Is it unethical for a pilot to accept an upgrade outside of seniority?

tbflyer

Well-Known Member
I fail to see how that’s a bad thing.
Exactly, there are a lot of pilots who think they deserve a promotion simply cause thier number comes up, these same pilots will cry wolf when management fires them. Not everyone is ready for it and thinking you should get it because it’s your number isn’t the right mindset. Aviation is one of very few industries where this is the norm.

I also think it’s Necessary in 121 due to the ability to pick location/equipment based on seniority.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Exactly, there are a lot of pilots who think they deserve a promotion simply cause thier number comes up, these same pilots will cry wolf when management fires them. Not everyone is ready for it and thinking you should get it because it’s your number isn’t the right mindset. Aviation is one of very few industries where this is the norm.

I also think it’s Necessary in 121 due to the ability to pick location/equipment based on seniority.
If they're not ready for it they won't make it through training or OE. Seniority only allows you the opportunity to upgrade. It doesn't mean you upgrade.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
The problem is that it's industry standard to use a seniority system for upgrades.
It may be industry standard at 121 airlines, but it clearly isn't in the rest of the industry and there are good valid reasons for both.

For example, Pilot C is #3 at a single plane operation flying SIC in a Citation domestic. Pilot C was hired with less than 500 TT, and only now has 1200 TT. Owners buy a GV to start flying to Europe, hire Pilot D who has 3500TT and several trips to EU in a Falcon. Who gets the upgrade? Both pilots can likely pass sim training.

Seniority says Pilot C, but clearly D is the more qualified to be CA of a GV crossing oceans.
 
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If they're not ready for it they won't make it through training or OE. Seniority only allows you the opportunity to upgrade. It doesn't mean you upgrade.
Not picking sides here but there is a LOT of hand holding in 121 training. Extra sims, extra OE, LCAs “looking the other way” when a maneuver wasn’t in ATP limits after 3-4 tries, etc. Companies don’t want to waste money so they do what it takes to put butts in seats.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Not picking sides here but there is a LOT of hand holding in 121 training. Extra sims, extra OE, LCAs “looking the other way” when a maneuver wasn’t in ATP limits after 3-4 tries, etc. Companies don’t want to waste money so they do what it takes to put butts in seats.
You want to talk about hand holding, Flight Safety and the like are just cash for type ratings companies. I know we used to have a really high Captain wash out rate, which really said more about the quality of instruction, but considering we're not recommending like 10% of new hires for rides, it's far stricter than I've ever seen at any of the buy-a-ride places.
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
So HR made a horrific hiring decision.
Are you suggesting that working from top to bottom of your seniority list, every single pilot is qualified, capable and would add value as a LCA/instructor/Chief Pilot etc and if they are not then HR has screwed up?

Seriously, how do you feel about your next chief pilot getting the job simply because he’s the most senior guy that wants it?
 
Are you suggesting that working from top to bottom of your seniority list, every single pilot is qualified, capable and would add value as a LCA/instructor/Chief Pilot etc and if they are not then HR has screwed up?

Seriously, how do you feel about your next chief pilot getting the job simply because he’s the most senior guy that wants it?
Having seen some truly awful CPs selected on the basis of “merit,” I’d say it certainly couldn’t be any worse.
 

nbv4

Well-Known Member
It may be industry standard at 121 airlines, but it clearly isn't in the rest of the industry and there are good valid reasons for both.
There is no valid reason for upgrading outside of seniority. If it's normal for small companies to ignore seniority, then the industry needs to do a better job of expressing this to new pilots. Back in 2008 when I was pursuing an aviation career, I was reading all the aviation forums, and it was not obvious to me that it was normal for any company to upgrade arbitrarily. Since my aviation career is now over, I'd like my "legacy" to be that no new pilots are mislead like I was into believing seniority is enough to get you an upgrade, when it won't at all.

Seniority says Pilot C, but clearly D is the more qualified to be CA of a GV crossing oceans.
"Clearly"? I beg to differ. If both pilots can handle that situation, then they both are equally qualified, and the job should go to the one with more seniority. The difference between flying domestic and international is the paperwork, which anyone can learn quickly.

In my opinion, once you have around 1000 hours, you're just as capable as any other pilot with more than 1000 hours. Its like a 16 year old who just got their license a month ago is probably not as good as a driver with 10 years experience. On the other hand, a driver with 20 years experience is not necessarily twice as good of a driver as someone with only 10 years driving experience. There is a plateau somewhere around 1000 hours for pilots.
 
.....The difference between flying domestic and international is the paperwork, which anyone can learn quickly.......
That and that whole ocean crossing thing... :confused2:
All the lulz at guys marking RNP 4 on the flight plan just cause their FMS can do better than 4 miles. And the understanding that a guy in a citation that’s never crossed may very well have no idea what I’m talking about, or the trouble he’s about to get himself in.


Anyways- we make no indication that seniority has anything to do with anything at our company. (Because it doesn’t). So I’ve got no qualms about promoting in whatever order we pick.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
Since my aviation career is now over, I'd like my "legacy" to be that no new pilots are mislead like I was into believing seniority is enough to get you an upgrade,
There isn't a magic elf who delivers presents to all the good little girls and boys at midnight on Dec 25th either.



I think I'll repeat myself for the 3rd time,

There are very good reasons that the airlines promote based on a strict seniority system. It's not a perfect system, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

There are very good reasons that many other operations promote based on merit. Yes, it can turn into a popularity contest (which I've been the looser on several occasions) but small operations with less than 10 pilots are different than Delta with 10,000.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
To answer the original question, "Is it unethical to accept an upgrade outside of seniority?"

It depends.

Is the junior pilot a suck up who deliberately sabotages the pilots above him to get the promotion even though he is less qualified? Does he hold it over the other pilots who have been around longer that he is now their boss? Screw that guy.

Is the junior pilot siginifantly more experienced and qualified than his fellow crew? Does he use his new position to mentor and help out his coworkers? No problem in my book. It's all about how the individuals handle the situation.


On a related note,

Do some young attractive female pilots get opportunities that ugly old farts like me wouldn't? Of course they do.

Do I resent them for taking those chances when they were dropped in their laps? Not at all, I'd probably do the same thing in their shoes.
 
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nbv4

Well-Known Member
Do I resent them for taking those chances when they were dropped in their laps? Not at all, I'd probably do the same thing in their shoes.
Do you feel the same way about people that cross the picket line?

but small operations with less than 10 pilots are different than Delta with 10,000.
The only reason the small companies don't follow strict seniority is because they are able to get away with it. If the big companies could get away with it, they would too. It's human nature for managers to want a system that requires workers sucking up to get promotions. The fact that the big companies don't fall apart proves that strict seniority is a system that works. All pilots that want to help make the industry better should fight for universal seniority regulations.
 

GoDawgsGo

Well-Known Member
If they're not ready for it they won't make it through training or OE. Seniority only allows you the opportunity to upgrade. It doesn't mean you upgrade.
As a new pilot working on my CPL right now and looking to go 121, this entire thread has been rather intriguing to say the least.

My question on this point (to anyone not just you), roughly what % of FOs looking to upgrade don't make it through training to get that CA upgrade?

If you do fail that upgrade, how long before you would be given another opportunity?

The reason I ask is because if the pass rate is extremely high, then it does mean you get the upgrade and your point is not really valid. This would imply that people are upgrading that are not as qualified but are getting to do so based solely on seniority rather than ability. On the face of it, in such a safety intensive industry this is absolutely absurd.
 
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