“Cap’n 4 Bars,” the blogger behind the Airline-Command blog who is also an Airbus (A330 and A340) Training Captain with a major Airline in Asia, has posted an interesting series about visual approaches from primarily an airline perspective – and he makes some controversial statements about today’s pilots that are worth noting. Cap’n 4 Bars begins his series by saying in Part 1:
It has been given further impetus after various “incidents” concerning visual approaches in the airline environment have occurred. It was finally brought to the boil after I discussed visual approaches with various First Officers that I have flown with lately on line flights…many completely divergent to my view of a visual approach.
Cap’n 4 Bars concludes that visual approaches are not a threat and that he considers a visual approach to be “safer in most cases than ATC vectoring you all over the sky to intercept a localizer and glideslope.”
However and in Part II of his series, Cap’n 4 Bars takes his opinion one step further by saying that:
We are breeding a generation of pilots who can’t manually fly aircraft. They might be really good Play Station/Nintendo gamers and be able to operate the aircraft slickly using the aircraft’s automatics, FMGS and computers, but ask them to look out of a window and manually fly the aircraft and that’s where the threat, risk and compromised safety occurs.
He concludes that “we have a generation of passengers, not pilots” and that “we are the threat” – strong words coming from a training captain with a major airline!
In Part III of the series, Cap’n 4 Bars lists the things to consider before doing a visual approach and this includes requesting a visual approach, choosing your battles wisely, terrain separation, traffic separation, missed approach, stabilized approach criteria and airspace requirements.
However, its the strong words coming from Cap’n 4 Bars in Parts I and II that makes his series really interesting and worth reading. Hence and we ask our readers, what is your opinion about visual approaches? Are they a threat or not? Moreover, what do you think about Cap’n 4 Bars’ opinion about today’s pilots being “passengers” rather than pilots? We would love to hear your opinions!