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Ppc's And Pcc's

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Just received the latest Vortex in the mail today, good articles and worth reading!! However I came across the pole looking for input in regards to abolishing the PPC and changing over to a PCC, where the chief pilot and operator are responsible for ensuring pilot competency. My first concern would be that shady operators would use this to their advantage and become complacent when it came to annual training and pilot competency. After all it would save money when it comes to the year end profit. Was wondering what your views on this topic are?? ;)

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The questionnaire is part of the risk assessment to eliminate the VFR PPC. I was hoping that the preamble had adequately explained that the PCC will NOT be a check ride (like it is now), it is a sign-off by the chief pilot. Seems like PuddleJumper didn't miss that point, but the majority of replies to date are favoring the elimination, which really surprises me.


Southoftheborder - that would be an interesting avenue, but the elimination is exactly that - the PPC would no longer exist. A chief pilot could sign anyone off who had 'completed the required training'.

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We do PPC's every year, because of the way it's written a PPC costs the company less money. So if PPC's were eliminated we'd have to do some extra training.


So what does a PPC actually accomplish ?? It shows that a pilot was safe, and met the required standards on that one flight only. That's all. I think that the PPC was only instituted to ensure that operators provided the required training.


A PPC is supposed to be a "flight test" with no instruction allowed. So if I make a small error, it's brought up after the flight. The "examiner" is also not supposed to instruct while on the ride, so instead of showing a better way right there, when I might be able to learn something. It's supposed to be given after the flight, verbally, which may cause confusion. Or the pilot may just ignore the advice. There are many out there who get quite nervous during a PPC, so any chance of learning something is gone. They're just happy to survive another year. Take away the pressure, and gee they might actually enjoy the training, and maybe even learn something.


I've worked for companies that have their own check pilots,and the PPC ride they gave was more extensive than any that TC has given. So changing the abbreviation isn't going to change those companies. As for the "shady" operators, they'll find a way to circumvent any system you put in place. We, the pilots, are the ones who can help Transport (oh my, us helping "THEM" :shock: :D) enforce the training regs. Make sure that you get the training mandated by the regs. If we allow the companies to break the training regs, or not get the proper training, then we must bear the responsibility. After all we are the ones with our butts strapped into that thing !!



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Randy, unfortunately not everyone out there has your attitude.


I'll take you up on a couple points:


1. If a guy gets nervous on a PPC, then he'll get nervous any time he feels he's being 'monitored'. There is no such thing as a 'fear of PPCs', it's a fear of being judged or examined - same emotion. So, if he has a particularly zealous customer who is comparing him to 'the last pilot', he may react the same - fear of getting kicked off the job. Seems to me that a guy flying expensive equipment for zillions per hour should be able to get over that in time. That sounds harsh, but if you don't have the confidence in your ability to pass a simple VFR ride with a confined area and a few emergencies thrown in, you shouldn't be out there.


2. While the PPC may not be perfect, it is at least a standard. The PCC is not. There is a record somewhere that says that you were capable of meeting a prescribed set of standards on a given day. Any examination is the same, from university exams to blood pressure checks - they are a snapshot in time, but at least they're based in data, not heresay.


3. ICAO standards require 2 state-sponsored checks per year - a 'check' basically being defined as a ride. We don't even meet that standard now. The PCC cannot qualify as a 'check' because it is merely a sign-off.


4. The majority of inspectors are very reasonable in their approach to rides. Every TC PPC ride I ever had was performed by a pure gentleman, whether that was in BC, Ontario or Newfoundland, and I learned pleanty on every ride - VFR or IFR. They weren't out to trip me, just to make sure I met the standard and all of them taught me something. I have heard stories about bad experiences, but there are ways of dealing with them, and they work. "There's no point" is not a valid response.


5. I agree that there will always be people who circumvent, but you cannot base regulation on that sad fact. I have personally seen PPCs signed off in a bar by company check pilots representing a company that considers itself a fairly big and mature player. That is wrong on all levels, but the fact that it could or does happen is no reason to sink the boat.


I really hope that people think about the big picture when responding to this - there is a lot at stake. We're talking about regulating an industry here, not just you and your company. Unfortunately, that usually has to be done to the lowest common denominator.


But whatever you think, I urge everyone to respond. And argue... ;)

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CTD I agree 100% with your point #4. I was merely repeating what I've been told before/during PPc's. They were supposed to watch, and judge my capabilities, and see if I met the minimum standards. They weren't there to instruct, merely to judge. I too have learned something from all of them during the flights. I've even asked them to show me their way, if it was different to what I had demonstrated. My point about the differences between TC and company rides came from my own experiences.


Point # 1, fair 'nuff, point conceded. :up:


Point #2, yes it is a recorded snapshot in time. So are training forms, and if there is a lawsuit, both (PPC, training form) would be entered as evidence. I have to sign any training form, so it in fact becomes a legal record. It may not carry the importance of a PPC form, but it is a look into how a person flies.


Point #3, well I won't put down what my opinion of the ICAO is. ;) Re-current training twice a year would be great. Maybe if we were all subsidised we could meet that standard. ;) I wouldn't have a problem if Canada moved to meet that standard. Yes it would mean increased training costs, but as southoftheborder mentions, how much does an accident cost. As far as the increased costs go, I have a novel suggestion. Pass it on to the customer. If it's good enough for the banks, insurance companies, heli manufacturers, car manufacturers, toy manufacturers, etc, it should be good enough for us !!!


Point #5 really doesn't have a legislated solution. If we give give the regs more "teeth", say, if you get caught cheating the system you lose your OC. You'd most likely end up punishing someone who might have made an honest mistake. Unfortunately, the cheaters will always work harder to find a way around the system. Too bad they don't rechannel that energy into doing things properly, might even be less work.


We as pilots have a vested interest in whether the regs are followed, and that we get the training mandated/required. It's our life, and livelihood at stake. If we allow operators to provide substandard training, or worse, none at all. Then we are as guilty as they are. Maybe more so, since it is our butts in the thing, not theirs.


Something to think about.




p.s. I'm not in favour of letting the PPC go.

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Some of you may not especially like my thoughts on this subject and you of course are entitled to your own opinion.


I have been flying for over fifty years and somewhere around thirty thousand hours without having an accident that damaged any aircraft or being convicted of any breach of the regulations.


Before we go past the Chief Pilot responsibilities we must ask a simple question, is the chief Pilot not responsible for the safe operation of all company aircraft?


Another question would be who is more qualified and more in the loop to determine the skills levels and the attitude of the company pilots?


Is it some TC Inspector that observes a performance in a structured enviorement ?


Or should it be the Chief Pilot who is responsibler for the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft owned by his company?


I have been a Chief Pilot for quite a few operations operating both fixed and rotary wing AC up to Airlines and took my responsibility very serious, if I found a pilot to be questionable I soon either fixed the short comings of the individual or they were terminated.


For those of you who use the argument that the unprofessional rule breaking companies will take advantage of any situation, what else is new, they have been doing this since commercial aviation started.


What would be wrong with enforcement of the regulations and flight safety being insured by the Chief Pilots backed up by the regulator?


As to the subject of dishonest untrustworthy people in the Industry, may I suggest that the regulator should look inward and clean out their own problem people within their own system?


Until the Regulator addresses the dishonest self serving individuals within their own system I see no reason for the industry to have any respect for any of them...


So those of you within the regulator who truly are there to behave with integrity and fairness may ponder on this.


And I do not want those of you who do care to take my thoughts as anything but constructive criticism with the intent to improve the industry...nothing personal meant....except of course to the ones who missuse their office within the regulator and the rule breaking scum in those companies that intimidate their employees to take chances and break the rules .


Chuck Ellsworth

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Well argued, Mr. G.


2. Your training record says you were trained. Your PPC says you met a standard. Big difference.


3. ICAO - yes I know what you mean, but they are the UN of the aviation industry. Seems to me that moving away from their standard and closer to the US model that we (rightly) mock is a step back.


5. Agree with you, but the level of oversight would be close to zero. The industry is simply not mature enough to oversee itself - we are so busy cutting each other's throats that I firmly believe that if something isn't legislated, it simply will not be done in many cases.


I agree with your approach on increased costs, and that starts with the customer being trained in the realities of the helicopter world. Personally, I have always found that customers are not quite as stupid as the marketing guys would have us believe. If the industry lobby would channel their energies toward customer education and high standards, instead of constantly harping at Transport Canada for 'costing them money', they'd be much further ahead.


Charles - "What would be wrong with enforcement of the regulations and flight safety being insured by the Chief Pilots backed up by the regulator?" That's what's happening now. What the regulator now wants is to get out of the business of oversight altogether.


Oversight is an interesting issue. Many disciplines have seen governments back away from oversight in the past, and allow these industries to police themselves - including some biggies like municipal water works, meat packers, nuclear plants, and electrical utilities. Funny thing is, it didn't work, and governments are now embarking on a hiring spree of meat inspectors, nuclear inspectors, water inspectors, following disasters or near-disasters in these fields.


Lack of oversight has been blamed in:


- The Ice Storm - poor maintenance of the grid meant the damage was far worse than it should have been.

- The Blackout of 2003 - same same.

- The Alaska Airlines MD83 crash

- Fuel storage site explosion at Chico California

- Swissair 111

- Bhopal

- The recent A-Star accident in Val d'Or (and in many other TSB reports

- Tissue donation deaths


and a host of others.


So why do we think it will work in aviation? Saying we don't need oversight in aviation because I am a good pilot and work for a good operator, is like saying we don't need police because I don't rob banks or speed in my car.

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I take isue with CTD's first point (great Vortex by the way!). Having over the past twenty years flown quite a few PPC's, I know I still get a tad nervous when faced with a PPC, and most of the experienced guys I fly with will admit the same thing.


I found early on to use this to my advantage. Invariably while flying in the bush, my skills may improve as the season progressed, but my knowledge and procedures would slowly wane, and the prospect of a PPC every year had me back hard in the books and striving to sharpen up my procedures. While the Chief Pilot may be responsible, he was often a good friend who I was quite relaxed with, who had a vested interest in keeping me operational (unfortunately the driving force in many ops) and hence did not carry the same weight as a TC inspector. The risk of having a TC inspector find some clink in my armour was enough to motivate me to study hard, and to fly as professionally as I could throughout the year so it wasn't too much of a stretch come my annual PPC.


While good pilots and good companies may have little to gain from an annual PPC, they also have very little to lose, whereas it does provide those less motivated with an incentive. I believe you'll see a lowering of the overall standard if the PPC is replaced.

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Please do not take my comments to mean that I do not understand the need for oversight in regulation.....


I would with all due respect suggest that I am one of the most firm beleivers in oversight of the rules of safety.....


What we must do in my opinion is form a more trusting relationship between the regulator and those in industry that also wish to oversee our own safety issues...


Maybe it would be better for the TC guys to drop the fixed calender times for PPC's and have the option for performing PPC' randomly and focused around the daily work patteren of the industry..... you know like the random route checks TC used to do with us when we were flying sched airline trips?


Where we mostly have problems is through the missunderstanding between the parties involved, if you have either fear of the other party or resentment caused by f.cked up oversite things slowly deterorate as misstrust grows.


I firmly believe the root problem in this industry has always been crooked dishonest operators who treat their employees like slaves with only one goal in mind, the maximizing of profit regardless of the quality and safety of the service being provided.


I will also point out that I personally have made the decision to get out of Aviation due to my beliefe that the whole system has been corrupted to a point that I no longer wish to be associated with it.


However that does not mean that I cannot at least take an interest in how it will evolve before I finally croak, hopefully things will improve before then.


Oh by the way, aircraft are aircraft and you need more stiff wing people here, they die just as fast then everything goes to **** because the envelope was pushed to far.


There...I am going to the airport to play with my toys...... I have a French Cri Cri that I am doing some work on right now... now there is a real airplane....


The very reverend Chas W.

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Back to my previous statements on this matter.


There is nothing wrong with the regulation per sa, it is strictly a matter of oversite and or call it enforcement, whatever.


TC has never been good or consitant on enforcement.


I say again if an operator was inspected by another party other than transport, to abide by his operations and MM's and this inspection consisted of a check list that included all re-current training for all personnel.


This inspection by third parties might cost a few bucks for the operator, but in the long run it woiuld be a much safer operation all around and the savings would come through lower insurance premiums.


This would also heve a tendancy to apply a more consitant interpretation of the regs across the country.


Everybody yaps about rates, if operators were charging what they should instead of undercutting one another this would not be problem.


As far as the end user complaining, I say the industry better get with this day and age and advise customers that in order to have up to date helicopeters, pilots experienced for the job, well paid, maintenance staff also well paid and depending on the operation rotated on aregular basis.


This rant good go on and on.


As for check rides on an annual basis, good for some, not required for others.


I think the Chief Pilot should go out on a regular basis and check people in the field, on an unannounced basis, that way you also get customer feed back, if you ask the right questions.


Don McDougall

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