Compared to yourself in the old days and young pilot nowadays, do you notice if there is any gap or lack in skill, knowledge and discipline in fresh pilots and if there is any ,can you describe why and how to encounter it?
We often hear pilots making references to “the good old days.” One tend to reminisce about what had happened in the past, reliving the fond memories of flying in the good old days where things were less complicated and then making comparisons with what is happening in the present. Of course we can see a lot of differences and changes. If one were to ask which is the better era, can we form judgments and make our own conclusions? Would it be fair then? What I will do is not to make my own judgments, but to highlight the differences in the work culture that I observe over the years. My views could be controversial and I welcome any comments from anyone who views it differently.
I believe that the differences between the older generation and the younger generation of pilots are as a result of the social changes that we go through, the technological advancement in the aviation industry as well as the once rapid expansion in the airline business.
I see some changes in the attitude and values and therefore behaviour of some of the young pilots. These observations are validated by a vast majority of instructor as well as line pilots. Some pilots have become very calculative in their dealings and are more concerned with their own benefits rather than for the good of the majority. I would like to think that in the old days we were more of a collectivist group of pilots rather than individualists.
Some young pilots give the impression that they are not very serious about their work. This is evidenced from their preparation before the flight, even during training flights, where some just put in minimal efforts. This undesired behaviour shown very early in his career will not benefit him in the long run and could be detrimental to his progress.
I subscribe to the saying that “knowledge is power.” Not only that, knowledge gives you flexibility and flexibility gives you more options. This is very necessary in aviation when it comes to problem solving. The feedback I received from instructor pilots state that quite a number of young pilots under training lack not only systems knowledge but also knowledge about aviation in general. Whilst it might not be that obvious when flying domestically, this lack of knowledge is glaringly noticeable when he starts to fly long haul, where it involves strategic thinking on his part and good flight management skills. This perception of requiring only a superficial knowledge of the aircraft systems is perhaps exacerbated by the manufacturer’s emphasis of only the need to know information during the conversion phase of their training.
The rapid expansion in the airline business resulted in rapid movement of pilots from one fleet to another. Depending on the expansion phase and the requirements, the younger pilots do not stay on one fleet for a long time. Although this is perfectly safe and within the criteria set by the airlines, rapid movement could result in lesser experience based of pilots on the fleet and thus lesser opportunity for the younger pilots to learn from his more experienced colleagues.
I am not saying that the above observation amongst some of the younger pilots is in any way jeopardizing flight safety. They are perfectly safe as they meet the requirements set by the regulators and the airlines. Training will also ensure that they have achieved the required standard of performance.
However, if one were to strive to improve oneself and rise to be above the mediocre, then one has to do more to improve one’s skills, knowledge and a change of attitude. The motivation to do better have to be intrinsic and a “great” pilot does not depend on others or his airline for this.