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Old 01-19-2016, 10:00 PM   #21
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Modern electronics including maneuvering systems are a great thing as long as they keep working. Chances are that most of these new boaties will hopefully learn at least some basic seamanship skills before the system fails if it ever does. Of course the chances of failures is becoming more and more remote with the improvement in modern electronics but I still think there is no substitute for learning good seamanship skills and maneuvering with the basics of a single or twin screws before being let loose in a bigish boat.

The same trend has happened in aviation. Reliance on very good electronics which 99.9 percent of the time do exactly what they are meant to, but when they fail or something goes wrong many pilots these days lack the basic manipulation skills to fly the aircraft which is pretty sad. You may think this is rare or an overstatement but it happens all to often, is a contributing factor in a high percentage of accidents these days and is only recently been acknowledged by some organizations.

Sorry a little thread drift there but my point was after all that is people need to learn and maintain proficiency in basic seamanship skills without becoming reliant on the modern electronic gadgets.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:11 PM   #22
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The same trend has happened in aviation. Reliance on very good electronics which 99.9 percent of the time do exactly what they are meant to, but when they fail or something goes wrong many pilots these days lack the basic manipulation skills to fly the aircraft which is pretty sad. You may think this is rare or an overstatement but it happens all to often, is a contributing factor in a high percentage of accidents these days and is only recently been acknowledged by some organizations.

Sorry a little thread drift.
Don't be sorry, that's an interesting drift and I hope others chime in on that topic.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:13 PM   #23
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Don't be sorry, that's an interesting drift and I hope others chime in on that topic.
In the industry I work in this has become a major, major concern. There have been several high-profile accidents recently that have been due to exactly this. Air France into the Atlantic, Asiana into the riprap in front of the runway at San Francisco, Air Asia into the Java Sea, all caused by the flight crews making some fundamental errors in physically controlling the airplane aka lack of flying skills.

The prediction is that this problem will become more and more commonplace as flight crews and airline flight departments focus more and more on systems management and less and less on actually flying the plane. It's an increasing irony that the very systems that have been created to make flying safer are also making it less safe.

This is one of the reasons behind the industry's increasing attention to fully automating commercial aircraft. The sooner the humans can be removed from the equation the safer things will become. It's a long, long, long ways off yet so don't get all preachy about how you'll never get on an automated airplane because the chances are most of the people on this forum will never have to. But the incentive to get there is getting stronger all the time. Just as it is with vehicles (GM just announced a huge investment into fully automated car and control systems development.) Remove the human and you remove human error.

The situation with vessels is no different. The main difference is that the consequences of mishandling a vessel are generally not quite so sudden and final as the consequences of mishandling an aircraft.

Relying on electronics is fine. These days they are extremely reliable and when one rolls in redundancy they can be made almost totally reliable. The use of electronics is not the problem. The problem in recreational boating, I think, is the increasing lack of understanding of what the electronics are actually doing and how to manage them.

Sure, there is the issue of what does a person do if the electronics fail? Can the boater fall back on more basic "manual" skills to navigate their vessel safely?

But the electronics themselves generate an even greater problem, I think. And that is that their ever-growing capabilities also make them ever-more complex.

I know how to fly a plane. The civilian ones, large or small, all fly for the same reasons using the same controls. I've flown our 777 full-motion simulator around for hours while our camera and effects team conducted tests for a specific video project. It was the first time I'd flown a 777, but it was no more difficult that flying the de Havilland Beaver I fly. I flew it totally manually and visually using only the most basic instrument displays. I went up, I went down, I flew around the mountains, I followed a river down between the trees, I buzzed a city and flew under a bridge. I had a great time. I came close to stalling it a few times because I didn't know the airspeed limitations, but when the stick shaker went off I knew how to avoid a complete stall and continue flying around just fine. I knew when I needed to add or remove power although I didn't know exactly how much. I simply added or took off power until I got the desired result.

But...... and here is the relevance to boating.... I had and still have no clue whatsoever how to program the 777 to do anything. The CDU, the control display unit on the aisle stand which is the interface between the flight crew and airplane's flight management system, is a complete mystery to me. It has layers and layers of menus with which one enters all manner of data for a flight, from the route to the approach to the plane's performance parameters based on fuel load, weight, etc., you name it, it's in there. Somewhere.

Flight crews spend hours and hours learning all this stuff and they use it on every flight and they have recurrent training requirements and so on.

Now think of the average boater. He or she has a boat with all the latest whiz-bang electronics--- totally integrated displays, radar, plotters, AIS, autopilot, and on and on and on, all of it very complex with layers and layers of menus. But..... they use their boat maybe four or five times a year on vacation. Or less. Or maybe more.

But they've had no training, only the time spent reading the instruction manuals. They learn how to program in a route to get from A to B via C. They can turn the radar on and watch the sweep and see the little dots that are targets. They can engage the autopilot and make the boat follow the route they've selected.

What happens when "something weird" happens? What happens if something changes along the way? What if they need to change the route partway along it, or move a waypoint. What happens if in poor visibility they suddenly need to know if that "dot" on the screen is going to hit them but they don't know how fast it's moving or what angle it's approaching them at or how far away it is?

Unless they have done their homework and know exactly how to find, select, display, enter or change the information they need, they're going to be shuffling through manuals. And under pressure is not when you want to be looking something up.

So to the OP's first post, I see two potential problems in the boating world. One, more and more boaters are not going to have the "manual" fall-back skills that will be needed if all the electricicals stop holding hands and the screens go blank or freeze up. The possibility is getting more remote, true, but never say never, right?

Two, and more dangerous than One I think, more and more boaters are going to be relying on increasingly sophisticated and complex electronics that they really don't understand or know very well to control their boats for them. When a situation demands a competent systems manager to avoid or solve a problem, they won't be one.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:46 PM   #24
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One thing Marin's post really points out is that, in my opinion, captaining a boat with today's electronics doesn't require less training, knowledge or ability. It requires different. I've seen 25-30 year captains who had no idea at all as to the capabilities of their most basic electronics. One shocked me in not knowing all the adjustments possible on his autopilot while he was complaining about it being too responsive. It took one minute to tell him what page of the manual to look at.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:48 PM   #25
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CMF,

Suggest you submit your post to a boating magazine. I think you are spot on with your thinking on this subject.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:54 PM   #26
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...all caused by the flight crews making some fundamental errors in physically controlling the airplane aka lack of flying skills.
So where does it fall apart?
Are the "flight schools" not teaching what you were taught?
Is it the same as not needing to learn math because we have devices that do it for us?
Are they put into the commercial seat too soon?
What is it?
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:06 AM   #27
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So where does it fall apart?
Are the "flight schools" not teaching what you were taught?
Is it the same as not needing to learn math because we have devices that do it for us?
Are they put into the commercial seat too soon?
What is it?
Toss one extra component into those above questions which all have merit. It's less expensive to hire inexperienced pilots than experienced. There are a lot of jobs not going to the most qualified but to the least expensive.
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:22 AM   #28
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1. So where does it fall apart?
2. Are the "flight schools" not teaching what you were taught?
3. Is it the same as not needing to learn math because we have devices that do it for us?
4. Are they put into the commercial seat too soon?

What is it?

I'll leave it to the site admin folks to leave this here or move it, but to answer your questions as best I can-----

1. Where it falls apart is, as usual, due to multiple factors. Learning to fly is very, very expensive today. Not that it was cheap when I learned, but even accounting for inflation and the changing value of the dollar, it's a very expensive thing to take on. So that eliminates a lot of potentially real good pilots right there.

So far as I know the old GI Bill method of becoming an airline pilot, under which the US government paid for 90 percent of one's flight training after one earned a Private license on their own is long, long gone. And the military, at least in this country, has made it more attractive for pilots to stay in the service with things like pay and other incentives. So the urge to get out and make some real money flying for an airline is not so strong anymore. So the old "join the military, learn to fly, get some experience, leave the military, and get your Private, get your Commercial, Instrument, ATP on the government's dime, and get a great job flying for an airline" no longer works today.

The demand worldwide for pilots is skyrocketing as the demand for air travel is skyrocketing. We currently roll out 42 new 737's a month. Or maybe it's 45 now. I know the target is about 60. The assembly time for a 737 was 11 days a number of years ago when I did the first music video highlighting the then-new 737 moving assembly line. I'm not sure what it is now but it's less. Our backlog for 737s comes to a point at the horizon it's so long. And the same is true of Airbus.

The "system" simply can't turn out pilots fast enough. Some airlines like Emirates have actually started flight training schools where they take students who know zip about flying a plane and take them all the way through to becoming a first officer on a 777, A330, or A380. We've filmed one of these classes at Emirates-- I recall on that day the lecture was about how temperature and pressure change with altitude. Very basic stuff. So even the airlines, or some of them, are taking steps on their own to ensure a continuing supply of pilots.

This varies all over the world, but the combination of a staggering demand and lowering qualification requirements simply to fill the flight decks has resulted in lowering experience requirements for flight crews. This is NOT a universal trend, but it's a growing one. The flight deck of the Asiana 777 that landed on the riprap at SFO had some fairly inexperienced folks on it. They were all qualified to be there but that doesn't ensure expertise.

The airlines themselves are making it less attractive to work for them. As with virtually all companies on the planet, the drive is to do more with less. The airline pilots on this forum can correct me, but it's my belief based on conversations with pilots that the days of high pay, great perks, and super-status are sort of gone outside of the senior folks who are grandfathered in.

2. I don't think it's the flight schools' fault. With the exception of GPS and a few other display systems and probably more sophisticated aerodynamic designs and construction materials and techniques the planes used for training today are not unlike the Piper Cherokee's and Cessna 150s that I learned in. There are more license categories than there use to be, particularly at the lower end of the recreational scale with reduced requirements. The reduced requirements bring with them increased restrictions, but this has little to do with the requirements for the airline folks.

3. Technology breeds technology. This is where aviation has, in my opinon, made the greates strides. Sure, we can tweak a wing design or an engine design and eke out a few more mpg from the thing. But the big strides in efficiency and productivity are being made in the airplane's systems.

For example we've developed an iPad app that wirelessly connects to the airplane's flight management system, compares what the airplane is actually doing in terms of performance and fuel burn to what the flight plan said it would do, and then lets the flight crew in real time change paramenters on the iPad to see if any of them will improve the performance and fuel burn. If they do, the crew can make the change in the airplane's flight management system itself or call up ATC and ask for a route, speed, or altitude change to match what their iPad showed them.

And this is just one tiny improvement in the sea of technology that's operating an airplane today.

In a nutshell, although there are existing pilots who might deny this, flight crews are more systems managers than airplane pilots today. Technology is where all the emphasis is, and as you can imagine this technology is mind-numbingly sophisticated and complex. The display and functionality of today's commercial aircraft is simply amazing. I see it all the time in the work I do at this company.

And don't let the TV commercials fool you: when it comes to a human being, there is no such thing as multi-tasking. The systems in today's airplanes can perfom a huge number of tasks simulataneously and this capability is being added to all the time. A human, on the other hand, can still do just one mental calculation at a time. We can do it pretty damn fast, but compared to the systems we are tasked with running these days, we''re working with brains that have the exact same wiring as the folks back in the Stone Age who watched a tree roll down a hill and said, "Hmm..... " You do the math and see how well we're keeping up with our own creations.

4. Hard to answer. In terms of managing the airplane's systems, probably not although probably so in some parts of the world. In terms of what we think of as experience in flying a plane, probably so. But just as in boating as reflected in the periodic "do we need paper charts anymore" threads, the emphasis in flying a plane is no longer on flying the plane. The things fly themselves..... 99 percent of the time. Punch some buttons, go to London. Punch the buttons again, go to Dubai.

And since the technology in combination with the redundancy is so bloody reliable, it's becoming less and less necessary to know all the subtleties of how to physically fly the plane. And since it's less and less necessary, from the standpoint of an airline that is trying maximize profit why spend the major bucks it takes to train people and give them the time in the right seat needed to build a ton of experience when there's no real need to? Training and experience are expensive. To somebody. In this case, the airline.

The damn planes are becoming automated anyway, so put the money into teaching the "pilots" how to operate the automation. That's where the return on investment is. Not in teaching them all that stick and rudder stuff that they will probably..... probably.... never need.

And it works. Until the time it doesn't. So the Air France plane hits the Atlantic, the Asiana plane hits the riprap, and the Air Asia plane hits the Java Sea. But.... that's three out of how many flights worldwide every day? Forgetting the value of human life, which seems to be easier every year, those are pretty good odds if one is in the business of carting passengers and freight around in the sky for profit.

But still, accidents are expensive with the lawsuits and bad publicity and whatnot. So it would be good to eliminate them as much as possible. So how do we do that? By training pilots to physically fly the planes better? That's way too expensive anymore. And 99 percent of the time it's totally unnecessary, right? So 99 percent of the time, you've spent that money for nothing.

Why do the planes crash? Generally because the pilots messed up. Either they simply didn't fly good when they should have or they responded incorrectly to an airplane problem and then they didn't fly good.

So what's the ultimate solution to eliminating the problem of pilots not flying good? Technology, right? Automate the planes. Get rid of humans trying to fly them at all, replace them with people who's entire being is focused on systems management and keeping the computers humming, and be done with it.

We did it with elevators, we're doing it with cars, we'll do it with airplanes. It's inevitable.
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Old 01-20-2016, 02:20 AM   #29
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Automation management and manual flying skills are a subject dear to my heart. I am a check and training airman with the airline I work for and I think the solution to the current reliance on and miss understanding of what automation is doing is simple and does not cost anymore than is presently spent by the airline.

I should qualify that statement by saying this is dependent on a pilot arriving at the airline with appropriate pre existing manual flying (manipulation) skills which is not always the case.

The two things in my humble opinion that need doing in aviation organizations and specifically airlines is to train their pilots to be able to physically fly the aircraft in any situation they are likely to encounter and to do it well. They must also be able to manage the automation they are using by understanding what it is telling them and using an appropriate level of that automation for the situation.

The second thing is for policy change within the airlines to not only allow for manual flight but mandate it to an appropriate minimum amount to keep the pilots manual flying skills to a proficient level.

Many organizations have already recognized the problem but some are surprisingly slow to do anything about it. American Airlines to their credit have long known about and trained for this very issue.

Sorry again for the thread drift and Marin thanks for a great post. I'd love to have a go of the 777 sim one day.

This is an excellent video from American Airlines training department and for those not aware of aviation terminology the "Magenta" in the title refers to some of the flight director steering prompts and other information displayed on the electronic flight instrument systems.

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Old 01-20-2016, 06:38 AM   #30
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Come on guys, everybody knows if one is buying a Sea Ray, not knowing what you are doing is a basic qualifying requirement. But I do believe they give a simple course in how to leave the maximum wake
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:19 AM   #31
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Come on guys, everybody knows if one is buying a Sea Ray, not knowing what you are doing is a basic qualifying requirement. But I do believe they give a simple course in how to leave the maximum wake
Ha! Good one.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:55 AM   #32
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But I do believe they give a simple course in how to leave the maximum wake
Way too painfully accurate. They always tend to have their eyes glued on their chart plotters as well, with little concern for the 13' whaler they pass within 10 yards.

I believe that when chart plotters became affordable for the average boater, the common courtesy on the water took a nose dive. Rather than using line of sight navigation and a compass (which is sufficient for the average excursion for 95% of Clorox bottle cruisers and forces the driver to keep their eyes out of the boat) boaters now focus on keeping the course line on their plotter lined up with that next waypoint and only deviate the absolute minimum to avoid anyone else. A contentious navigator will recognize when they are on a converging course with another boat a mile away and will alter course by half a degree or so and maintain a wide berth. The new breed of "captains" that have appeared over the last decade and half will come within 100 yards of an anchored boat fishing in the middle of an empty bay before making a 90 degree turn, sending a giant wake toward the previously peaceful vessel.

Rant over.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:18 PM   #33
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I don't know that the potential for difficulty maneuvering has been enough to deter people from buying boats in the past - and I don't think that the ease of maneuvering offered by joysticks is going to get a bunch of 22 year olds to plop down 250k+ for a sea ray and go terrorize the bay either. Might save a couple marriages though.

...cause he's dropping $250k on a McClaren instead!

http://globalnews.ca/news/2447804/me...north-america/

"For these drivers, dropping $200,000 on a new ride is no big deal, making Metro Vancouver the luxury and supercar capital of North America.

Just ask 20-year-old Max Yi, the proud new owner of an Aston Martin Rapide S.

I just want to buy it, Yi said. Its cool.

The $270,000 four-door sports car is not even Yis first luxury vehicle.

He got a Bentley before but it was crashed, said Yunhun Yao, who was riding shotgun in Yis Aston Martin. So he needed a car immediately and this car was in the same store where he bought the Bentley.


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Old 01-20-2016, 12:19 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Jetstream
This is an excellent video from American Airlines training department and for those not aware of aviation terminology the "Magenta" in the title refers to some of the flight director steering prompts and other information displayed on the electronic flight instrument systems.

What a great video Jetstream, thanks for putting it up.
Your perceived "drift" isn't one as your input easily transitions to boating. In fact I think, even though that video was done in 1997, it is a very appropriate entry demo, as more and more boaters climb aboard without the low level "manual control" training.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:43 AM   #35
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Are the "flight schools" not teaching what you were taught?

The Skools teach the minimum that is required . A normal T.O. cruise and landing.

The cost of training is so high that unusual situations (ooops were stalled , or inverted or upset ) can not be covered.

" They were all qualified to be there but that doesn't ensure expertise."

"So the old "join the military, learn to fly, get some experience, leave the military, and get your Private, get your Commercial, Instrument, ATP on the government's dime, and get a great job flying for an airline" no longer works today."

Sadly true , buy its only MONEY for education that stands in the way of a trained pilot and a multi fingered switch flicker .

The problem is understood and the new series of simulators can do unusual attitudes and more interesting flight situations.

They also realized approach to stall training was killing folks in a real stall, and have changed training procedures.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:36 AM   #36
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The cost of training is so high that unusual situations (ooops were stalled , or inverted or upset ) can not be covered.

Sadly true , buy its only MONEY for education that stands in the way of a trained pilot and a multi fingered switch flicker.
Does that shortfall carry over to other flight related areas as well? Materials, ITs, mechanics, test personnel?
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:23 AM   #37
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Slight thread drift... Regarding boaters slavishly following a chart or using their autopilots. Coming home on my boat after New Year's weekend, I encountered just three or four boats between Seattle and Edmonds. Two of them were on a 90-degree course and in each case we were on a collision course. In each case I was the stand-on vessel. I watched each time as the other boat got closer and closer. Each time I hailed the captain on VHF 16 and each captain answered. Both times they (reluctantly) changed course at the last minute to pass behind me.


We were in the middle of the Puget Sound! If they had been paying attention they could have shifted a couple of degrees ten minutes earlier and nothing interesting would have happened. This is why I ALWAYS have someone at the helm on the lookout. Had I gone to the galley to make a sandwich there could have been a very ugly collision. Two 50-foot boats running at 8 knots colliding at a 90-degree angle... ugh.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:05 PM   #38
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We were in the middle of the Puget Sound! If they had been paying attention they could have shifted a couple of degrees ten minutes earlier and nothing interesting would have happened. This is why I ALWAYS have someone at the helm on the lookout. Had I gone to the galley to make a sandwich there could have been a very ugly collision. Two 50-foot boats running at 8 knots colliding at a 90-degree angle... ugh.
You'll see a wide variation of boating skills, knowledge, attention, professionalism based on where you are as well. Growing up on a lake and living there until I was 41, I saw the least knowledgeable, least experienced. That's where you get all the go look at the pretty boat, buy it, get out on the water. Sometimes they're get an hour of education on their boat. Only one dealer in the area did any more.

Puget Sound, Biscayne Bay, Clear Lake, Long Island Sound just pop into my head as areas you might see anything and everything and will see a lot of inexperienced boaters with very little knowledge of what they're doing. Running the ICW you'll see far more than running outside. You'll encounter far more with their VHF off, not wanting to be disturbed by all the talking. Then there's the one a few weeks ago in a new boat who to his credit has his VHF on and was listening. Only problem was he didn't know what side port and starboard were. As he was running right in the middle of the ICW, I was asking which side he preferred us passing on. Oh, and for the wake issue. Ours wasn't going to disturb him as 30' to our side it was about 1' but he was going about 15 knots and his wake was about 3'. Didn't bother us, but I'm sure it bothered many others that day. I'm sure he thought by running slow he was doing a favor. Had he planed and run at cruise it would have been far less.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:16 PM   #39
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Interesting discussions going on here. Thanks, all, for your contributions.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:19 PM   #40
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You'll see a wide variation of boating skills, knowledge, attention, professionalism based on where you are as well.
Oh for sure!
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