Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's worse than that, as I understand it a professional airline pilot can only remain type-certified in a single type rating at one time.

That means that if 737MAX requires a new type certification, then it requires in order to make business sense for airlines either (at a minimum) additional costly fragmentation of the airlines' employee pool, or more likely making plans to retire the fleet of planes that are classified under the prior "not as profitable body design" of type certification.

My source is hard to narrow down, I've been listening to the APG podcast show, where Captain Jeff (the not-as-good-looking Jeff) flies MD-80's for "Acme Airlines", I guess which is a major US legacy carrier who has been renamed to protect the innocent. It might have been something I heard here, or read online, and I am not a pilot, so willing to be called out by anyone who knows more than me, please feel free to chime right in here if you know different. I can't seem to find a source for this fact.

I think perhaps what I misunderstood might be, if there is no law or regulation that says you can't be type certified in multiple aircrafts at once, actually have to turn in your current type rating in order to get another one... (???)

... but that the practicality of maintaining multiple type ratings for a pilot makes it something basically so expensive or onerous as an Airline Transport Pilot, that it would be practically unheard of for someone to maintain two type rating certifications at once for any period of time. And it seems logical the same thus goes for airlines themselves. The Southwest brand of cheap flights was originally made possible by the fact that their entire fleet was made up of planes with just one type rating. The more type ratings that must be maintained, the less nimble and profitable the company will be.

It seems likely we're going to see more airlines going under as this story unfolds, either that or some kind of major bailouts. I don't even know if they make any insurance that covers this scope and scale of business catastrophe.




All of these things you point out about type ratings and maintaining currency etc etc miss the point.

The 737 MAX fleets will be big enough to justify the cost of maintaining a group of pilots that fly the MAX and a group that flies the 737NG. Just as they do now with multiple fleet types. If airlines were trying to just mix 30-40 of these in with the 737NG fleet the economics would break but when you’re talking a fleet of 100+ it starts working out. Of course it will end up making the economics worse than originally planned for but at this point what can you do? The A320NEO order book is filled for years so if you’re an airline CEO you’re stuck with the MAX.

As far as the airlines go none of them seem to be suffering significant financial damage yet. The pace of orders meant they were only going to have about 30-40 of these things by years end so they’re coping. It remains to be seen how it will affect them long term. DAL seems to have struck gold with the whole ordeal. As the only major US airline without the MAX they’ve increased capacity 2-3% more than planned and their recent Q2 shows it’s working out great.


> The A320NEO order book is filled for years so if you’re an airline CEO you’re stuck with the MAX.

I did not know this! Thanks for the added insight.


> It's worse than that, as I understand it a professional airline pilot can only remain type-certified in a single type rating at one time.

That's not my understanding: I think you can simultaneously be certified for multiple planes, however companies will only make you fly for one at a time, currently. My guess is that if the Max needs a new certification, it will create a whole new model given it is still really close to the NG (and basic 737, if they still fly), so it might be more convenient than risky (and costly) to allow pilots to be certified and fly on both, if really needed. Maybe this will not even be needed, because tons of companies use multiple types of aircraft already.


You can have as many type ratings as will fit on your certificate. Company policies limit pilots to one or two types at a time, depending on the company.


If it gets to this point, what is the probability that Airlines relax this policy?




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: