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Old 17th Nov 2019, 21:15
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Shropshire
Posts: 611
You raise an interesting point Crab, I've got a good many years in both MP and SP operations, helped set up a small MP offshore operation and later set up the first MP night HEMS operation in the UK. We developed both operations with similar training and procedures in the knowledge that the HEMS operating procedures would develop with experience. The introduction of the HEMS operation coincided with the recruitment of a number of pilots straight out of the military (mixture of ex SAR, Lynx, Apache etc.) and some civilian trained co-pilots; all went well and I went back to my day job. A few weeks later I was rostered to go and fly at the same base and since I avoid responsibility at all cost, I asked if I could be P2 but PF as I don't get 'hands on' very often. That was all sorted and some time later we were tasked on an incident - I didn't recognise the CRM or procedures! We completed the mission with me biting my tongue a few times but, I believe, totally safely. We happened to return to base just as the late crew and next day's visiting crew arrived, which resulted in an ideal opportunity for me to ask what was going on. It soon became obvious that each branch of the UK military and even different operations within the same service had a completely different concept of briefing, command, role of PF/PM etc. than we had established during training and written in the operations manuals! Because this was a new type and new operation and due to operational restrictions outside of my control, the unit operated 'constituted crews' i.e. the same commander consistently flew with the same co-pilot and in a surprisingly short time, the commanders reverted to type. I'm not saying any of the concepts were inherently wrong, just that was not how the civvy world MP operations have evolved, the discussion went on for some time time but was happily resolved in the end (I think!).

In the UK offshore world, the 'civilianisation' of military pilots tends to happen by osmosis, new pilots to offshore ops don't get a command (no matter what previous military experience they have) until they have flown at least one winter, during that time they will fly with most pilots within their base/fleet and 'generally' they will find every pilot doing things the same way, not because everyone spends their free time reading the operations manuals (obviously they do!!) but because from line training onwards, all but one or two 'individuals' will do things the same way! My initial briefing on MP courses now includes the following statement - "If an observer sitting behind a well performing MP crew doesn't know which seats the commander sits in, the observer should only be able to tell who is the PF and who is the PM, not which pilot is the commander (unless something out of the ordinary happens)"

Just my two bob's worth.

TeeS is offline