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Paul Kiver

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About Paul Kiver

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  1. I work in Belfast for much of the year. There is widespread 'ignorance', and I use that word not in a pejorative sense, in NI about the new easyjet service to the Island. When I mention the easyjet service to my colleagues the response is 'oh, I didn't know about that'. Incredibly the same is true for the ferry service and as for the previous Citywing service, it was possibly the best kept secret ever because very few, even colleagues who are in the airline industry, didn't know it (had) existed! So if people in the airline industry never knew about the air links to the Island, what chance for the general population on Northern Ireland and encouraging them to come to the Island for a holiday break? I believe friends and relatives at either end of the route have cottoned on quickly and have welcomed the affordability of getting home, be it in NI or the Island, to see family on a more regular basis now that fares don't require a mortgage to afford as was the case under Eastern. But as for the rest of th epopulation, I've seen NO advertising over here promoting visits to the Island. As the previous poster asks, just what is the Tourist Department doing with its budget? And I concur with his observation, again gleaned from friends and colleagues in NI, that so many of them 'would love to visit the Island'. As for getting to and from NI on a regular basis, it has become a very long and expensive exercise for what is one of the shortest air routes in the UK.
  2. Perhaps the lamentable Eastern Airways service is worthy of another thread - however, for 'technical' read chronic crew shortage allied to much, much higher priority being given to other routes.
  3. Paul Kiver

    Petrol Prices

    I've just returned from a few days in NI to see the price here at Ballasalla down 1p since I left at the end of last week to 112.9p/l. Prices around Antrim are, on average, 105-8.9p/l but 99.9p/l at Tesco Antrim. Out of interest, does anyone know what was the price was when oil was last below $40/barrel? Edited to add: home heating oil < 30p/l 'over there'.
  4. I feel that as one who has had to make extensive use of the Ronaldsway met facility I have to speak up in its, and the metmens', support. I'll start by telling you a short story about met services and the RAF (don't all yawn at once) which also applied to the civilian aviation world but at an earlier date. When I was a lad, every flying staion in the RAF had its own met section that provided the specialised met information for the base and, quite often, other government agencies in the area and local media, too. The level of expertise in these met offices was huge. There was always a core of local guys and girls who had been there since the year dot and there were always the new forecasters learning their trade passing through. Take a look at the CVs of the TV weather presenters pre late 1990s and most of them will have done 'a tour' at a flying station somewhere. The local forecasters possessed encyclopaedic knowledge about all the quirks and foibles of the local weather. Alas, in the name of economy, the majority of airfield met offices were closed by the late 90s and a centralised forecasting system was introduced. This was able to provide 'big picture' forecasts but that local knowledge, for example, when the sea fog would pull back on the turning of the tide or when there would be turbulence due to terrain and certain wind direction, was lost. That same level of expertise and experience has been built up at Ronaldsway, too. The opportunity to go up to the met section (although since the new edifice has been erected I'm not sure how easy that is nowadays) and have a face-to-face briefing with the forecaster has been (for me) invaluable and has enabled many of the skippers to make good decisions about fuel loads and diversion plans when adverse weather has appeared in the forecasts. If your only contact with them is via Manx Radio then they may seem somewhat superfluous. Nevertheless, their forecasts that appear on the local airport or IOMGov internet are a darned sight more accurate than anything you'll pick from the Beeb or internet weather providers. For those of us whose working lives are intimately tied up in and around the weather the facility at Ronaldsway is invaluable and long may it continue.
  5. It's been a 4-ship of Hawks since at least 1991.
  6. Blade Runner - a complete myth for 99%. For the 1% it generally leads to a very complicated and expensive life thereafter. hboy - with certain airlines, you've got it in one. Perhaps mmp might clarify but a First Officer starting with flybe is on around £23K (?). By way of comparison, when I started with Manx in 1997, my salary was around £21K with no money 'up front' for training (it was a reducing 'bond' over 3 years which is still found in some of the more 'established' airlines) so you can see how salaries and general terms and conditions for the guys and girls at the pointy end have been squeezed/eroded.
  7. There has always been a flow of pilots from the RAF into the civil sector but even for the 'winged master race', breaking into the airlines, especially in the past few years of a very depressed recruiting market, has been difficult and the moreso under new EASA regulations, I believe. Harking back to the Manx days, I'd have said around 25% of the aircrew based here on the IOM were ex RAF. The means by which one gets into the airlines has changed drastically in the past 7 or 8 years or so, largely as BB suggests due to a glut of wannabee pilots chasing seats that the bean counters (who now run the airlines) realised were gullible and desperate enough to actually 'pay to fly'; that the right hand seat is actually another revenue stream. Many will argue it has been nothing short of a scam; others will have used the system and had some success. The traditional route of joing a small turboprop airline (eg Manx/BRAL or Brymon), gaining experience (and if you were in the right place at the right time even getting a command!) then 'graduating' onto the 'heavier metal' at Britannia (as was), Monarch or BMA and perhaps BA, is almost gone in the UK. The industry runs on seniority; I don't think there are parallels in any other profession where you (voluntarily) leave one employer from the top of the tree and start with another at the bottom. In medical terms it's like a consultant leaving hospital A and having to start at hospital B as a junior houseman. The flow from the right hand (co-pilot) to the left hand seat (captain) is pretty much determined by that dreaded seniority list. It is generally accepted that anyone joining BA after the age of 38 (the RAF's optional retirment point) will have to wait at least 12-15 years for a short-haul command and may probably never get a long-haul command. The same is true for most airlines at present because of the stagnation in the industry. No one is recruiting, no one is moving from their jobs at the top so those lower down the food chain go nowhere either vertically up the seniority list or sideways into another company. It is a vicious circle that has had a firm grip on the industry for the past 5 years especially here in Europe and the UK where, if anything, the industry has been contracting massively and opportunities to get onto the flightdeck become harder and harder to find - unless you're prepared to give easyjet another £35K!
  8. I think I'm pretty right in saying that 95% of the first officers (co-pilots) operating flights into and out of Ronaldsway are earning 2/3rds that of a baggage handler and even some captains would be pleased with a bus driver's wage.
  9. You're quite right; on Euromanx's London City route the RJ70 jet was burning around 2000kgs of fuel per hour compared to 900kgs on the Dash8. After a period in the late 90s/early 2000s when airlines were buying 50 seat jets eg the Embrear 145 as this was where they saw future, reality hit (read fuel costs) and the 50 seat jet market is now effectivley dead. Few new jets coming on the market now have less the 100 seats. Furthermore, the turboprop is coming back into vogue. ATR has record orders and there is talk of Saab re-entering the market with a new version of the Saab 2000, the model used by BA (Eastern) on the LCY route.
  10. No, the approach isn't less safe - it's perfectly safe; otherwise the CAA wouldn't allow it. The training is required for two main reasons. Firstly, the procedure for configuring the aircraft (gear, thrust, flap) is different going into LCY and that requires practise as it is 'non standard'. Secondly, the visual perspective of a 5.5 degree approach is significantly different from that of the normal ILS 3 degrees and so that needs getting used to. In turn, this requires a differing technique in thrust control and final round-out. Any pilot going into LCY for the first few times always comments how they feel they are 'hanging in their straps' and I'm sure many of you have felt a similar sensation whilst sat down the back. Qualification usually requires one session in the simulator and thereafter anything up to 12 live landings to earn the tick in the box. Most airlines make the landing at LCY a 'captains only' landing; the company involved in the above video allows co-pilots to land there and, clearly, with the exception of one or 2 incidents they've had at LCY, operate perfectly safely with landings from both seats on the flightdeck.
  11. If that's the 'arrival' I think it was, the aircraft was unflyable afterwards. A temporary hangar was erected on the waste ground across the dock from the airport. A barge was used to ferry the aircraft to it. If I recall it was under repair for at least 6 weeks. On the subject of modifications for steep approach, the Avro RJ does have a 'Steep Approach' button but this does nothing more than suppress certain GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) warnings that would otherwise be triggered by the nature of the approach. As long as the aircraft can stop in the available distance from a 5.5 degree approach then it should be able to cope with the City but it does have to be certified for the operation. There may also be avionics restrictions. The ARJ' autopilot is certified for 'steep approach'; the Dash 8's wasn't (although it did the job perfectly well).
  12. Right on the 'numbers' - who needs PAPIs?
  13. Just to add to MMP's comments, CAT 2 is a specified procedure with very strict procedures for the crew and technical specifications for the aircraft. It invariably merits its own dedicated section in the Ops Manual. CAT2 is trained in initial type conversion (simulator), initial line training (usually a set number of practise approaches) and is practised during recurrent sim checks every 6 months. Additionally, there is usually a company requirement to carry out a certain number of practise approaches (if you don't end up doing some real ones) between 6 monthly checks. The last aircraft I flew was CAT 3 AUTOLAND with a Decision Height of 50 feet so you certainly would have seen nothing on that one, floors4u. Monkey boy To a certain extent you are right. The commercial pressures are there for everyone and at every level and one only has to look at the likes of the Ryanair operation to see that BUT it is backed up with some of the best training in the business and (with few exceptions) safety is not compromised. The financial hit a small operator may take, paricularly if there are adverse contractural penalties with the leasing operator, if an aircraft has to divert and passengers transferred or put up overnight, is massive. in general, the larger the company the easier that hit can be taken. Unfortunately in the aviation industry (in general and I emphasise that) the smaller the company the less resources and experienced staff do, in the main, cost - hence they aren't employed. I think you would probably be surprised at just how little pilots at small, third level operations are paid. I'll leave MMP or Pete D to defend Flybe's reliablity v safety.
  14. Guzzi You'll see that I referred to Euromanx Mk1 which was a 'virtual airline' run along the same lines as Manx2. Euromanx Mk2, post Jan 2005 and for who I flew the RJ and Dash8, held its own AOC (albeit Austrian but there's another book), employed its own crew and trained its own crew (via a third party but I can assure you that the training was first class). I can also assure you that, certainly by early 2006, the airline was operating to the same standards as I had been used to in BA and Manx before that. Prior to that, the bedding in period was not pretty at times, I agree, but FTLs and other regulatory requirements were never contravened. Engineering, under the supervision of a former senior Manx/BA manager, was also spot on. As for the lemon, I recall that Denim was leased in by Euromanx Mk1.
  15. pppdrive madmanxpilot is absolutely correct in his description of the workings of, how shall I put it, a bona fide, autonomous airline. There are checks and balances at every level to prevent this kind of crash happening. Of course, some do slip throught the net but they are rare. I've banged on about this time and time again, but (with few exceptions) the 'bona fide' airline creates a culture in which safety is paramount and that is a direct result of the supervision, training and discipline of the crews. Although it shouldn't given the supposedly European standards, this is extremely difficult to achieve in a small, third-level operator. The time, possibly experience and, most tellingly, the money needed is simply not there in a commercial environment where most of these operators are barely surviving. There is nothing wrong with the 'virtual airline' concept per se if, for example, you were using an established operator to do your flying and it is surely right that the contracting airline has a duty of care when selecting the operator. However, in Manx2's case they have used obscure operators from all the obscure corners of Europe in the drive to keep costs at minimum and profit at a maximum. Like most things in life you get what you pay for. In aviation, there is no margin for cutting corners as this crash has shown. Additionally, pppdrive, I know of no other pure 'virtual airline' operation anywhere in Europe. With Euromanx Mk1 before them, this seems to be a uniquely Manx phenomenon. I'm happy to be told otherwise.
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