Culture and aviation safety

What few countries I have been in as compared to most of you guys/gals have been to, gave me a greater appreciation of USA, even with it’s warts and blemishes.

1 Like

Yes, that is understandable. When we sailors go to other countries’ ports it is like our own ports, not nice places for the most part. Tourists don’t go to commercial ports. There are few, if any, ports in the USA that represent the USA well. I was born in South Carolina but if all I knew of the place was the port in Charleston 30 years ago I would consider the place a shithole. Yet 5 miles away is one of the nicest cities in the world. I was fortunate enough to have enough time off in foreign ports to get out and explore the countryside and areas away from the ports. Unfortunately due to many factors that is an experience most mariners cannot have now.


How about the issue that young people are less skilled than previous young people?

IMHO it comes from the fact that all standards are lower so dumbasses get further up the tree than they did before.

Most degrees today are not a patch on ones issued 30 years ago.
Universities sell them as most govs have cut funding, what did they expect?
No more exams just submit papers - its big business for those that write them for the students.
I had an ex business partner in the UK that did them for business courses.

Even here in Singapore the Army now complains training National Servicemen as they say they are not 18 yrs olds any more they come to us like 12 year olds these days.

Back in the day, I did have a bit of time to go ashore and “Study” the local culture. Some nice areas away from the docks, and some not so nice. A good experience (Mostly Mexico and the Carribean) liked the food but not the neighborhoods. Guards with M16’s in front of banks did not impress me. USA rocks and rolls compared to that stuff people. Hopefully we don’t get to that point, it was sad to see, and a wake up call to appreciate what I have.

1 Like

I spent a couple of weeks in Honduras on a damaged container crane claim. . . .freaking wild west down there. . . .

Yes,it is. Was delivering leaded gas from Exxon Houston to Tela for a bit. The roads were something like “Night of the Iguana”

1 Like

You’re talking about “culture” definition 1a, this thread is using definition 1b.

Definition of culture

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time popular culture Southern culture

b : the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization a corporate culture focused on the bottom line

I don’t know about ALL and very obviously there is no genetic flaw in Asians that makes them unable to fly airplanes, but certain Asian countries and/or cultures are VERY well known in the flying community to produce below average pilots.

1 Like

I am a commercial pilot and on this subject you are - to put it mildly - full of what I pump out of my black water tank.
There are HUGE cultural/national differences in aircraft safety and average pilot ability. The way an American pilot makes to the cockpit of a major airline is a long process. One either gets training and experience in the military or does a variety of flying jobs to gain hours and experience. With very few exceptions, anyone making it to a major airline has been 100% dedicated to aviation for many years and has a good amount of experience in many aircraft and all kinds of weather.
Europeans either come to the USA to get this same experience, get similar experience in the EU, or sometimes go to a training academy run by their national airline that is both quite selective and quite good.
The rest of the world - not so much. Some countries do quite well and some do not. Here is a list of all the bad things you might find:

  1. Ab-initio training. This is almost unknown in the USA. It is certainly possible to train someone from scratch to fly for an airline, but unless the training is VERY VERY good, the pilots will not have the depth of experience a USA/EU pilot would have.
  2. The source of the pilots. Unlike a typical American, you might find connections and money get you or your kid into the airline training program without having the native skill and drive we expect here in the USA.
  3. Hierarchical culture. We have all been CRM’ed or BRM’ed or maybe both half to death here in the USA and EU. This is not really the case everywhere and especially not Asia. Deference to authority is very strong still and this causes the kinds of problems it did here decades ago when the captain’s word was LAW and NOT to be questioned.
  4. Outright corruption. Some pilots are flying on credentials that came from a wad of cash. Funny story from a buddy long ago out someplace in 3rd world. He said the local authority was big on efficiency, when you were ready to presented a form and some cash and walked out with a license. No time wasting tests needed LOL. Kind of like how Honduran merchant mariner credentials work if Max Hardberger is to be believed.
1 Like

so Asia full of new planes and pilots as over here as you can make a pilot faster than a LAME,so who is maintaining them?

And prior to doing so, building, tinkering, and driving machines like go carts and dirt bikes. Not strictly an American phenomenon but a common part of the fabric for many Americans when growing up, more so than in most other countries.

The fact that the US has the most extensive general aviation system in the world is definitely a factor. A kid who earns the money to pay for his flight instruction in a Cub or Cessna 150 by pumping gas at an FBO is already primed.

As a flight instructor at an FBO where some Thai pilots were sent for initial training, I can attest to the fact that their learning curve was much steeper than the average local students.

I had that at first with many female students. I was used to students who had been playing with engines since their parents yelled at them for taking the lawnmower apart instead of mowing the lawn :rofl:
I had to reset my expectations as to prior knowledge of what happens under the cowling. Now that is not as true, plenty of males in 2020 grew up with the car as a magic box that starts when you put the key in it and gets replaced when it doesn’t :roll_eyes:
Funny foreign student pilot story - heard while flying to Miami.
There was a “barely sort of speaks English on a good day” student who could not get out of the way of blocking the approach to West Palm. No matter what he was told to do, he would somehow circle back. This was how the problem got solved:
“Do you see the beach? Good. Follow that beach north UNTIL YOU CAN’T HEAR MY VOICE and do NOT EVER COME BACK”

1 Like

Those types would have entertained my flight instructor to no end. He taught me in the late 60’s but had taught WWII pilots, did crop dusting, charters, flew for Southern Airlines or whatever else would make some money. He taught me from private thru instrument. He even taught how to get out of spins which was not required. Getting into a spin took some effort but getting out took some knowledge. On cross country training he would reach down as it he were tying his shoe or pulling up his sock and turn off the fuel. Then he’d sit there looking out the window waiting to see if you set up for putting down at a place you were supposed to already have thought about and then wait until you figured out what the problem was, turned the fuel back on and went on your merry way. Panic was not tolerated. He’d let you lose quite a bit of altitude while you thought. Great teacher.

Let’s not forget the Dutch.

Before takeoff, the KLM flight engineer expressed his concern about the Pan Am not being clear of the runway by asking the pilots in his own cockpit, “Is he not clear, that Pan American?” The KLM captain emphatically replied “Oh, yes” and continued with the takeoff, snubbing the junior officer’s concern.

My dive master had a great saying he used when briefing new students. “Water is not your enemy. Panic is.”

1 Like

Reminds me of a saying my first chief told me which I adopted later. There only two things you need to know right now. The other knowledge will come with experience.
Rule 1. The salt water stays on the outside. Rule 2. Do not get excited because if you do only two things can happen and both are bad. You’ll either make a bad situation worse or hurt yourself. If you think violations of rules 1 or 2 are happening, call me and we’ll figure things out.

Perhaps this is more inline with part “B” . Was flying a small prop job out of Islip NY, sure they were American pilots. Revved up and started down the runway. Suddenly slowed down and turned off the tarmac, started banging on the console because they didn’t have some sort of light they needed. Cockpit was visible to the 8-12 passengers. Somehow they got the light needed and we took off after about 10-15 minutes. Was nervous the whole time. I guess all that banging solved it. We arrived safely. Was it culture, training, or knew the plane well? Or all of the above?

In my younger years thought about getting my pilots license. Fortunately I had the sense to realize I do too many stupid things on the ground to be a good pilot in the air.

I came to a similar conclusion.

It was poor maintenance and a poor decision to continue in my opinion. Maybe it was a loose connection maybe not. You got lucky.
People get lazy and complacent. I used to fly on a regular basis in the Caribbean on local airlines. Most of the pilots were either locals trying to build time or guys retired and making some money to live their “Caribbean Dream.” One I flew with on a regular basis was a retired Canadian pilot. Good pilot and nice guy but got lackadaisical about checking after his ground crew. His plane crashed and killed all onboard. The cause? The baggage compartment in the nose was not fastened correctly. Upon take off one or more pieces of baggage came out and were thrown by the prop against the passenger cabin. The plane was still flying and controllable but the passengers freaked out and ran to the back of the cabin putting the plane into a stall. It crashed against a mountain.