View Full Version : F/O 's job got lesser meaning !

28th May 2001, 19:16
Recently understood that at Martinair , co-pilots are not allowed to do all the normal PF duty's anymore.

Meaning :

They are not allowed to start engines anymore.
They are not allowed to taxi anymore.
They are not allowed to handle thrust levers at T/O anymore.
And finally , they're not allowed to fly non-precision approaches anymore.

Doesn't sound real challenging anymore does it ?

Question is : how is it at your company ?
Meaning : Is it as restricted as it is there ?

Never saw it before at my company's.

Grease Weasel
28th May 2001, 19:48
I'm not allowed to taxi unless with a training capt.
Can only set take-off thrust, then capt takes throttles.
Not allowed to start engines.
But if anyone tells me that I'm not capable of flying a non-precision approach I'll be really upset - what next, no landings at all? Are we supposed to learn how to do all of these things on our command course?

28th May 2001, 19:52
Better mention the car park at Manchester if you want to avoid the lock <g>...

Many airlines have the "captain only" taxi, reject and engine start policies. I remember years ago American Airlines paid extra to have their A-300-600's delivered without the right hand nosewheel steering tiller since their policy was that only the captain taxis the aircraft. Of course, American had a lot of other policies that were unique back in those days.

28th May 2001, 20:00
As far as I know all US majors operate the same way.

28th May 2001, 20:01
Understandable to some degree , Airbubba .
But how about the non precision approaches ?

And I remember KLM years ago : They paid more to put in the RH side tillers on their 737's.

Nice to now some policies on others isn't it?

28th May 2001, 20:08
First Officers trained to the same standard as captains. They can do the lot, including initiating and carrying out rejects. Some of the company aircraft only have single tiller, otherwise they taxi as well. That way, when you need a capable F.O., you have a better chance of finding that's what you've got.

28th May 2001, 20:24
All except for the non-prec app. in my co.

SOPs here - havenīt had an identity crisis because of it in the last 11 years...

Rusty A300
28th May 2001, 20:28
That's absolutely tragic! Send the management pilots off to South African Airways to see how it should be done. We have our own set of problems, but F/O's are PILOTS in this company and nobody challenges that. Our F/O's do everything the Captains do except wrinkle. But that's becaues, generally they're so much younger. Non precision approaches are always flown by the F/O since they're considered mandatory monitored approaches. That means the Captain does the landing after taking control at MDA. Monitored, precision approaches are treated the same. However, where these types of approaches are forseen, the F/O is usually given the choice as to which leg(s) he'd like to fly. That way each guy gets equal take-offs and landings where possible.

I feel so sorry for those hot-shot jockeys that need to undermine the best help they've ever been offered!!!

A and C
28th May 2001, 20:48
Who gives a dam about starting the engines i did it all the time as a flight engineer and now as an FO i cant ....big deal !.

As for the rest of the stuff we do it all except taxi as we are short of a tiller on the right side.

28th May 2001, 21:09
No throttle until after T/O, no engine start, no taxy, handover on ground around 60 kn after touch down....it is an insurance question in our company and I guess in most others as this reduces immense the costs...British beancounters will read this and off the tiller goes....
Actually this is practise in most companies all around the globe.
Ahh...another one from an Asian country where I worked as examiner, "First officers may be given a landing if weather permitts" (in capital letters on the IR-checkform...)

28th May 2001, 21:50
Watch this space - I believe the Tourists are going the same way.

Dan Winterland
28th May 2001, 23:17
My fleet trains the First Officers as potential Captains from the word go. The only things they don't do are double assymetric and flapless/slatless approaches. The philosophy extends to the commanders rarely over-riding a First Officer's decision unless necessary - and nearly all commanders on the fleet follow this.

The policy pays dividends when it comes to the First Officers swapping seats, and we have some people more to the left hand seat fairly rapidly. In one case recently, after two years and just over a thousand hours total time - and this on a 4 engine heavy jet!

And before any one points out this can't be the case, I would like to point out we don't need ATPLs in my company!!!!

Charles Glass
28th May 2001, 23:31
Come on Rusty.

A300's all but gone. On 73's, Captain starts and taxi's and you still have to spend 14 years in RHS, even after joining SAA with 3500 hours.

Does it really matter who starts and taxi's. I hear that SAA is also considering the "Captain's throttles" for take-off and possible aborts.

Positive Climb
29th May 2001, 01:55
In our company, FO's are positively encouraged to 'manage' their sectors as much as possible.


- FO's start engines (for capts sector & vice versa)

- FO's may taxi if tiller fitted

- Have control of the thrust levers for their T/O's. However, they may only reject for specifically briefed scenarios.

- may land in Cat I or better conditions

- have 2/3 of all aircraft x-wind limits

From their first sector, they are undoubtedly being trained for that transition to the left hand seat.

"After V1, we'll take the emergency into the air - You call 'Positive Climb' and I'll ask for the gear up. We'll climb away at V2 +15"

[This message has been edited by Positive Climb (edited 29 May 2001).]

29th May 2001, 02:30

In our company we get to do pretty much everything :) - except CAT II or worse landings and severe x-winds.

I have worked for companies where taxiing wasn't allowed from the RH seat http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif and transitioning to the LH seat felt a bit strange at first.

I have heard that some American FOs on domestic services aren't type-rated on the aircraft - maybe one of our cousins could enlighten us. Doesn't really bother me, but I guess some will think less of others for it. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif


http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif Underdog

Kaptin M
29th May 2001, 03:01
In four of the 5 airlines I've worked for, these:
* not allowed to start engines.
* not allowed to taxi.
* not allowed to handle thrust levers at T/O after take-off thrust has been set.
have been the norm. The exception was Singapore Airlines, where the F/O did the engine starts, and taxied the aircraft.

Additionally, in ALL companies, it was expected that the captain would take the role of PF should a non-normal situation arise.

No-one is saying that F/O's can't handle the non-normal events, however the guy in the lhs has theoretically (in the majority of cases) had more experience and practice than the first officer, and the ops manuals have to be written to take into account the "lowest common denominator" amongst the F/O's.

Dan Winterland, that sounds like a bit of a tall story - 1,000 hours tt with a command on a 4-engine heavy???!!!

15/15 flex
29th May 2001, 03:01

As it's your company, can I have a nice big pay rise please?! ;)

I do agree that the only way to ensure you have a competent FO when it comes to the crunch is to delegate responsibility from the off. How do you chaps run the sim? FO not allowed to action any emergencies? What if the Captain croaks, and said FO is now required to bring home the SLF. As mentioned, where do you teach all these "niceties", on the upgrade course?

15/15 flex
29th May 2001, 03:07

Not really. 2000 hrs tt, heavy 3-jet command, age 25. Next.....

[This message has been edited by 15/15 flex (edited 28 May 2001).]

29th May 2001, 04:59
On my fleet, we fly leg and leg about, with (almost) complete role reversal when the F/O is flying. They are restricted to Cat1 or better weather, 2/3 of the aircraft crosswind limit, and have a more limited number of items for which they may reject a take off.

A few items are Captain only, such as signing the Tech Log, signing the Loadsheet, making any other rejected take off decision, initiating a passenger evacuation and Cat2/3 Autolands.

Apart from that, when the F/O is flying, it’s their aircraft, with decisions rarely being over-ruled. Works well for the reasons posted by Dan Winterland, and indeed some of our F/Os were once (low hour) Captains with his airline.

(I thought someone would take the bait Dan, looks like it was the good Kaptin M! Let's try another!)

As for flapless and slatless landings, I’ve given lots of them away to F/Os ! :)

29th May 2001, 05:59
Personally, I blame the US for most of the restrictions placed on F/Os around the world.

Their philosophy of treating the guy in the RHS more as a Pilot's Assistant than an F/O starts life back at the factory - most European aircraft manufacturers fit tillers on the right, US ones don't. (see posts from Airbubba & E.Morse for proof) By the time this philosophy has reached the line, the F/O may as well consider his presence as just a legal requirement.

Kaptin M, surely in a non-normal situation it would be best for the Captain to hand control of the aircraft to the F/O, thereby freeing up capacity to effectively maintain a position of 'Command & Control' ie. briefing the cabin crew, passengers, assessing alternates if required, liasing with ATC & Company Ops, and much more, without having to think about flying the aircraft.

Yes, I definitely blame the US.

Kaptin M
29th May 2001, 07:00
RAFAT, these are the standards laid down by companies I have worked for, and IF I don't follow them at the designated times, then MY neck will be on the chopping block. However, I'm sure you would agree that it would be looked upon with much interest, if a company were to recommend (that) the lesser experienced pilot be given the responsibilty for controlling it, in a non-normal situation!

As far as flying the aircraft (or monitoring the auto pilot) and undertaking other responsibilities, the terms "delegate" and "chew gum and walk" come to mind.

There can only be ONE commander on the flight deck - even though you might sometimes have two captains flying together - something that the F/O's of today will appreciate, when they become the captains of tomorrow.

Old King Coal
29th May 2001, 09:44
Kaptin M, w.r.t. Dan Winterland, that sounds like a bit of a tall story - 1,000 hours tt with a command on a 4-engine heavy???!!!, tis' true I tell you (check the hint DanW gave on ATPL's not being required) his company being the RAF.

29th May 2001, 14:41
It is true about American First Officers not being typerated, I flew Electras with A + C on a U.S. operating certificate and in the right seat we didnot hold a type rating, the
Captain and Flight Engineer were both appropriatly rated. I believe that taken to the extreme the F.O. is "qualified" after 5 unassisted take offs and landings. The company on whose certificate we flew provided considerably more training than that.

29th May 2001, 16:33
I agree that if Company SOPs dictate the Captain takes control in non-normal situations, then that is what should happen in that Company, but that does not mean this is right.

I still think that for the Captain to maintain an accurate Command & Control position, ie. gathering information, assessing the situation and deciding the correct course of action, he should not be wasting a large chunk of his valuable capacity flying the aircraft as well.

30th May 2001, 00:32
Just reading the above and I am split with thoughts. Coming from the superyacht industry, as FO I am trained and encouraged to perform all aspects of the Capts role, as a FO's role is full backup and capable duplication in case of incapacitation on the part of the Capt. It is not only sense but a requirement. As with your professional field (I only fly for pleasure and leisure) how can the FO ever get the real scenario exposure ready for his own probable Command if he or she is never given ample support from the Skipper and SOP? I can understand the high commercial pressures for cost control of insurance premiums etc.. but I would rather be in the left seat knowing that the guy or gal in the right seat is fully competant and confident to carry out all procedures, whether starts, taxi, throttles, rejects and approach to land as a matter of course rather than if its CAVOK wind calm and an extra 5,000 of skid strip just in the FO has a brain fart. Encourage rather than depower your future skipper eh?

Kaptin M
30th May 2001, 01:07
Remember that the sops are written to cover the lowest common denominator, ie. a newly checked out skipper teamed up with a brand new F/O. Now although probably most companies strive to avoid this pairing, rostering is also subject to human error (god knows - they stuff mine up about every second month).

It's not a slight on the position of First Officer, but something written into the OM's to cover EVERYBODY's backside. One possible solution would be to have a "graded" system for first officers, whereby the guy who has been on the same type within the company for say 3 years, is allowed to operate to a more advanced level than Johnny Newshoes, who has only been checked out for a few months.

Think about it yourselves gents, I'm sure there are individuals you can think of, who have more than the average number of "off" days when flying - and I'm not just referring to F/O's!

30th May 2001, 02:11
Wake up guys---
The Captain is THE designated Commander of the aircraft and the F/O is subordinate, IE: second in command. Hello, do we now comprendo "second"? The CAA says so, FAA says so, who are you so called "captain qualified effos" to say that they are wrong? The Captain signs the dispatch release, the loadsheet and is DESIGNATED by the company as "in charge". Why is this NOT so hard to understand? If these effos have difficulity understanding this simple fact, then their return to ground school is the only option.
Or termination.

30th May 2001, 02:36
Once again, another supreme piece of wisdom from 411A or whatever.

Is there a subject he does not feel qualified to comment on?

In the company I work for the F/O of today is seen as the Capt of tomorrow. The type rating appears on his licence. He operates his sector as P1. Engine start, taxy and thrust lever handling are seen as basic skills to be practised on every handling sector.

Got a problem with that?

30th May 2001, 02:45
Interesting philosophy 411a, although entirely irrelevant, as nobody has questioned the command of the captain as far as I can see.
In my company we have the 'role-reversal' philosophy, and it works well. The FO makes the decisions on his sector, and the captain gives a diplomatic prompt where required. We also have the monitored approach, so in general, during a non normal the FO would carry out the approach for the captain to land. It lets the captain worry about other things while the FO does the flying. It would seem odd any other way to me. What would the FO do if the captain was doing everything? Nice waste of resources.
As far as 'grading' FO's goes, seems complicated and you don't have to be inexperienced to be c**p. How about grading captains as well? The best way round that issue is to make sure your flightcrew are trained to adequate requirements.I think in most companies the ops manual is the minimum requirements which everyone must meet, not the minimum requirements defined by the worst pilots.

30th May 2001, 02:55
I would NEVER want to fly with a new captain whose only previous flying experience was sitting in the RHS doing exactly what he was told exactly when he was told to do it. You MUST have good hands on experience and the ability to make a decision (true P.1 U/S)without having to be second guessed before you should be eligible for command!

Rant over for now ..............

30th May 2001, 03:44
I can see that many of you have been F/Oīs for long time.

Do not forget that in the end of the the day you will end up as Capt.

And when you are faced with the responsability to become a captain on the ship you will chance your mind on this issue.

Letīs say you are coming from a 13 hours flight leg and you are responsible for the flight of very tired crew. Would you want to have to answer for the situation that the F/O was to tired to taxi the aircraft so we for that reason did not exacly hit the gate as ment to be.

Not saying that F/Oīs can not taxi the aircraft, but it has all to do with, who is responsible in the end of the day if somthing goīs wrong....

I think it is bad enough to fail on your own, but failing for somone else is worse.


30th May 2001, 05:17
Grading Captains? Why yes, it is done all the time....usually called annual line checks (not to be confused with two sim checks per year). And, for the upgrading F/O's, the command course is always used (or should be) for the intended purpose, upgrading to Command. New guys have to jump thru the required hoops, failure to do so results in a return to the RHS. Once they assume command, plenty of time for engine starting, taxi, throttle handling on takeoff, etc. Then they will have to put up with obstinate F/O's who think that they know better.

As this a comment forum, I offered my opinion, like it or not. Some may agree, some may not, their option. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/tongue.gif

[This message has been edited by 411A (edited 30 May 2001).]

30th May 2001, 13:32
Someone asked how it is on the other side of the pond....

Northwest,(whom I fly for),and all major carriers as well as most regionals regard new-hire pilots as "capt's in training". There is really no distinction in the flightdeck between the Capt. and F/O (effo for 411A) except the obvious one that the Capt. is ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the flight.

We swap legs and serve as either the Pilot-Not-Flying or Pilot Flying. When acting as the Pilot-Flying we call for the appropiate checklists and fly the airplane as we see fit; but we fly within the guidlines specified in our Flight Operations manuals. That way there are no surprises.

There are a few exceptions like CAT2/CAT3 landings but we always fly these app's so the Capt. can be looking outside before he/she lands. I prefer the autoland feature. As far as taxiing the aircraft--We are allowed to do it but who wants it?! We also tend to fly all the way to landing during emergencies if we happened to be the PF at the time the emergency occurred.

The Capt. always has the authority to designate who is going to do what, but thankfully there are VERY few out there that feel it incumbent upon themselves to run the WHOLE show.

Harry Wragg
30th May 2001, 18:06
In an ideal world I would hope that the Captain did walk round, cockpit setup, engine start, taxiing, handling duties and non-handling duties in both normal and emergency situations and put his/her ass on the line by signing for eveything.....that way I can get on with mingling with the hosties whilst reading the paper and enjoying my crew meal in the first class cabin.

I think the Captain should do everything, they get paid enough!!

Harmonious Harry

30th May 2001, 19:10
First of all, I must apologise profusely for being a wannabe.

Secondly, what happens if the capt. snuffs it for real and the FO has to land the plane and bring it to a safe controlled halt but the airline have not given him the luxury of a tiller?

Thirdly, Is it fair to conclude from all this that there are newly qualified American captains with no hands-on flying experience since the ink dried on their ATPL 10 years previously?

A concerned and slightly disillusioned Pie.

30th May 2001, 20:13

I think you missed the point...

F/O's for all major carriers over here have to perform to the same exact standards that Capt's do during initial and recurrent training; including decision-making abilities.

Rest assured that if a Capt. croaked while in flight, you would hear the F/O say, "Get this fat, dead bastard out of my seat!" followed by an uneventful landing at the nearest airport.

P.S. Yes it is possible to land and stop without the aid of a tiller....

30th May 2001, 20:46

I appreciate that that's how it should be, and it sounds like your outfit has got it right, but the theme of this thread seems to be the fact that some airlines seem to think otherwise. If this is the case, then how are FO's supposed to acquire the experience necessary to slide comfortably into the left hand seat after a few years of 'watching the other bloke do it'?


You splitter
30th May 2001, 21:13

In my time I've met some very small cockpits, very large Captains, and some very slender Hosties. I was just trying to imagine all three of those negotiating the first officer into the LHS!

Seriously though. If you did have to land the a/c due captain incapacitation and did not have tiller then Ok, you could land and stop the a/c safely. However how do you get the thing clear of the runway and over to the terminal. The rudders wont provide that sort of manouver. And one would have thought if medical assistance is required then the quickest way would be to park the thing near the terminal!

30th May 2001, 21:16
Just why would your experience in "starting engines" and "taxiing" make you more comfortable in the LHS??

That has absolutely nothing to do with being a "commander".
Some mechanics are allowed to start engines and taxi around - Does that qualify them for being CPs?
The CP is ALWAYS the last to decide.
If heīs smart heīll ask you for your opinion or ideas and tell you what he thinks, and heīll let you plan and fly your approaches, but in the end he has the FINAL word, be it only for LEGAL reasons.

Looking how the "good" CPs do it, and trying to put yourself in their shoes, will get you further, than driving the plane around some congested airport.

And the CP wants to fly ALL sectors - so what!! Iīll ask him why, support him the best I can, but I definitely wonīt argue about it.

Please get over it.
Cīmon guys itīs summer, think about things a little more important, such as driving to the beach - in a car.

31st May 2001, 02:30
Blue ice,

At the end of a long sector, if I was too tired to taxi or do anything else for that matter, I'd say so. I would expect a responsible Captain to do the same.

If 411A (superflyguy, move aside I'm in charge!) happened to be the Captain, God help us all!!!

stator vane
31st May 2001, 13:31
have been reading this thread for a while and would like to put a few words in and hope that i won't get shot down.

was in the right seat for 2618.3 hours in a DHC/6-200 Twin otter, back seat Hercules for 1044.9 hours, right seat Herc for 1224.2 hours, then right seat B737-200/300/400 for 1902.5 hours and now left seat B737-200/300/400/500 for 4512.0 and won't bore you with the 1119.0 hours in singles and light twins.

(not bragging at all, but simply have seen many ask others "how many hours do you have?" not that the hours and intelligent use of it's experience always match)

i really don't think i have been overly arrogant, but I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED MYSELF AS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON ON THE AIRCRAFT.

as an engineer i preflighted the aircraft as if the entire flight depended on me. i provided the foundation upon which the flight crew build the rest of the flight. if i gave them a faulty foundation, the entire structure could come crashing down. i also was in a good position to monitor both pilots and was the human instrument comparator. learned a lot by watching how different people worked together in different ways in different situations. could see myself as Captain Kirk or Picard in the back seat of the Starship. "Make it so, Mr. Sulu"

up in the right seat, i then realized i was there to back up the Captain and the engineer! and now that i had access to the flight controls could do even more to help the final outcome.

then to the right seat of the Boing-boing.
(i remember my first rotation in the real airplane! after some much time in the Heavy controlled Herc, when i pulled back on the yoke of the B737-200 i scared the **** out of that poor captain!)

then eventually after ****ing up the logbook so many times, they decided it was better to put me in the left seat and here i sit.

i have saved others' bacon a few times and others have saved my bacon a few times. i have dropped the ball a few times and have caught it for others a few.

i have had people in the left seat with much less experience than myself and have had people in the right seat with much more experience than myself. i've had cabin crew that knew more about the current situation than i did. i've had passengers tell me things i needed to know. i've had ATC and ground crew and tug drivers give me the save.

i've had "Hitler"'s in the left and "Hitler"'s in the right and in the cabin and passenger seats and on ATC.

i've had "inflatable seat warmers" in the left and in the right and cabin and above and below.

we all seem to play the various parts from time to time.

my present view now is that in many ways the right seat is the hardest job on the aircraft. usually they are young enough to be alert while the captain has been too long at the high cabin altitudes and yet he or she has to defer to his/her impaired authority.

and yet, when all are tarred and feathered after a long day, the last thing i want to do is let the first officer botch up a landing or takeoff and me take the flame for it in the office.

as a first officer, when the captain would ask me which legs i wanted to fly, i would say, "ALL OF THEM!"

and now when i ask the first officers, (and this is when weather or airport are not restrictive) most say, "It's up to you." "yes, i know that, but i am asking you if you have any preferences."
most still come back with "it's up to you."
some ask me what my preference is. it is still, "ALL OF THEM!" and until you get in the left seat, you will never imagine the surprize that comes when you have given the F/O the flight and it goes bad FAST! there is a fine line between being the nagging captain, and then the one that has to take it in the last second after letting the F/O learn for him/herself that his method will not work.

for just one example; it is amazing how differently F/O's flare! there a a few who wait until the last second and he/she ends up doing better than i ever could. but there are also those who wait until the last second and do it worse than i have done in a long long time. as the captain, it is like being in Las Vegas in a high stakes gamble.

and i only use the "he/she" in that order since i have flown with the fairer sex much less than with the males.

my hats off to anyone; male or female who do their job well and work together as a team regardless of their position in flight or on the ground.

at times it is hard work to to ANY job GOOD!

so in summary;


and at the same time,

i view the F/O, cabin crew, passengers, ATC and the tug drivers AS EVERY BIT AS IMPORTANT AS I AM in doing their job.

tillers and starting engines come and go.

as to the title of the thread-

your job as a first officer depends more upon YOUR view of it than that hypoxic captain's opinion or the desk-driver's opinion that make the little rules that vary over the years.

cheers to all.

a bad day flying is better than the best day fishing!

and i have so many hours of "raw data" and hand flying the aircraft that i have concluded that the equipment is put in the aircraft for a good reason. so i use it as much as possible. and have discovered that i can still hand fly and raw data when the need arises.

and have discovered that it takes more brain power to operate the auto-**** properly in the rapidly changing ca-ca that we are given in these busy weather and traffic-filled skies that we must go through.

31st May 2001, 14:27
Nice post Stator !

What do you think of not letting your F/O fly any non-precision approach ?

As ruled by the company that is !

I think it is a take-away-experience-thing.
I remember in my F/O days i sure liked to maintain all experience-fly-levels.

Lets focus on that i.s.o. the starting / taxi / TO thrust setting.

(How does your companies prescribe the flying for F/O's on non-ils-approaches)

In my company F/O's are simply allowed and it is up to us to let them.

Cheers !

31st May 2001, 14:41
Here, here Stator vane.

I'd like to be in your RHS, even though I'm in the LHS at the monent.

I'm an inexperienced capt on the -8 at the moment, and fly with CAP 509's, and self-improvers all an equal basis, I f**k up, they F**k up but as we have 2 bodies(at least) up front we HELP each other out (diplomatically). Having just come from the RHS I have to admit it is a lot harder to offer the right course of action to a Capt. (that is, before bitching betty does!! Whoop, Whoop, Pull up, etc)

Personnally I inform FO's with whom I haven't flown with before, that I expect them to pull me up if I f**k otherwise we'll just be flying the SLF to the scene of the accident!

stator vane
31st May 2001, 16:12
after pulling out my company's FOM out of my bag and killing the grey haired spiders that were hanging on by their weak little legs,

i find that the latest set of revisions that i put in say;
"captain is PF when: takeoff rwy is less than 400m"
pretty G...damn short runway in my estimation!
" http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/redface.gifperating at airports categorized 'C' or short field"
":category 2/3a approach"

low visibility approach recommended procedures:

non precision approach. the PF shall be F/O. use of auto pilot is recommended till leaving the MDA or RWY in sight.
precision approach: both pilots are allowed. the use of F/D and A/P is recommended. when RVR or vis below 800M auto approach is compulsory.
Cat 2 is always captain.

and as of jan 20th, 2000 the captain will handle thrust levers during takeoff.

this last bit did confuse me a bit. here we are at takeoff. F/O has flight controls including the rudders. the captain has the thrust levers. i have seen enough engines that acted like they were in different time zones and felt quite clumsy hoping that F/O would be quick on the rudders. and after a few times of sitting there waiting for the F/O to set takeoff thrust and the F/O (who read the book before i did) waiting for me to set takeoff thrust, we soon learned to play the game a new way.

(and though not proper to tell you which airline we are with, our 737's have a slightly red tint to them and are english owned/ belgian certified.)

before that last change, i did see enough F/O's stand the thrust levers up and hit TOGA before either engine woke up, and then the circus began as the rudders went from stop to stop as he tried to stay on the pavement. so that is why the change came, perhaps.

some had no concept of "stabilized" which officially isn't a call out though should be at least noticed before clicking the TOBBY button!

i have been with four different companies and have seen at least 8 different sets of SOP's.

and while on the subject of call-outs-
had a captain once nail me for non-standard call outs! as in, "do not make those non standard call outs!" so in same flight in descent, as he passed 10,000 feet still at 320 knots, (in the US where 250 below 10,000 is the rule) ATC asked what our winds were as we passed 9000. Captain then woke up to the need to slow down. on the radio i said they were on our tail at about 100 knots but were decreasing rapidly! on ATC's response we could hear the entire tower staff laughing their heads off.

as to your "as ruled by company"

well, when push comes to shove, the only company that really counts is the one flying through the clouds with you at the time.

as to starting, no company i have been with made it official for F/O's to start engines. personally, as captain i have always done the switches and levers but both should be focused on the event. though i have "read about" F/O's getting a clearance on occassion during the start.

as to taxi, i have never seen the 737 (or a Herc) with a tiller on the right, though i have seen some captains that seem to relish slamming the aircraft left and right with extreme glee while taxing. cabin crew just love that while they are doing their demos.

and don't quote me but i have "seen on it on the TV" F/O's making an autoland!

as to F/O's doing a non-precision approach, it will depend on the approach and the F/O.

besides, i've been told that when one gets into the big iron, the only time an F/O flies and lands the airplane is in the simulator.

and to close this one,

i was in korea taxing in a 737 on a ferry flight with a gorgeous cabin crew in the jumpseat. it was a low-over cast wet dismal looking day but nothing cold or no thunderstorms.

and i THOUGHT to myself, "she must be impressed to see this weather and see us flying through it. but there's nothing to it."

suddenly ATC asked if we could use the next intersection for takeoff. since we were empty, "YES." so we were turning and then he said "a 747 on short final, expedite takeoff" so i continued the turn at about 10 knots and at about 45 degrees from runway heading stood the thrust levers up to get them stabilized. the left engine came up with an erection while the right one stayed in the hangar. we then started a slide to the inside of the turn. i couldn't believe what was happening. nothing worked! and it was like a slow motion horror movie. that intersection put us in the middle of all the rubber in the normal touchdown zone which had not been cleaned since the korean war. idle thrust, brakes, opposite nose wheel steering! i've seen ice and snow with better traction! and i then thought, "if i'm going out into the grass at least i will have my speed brakes up just for show."

it slowly corrected but as i found later, we only missed the edge of the runway by inches and had the right gear just miss two lights.

at the time, i did not know if i would have been able to feel if i had hit a light and didn't want to risk a continuing the takeoff with the possibility of having hit a light and not knowing it, so i taxied clear of the runway for an inspection.

don't know what happened to that 747 but i was humbled to the point of never THINKING AGAIN that flying is easy. much less ever SAYING it out loud.

behind all the confusing rules and their changes is usually a good reason or if nothing else it is an attempt to prevent another mistake from biting someone else.

31st May 2001, 21:05
As a self-confessed item of SLF, I should like to venture into this fray.

I have been travelling for many years and have been fortunate to jump seat a few times. My nephew is currently F/O in BAe JetStream 41 and I have jump seated with him so, obviously, I am highly qualified!

Had an inexperienced or nervous PAX asked me about F/O type rating and abilities (prior to this thread) I should have replied, "The F/O can do anything that the Cpt can. They will, perforce, have less experience and will need guidance on occasions but you need have no worries. You have two pilots up front."

It now appears that, in the USA and possibly elsewhere, this is not the case. Considering how people are trained in commerce, the focus is the person learning by doing. I agree that starting and taxi are not crucial but I am surprised to read the list of restrictions.

Of course, 'command' is a very different thing, so I am not sure that it makes sense for the individual to have to learn MORE aspects of aircraftmanship at the same time as everything else on the Command Course.

I recall an occasion that I was sitting-in for the approach and land at STN on a 737 (3 or 400 cannot recall now) and the F/O was handling. It was a blustery, rainy night and the F/O was certainly earning his money. I was, shall we say interested?, to hear on the headphones they had kindly lent me of the wind shear just before threshold.

I was presuming that he was really going to have to 'plant it' on the ground as the wind was very skittish. It was one of the most glourious landings I have experienced! As we turned off and the Cpt took over for the taxi (tiller location) he said, "Well done." to the F/O and I thought that was the way it OUGHT to be done.

Now, it may well be that the conditions only looked hairy to my inexperienced eye but I have always imagined that the Cpt only takes it back when the circumstances have got truly awesome. As has been said, the Cpt may have a number of critical events to consider and information to digest - so let the F/O do the driving and that will improve their skills, whilst allowing maximum time for evaluating the situation.

My thanks to you all for a most interesting thread and Stator Vane - could you be my personal pilot please? :)

Sir Algernon Scruggs
31st May 2001, 21:57
There is no reason why the F/O on a modern jet with the right amount of training before going on-line shouldn't be able to handle the a/c for a blustery approach and landing. There will always be cases where the Captain feels that the he should take over because the F/O is new and inexperienced and may be 'tunnelling' but it is not that common in a company where the standard of training is high.

What has suprised me is the way a few so called Captains here have stated that they would take over flying the a/c in an non-normal situation and wouldn't trust their F/O because they don't have the same amount of experience. Surely if an F/O has reached the standard to pass the type rating, and jumped through the hoops of line training they can at least handle the a/c for basic flying skills. In my company, the PF flies the a/c and the PNF actions the drills even if the PF is the F/O. If the after completing all the drills the Captain feels that he or she should take over the PF function then that is their perogative but the majority would have the confidence to let the F/O 'aviate' while they manage the 'navigation' and 'communication'.

A good Captain should be able to manage the situation and supervise the F/O. If a Captain feels that he or she has to take over the handling of the a/c in a non-notmal situation then there is obviously something wrong in that airlines training standards and the Captains management abilities.

The same applies to normal flying in my company (UK IT) except for the most extreme situations. If the F/O is PF then the F/O flies and manages the leg under supervision of the Captain. A good Captain will let the F/O (captain in training) make small errors as long as there is no danger. After all, there is a lot to be learnt from making mistakes that aren't life threatening.

For CAT II and III approaches or any low vis ops the F/O flies the approach from top of descent and in the case of an autoland the Captain only takes control after touchdown. These are called 'MONITORED' approaches and the Captain is MONITORING the approach. If there is a decision height involved the F/O calls "DECIDE" at that point and the Captain either calls "LAND" and becomes PF or "GO-AROUND" and the F/O flies the missed approach. The F/O always flies the approach to descision height. All low visibility approaches are monitored approaches.

The company has a high standard of training and knows that their Captains are more than capable of letting an F/O fly the a/c while they manage/monitor the bigger picture. Only in RVR below 400m is the Captain reqired to be the PF for take off. Our a/c only have a tiller on the left so F/O's don't taxi the a/c and the SOP's dictate that the Captain takes over on any aborted take off, probably due to the tiller being on that side and if there is an engine fire the a/c will have to be manouvered so that the burning engine is downwind. Either pilot may call "STOP" for any serious malfunction up to 80kts and either pilot may call stop for any fire warning, engine failure or blocked runway up to V1. For those crusty old PPruner Captains that are horrified by the thought of this, we regularly practice this in the sim, including incapacitation of the Captains so that the F/O has to actually control the a/c to a stop! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

Obviously in some companies the standard of training of their F/O's is not up to scratch and some Captains trust no-one and consider themselves superhuman and more able to 'manage' a non normal whilst overloading themselves with basic stick and rudder input. As for companies not letting their F/O's fly non precision approaches, perhaps they should take a look at their training departments.

31st May 2001, 23:52
Yep , Algie , Same in company where I work.
(Minor detail on Cat II/III , where PF is captain).

Was puzzled though , that being the reason of starting this topic.

Good to hear from the same-hearted !


1st Jun 2001, 02:00
As far as the Capt as PF for RVR below 400m is concerned I think that this may be a JAR requirement ... but I stand to be corrected.

1st Jun 2001, 15:43
Never experienced the bit about non-precision approaches, but the engine start and taxiing were always capt duties except when the FE started the engines in a 3-man crew...was for the sake of standardization, remember the most important job of the f.o.s to be the ultimate safety-device in the cockpit..if you ever feel that responsibility is removed then get a job at another airline....

1st Jun 2001, 18:12
Source: Senior(mid thirties)10000hr Captain at large UK charter airline.

Quote " The trouble is that nowadays you cant trust the companies F/Os to do anything more complicated than making the tea. At least when the company employed "real" pilots and not these "products" that come out of the schools now you could at least expect them to be able to fly and be confident that if an emergency occured they had been through the mill already and not just mollycodled along".

Could this be the reason?

1st Jun 2001, 20:09
I feel sorry for you sir. As I said earlier, our F.O.'s do the lot, except taxy (single tiller), and the Capt carrys out low-vis autolands, from a monitored approach. Never seen the 400m restriction, our pilots, both seats are qualified to take-off in 125m RVR.
But then, perhaps we have the best First Officers, coupled with the best training department.

Alpine Flyer
1st Jun 2001, 20:54
Our Copilots (on most fleets) push the START button and do some timing and the PICs move the levers and do some other timing. Maybe an old time thing as they used to say "if someone fries the engines during starting, let it better be the PIC as he is responsible anyway".

We have left tillers only and the captains taxi. Which is a good idea as it allows the copilots who still have hearing to tell them what the taxi clearance was.......:-)

I can't see any big philosophical issues behind these things. I don't think copilots get shortchanged by not being allowed to taxi (of course our captains can hand the a/c over to the copi for taxiing, e.g. to retrieve something from their flight case, as long as there are no large turns involved.

PNF sets the T/O power setting but the PIC is the one to retard for abort. As he is the one to decide that seems a reasonable way of shortening the reaction time.

When airborne, copilots are allowed to do anything but Cat 2/3 landings but they're in control on Cat 2 approaches down to minimums and would fly the Cat 2 go-around.

Precision approaches - as many as they like!

Non-normal landings: training is given for anything but all-engine out and the decision who handles it is up to the respective captain. With many electrical faults there is no big choice because the copilot finds himself in shadow land with no EFIS to look at.

Captains also do the emergency descents (I agree that that is probably a question of tradition without a theoretical back-up).

Airplanes flown: Dash 8-100/300/400, CRJ, F70

2nd Jun 2001, 00:40
Rejected take-offs. Travelling at 130kts, the aircraft is covering some 220 feet (67metres) per second. F.O.handling. "Excuse me captain, we seem to have a fire on number one engine. Would you like to confirm, take control, and carry out a reject?" Perhaps I'm set in my ways, but I prefer "Stop, stop, stop" at the same time closing the thrust levers, selecting reverse etc. I agree, it all comes down to training, but it is safer to train them properly, then let them get on with it. Besides, at my age, ALL the F.O.'s have faster reactions than me!

2nd Jun 2001, 03:28
The procedure is a bit diferent, I changed airlines not to long ago and went from having the okay to abort to Capt holds the thrust levers.

Proc: Capt sets T/o thrust says You have ctl F/O replyes my ctls keeps heels on the floor while the capt stands by on the brakes. In case of abort the F/O just lets go of the controls and informs atc no verbal commands during the decel!

In my previous company the F/O did all and we left the decision as to who managed a failure to the Capt. this was combined with CRM training on the topic so that the crew could asses the non normal and the Capt could take the optimum decision for the situation. I enjoyed this way of operating because it puts the choice with the most informed person the Capt on the spot!!!

[This message has been edited by Haas_320 (edited 01 June 2001).]

Frozen Falcon
2nd Jun 2001, 03:34
Crossair is much worse than Martinair.

They have the philosophy that the Copilot has to watch the Captain for the first 3 years in order to learn.

Remark: Average time to command at CRX 3 years.!!

Most Captains at Crossair make their first take-off during command upgrade, they normally do also the roll-out and braking for the first time during upgrade trng.

For the first 3 1/2 years = Hand over after clean-up (3000 feet)!! No Copilot is allowed to make take-off`s until he is a SFO (SFO at CRX = negative for upgrade). Mostly handover is done with autopilot engaged.

Approx . 50% of CRX MD-80 F/O s can not operate the airplane safely in case of Captain`s incapcitation.

Management says a Copilot with 200 hours total time is not safe in operating the aircraft on ground and during initial climb- out. (Captain takes over on touch-down.)

Well you management boneheads, in this case select them properly, send them to the Saab fleet first and give them the training and experience and finally treat and pay them well!

By the way the guy who crashed the Saab 340 in ZRH in January 2000 was a 8500 hour captain.

We are waiting for the next BOOOMM!

2nd Jun 2001, 06:28
About Crossair - Jesus H that's scary !!!

Herod, excellent point that's worth echoing. Alpine Flyer, how on earth does that process shorten the reaction time?? If the PIC is handling for the take off, his eyes will be outside keeping straight, if the F/O notices a problem, he has to confirm in his mind that it is actually something worth mentioning, (as opposed to something such as a guage indication that may be slightly different to the norm, but still within limits) he then has to relay his concern to the PIC who then runs through the same sort of decision process as the F/O, before deciding whether or not to reject the take off.

There is absolutely no way that this procedure shortens reaction time.

Ignition Override
2nd Jun 2001, 07:36
What an interesting subject! Our US operation allows only the Captain to start engines on the older jets (but can delegate shutting one down when taxiing in to the gate), but when I was on a larger two-engine (and a Boeing) type as FO, the FO turned the start switch and the Captain raised the fuel control levers. Don't know about the other fleets here.

On le/dem Airbus, I believe that the copilots can taxi around at times, using their tiller. On our older planes, I'll now and then ask the FO to steer on a straight taxiway using the rudder pedals which steer 17 degrees from center, so I can finish my coffee or find my sunglasses under the Hi Chart (7&8). When the "flying pilot" pushes the throttles up tp the EPR bugs, the Captain's hands guard the throttles until the right hand goes to the gear lever etc, then the FO has them, if his/her leg. I offer all FOs at least half or all of the spoke legs (for laymen, much more variety flying away from hubs)-we had lots of greedy Captains when I was FO, even if legs alternated between us.

During Captain training over two years ago (and during annual recurrent...), when an annunciator light came on, we always gave the FO (all with several thousands of hours when hired these days, at least if all civilian hours) the plane while the Captain read/did the checklist, but the Captain has the FO verifying the CSD to be disconnected, fuel control, fire handle to be pulled etc.

Once a Captain put his CRM philosophy in a nutshell-he said "if I need to be more conservative, we'll do it that way, but if you want to be more conservative, let's do it your way". That indicated to me before the first checklist was even begun, that he trusted his FO's advice, or was willing to respect it. No other Captain had ever said it in so few words.

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 02 June 2001).]

2nd Jun 2001, 12:11
Interesting...Our American company allows the F/O's to do whatever they need to do as PF. So that means setting the powerlevers at take off and doing the non precision approaches, which rarely happens.
It's a different story on the ground. The F/O's are not allowed to taxi nor are they allowed to start up the engines.
The F/O's are trained to the same standard as the Captains, they are type-rated in the aircraft.

2nd Jun 2001, 14:27
First, on a general principle, do people react well to being given responsibility and being involved in their work?

If they are competent, the answer must be, 'yes'. So, employ competent people and give them the reigns.

A lot of airlines now ensure that the FO does almost nothing on the ground other than reading the checklist responses, and only flies if the weather is nice. I believe that this leads to a culture of uninvolved complacency. It can only have a negative effect on cockpit gradient (though perhaps some airline bosses still like a good steep cockpit gradient to ensure the FO doesn't interfere with things too much! It certainly seems that way...)

On a more specific point, we try to do everything unusual in 'slow time', knowing that this increases the likelihod of getting it right. There is one situation in which this cannot be - the decision to reject close to V1. As highlighted above, this decision must be made immediately and correctly. We would all agree that the consequences of getting this wrong can be catastrophic.

So, imagine this sequence of events:

V1 minus 10Kts, Captain flying, FO monitoring. FO sees EGT and FF go haywire on engine, and calls 'Engine failure'. Captain feels nothing unusual at this stage (he probably wouldn't), so does the most naural thing in the world and looks for confirmation (now V1 minus five). Captain looks at gauges and takes a natural amount of time to assimilate information - doesn't like what he sees, and decides to stop. Decision taken at V1. Rejection actions taken at V1 plus five.

Assume his is an airline which derates to the imit, and there is NOT ENOUGH ROOM TO STOP.

If, though, the FO had said 'STOP', there would have been no difficulty stopping well before the end of EDA.

The ensuing court case would be very interesting indeed.

Let's keep this one going, and on-topic.

Ignition Override
3rd Jun 2001, 07:44
Pielander: At most, if not all regional and larger airlines, the Captain and First Officer alternate legs, and in the US, waiting for a national/major airline Captain's seat base on seniority (which is the determining factor, unless an FO wants to stay in that seat longer-or works for American-no chance to delay for long there) takes 5-10 years at times, or even several more in very slow economic times. Captains often let FOs fly to the many spoke airports, and not just the few hubs, giving them much more variety and some extra short runways, and an occaisional non-precision approach, which is much more challenging than a "precision" ILS approach. Few of the smaller jets at the majors here have autoland, and most pilots hand-fly landings even on those with some exceptions, i.e. to check a 757's (later 737s or MD-88...?) autoland systems at times. As said earlier, the largest US companies hire pilots with either 2,000+ tactical/trainer jet hours etc, or if civilian hours, 5,000-10,000+ hours with usually 1-4+ type ratings.

No beginners at the larger US operations (maybe lacking in extensive abstract theory, but are compensated by real-world experience, often in crowded airspace in or around all weather) and the regionals often find applicants with 1500-2500 hours etc, except under certain court-ordered "political quota factors".

But at some of the smallest charter companies on the smaller twins , some jerk Captains have been known to fly most of the legs-an FO many years ago had flown little on King Airs, except level during cruise, while based at West Memphis Airport. He received extra training before his Bandeirante (twin-turboprop) checkride, at his first regional airline job.

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 03 June 2001).]

7th Jun 2001, 19:20
At my company FO's (usually coming from a flight instruction or perhaps light twin flying background) have several restrictions. They are:

1) No takeoffs below CAT I limits for that airport.
2) No hands on throttles for takeoff.
3) No taxiing.
4) No engine starts (this is new, FO's used to be able to start with Captain's supervision... why it was changed is a mystey as no FO done start in the history of the company has resulted in damage or improper procedure, something that can't be said for the Captains).
5) No circles below 1000-3.

In addition there is the expectation that in the event of an emergency with the FO flying, the FO will continue flying until completion of immediate memory items and then emergency checklists, followed by Captain flying the actually landing. This isn't "in writing" but is the expectation.

As a Captain now I am disappointed that as the months go by we become more and more limited in our ability to help develop "The Captains in training" and am grateful to all the Captains who allowed me to do the things in the aircraft I would be expected to do when I became a Captain.