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Totally embarrassed by a commercial pilot...

Earlier this week I went to a lecture by a 737 captain on avionics.
The presenter was a senior pilot with 20K hours and 10 different type ratings (this was repeated several times during the presentation).
He was working in the test/ferry business. I was one of the few GA pilots in the audience.

When discussing NDB’s I told him I always use a GPS overlay when flying a NDB approach because of the inaccuracy of NDBs.
Then all hell broke loose: He started yelling at me that I should never do that and I was going to kill myself. I was put down as an irresponsible pilot.

WTF? In a polite way I tried to refute his rant: That I also use ADF and DME. And that I was trained to use all equipment on board and this includes the G1000 GPSes which are certified for IFR usage.
Then it became truly embarrassing: He started ranting on the G1000. That it is inaccurate, with an incomplete database and that the knobs were too little to operate in turbulence.

The audience loved it but I found it very embarrassing.

Cannot be sure of course but it sounds like he is one of those elderly people who have a problem to use new technologies. Most people are like that by nature and only some succeed to counteract it with age (and if he had 20k hours he was not in his twenties or thirties). So although it was probably an unpleasant situation, I would try not to put too much thought into it.

By the way, my IFI just retired at 60+ years but he is the exception that proves the rule: he always made me use overlayed approaches (except when training to use the NDB approach itself), loves all technology and pushes his students to use all equipment on board, just as you said.

Last Edited by Vladimir at 12 Nov 16:02
LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland


[Sarcastic voice:] Argue next time that when he buys an avionics suite out of his own pocket, whether he will be happy with a G1000 system, or if he wants to pay ~20x the price for a Honeywell, Thales or Rockwell Collins system. Knobsize matters ;-) !

Abeam the Flying Dream
EBKT, western Belgium, Belgium

+1 for 9M
Perhaps their – ahem – general climate makes Belgians good at sarcasm.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

You only made one mistake. You went to the wrong lecture.

Really, until today the daily business of airline flying and GA is so different than many times when you speak to airline pilots they have no idea what you’re talking about :-) Only the ones that are really interested in the new stuff have an idea what a G1000, Aspen or Avidyne Cockpit can really do.

PS: but the good ones are different. I once checked out a retired 747 Captain in the Club’s 172 and he was very humble and nice and said that he was impressed with what “these little planes can do today” and that he wished he had had some of that stuff in his 747 (older gen, of course)

Last Edited by Flyer59 at 12 Nov 16:28

I find the idea that the airline business would not use a GPS overly for a NDB approach preposterous, it is standard practice to use the FMC to fly the NDB approach as long as the approach is in the FMC database.

The proviso is that the ADF and DME raw data is displayed on the PFD/NFD.

How this differs from doing the same thing with the G1000 system simply escapes my comprehension!

You should not let him embarrass you. He should be the one embarrassed. And maybe that was what the nervous laughter in the audience was about?

People who feel the need to flash their hours, or their titles, or epaulettes, or ratings, or airplane do not deserve that you pay any attention to them especially if what they say is nonsense.


Licences, University Degrees, Government Officials does not make one right. Here in the US, I don’t waste my time talking to an FAA Inspector for a question as I usually know more than they do and I get two different answers from two different inspectors. Being a senior captain on an international air carrier carries no special knowledge about general aviation operations, after all they are spoon fed what they know from their company. You want to see a scary sight, check out a retired airline captain at a non towered airport.

KUZA, United States

The airline pilots I know fit into one of three categories: (1) fly all kind of airplanes and think of little else, (2) think of it as a job and would prefer to be golfing and (3) think of it as an opportunity to act superior and give lectures, sometimes making an idiot of themselves in the process. In order to maximize the benefit of exposure to airborne bus drivers, I think its best to interact mainly with category (1).

Often they regard you as somebody who has failed to become a professional pilot. For some reason a lot of airliners think that private pilots are wannabe airline pilots. I would tell them “I never liked the idea of somebody else telling me where to fly, always preferred to choose my own destinations”. That usually makes an impression

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