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Old 28th Apr 2019, 23:14
  #4534 (permalink)  
737 Driver
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 217
Originally Posted by MurphyWasRight View Post
The report does state that the FO called trim runaway so he was not totally inert.
There is a saying in medicine that rare conditions are most likely to be diagnosed by bright interns or very experienced doctors. The intern does not have the experience to reject improble diagnoses while the very experienced are more likely to pick up on the "something does not fit" observations. From your description one would have to say the Captain was in the moderately (at best) experienced category.
I would have given a gold star to the First Officer if he had called for the trim cutout switches the first time MCAS took its 9-second, 37-spin journey toward oblivion. But yes, he did eventually see what the Captain did not, and that should be acknowledged. However, beside that one expression of independent thought and assertiveness, I pretty much see a First Officer doing what he is asked to do.

To be fair, it is entirely possible that more was being in said in the cockpit than what has been released in the transcript, though I would think any relevant comments would have been included. What strikes me most about the CVR transcript is not so much what is being said, but what is not.

There is obviously something wrong with the aircraft. The Captain is struggling to maintain control. I see little if any cross-talk about airspeeds, altitudes, power settings, etc. I see no discussion regarding non-normals. Other than the stab trim cutout call, I do not see the First Officer prompting the Captain in any meaningful way.

I do see a lot of (mostly unnecessary) communicating with and about ATC. Ever hear the phrase, "Aviate, navigate, communicate"? If you don't have the first item under control, then you don't have much business moving onto the third.

Part of every briefing I give at the beginning of a trip with a new FO (or one I have not flown with recently) is this statement: "Each and every leg of this trip I am absolutely guaranteed to screw up at least one thing. Please note that I say at least, and not only, one thing. Your job is to catch my mistakes, and my job is to catch yours."

I fly, I am human, humans err, therefore I err when I fly. QED. This is the foundational message of the crew concept. A good First Officer is more than a co-worker who flies the aircraft according to the airline's scripts and follows the direction of the Captain. A good First Officer not only knows their aircraft and procedures, but he/she is also assertive enough to speak up when the Captain is going off into the weeds. At every point that the Captain was doing something that was either inadvisable or ineffective, a good First Officer should have spoken up. In extreme cases of Captain befuddlement, a First Officer should say loudly and firmly "My Aircraft!" and do what needs to be done to save the ship. None of these things happened.

I haven't been too hard on the FO, because I don't really expect much from a 360-hour, three-month pilot. It is my personal opinion that this gentleman was simply put in a situation beyond his capacity to function effectively. Some people have suggested that I shouldn't be so biased against a low-time pilot. Well, if that's truly the case, then they probably won't like what I have to say about the FO's performance either.

Last edited by 737 Driver; 28th Apr 2019 at 23:54.
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