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  • 1. The $50 application fee has been eliminated.  Most major airlines charge an application fee (ours was the lowest) and we are the first to eliminate the fee.
  • 2. The uncorrected vision requirement (20/100) has been eliminated.  Vision requirement is now “correctable to 20/20” (FAA First Class Medical Standard).
  • 3. Candidates who are unsuccessful will only have to wait six months to reapply.
  • 4. Active duty military pilots can apply 12 months prior to their separation date.
  • 5. Letters of recommendation do not carry forward.  If an applicant is unsuccessful and applies for a second interview, or they let their application expire, new letters of recommendation must be submitted.
  • 6. The DC-10 pre-employment simulator evaluation has been eliminated.  We continue to evaluate flying skills in the interview process, and have moved the simulator evaluation to the probationary year.

Why have we eliminated the DC-10 evaluation?  This policy change has generated a lot ot interest, and we tried to provide a brief synopsis of our decision in the e-note sent to all pilots.  Here are some additional details that should help you better understand the reasons.  First of all, it is important to understand that we have not eliminated the evaluation of a candidate's flying skills.  In fact, we believe we will be doing a better job of evaluating these skills with the implementation of new procedures.  Our primary goal is to ensure we are hiring the safest, most qualified pilots with excellent flying skills.  In addition, we want pilots who have the right attitude and personality to be an asset to our team at United.

We determined that the simulator evaluation was not the most effective means of evaluating flying skills.  The simulator evaluation was a one-hour profile to assess basic scan skills.  Almost all candidates attended a very expensive outside prep service to prepare for this evaluation.  These prep services know the profiles for every major airline with a simulator evaluation, including United.  We determined that it would be better to make a reasonable determination based on all of their qualifications, including a heavy emphasis on quality and quantity of recent flying experience, and then add a new evaluation tool to the probationary year as another filter.  United is not alone in evaluating the benefits of a simulator evaluation.  Southwest, Delta, and Federal Express have stopped conducting a scan evaluation, and several others are considering a change.

So how do we know they're proficient?  First, we are looking for pilots with extensive recent flying experience and a very strong training and proficiency record.  If a candidate is flying 95 hours a month as a regional captain (often without an autopilot!) in a hub and spoke system, or flying 50 hours a month as a KC-135 Aircraft Commander, then there is a high likelihood that they can "scan" and will not have a training problem at United.  Recent flying experience is only one factor, but it is a significant one.  We are also going to assess their history of training difficulties, check ride failures, FAA or military involvement, etc.  Our background check includes but is not limited to information received under the Pilot Records Improvement Act.  Part of the interview includes a technical evaluation where we assess a candidate's preparation for the interview and knowledge of ATP standards and turbojet systems.  All of this information, along with your letters of recommendation and the results of the overall interview gives us a very accurate assessment of a candidate's potential.

Even though all of the information presented in the interview and background check might be positive, we still wanted another filter to evaluate a new pilot.  If the new hire successfully
completes transition training as a first officer, then we are confident they have had a very thorough evaluation.  If a new hire plans to stay in the second officer seat for their first year, we will add a three-day training/checking evaluation to their probationary PC.  This will include two days of training in the first officer seat, plus a maneuvers validation check.

Last but certainly not least, it is critical to remember that the final filter in any selection process is the line captain.  We depend on you to close the feedback loop on the quality of new hire pilots.  When you fly with a new hire, it would be very helpful to us if you would complete a probationary evaluation form.  If you have any concerns, please talk to your domicile Flight Operations (New Hire) Supervisor or Chief Pilot.  We meet regularly with the Chief Pilots and Flight Operations Supervisors as a quality check on the process.  Your input is critical. Thanks.