Monday, October 24, 2005

AIRLINE (CO)PILOT

Firstly, I would like to apologize as this blog was suppose to come out on Monday, but I found out it did not load properly, therefore I had to redo the whole blog. Before anything else, this month has been a pretty relaxing one considering the amount of hours I've done. Today was suppose to be a standby day and one of those sit-at-home days. However, office called in the night before requiring me to operate a daily flight to Sibu and Tawau. Expecting some exciting moments today, I did get one on the way back from Sibu. As usual for this time of the year, Kinabalu was covered in huge CBs (thunderstorm clouds) and 3 aircrafts were already holding 15 miles north of Kinabalu. Being my sector, I decided to head to Kinabalu anyways to attempt an approach. One thing special about the Fokker 50 compared to the Jet Boys is that we come in at a lower approach speed therefore have a slightly longer decision time then the Jet Boys. Anyways, back to the situation. We eventually picked up a hold overhead Labuan Island as my Captain was also trying to decide if it was better to go to Labuan or not. Then, the situation changed giving us an opportunity to shoot and approach on the ILS, while the rest were still holding north of Kinabalu. We decided to go for it. It turn out to be not too bad as we could catch a glimpse of the approach lights from about 5-6 miles out. The full runway lights came into view about 1-2 miles to touchdown about 700ft. For those frequently flying into Europe, this is probably boring for them. Anyways, was pretty exciting and I expect more to come as the monsoon season is here!!

Okay, now here this! I've got a really good topic this week and would like you all, especially pilots, to give some feedback by posting a feedback at the end of this blog. The topic, as you could probably tell from the top, is Airline Co-pilot. As I've not been in the airline for long, I hope that maybe the more experience guys can give some feedback into this topic as well!

Let me start. We've been trained during our flying school days to fly and command our own aircraft. We did a lot of this during our single engine days and for some also during twin engine flying. However, when we get a job with the airline, we are relegated to Second-in-Command, which is also part of the learning chain to build up experience to be a Captain one day. During this long tenure as Second-in-Command (a.k.a. Co-Pilot/First Officer/Second Officer....etc) we fly with a lot of different Captains with different flying style and character. During my first year, I've had my fair share of these experience. Some are really particular about procedures, while at the other end of the stick you'll find those constantly flying like as if they we're in the movie Top Gun.

For a new co-pilot, it can be really confusing. Being used to following procedures and flying by the book, they might find it difficult at first to loosen up. I definately did! However, after months of line flying, you start to loosen up and expend your margin. This generally will dictate which type of co-pilot you will be. Will you fly with high standards always? Or will you second you Captain all the time he makes a decision? Personally, I feel that its better to be in between this two. For one, I can definately tell you that you will not survive if you fly by the book 24/7! The procedures laid out by the company are for guidance to draw a line on certain items on how to operate the aircraft safely. The logic simply is that if they want a person to fly by the book anytime and everytime, they might as well program a robot to fly the aircraft (not autopilot!). This will definately save an airline alot of money because pilots dont come cheap! Anything can happen while flying and sometimes you have to modify or deviate slightly from the standard procedures in the name of safety. At the other end, is the easy go lucky co-pilot, agreeing to the Captain's every move. Yes, you might gain popularity amongs the Captains, but one day you might get caught out and fine yourself in a situation where your Captain has made a mistake in his decision and therefore, by agreeing to it, you will also pay the price. It is good to determine a margin between these two category. Everyone has a different margin or tolerance/acceptance level. For example, I generally fly within the standard procedures, but i do allow for certain tolerance outside of these standard procedures, but not compromising on safety of the passengers, crew and aircraft. I find that this is a nice balance between the two categories.

So what about you? Do you have a margin or tolerance/acceptance level for yourself? Give me some feedback. Till next time. Happy Landings.

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01 September, 2007 19:06  
Blogger Capt. Anup Murthy said...

OK good article. I've been there before as well although I am back running GA ops now. However, the procedures are the same. I have flown with lots of guys on my left and right. Always know and accept that the PIC is the PIC (regardless of who is the PF and PNF for the sector). The SIC assists the PIC as you already do. In matters where both pilots are flying the critical stages of flight, proper and effective communicaiton is essential in allowing the PIC to make a proper decision. Many time we are looking at options and good opinions. If you think that a seriously bad mistake is being made, you must contest the same and must be able to briefly explain why you are dissenting. I thought your Airline would have a more explicit policy of handling such matters and this should have been a subject of CRM classes. Coping with multi-crew environment is a major lesson. All the best with your blogging and flying.

12 September, 2007 11:35  
Blogger JavalĂ­ Rubio said...

What a fantastic blog for people who love aviation!!! Congratulations!!!
Please visit a portuguese blog which shows aerial pictures from Portugal taken during my flights in Cessna, Piper, etc...:
Third Dimension - Aerial Photography from Portugal
Thanks a lot

13 June, 2010 17:32  
Blogger JetAviator7 said...

Love the photos. You should add a picture of a pilot wearing a great pair of Randolph Aviator sunglasses which are really cool@

24 July, 2014 22:27  

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