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-   -   The Axe Man of Apia (https://www.pprune.org/australia-new-zealand-pacific/406561-axe-man-apia.html)

Centaurus 24th Feb 2010 12:51

Unbeknown to him, F/O Bloggs had decided it would be a good idea to detune the ILS in favour of the VOR, and did it saying nothing until after the apparent failure.
Thank you. It was precisely what I was getting at re un-announced navaid frequency changes. Of course I didn't mean the PNF had to ask for the captain's approval every time he wanted to make a radio call. Thinks! I really must edit my contributions to avoid misconceptions..

During my command training on an F28 (first civil jet I'd operated) we were descending into Melbourne from Sydney and I was all at sea trying to work out the descent profile DME versus Altitude.

I was never much good at mental maths and it didn't help that the check captain in the jump seat was jumping down my neck every few miles of the descent demanding to know what height I should be at the next DME check point. "Come on" he said - "you should bloody know this by now - what height should you be at 40 DME and why have you got the speed brake out now - you don't need it - come on now for Christ's sake -smarten up".

The ADF was on Epping NDB and I think in those days we back-tracked from Eildon Weir VOR to a turning point called Kinglake and then at Kinglake you turn a bit right towards EPP NDB which was on the Melbourne 27 localiser.

The F/O kept silent no doubt in sympathy at the squawking from the jump seat. I knew EPP NDB needle should show about 10 degrees right until we were at Kinglake, but I was surprised to see the ADF needle showing dead ahead instead of off to the right. The jump seat check pilot was still impatiently demanding to know what should be the height NOW at 26 DME or some useless figure. It was then I looked across and saw the ADF was actually on Plenty NDB (situated on Essendon extended centre line) and not EPP where it had been.

I asked the F/O if he had changed the ADF to Plenty NDB and he said yes. He said he found it was better to have the NDB on PLE as it gave better tracking than Eildon Weir which was steadily going away from us behind us and that he was only trying to help.

If he had suggested that, I could have either accepted his suggestion or not. But his silent changing to another NDB without asking first, really upset the apple-cart along with the screaming skull in my right ear. I snapped, but that is of no consequence here. That was the point I was originally trying to make about PNF's that change frequencies without reference to the PF. It can be very distracting.

Tmbstory 24th Feb 2010 17:22


Re post no:44.

I hope the FO had more than "tea and biscuits".

The 300 feet per nautical mile always helped me to keep tract of the descent , at the TOD multtiply the flight level by 3 and the answer is the desired level, allow 10 nm for slow down from 250 kts to approach speed. It worked pretty well for me.


High 6 24th Feb 2010 18:45

ahh, the F28, my first jet command and an absolute pleasure to fly. Could be flown from TOD to a 1000ft AGL spool up entirely on numbers, even in the terrain and weather of PNG.

As for the F/O changing frequencies, why not just incorporate the correct procedures into the company SOP's and then enforce the same. :ok:

balance 24th Feb 2010 18:58

Ant, my friend, you still seem to have missed the point.

You say that the F/O still refused to listen to you even though you got out the books? Well, I wasn't there of course, but it sounds to me that the F/O had already WITHDRAWN his or her support from you. YOU have LOST the battle!

The point is this - a good leader wouldnt need to get out the books - they would guide the subordinate skillfully to do the right thing themselves. The fact that your situation was raised to the CP reflects poorly on you as a Captain.

Ahhh - I can see that I am wasting keyboard characters here, but I must say Centaurus - best thread on Prune for a while... :ok:

Anthill 24th Feb 2010 20:36

Balance, you tenor has now become condesending and it is pointless to continue. Your stance is that a Captain should command by charisma alone; I wont waste my time debating further.

If anything, I admire the FO for sticking to his guns, even if he was dead wrong.

Centaurus 25th Feb 2010 09:31

they would guide the subordinate skillfully to do the righ
The subordinate? Jeez! Now that is an inflammatory word indeed and I am sure would cause raised eyebrows as well as raised hackles from the gentleman/gentlewoman in the RH seat. The word might well be legally correct but politically incorrect to imply it.

balance 25th Feb 2010 21:55

Uh-huh. :hmm:

Centaurus, you are a hard man to please. You don't like the term "mate", but on the other hand you are offended by the term "subordinate". I'm not saying either is correct here, because there is a time and place for everything, but you cant have it both ways.

This becomes a little like the recent Tony Abbot gaff, where he referred to "housewives" in reference to ironing. Now - we all know what he means, but there are those who choose to feign outrage in the name of political correctness. Spare me. This was not an inflamatory word, because it did not refer to any particular individual, simply a rank. Are you so outraged when you read a textbook?

Are you seriuosly telling me that F/O's should be offended and their hackles raised by being called subodrinate? The term refers to rank, not skill, ability, intelligence, fitness or good looks. If you refer to my previous posts I think you might just understand that.

All right then oh wise one, what SHOULD we call each other then?;)

Horatio Leafblower 26th Feb 2010 01:43

The man with all the gold braid is "Captain, sir".
The man with slightly less gold braid is (when the Captain, Sir speaks to him) "First Officer", or if familiar, "First".

The boy in the Captain's Wife's seat is "Second officer", "Second" if familiar or "Boy" if he's good looking and the captain is that way inclined.

Please remember that one does not "tell" Captain, Sir anything but the First Officer may, if very senior, "humbly submit" a question or a suggestion.

The bloke looking at all the dials sitting sideways is "Engines" and the fellow down the back is "Tail Gunner", although one may find the modern Admiralty frowning upon the term :ooh:

ozbiggles 26th Feb 2010 02:42

Ah a good, mostly civilised discussion.
Having sat in both L and R seats in various roles and currently in the right seat my policy has always been to show respect to the captain, until he proves he doesn't deserve it, a very rare event in deed.
My policy is at least once during the trip to refer to him/her as captain or boss early on to set a good tone, ie I understand its his signature on the paperwork. In the company I work for now so far I haven't flown with a captain I woudn't want to fly with again.
I understand it doesn't always happen everywhere for everyone but I find it works for me

A37575 26th Feb 2010 12:23

Centaurus, you are a hard man to please. You don't like the term "mate", but on the other hand you are offended by the term "subordinate".
I could be wrong but I read the intention of Centaurus "subordinate" post, as a gently wicked sense of humour; sometimes called pulling one's pisser. Some people get too serious about such things:ok:

balance 26th Feb 2010 21:17


Not funny then Centaurus. I'm very fragile right now... Might go off into the corner and have a little cry. :{


JohnnyK 27th Feb 2010 00:29

Well said Centaurus.

Great post. I have recently begun my first foray into multicrew flying and found it extremely challanging. Attempting to find the right mix of being respectful/friendly/professional/appropriately deferential without crossing into the murky waters of being a generally walked over, obsequious,brown nosed,over familiar smart arse towards very strong charactered left seat types whose experience exceeds mine by about 5,000,000 hours whilst trying to do a circling approach at foul weather at night in a machine that was twice as heavy and twice as powerful with many more switches and buttons than anything I was used to just about drove me(and them) to very long sentences and a drink or two. Unfortuneatly, or fortuneatly depending how you look at it, the dynamics and chemistry of human relationships dictate that the combinations of any two,randomly chosen, personalities flung together by time and circumstance into any given cockpit will result in an inherently unique atmosphere of moods,ego, expectations and expertise. Some combinations are,literally, explosive whilst others are made in heaven-who wouldnt want to fly with somebody they considered their mate as long as it can be done in a safe and professional manner. However, this will always be the exception rather than the rule and it is the measure of the individuals involved in ensuring that personal tensions are made subservient to the infinitely more important task of flying the aircraft. Anger and its close relative, abuse, are not welcome in any cockpit. Respect,diplomacy and professionalism certainly are. However, when all else fails, I guess you can always break out the axe, fix the bastard in the eye, and say " for the last time Captain, set 7000 feet"

Capt Claret 27th Feb 2010 02:08

JohhnyK, the most important word in your post is respect.

It's a two way street though but if you've got that, then all the rest just follow naturally.

C441 27th Feb 2010 04:45

Half a lifetime ago, as a new S/O, I flew with a Captain who's attitude and words remain etched on my memory chip.

- Firstly, he said, "My name's Graham. If you call me Captain I'll suspect something's wrong."
- Secondly, "We treat everyone with respect unless they prove not to deserve it."
- Thirdly, "If you think somethings not right, say so. If you think it's not right, it probably isn't. If it is right, you've just learnt something."

"Now lets go and have a good time."

....and we did.

framer 27th Feb 2010 08:55

Firstly, he said, "My name's Graham. If you call me Captain I'll suspect something's wrong."
- Secondly, "We treat everyone with respect unless they prove not to deserve it."
- Thirdly, "If you think somethings not right, say so. If you think it's not right, it probably isn't. If it is right, you've just learnt something."
And the scene was set to let info flow freely both ways thus making the flight safer.

Centaurus 27th Feb 2010 10:49

Not funny then Centaurus. I'm very fragile right now.
Balance. We all have different sense of humour. Sorry if I got up your nose.

I have enjoyed reading the replies to the original post and learned from them. The purpose of starting the subject of cockpit etiquette was to persuade airline management people - some of whom presumably do read Pprune under the blankets at night - to realise that harmony in the cockpit is important to the flight safety ethos of each airline.

Induction training is the logical starting point. That said, the accent should be on practical examples - similar to those described on Pprune. Whatever form of induction training takes place, new hire interest however will fade to boredom and apathy if psycho-babble replaces clear concise English. And that is my fear.

For example, the following excerpts were lifted from a current Australian flight safety magazine:

"Leaders rely on team members when time constraints or workload do not permit the synergic process. The leader's style of leadership or the personalities of the team members can also favour this type of collective decision making...A leader may rely on team members for hypothesis confirmation to define new alternatives or resolve doubts...the collective decision process is actively managed by everyone - leader and team members. Initiatives for beginning collective action are shared among all members of the team...the synergic process can be applied only when time stress is low...most of the time the team-functioning rules are already known by members...the leader seeks consensus and checks that every team member agrees with the collective decisions..for example, goals, situational awareness, courses of action..."

I wonder what the Axe Man of Apia would say about that lot?

Capt Claret 27th Feb 2010 11:25


If you can translate that babble into English, I'll take a guess at what the Axe Man's response might be! ;)

porch monkey 28th Feb 2010 07:51

As a latecomer to the multicrew system, I was worried about fitting in so to speak. I can safely say that so far, 2 years later, I haven't flown with a captain I couldn't get along with. Of course, I am a bit older than the usual F/O I guess....... Seems to be at my company there is acceptance of each others positions, there is encouragement and help given, and an expectation that as F/O, when it is my sector, that I will make the appropriate decisions as required. Always of course subject to the overall agreement of the PIC. One of the captains I fly with has a saying to put the overall responsibility issue into perspective, he sums it up with - "Your cock-up, my arse!" I've never forgotten that!

tpad 3rd Mar 2010 01:43

A very wise old eagle once said to me

" You should always be nice to your F/O for two reasons ...

1/ Because one day he might be your check captain.
2/ Because one day you might want him to lie through his teeth for you "

The same gentleman said

" Son, it matters not which in which country you night stop. You only need to learn three phrases of the local language."

" Two beers ... a woman ... my friend will pay "

Great advice ... thanks CS

Naughty S 4th Mar 2010 01:46

The saying I remember from a checkie:

"When you're with an FO that knows what their doing & understands the aircraft/systems & can fly well it makes the skippers job easier, when you find one who knows how to lie, cheat & steal, then you know you've got a good one"

By the last bit he meant cause I was always chasing clearances for direct to or track shortening, poetic license for ETI when asked & things were busy :E, cancel speed restrictions etc.

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