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Author Topic: CAP/CC memo about check pilots and instructor pilots  (Read 4193 times)
mdickinson
Forum Regular

Posts: 182

« 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
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

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: 482

« 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
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 936

« 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: 482

« 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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Posts: 867

« 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: 482

« 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: 1,612

« 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
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 936

« 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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Posts: 2,620

« 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: 5,886

« 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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Posts: 2,620

« 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: 482

« 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: 936

« 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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"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Spaceman3750
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Posts: 2,620

« 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
Too Much Free Time Award
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Posts: 28,083

« 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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"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does." - Napoleon Hill.
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2017 by eclipse. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

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