit of anything, to do with EASA. One can blame EASA for a lot of things but certainly not for that one.

They dont know the VFR minima

Because they learn for their theory exam by clicking through questionnaires on their tablet and only remember the correct answer for long enough to sit their exam. What has changed around here is that they sit out their required time in the classroom twittering around on their smartphones instead of following the course. This was indeed different before the smartphone was invented.

They have never actually flown in cloud or visibility that isn’t CAVOK

I find that one hard to believe. Even in my part of Europe where the weather is a lot better than in the UK an ATPL course would take 5 years if training took place only on CAVOK days.

They dont know/refuse to fly IMC outside of controlled airspace.

Me too. And I will always refuse and I will never teach anyone to do that.

They will only fly on a traffic service

This is SOP with some flying schools now and even expected by the examiner on the check ride. At least around here. I have no problem with it.

They have never flown at an uncontrolled airfield.

Me neither. And I’ve been on the job for almost 30 years.

They believe you should file a flight plan

Probably depends on the country. Only this week I have learnt from this very forum that under SERA a flight plan is required for every flight in controlled airspace… So your guys are ahead of me in that respect!

They have never used safteycom

What on Earth is that?

Unless they are told which runway is in use they can’t figure out which one to use.

Around here this would be beacuse flying from untowered airfields is verboten.

They land and take off with a tailwind.

Me too, as long as it is within permissible limts. Now where’s the problem with that?

They have never filled an aircraft with fuel

Me neither, at least as far as Jet A1 is concerned. And I’ve burn’t many tons of it…

They have no idea what type of oil to put in. Or even know how to put oil in.

At my school this is done by the contracted refuelers or by our maintenance. Students always made a big mess of it when topping up the oil (or filled in too much) so the owner does not want them do it. Which I can understand pretty well. Some things are better trained on the job – and this is what the supervision phase is for.

They have never flown into or out of a grass airfield – because they were trained to be airline pilots.

We also don’t do grass airfields. But not because of the instructors (some of which are airline pilots, others are not) but again because the owner does not want us to. His flying school, his aeroplanes, his rules. Again, nothing to do with EASA.

And the one that annoys me more than anything else is they use aileron rather than rudder during the take off roll to remain straight – WTF

But that must be an individual thing… even your “airline pilot” instructors certainly don’t teach them to do that!

Last Edited by what_next at 17 Mar 11:41
EDDS - Stuttgart

what_next wrote:

Me neither. And I’ve been on the job for almost 30 years.

Do you never land at somewhere like Lyon Bron out of hours?

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