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Author Topic: CAP/CC memo about check pilots and instructor pilots  (Read 3481 times)
mdickinson
Forum Regular

Posts: 181

« on: September 20, 2017, 05:54:44 PM »

HQ CAP distributed this memo to all check pilots and instructor pilots today.

I am curious to know about the "number of situations recently in which CAP aircrew members have not seemingly performed at the level of excellence expected of CAP pilots."

I figured cap-talk would be the place to come find out what that's referring to.
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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,809

« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 06:59:19 PM »

Jeez, Malcolm....anybody ever tell you that you shouldn't kick a hornet nest?
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Strup
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 11:10:05 PM »

Jeez, Malcolm....anybody ever tell you that you shouldn't kick a hornet nest?

Nah, just use 'civil air patrol' as a search term on a few selected DB, or ask "the Web" via Google.
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TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 875

« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »

It seems someone got caught signing off pilots who can't pilot well.

I said in a post a couple of weeks ago that there's a common trend o the "Good old boys club" in some pilot groups---and that's both in and out of CAP. But that form of behavior is an inherent problem in an organization that needs to take both professionalism and safety extremely seriously.

I can't say what resulted in this memo in particular. I'm sure someone here knows; whether they choose to divulge or not in another thing. But I've seen the GOBC get out of hand to where I've seen several incidents from the same group in a relatively short period of time in both CAP and personal aircraft flown by the same individuals. Is it coincidence? Or is it cockiness. It's not really for me to say. But I have my personal opinions, and my trust is thwarted at times with that group.

The point of having a check examiner different from an instructor is to reduce bias in reviewing proficiency, competency, and confidence in a pilot seeking sign-off. But when the examiner is close friends with the instructor, and the three have sat around the pilot table together and cackle for the duration of a three-hour meeting, it's not inappropriate to question whether or not that proficiency check is fairly judged, or judged to quality. Is it malicious? No, I wouldn't say that. Perhaps ignorance or negligence. Over-camaraderie, if that's a way of saying it.

Part of my "paying job" is to evaluate my company's pilot training and checking program. I know who's in the circle of friendship. And that's not to say that I'm not personal friends with some of the guys. But you can sense when you see friends working with friends and not necessarily affording the same scrutiny they would to someone they never met before (and God help the person they don't like). But I'm one of four agencies that audits our pilot training. So there's a much greater chance of that behavior being caught and documented.

Again, not saying this is the case here. Like I said, someone on here knows. But this issue very much exists throughout CAP. Maybe it isn't dangerous, but it doesn't benefit anyone. It's really on Commanders to crack down on it and check in on their guys (and gals) to make sure it's not happening.
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 10:49:51 AM »

It seems someone got caught signing off pilots who can't pilot well. ...

I said in a post a couple of weeks ago that there's a common trend o the "Good old boys club" in some pilot groups---and that's both in and out of CAP. But that form of behavior is an inherent problem in an organization that needs to take both professionalism and safety extremely seriously.

I can't say what resulted in this memo in particular. I'm sure someone here knows; whether they choose to divulge or not in another thing. But I've seen the GOBC get out of hand to where I've seen several incidents from the same group in a relatively short period of time in both CAP and personal aircraft flown by the same individuals. Is it coincidence? Or is it cockiness. It's not really for me to say. But I have my personal opinions, and my trust is thwarted at times with that group.

The point of having a check examiner different from an instructor is to reduce bias in reviewing proficiency, competency, and confidence in a pilot seeking sign-off. But when the examiner is close friends with the instructor, and the three have sat around the pilot table together and cackle for the duration of a three-hour meeting, it's not inappropriate to question whether or not that proficiency check is fairly judged, or judged to quality. Is it malicious? No, I wouldn't say that. Perhaps ignorance or negligence. Over-camaraderie, if that's a way of saying it.


Nicely put.  The NTSB accident db hints at support for your suggestion.  As you point out, human nature being what it is, it's a tough nut to crack.
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etodd
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 11:46:36 AM »

A few weeks ago someone was complaining about a non-ifr pilot flying ifr.  Could be related. IDK
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NIN
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 12:39:34 PM »

I was asked about this by one of my pilots.

"I'm not an IP or a checkpilot, so why does it matter to me?"

"You're a CAP pilot right?"

"Yep."

"And you're working on being an FRO, right?"

"Uh huh."

"So this applies to you, in a direct sense as an FRO-in-training as the memo says, and as a CAP pilot who works with checkpilots, instructor pilots and FROs, and as someone who flies CAP planes on CAP time and for Air Force assigned missions, and as someone who will be checked out by CAP check pilots."

"What do you mean?"

"You've heard the stories where someone says something like 'God, I just flew with Maj XYZ. I think Wilbur gave him his first Form 5. He's slipping a little these days, though', right?"

"Sure."

"So this is basically letting folks know that things are going to change and that kind of stuff isn't going to cut it anymore. That if something ain't right, its not cool to just say to your buddy 'Hey, yeah, man, Capt ABC was all over the place on final, glad I don't have to fly with him again this weekend..' and expect that SomeoneElse™ will somehow notice that Capt ABC probably shouldn't be flying a CAP plane with cadets in it anymore.  That the good old boy "I'll sign you off if you sign me off" dance isn't going to cut it anymore. It even says in the memo 'Don’t pass a pilot on a check ride when the pilot does not meet our standards'. We need to be sure that when we're flying CAP iron, we're doing it to the standards.  The Air Force is watching this closely."

"ohhhhh"

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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2017, 07:59:12 PM »

Could it be that we might see some sort of 'suggestion' or stronger to not use the same FRO all of the time, for all of our flights?  That last line of (independent) review is kinda important.
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A.Member
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Posts: 1,606

« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2017, 10:01:45 PM »

It's a razors edge...

I'll play the devil's advocate for a minute and argue, at least to some extent, in the other direction.  We have a huge challenge (understatement) in attracting and retaining qualified pilots.  This is due in large part to the unwieldy amount of b.s. and paperwork one has to endure to fly in this organization.  This latest message certainly doesn't move the needle in a meaningful direction in that respect.

Anecdotally, and related to the issue above, I see/hear a huge variance in the way pilots are evaluated, almost to the point of harassment during Form 5's.  I'm talking about CFI's that are having to complete 5 hour check rides and then being raked over the coals.  There are check pilots in our organization that very much let their role go to their head (aka God syndrome) and there is no real check an balance to the system.  They are every bit as much of the problem, especially when we consider that typically there are only a handful that control the funnel through which everyone must pass.  As opposed to evaluating and understanding a correct solution may have multiple approaches/styles, they attempt to impose only their approach with no possible deviation.  That's not OK.

I don't have the answer to this problem but to me it's probably very much related to the same type of scenario that prompts letters like this.  I'm not sure adding more layers and insulting those we rely on is the best approach.  If someone is going to put out a letter with the type of strong wording this one contains, it better be backed with a lot of supporting quantitative evidence. 

"Beatings will continue until moral improves"  :(

« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 10:11:17 PM by A.Member » Logged
"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci
FlyMe2TheMooneyBin
Newbie

Posts: 4

« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 04:04:14 AM »

I'm not sure adding more layers and insulting those we rely on is the best approach.

+1

We are all retention officers. This goes doubly so for commanders.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 04:08:09 AM by FlyMe2TheMooneyBin » Logged
TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 875

« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2017, 01:53:10 PM »

Anecdotally, and related to the issue above, I see/hear a huge variance in the way pilots are evaluated, almost to the point of harassment during Form 5's.  I'm talking about CFI's that are having to complete 5 hour check rides and then being raked over the coals.  There are check pilots in our organization that very much let their role go to their head (aka God syndrome) and there is no real check an balance to the system.  They are every bit as much of the problem, especially when we consider that typically there are only a handful that control the funnel through which everyone must pass.  As opposed to evaluating and understanding a correct solution may have multiple approaches/styles, they attempt to impose only their approach with no possible deviation.  That's not OK.

Absolutely accurate here as well.

I see it in both my hobby and professional worlds. A lot of pilots like to be show-off instructors. I've flown with guys that flat out want to demonstrate their skills rather than teach you (or check up on) yours. And some just don't have the patience and temper to be an instructor.

Oddly, we see it a lot with flight attendant instructors/evaluators, too. It's not just a pilot issue. It's throughout the industry. But have you seen any Ground Teamers do the same?

I think a lot of it stems back to the herd mentality where if you're not in the club, you're not welcomed. If you are in the club, you're given a pass.

No, not everyone thinks that way. But if you can recognize it in those that do, you can hopefully mitigate it, and those that don't think that way can stop feeling uncomfortable or getting a bad image from those that do.
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Spam
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2017, 01:58:23 PM »

When I saw the memo in my inbox, I applauded.


Slight tangent - this isn't an IP issue, but it is flight crew ES related: recently I backed up our Wing DO in refusing to approve an aircrew SET designation (note: designation, not qualification), and we had what COULD have been an uncomfortable discussion, but which I believe illustrated the point.


Individual had met the min standards (i.e. including only the minimum 2 exercises) for an initial qual two years ago, and had flown I think only 1 SAREX since then, and was now applying for SET designation in that specialty. The DO stated (and I agreed) that we wanted to see trainers and evaluators (and by extension check pilots and IPs) that were working from both a significant aggregate level of expertise in each area, plus a degree of recent experience/currency. He stated (and I agreed) that a minimum effort, recent qual plus one sortie a year (we checked WMIRS thoroughly before deciding) didn't meet the bar for either standard.


The individual and his commander initially seemed a bit put out - understandably, since their position was that they were working to "grow the business" and needed a SET evaluator to sign people off. However, since we explained that the goal was SET quality control, and safety, the issues seemed clearer, and we reinforced the need for good cooperative crew training at Group level with those quality SET evaluators. We assured them both that, when the individual started resuming flying regularly and had built up experience, we'd reevaluate. Subjective? To a degree, but I think we all agreed that an average of once a year and a very recent initial qual, is unacceptably low. I was really pleased at how the discussion ended - and will look forward to eventually seeing that member designated, with his positive attitude. This cultural change - in my Wing and in many - is a tough row to hoe, starting with the man in the mirror.


The analogy I used in discussions was that in the AD community, IPs/check pilots are a quality assurance monitored item, but patch wearing Weapons School graduates are the keepers of the weapons and tactics flame - and they are the ones who need to be ensuring adherence to standards in instruction, not the "local smart guy" relying on gouge (no, I'm not a weps school grad, but I did teach at TPS, similar principle).  DoD is careful about who gets designated as evaluators - and so should we to make sure that we bookend the operational side with safety AND mission effectiveness quality control.


So... pivoting from IP/CPs, through mission/SET designations, what about SET designation for ground and staff specialties (since SkyHornet brings it up)? Some Wings have put in place check examiners/check SET designations for  GBD/GTL/CULs, etc. I can see the wisdom in that, as well. None of us are perfect but... "Excellence in All We Do"?

I really feel that the missing element in all this (if we'd agree that we need to stay tight on appointment standards) is evaluation of the Stan/Eval people, themselves, to include customer evaluations from their customers - those under evaluation, and, their operational customers (ABDs, ICs, etc... "hey who signed THAT guy off"). To cite a great graphic novel: "Who watches the Watchmen"?


V/r
Spam


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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2017, 04:43:46 PM »

"So this is basically letting folks know that things are going to change and that kind of stuff isn't going to cut it anymore. That if something ain't right, its not cool to just say to your buddy 'Hey, yeah, man, Capt ABC was all over the place on final, glad I don't have to fly with him again this weekend..' and expect that SomeoneElse will somehow notice that Capt ABC probably shouldn't be flying a CAP plane with cadets in it anymore.  That the good old boy "I'll sign you off if you sign me off" dance isn't going to cut it anymore. It even says in the memo 'Don’t pass a pilot on a check ride when the pilot does not meet our standards'. We need to be sure that when we're flying CAP iron, we're doing it to the standards.  The Air Force is watching this closely."

"ohhhhh"

To be fair to Capt ABC, everyone has bad days, even pilots. Having one rough landing should not be the sole indicator of a poor pilot. As much as they like to have us believe otherwise, pilots don't execute perfect takeoffs, maneuvers, and landings every time. While that doesn't mean someone shouldn't have a conversation about whether or not that pilot should maybe take the rest of the day off, "he had a bad landing, so let's pull his F5" is not really fair.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
PHall
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Posts: 5,836

« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 05:18:14 PM »

"So this is basically letting folks know that things are going to change and that kind of stuff isn't going to cut it anymore. That if something ain't right, its not cool to just say to your buddy 'Hey, yeah, man, Capt ABC was all over the place on final, glad I don't have to fly with him again this weekend..' and expect that SomeoneElse will somehow notice that Capt ABC probably shouldn't be flying a CAP plane with cadets in it anymore.  That the good old boy "I'll sign you off if you sign me off" dance isn't going to cut it anymore. It even says in the memo 'Don’t pass a pilot on a check ride when the pilot does not meet our standards'. We need to be sure that when we're flying CAP iron, we're doing it to the standards.  The Air Force is watching this closely."

"ohhhhh"

To be fair to Capt ABC, everyone has bad days, even pilots. Having one rough landing should not be the sole indicator of a poor pilot. As much as they like to have us believe otherwise, pilots don't execute perfect takeoffs, maneuvers, and landings every time. While that doesn't mean someone shouldn't have a conversation about whether or not that pilot should maybe take the rest of the day off, "he had a bad landing, so let's pull his F5" is not really fair.

Usually it's not just "one rough landing", it's demonstrated sub-par performance for the entire checkride that earns you a fail.
One rough landing would usually just subject you to a critique from the checkpilot if everything else was all right.
And checkpilots usually don't fail anybody for "fun" either. There is 10 times the paperwork and a few phone calls to be made when they fail someone.
Most people don't make work for themselves for "fun".
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2017, 05:25:38 PM »

"So this is basically letting folks know that things are going to change and that kind of stuff isn't going to cut it anymore. That if something ain't right, its not cool to just say to your buddy 'Hey, yeah, man, Capt ABC was all over the place on final, glad I don't have to fly with him again this weekend..' and expect that SomeoneElse will somehow notice that Capt ABC probably shouldn't be flying a CAP plane with cadets in it anymore.  That the good old boy "I'll sign you off if you sign me off" dance isn't going to cut it anymore. It even says in the memo 'Don’t pass a pilot on a check ride when the pilot does not meet our standards'. We need to be sure that when we're flying CAP iron, we're doing it to the standards.  The Air Force is watching this closely."

"ohhhhh"

To be fair to Capt ABC, everyone has bad days, even pilots. Having one rough landing should not be the sole indicator of a poor pilot. As much as they like to have us believe otherwise, pilots don't execute perfect takeoffs, maneuvers, and landings every time. While that doesn't mean someone shouldn't have a conversation about whether or not that pilot should maybe take the rest of the day off, "he had a bad landing, so let's pull his F5" is not really fair.

Usually it's not just "one rough landing", it's demonstrated sub-par performance for the entire checkride that earns you a fail.
One rough landing would usually just subject you to a critique from the checkpilot if everything else was all right.
And checkpilots usually don't fail anybody for "fun" either. There is 10 times the paperwork and a few phone calls to be made when they fail someone.
Most people don't make work for themselves for "fun".

I completely agree, but I don't think that's what NIN said.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2017, 07:28:16 PM »

So, is this JUST a checkride thing?  Or is it more?  Pilots are on good behaviot during a checkride.  That's a given!  What kind of decisions do we REALLY make when we're not being monitored?  How do we fly and do we exercise good judgment?  The exchange above raises the question of whether this letter of direction is intended to address only a few stick n' rudder issues, or much more?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 07:50:15 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 875

« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2017, 04:35:32 PM »

So, is this JUST a checkride thing?  Or is it more?  Pilots are on good behaviot during a checkride.  That's a given!  What kind of decisions do we REALLY make when we're not being monitored?  How do we fly and do we exercise good judgment?  The exchange above raises the question of whether this letter of direction is intended to address only a few stick n' rudder issues, or much more?

That's the thing: checkrides examine your proficiency, not necessarily your judgment. A good examiner/instructor would ask "What would do you in the event of...." It's a good way to gauge someone's general knowledge and way of thinking, even if it's not a pass/fail item. Pilots who generally exhibit poor behavior when nobody is looking won't usually be able to "snap to" on a flight review because of those habits.

But that's where it becomes really important to encourage fair, impartial, and proficient checking by examiners, as well as reporting unsafe observations (even if you aren't an examiner). If you see a pilot do something that you feel is unsafe, you can talk to his/her chain of command about that and say, "Look, I saw this happen, and I can't say I agree with it. I wanted to let you know." There are lines of communication all over to make sure these types of things don't go unnoticed. But nobody can do anything until it's brought to their attention to start to resolve.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 05:48:58 PM »

I'd say the larger message here is that mishaps, CAP or otherwise, are not generally caused
by one factor, but by a chain of events in which altering one item might have prevented or
reduced the severity of the incident, and it's incumbent on everyone to just hold their corner.

This is what makes it so difficult to mitigate anything specifically after the fact, since the
odds of any given incident happening in the same way twice, and / or the same people
making the same choices again are very low.

CAP has a lot of inherent safety valves intended to catch issues before they become problems,
members just need to abide by their small piece of the chain to the fullest extent of their abilities,
and if that makes them uncomfortable, disengage.

The complacency of success is probably CAP's biggest weakness, because on the whole CAP
is a very safe, low-risk organisation, by both design and practice, as long as
everyone pays attention and follows the letter of the regs and policies.

Don't Form 5 your friends, don't shortcut the FRO checklists, and don't ignore your Spidey Sense.
And even if something is optional, if it increases Safety, Efficiency, or Effectiveness, just do it.
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2017, 06:16:17 PM »

The complacency of success is probably CAP's biggest weakness, because on the whole CAP
is a very safe, low-risk organisation, by both design and practice, as long as
everyone pays attention and follows the letter of the regs and policies.

You'll probably list 100 reasons why I'm wrong, but I think your statement is overly general. Many of our ES operations are inherently less safe and higher risk, at least when balanced against the alternative of staying home and playing Xbox. The flying we do is riskier than the typical $100 hamburger run, and GT operations are full of risks for slips/trips/falls, ankle or eye injuries, etc.; especially when you start to get outside of initial search actions and start leaving the beaten path (thankfully most risks of GT aren't catastrophic in severity). Check pilots are part of this equation - by requiring pilots to meet a certain experience and skill level, we ensure that only pilots capable of undertaking this increased risk are allowed to fly SAR/DR or AP sorties (for example). That doesn't make these activities low-risk, it just means we've only put people capable of handling those risks in the hot seat (risk-managed?)
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Eclipse
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2017, 06:37:03 PM »

If you're going to compare staying home as the baseline then everything is "risky" including
respiration and gravitational attraction.
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2017, 06:49:56 PM »

If you're going to compare staying home as the baseline then everything is "risky" including
respiration and gravitational attraction.

You can use a baseline of typical hobbyist GA flying and a Saturday hike on the local trail, the statement still stands.

I'm not saying that what we do is OMG high risk, but calling it low risk is a recipe for complacency (and rejects the reality that stuff happens even when we do everything right, which is important when the wing king gets his opportunity to weigh in on the mishap report).
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2017, 09:02:47 PM »

You can use a baseline of typical hobbyist GA flying and a Saturday hike on the local trail, the statement still stands.

I'm not saying that what we do is OMG high risk, but calling it low risk is a recipe for complacency (and rejects the reality that stuff happens even when we do everything right, which is important when the wing king gets his opportunity to weigh in on the mishap report).

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

Looking at the NTSB accident db, it seems every few years or so CAP aircraft are involved in a cluster of fatal or SI accidents.   Accidents involving bent metal, but no Fatal/SI are an annual occurrence... lots involve instruction & checkrides... but many do not .  FWIW, "bent metal" in the NTSB accident DB usually means "substantial damage".  Depending upon our risk preference and how we interpret the numbers, this probably incomplete list complied in about two hours or so doesn’t support the assertion that we enjoy  a really impressive safety culture:

2017Sep12  C182     N946CA
2016Aug24  C182     N4810N
2016Feb01   C182T   N784CP  2 fatal
2015Dec29  C172     N914CP  1 Fatal (suicide)
2014Nov15  C206     N9420R
2014Feb22  Baron    Private    3 fatal - all private citizens (Crashed  on final after NMAC with CAP aircraft/glider in tow)
2013Dec16  C182T   N963CP
2012Sep07  C182T   N635CP
2012Jun06   C182    N73466
2012Mar24  C172P   N99087
2012Jan28  C172S   N427CP
2012Jan03  C172P   N54872
2011Mar19  C206    N6169Z
2010Nov16  C182RG  N7556Y (yes, we did have a CP C182RG) classified as an 'incident'
2010Feb03  C172P   N97075
2009Oct31  C182T   N652CP
2009Feb20  DHC-2   N5342G
2008Nov14 C182R   N9772H   Midair with private C152
2007Nov08 C182T   N881CP  2 fatal
2007Aug20 C182R   N6109N  3 fatal
2007Aug09 C182R   N1298M

Again, this was a "quick look".  I know there are other mishaps (and a lot of ‘near mishaps’) out there that aren't easily discovered.   :)

"The Letter" from the Commander appears to be on point from my read of the accident reports I reviewed in compiling this post.  And, FWIW, A couple of the recent mishaps listed above haven't yet made it past the "preliminary" category in the NTSB data base. Information about non-accident mishaps is a very difficult to come by since records in  the ‘incident’ db are purged after just a year or two. 

I’m sure that CAP NHQ's  files would offer a more complete picture, if they were researched, summarized, and made available to CAP pilot workshops, etc.  In my opinion, a bit more transparency by NHQ Ops would be a very good thing for facilitating a culture change within CAP.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2017, 09:17:45 PM »

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

So what risk level is it?

Thousands of people fly gliders, learn to fly, and inhabit busy, controlled and uncontrolled airfields every day.
Incidents are news because they are rare, and "clusters", unless you can show otherwise, aren't actually "clusters"
because they aren't related in any way that can be compared.  They are just coincidental in the same way that prolonged
periods without incidents are.

6-8 months of the year cadet injuries are rare because most activities in the greater US occur indoors.  Come summer
the incident rates go up due to normal active-kids injuries.  You could call it a cluster, but it's really just a function of
ops tempo and probability.

The only thing CAP does that might be more "risky" then normal, is lower flying and circling an object, but it's not like
pilots don't do that all the time as well.

Is CAP's incident rate higher then the norm for the general pilot population?  You can't compare orgs, because no
one else has as many planes or sorties in GA, so statistics are incomparable at that level.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 09:21:21 PM by Eclipse » Logged

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Live2Learn
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Posts: 437

« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2017, 11:18:07 PM »

I agree the CAP flying we do is NOT "low risk".  Apparently, that carries over into even training, check rides, and glider ops.

So what risk level is it?


Is CAP's incident rate higher then the norm for the general pilot population?  You can't compare orgs, because no
one else has as many planes or sorties in GA, so statistics are incomparable at that level.

Dunno if it's higher or lower given the absence of data on CAP  incidents and the somewhat challenging nature of pulling numbers together from public sources.  I've heard anecdotal accounts of maintenance issues like cracked cylinders and other engine problems that suggest it's a good idea to keep powerplant health in the forefront of consciousness.   I don't recall seeing or even hearing the conclusions of an engine issue study in my region that I was told was ongoing four years ago.  FWIW, I've seen some pretty good data elsewhere that quantifies the ratio of NTSB reported engine problems (consistently reported year after year by NTSB as number 2 or number 1 in what the agency calls "defining events").  The ratio is either depressing (it's about 5 engine failures per engine failure accident in the NTSB db) or very encouraging (because most engine failures are handled quite well... well enough to be 'non-events' as far as NTSB and FAA are concerned).  But that ratio is for the GA fleet, not the CAP fleet.  I don't know what the numbers are for CAP, and I expect not many other people do either.  They may be about the same as the GA wide numbers for SE, piston, production aircraft... or something different.  Again, the CAP numbers are opaque.  But, all that said, engine failures don't seem to be a really big problem for CAP in terms of accidents as reported by the NTSB.  But maybe it's just luck.  Consider this:  If we prang multiple CAP aircraft each year during engine out maneuvers in check rides are at least some of our pilots likely to respond sub par should the real thing happen?  I mean, Iwe EXPECT to do an engine out on a check ride!  How much easier is it to be successful then when we are primed, spring loaded, and ready with the 'right' responses?    I know of three (real) CAP total engine failures in the last five or six years where pilots landed successfully with minimal or no damage, and several more where a blown jug required superior piloting to get the aircraft safely on the ground (and without accident or incident).  Again, CAP doesn't publish the data, nor have I seen any substantive articles or summaries available to the aviating membership.    You are probably in a better position within CAP  than I am to understand why.
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TheSkyHornet
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Posts: 875

« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2017, 09:25:32 AM »

That risk would change depending on the circumstances of the flight. Under ideal, textbook conditions, you'd have a risk that varies based on whether or not it's a standard training sortie dodging waypoints, an orientation flight, etc. Then factor in the hazards of stresses and fatigues of crew members, weather, environment, operational demands, and the risk fluctuates and builds.

I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.

But any regimented, standardized organization that operates aircraft, or even ground teams for that matter, are more likely to counter those hazards because they are trained to a standard with stronger lines for reporting safety concerns/incidents and more oversight. But that does not negate the fact that those hazards still exist. If people start to get into that mindset of "It doesn't happen often, so it's very unlikely," the standard of safety begins to droop, and it becomes more probable that an incident will occur.

A lot of people get weary when things become so regimented and nothing adverse occurs. It's unfortunate that it usually takes an incident (or accident) to remind people why we need to stay frosty.
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etodd
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« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2017, 12:17:49 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 12:25:20 PM by etodd » Logged
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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,809

« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2017, 12:57:26 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D

I would agree with this. If the crew does their jobs, then there is not really a high risk. The issues arise when everybody wants to ignore their training and CRM and step out of their lane.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2017, 01:42:26 PM »


I would say most CAP activities are low-risk. But most of the actual "field missions" (including training) are fairly high-risk, if you want to use those descriptions.


I don't consider our typical aerial photo missions or ELT searches high risk at all.

Now if CAP starts a crop dusting mission .... or maybe tree top level power line patrols.   ;D

I would agree with this. If the crew does their jobs, then there is not really a high risk. The issues arise when everybody wants to ignore their training and CRM and step out of their lane.

I agree some mission profiles are low risk.  Usually "O" flights are fairly benign.  So are transport missions (during day VFR) or most SAR/DR over non-forested agricultural and grasslands.  For example, when we fly over Kansas for nearly any mission.  Under those mission profiles should the engine quit or other mechanical issue (including fire) dictate an immediate landing we (usually) have  really good options that might ding up the aircraft, but that are entirely survivable.  Take the same mission profiles that involve low level SAR, DR (and even some AP missions) to Colorado, most of the PNW, lots of CA, AZ, NV, etc. and it's an entirely different story.  FWIW, transport flights (based on the NTSB record) are much higher risk under IFR or night conditions, regardless of the terrain below.  Even the 'best' technique and most prompt 'book' response to an unexpected mechanical issue often has very few "good" options for the pilot and crew when the aircraft is low energy (low elevation, inhospitable terrain) or visibility is compromised.  For example, some of the country I flew over this past summer in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon had NO good landing sites within glide distance, despite being 3,000' - 4.000+ AGL.  Throw in weather and smoke (yes, SMOKE - I'm sure many on forum recall the significant amount of smoke from wildfires in western states) and the risks rapidly begin to climb.  It's a stretch to say that good CRM inoculates against bad outcomes when our mission requires low level VFR or flight where potential emergency landing sites are few and very far between.  Yes, CRM is very helpful.  But...   FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), the three fatal/SI outcomes occurred on transport and SAR missions.  SEL IFR, SEL night are sorties CAP trains for and flys.  Both are  high risk given the elevated potential for a very bad outcome when we can't SEE terrain or locate where we might set 'er down with minimum potential for inadvertent loss of control (for example, when a wing hits something and initiates a cartwheel, or our choices are between landing uphill on a steep rock face or in the tops of a mature forest).  Let's not try to minimize the risks of CAP mission profiles.  There are several very good reasons why the US Department of Interior's Office of Aviation Services (https://www.doi.gov/aviation) and the USDA Forest Service prohibit SE FW piston IFR (day and night) and night VFR ops...
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 01:49:16 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
Spam
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Posts: 915
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2017, 04:38:32 PM »



... FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), ...

If you are citing the NTSB reports, you might in the interest of accuracy want to revisit your phrasing on that glider mishap, where the final NTSB report listed four Causes for the mishap (all attributed to the mishap pilot) and two Factors (one of which was CAP, the other the airport).  Reference: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20140222X51922&AKey=1&RType=Final&IType=FA. Court decisions aside, that's the official record.

I strongly agree with you on visibility in obscurants and low light conditions (weather too). There's an FAA report from a couple of years ago looking at GA mishaps which targeted them as the bad actors contributing to the flat accident rate in GA. Can't find it now, I'll look later, but its very good...

V/r
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Live2Learn
Seasoned Member

Posts: 437

« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2017, 11:20:41 PM »



... FWIW, with the exception of a suicide and the glider tow mishap that resulted in three non-CAP fatalities that I gleaned from the past decade of NTSB accident reports (above), ...

If you are citing the NTSB reports, you might in the interest of accuracy want to revisit your phrasing on that glider mishap, where the final NTSB report listed four Causes for the mishap (all attributed to the mishap pilot) and two Factors (one of which was CAP, the other the airport).  Reference: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20140222X51922&AKey=1&RType=Final&IType=FA. Court decisions aside, that's the official record.

V/r
Spam

I confess, I put a lot more weight on the Judge's opinion than I do on the NTSB's Probable Cause that blamed the Baron pilot.  I read the documents in the Docket long before the Court's Decision.  I didn't find a convincing case for blaming the pilot then, and I don't think there's a convincing case now.  I have experienced the "startle effect".  Fortunately for me it wasn't flying an airplane.  It's tough to overcome unless there's significant muscle memory built up by lots of simulated similar situations.

I hope you locate the FAA report you mentioned.  I'm really interested in reading it.  I've run across some pretty good articles about smoke, flat light, etc. and would like to learn more.  Smoke is a weird obscuration since it can be really dense, then nearly absent... all within a very short distance.  And it can close in rapidly behind the unwary, particularly in mountainous terrain.

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