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
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.