Cockpit Seeker

European petition against “Pay to fly”

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Paying to work is fine

It is! Baltic Aviation Academy (BAA), in the lucidity of its great wisdom, blessed us today with the ultimate knowledge.

Imagine for a second you're a professional pilot and your airline provides you with a horrendous bond program, this means you'd be forced to fly by getting paid for it... for years (dear lord, no!)!

Fear not, wage slave, for BAA found the way to give your "independence" [sic] back! To rid yourself of that mischievous "control" [sic] where your are "absolutely in their service" [sic] (oh my god)!
All you have to do is pay to work, and you will enter the realm of "luxury", a whole new world, "choosing the airline which you would love to work for and ability to focus on the job which will bring you everyday pleasure" [sic].

Luxury, love, pleasure... and unicorn kitties. All hail the new normal!


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The last hour in the sun

This is what it's like to become a pilot today.

"The last hour in the sun is a graduation documentary made by Suzanne Jansen in 2014.
In The last hour in the sun, director Suzanne Jansen portrays her brother Emile – a talented pilot – who has been looking for employment for over six years. Ever since the economic crisis, it has become very hard for graduated pilots to find a job in aviation. Left with a high student debt and rising costs, some of them are forced to give up on their dream. As is Emile. The last hour in the sun shows the origin of his passion.
Flying enchanted him, it was carefree. Just how different is that feeling, years later, now his pilot's license has expired and his student debt torments him - and our parents? A documentary about letting go of expectations and the ongoing exploration which comes next."

The DVD is available for a fee, funds gathered for the acquisition of the video will go partly to Emile.


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Job insecurity: SNPL press release

As we were there to defend young pilots' interests during the ECA conference on "atypical employment forms" (this 12-13 of february), before covering it ourself, here is the SNPL take on the ECA's conference. Goal, purpose, findings... the following is their angle on the event:

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Abusive copyright claim?

This one is for the record. Received today 4th of february, a copyright infringement notice dropped in our mailbox, where a NY based entity named "Believe Entertainment" claimed ownership of some of the material included in the French National public TV program on "pay to fly".

This injunction triggered the unavailability of said TV report on youtube, for both cockpitseeker and Stop "Pay to Fly" that also uploaded the video.

Restriction should be lifted this march 6th 2015



The article AEROSPACE granted us recently, delivered a precedent concerning actions that promote fair training-&-job access, where a mother induced new regulations in her country for around 40 professions. To the best of our knowledge, this is what happened.

Spearheading the initiative in 2009 (if not before), a website called FairPlane (now unreachable) was crafted by a Jane Desforges whose son, Ollie, was offered a place on a part-sponsored scheme with UK regional airline Flybe that left her with six weeks to find around £65,000.

By then, it dawned on her pilots were not formed unless strongly financially backed, ruling out potentially promising yet less endowed candidates. Without student recognition, cadets weren’t eligible for financial support from the Government (no possibilities to open a student bank account).

In 2009, in order to face the issue with Matthew Hancock, minister in the "Skills and Innovation" Department , she teamed up with MP David Laws (they both appear on the picture below -Mr Law 1st on the left) along with BALPA that, in June 2010, supported her campaign in their "The Log" quarterly release (see .pdf below).

By July 2010 an open letter (prepared in Nov. 2009) was shared so anyone could alert their MP (Member of Parliament). By september the same year, she presented a parent's view on the industry in a conference held in London before the RAeS (Royal Aeronautical Society) that resulted in a first publication later that month, where she was asked to join a workgroup to "look into ways of tackling the current problem of funding for student pilots".

Three months later (in Dec. 2010) , Lembit Öpik, then a MP, officially supported FairPlane's campaign (here below), after having already heard of it the year before, as reported in 2009 Flight Training News magazine issue of october (website out of service).

At some point, talks were also engaged with Simon Witts, former director of Flybe’s training academy (where Mrs Desforgers' son applied, as we said).

May 2011 is when the campaign was heard of again, with an emphasis on "pay to fly" in RAeS' second publication on the topic.

Announced by the BBC in June 2012 and covered again by Flight Training News in their Nov. 2012 issue, at long last, apprenticeship schemes in the UK came out.
Expected to have started in the first quarter of 2013, it took 5 years for Mrs Desforges to induce countrywide changes with those "higher apprenticeships" that were about to concern, not only airline pilots, but a total of up to 40 areas (including engineers, lawyers...).

With France also investigating the "apprenticeship" lead, it is worth underlying "pay to fly" is still alive and well, thank you very much.

Though undoubtedly this time, 38,000 European pilots sure are going to make a bigger difference than 1 person, or are we?

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Royal Aeronautical Society & Pay2Fly

As alluded to a few years ago, published by the Royal Aeronautical Society magazine formerly known as "Aerospace International" (AI - now called AEROSPACE) in the May 2011 edition, we wish to thank publicly the Editor in Chief, Tim Robinson, for the fair use of his in depth article on Pay to fly schemes, "Con air?".

Con: /kɒn/ late 19th century abbreviation of "confidence", as in "confidence trick".
To Persuade (someone) to do or believe something by lying/telling something false to them, usually so that that person will give you their money or possessions. To deprive of by deceit. To deceit, to trick, to extort, to scam, to defraud...

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Extract: COMETEC report

Following the ECA's position statement on "The Case for Fair Competition in Europe’s Aviation" highlighting serveral industry-related issues, the Technical Commission for the French National Pilot Union COMETEC (Commission Technique du SNPL France ALPA) finalized its #11 special report this 14th of January, shedding light (among other matters) on the atypical employment form known to us as "pay to fly".

Context-wise, the initiative behind this report emerged thanks to former SNPL President M. Yves Deshayes during the 4th of August meeting and official mandate followed the 2nd of September (as mentionned in one of the Union's publication).

The following is but an extract of the entire document.
For the full report, please visit, support and subscribe!

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Killing P2F: no glory

Profitant de ces vacances de fin d'année (bonne fêtes!), internet, lui, continue sa marche inéluctable...

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:10:45 +0000
Subject: Re: Servizio assistenza di YouTube

Cher/Chère Cockpit Seeker, Par la présente, nous vous informons que nous
avons reçu une réclamation pour atteinte à la vie privée émanant d'un tiers
et concernant votre contenu :
URL de la vidéo :
Les informations signalées comme portant atteinte à la vie privée ont été
enregistrées à la date suivante: 57_25 a 1_00_26, 12_04 a 13_54
Nous vous donnons la possibilité de supprimer ou de modifier les informations
confidentielles qui apparaissent dans le contenu qui nous a été signalé.
Vous disposez de 48 heures pour prendre les mesures qui s'imposent. Si vous
supprimez le contenu inapproprié du site dans les 48 heures, nous ne
donnerons pas suite à la réclamation. Dans le cas contraire, cette dernière
sera examinée par l'équipe YouTube et le contenu mis en cause pourra être
supprimé conformément à nos consignes en matière de confidentialité
( Si le contenu inapproprié
figure dans la vidéo, vous devrez peut-être supprimer cette dernière. Si
des informations confidentielles concernant un tiers, notamment son nom,
apparaissent dans le titre, la description ou les tags de votre vidéo, vous
pouvez les modifier à partir de la page "Mes vidéos", en cliquant ensuite
sur le bouton "Modifier" associé à la vidéo en question. Le fait de rendre
votre vidéo privée ne constitue pas une modification valable, car vous
pourrez la rendre à nouveau publique à tout moment. De même, il est
déconseillé d'apporter des modifications par le biais des annotations, ces
dernières pouvant être désactivées à tout moment. Nous prenons la sécurité
de nos utilisateurs très au sérieux et espérons que vous comprenez
l'importance du respect de la vie privée d'autrui. À l'avenir, lorsque vous
mettrez des vidéos en ligne, veillez à ne pas publier l'image d'un tiers ou
toute information confidentielle le concernant sans son consentement
préalable. Les informations confidentielles incluent, sans s'y limiter : le
numéro de sécurité sociale, le numéro de carte nationale d'identité, le
numéro de compte bancaire ou les coordonnées (adresse du domicile, adresse
e-mail, etc.)
. Pour plus d'informations, n'hésitez pas à consulter nos
consignes en matière de confidentialité sur la page

On remarquera l'objet du mail en italien.
La veille de ce mail, le 22 décembre, ladite vidéo (dont nous avions participé à l'élaboration) avait été copiée (nos sous-titres inclus) et re-uploadée sur Youtube, pub facebook à l'appui le même jour, sur un groupe dont les admins parlent italien, crée début du mois.

En aparté, le nom de domaine a été enregistré ce 16 décembre sur godaddy. On baisse sa garde un instant et c'est fini; les bonnes idées partent vite (je réserve quand même

Pilots from over Europe if you're reading this, this is not about glory, not about fame, it's about working together and getting the job done. LET'S STOP P2F.


AGEPAC: cartes sur table

  • "M. le Secrétaire d'État, auprès de la ministre de l'écologie [...], quelles mesures [entendez-vous] prendre pour résoudre [le] problème [de l'emploi pilote] et [vous] assurer que l'offre de formation est bien en adéquation avec les besoins dans ce secteur d'activité?"

C'est à la suite de cette question posée à l'Assemblée Nationale, publiée au JO (Journal Officiel) le 18 novembre dernier, par le député UMP Damien Meslot, maire de Belfort, pour l'instant sans réponse officielle, que l'AGEPAC (Association Générale des Elèves Pilotes de l'Aviation Civile) a pris les devants en publiant fin novembre ses "STATISTIQUES DES ELEVES PILOTES DE LIGNE, PROMOTIONS 2006 - 2011".

Cependant, dans un environnement où "on manquera de pilotes d'ici quelques années" (ou non d'ailleurs), la vraie question à traiter ne serait-elle pas:

  • "N'existe t'il pas des distorsions de concurrence entre les compagnies Européennes que nous pourrions gommer et qui piégeraient les pilotes hors de l'emplois?"

Qu'il nous soit permis de citer le fameux "rapport Grassineau" (de juillet 2012, commissionné par le ministre des transports de l'époque) qui proposait des réponses nationales mais resté confidentiel car... ne plaisant pas!


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Insight: Aviation industry

After 5 years, these words are more relevant than ever, and might echo for a long time in the future.

"We face remarquable challenges in our industry.

In order to ensure economic security and an uncompromising approach of passenger safety, management must work with labor to bargain in good faith. We must find collective solutions that adress the huge economic issues we face, and recruiting and retaining the experienced and highly skilled professionals that the industry requires and that passenger safety demands. But further, we must sustain and develop an evironment in every airline and every aviation organisation, a culture that balances the competing needs of accountability and learning.

We must create and maintain the trust that is the absolutely essential element of a successful and sustainable safety reporting system to detect and correct deficiencies before they lead to an accident. We must not let the economic and financial pressures detract from our focus on constantly improving our safety measures and engaging on ongoing and comprehensive training.
In aviation, the bottom line is that the single most important piece of safety equipment is an experienced well trained pilot.

_Captain "Sully" Sulenberger,

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