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What Makes an Outstanding Captain

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

What Makes an Outstanding Captain

Old 16th Dec 2013, 05:39
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG
Age: 43
Posts: 975
I think that brakes thing is totally bizarre, only a few guys do it. It makes it a total joke trying to bring it to a smooth stop.

If these guys are not comfortable and confident enough of their ability as a captain to allow the FO to park maybe they should mention it in the brief, say you will take control for the parking as you are not sure if you would be able to save the day if the FO decided not to brake for some reason and your feet were not already applying some pressure to the brakes.
SloppyJoe is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2013, 07:21
  #22 (permalink)  
short flights long nights
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 3,075
Simple fix to the brake problem..... 'You have control'
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 06:20
  #23 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,066
spannersatcx A fairly common occurrence, aircraft arrives late for a transit stop and crew change. Every effort being made to catch up lost time and make ATC slot, long delays are forecast if slot missed, almost twelve hours flight time to destination. Engineering support from the local major carrier. Please swap positions for once, you are the on going captain.

FO sets off on walk around and I go to FD to set up aircraft, an engineer is in the captains seat, another in the FO's seat, no maintenance being carried out, the aircraft is 'clean', just checking the tech log etc. (usually, at most other stations, they sit in the front row of J class, out of everyone's way and do their bookwork there). "Excuse me but we are late and on a tight ATC slot, could I get to my seat please", "No, this is my aircraft until I sign it off and whilst it is my aircraft I will sit where I like", "Yes, I understand that but it would help us make our slot and get away on time if you sat behind, on the Jump Seat or in J", "That is not my problem".

You can see why, just occasionally, it is possible to get a bit 'short' with our colleagues? It happened in Europe, one guess at the station.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 07:21
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 754
Strange story parabellum.

The vast majority of my engineering experiences are good, but the very occasional bad ones are the total opposite to your posting.

There's so much OTP pressure in CX, that engineers are trying to short cut things to achieve OTP.

Tight turn around where there's a defect raised by the previous crew, or alternatively, a clean aircraft has a problem occur during the preflight, or even during pax boarding. Call the engineer: "please fix". As he looks at his watch and says "but it will take a long time".

I'm not kidding. I've seen it happen more than once.

Safety is our priority.

Maybe it is a priority, but OTP has a higher priority.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 08:37
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1998
Location: .
Posts: 2,945

parabellum, sorry to hear about your experience with Engineering support from the local major carrier, I would hope that as we are the same team we can work together, I think that happens, certainly does with me.

I would certainly in this instance make a write up in your flight report about it, it does get back to HKG and they will try and do something about it, after all CX are paying for their services!

Broadband Circuit, maybe I'm old school, certainly old! but OTP is nice to achieve but it is not the over riding factor, I (and a mjority of my colleagues) safety is. Whilst we would endeavour to avoid a tech delay sometimes you just can't, this is where experience and knowledge comes in and communicating with the crew to ensure a satisfactory (and safe) resolution.
'Capt are you happy?' 'yes' fine I'll write it up and off you go, 'no', 'fine we will see what we can do to get you out of here, how long before you are out of hours?' Simple really.

Anyway whatever you are doing over the 'festive season' I hope it's not too stressful and you get to see your families, Merry Xmas.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 11:37
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,163
I know how you feel and would be annoyed as well, BUT if you cannot get your job done safely in the time left then any delay goes down to Engineering with a covering note explaining why to Line Ops and Chief Pilot Fleet.

Don't stress it, report it.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 12:07
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: nowhere
Posts: 153

Should have told the engineer to get stuffed, a/c wasn't in the hangar it was on the line for a turn around and as such is YOUR a/c.
ANCPER is offline  
Old 18th Dec 2013, 13:56
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG
Age: 43
Posts: 975
Who cares whose aircraft it is, it is never really yours otherwise you would be a fool not to retire.

If some jobsworth wants to sit in the pilots seat and dictate the rules so be it. As others have said, be polite and if that gets you nowhere report it as the delay in the CAR. After the continued show of contempt by our managers why do any of you even get to the point of caring about a delay. Do your job professionally and politely but honestly, who cares?
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 18:19
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Sunny Bay
Posts: 247
Bang on Sloppy Joe. Well said.

Here's a little reminiscence for you, from the early days of aviation.

I was a P3 on a B747 once.
We used to often do a flight then PY after it. We had to collect tickets for the PY sector. It was P2's responsibility, but on that particular day I was in early and the P2 asked me to help out by going up to the terminal ticketing desk where the PY tickets were to be collected from.

When I arrived there was a long queue. I had no time for that, and actually - nobody was being 'served'. So I went to the first oik behind the desk and waited to be acknowledged. After several minutes of studiously ignoring me and continuing to type, the battle axe looked up and said 'what'!?
I asked (nicely) for the PY tickets.
Get in the queue she said.
I don't have time I said. I have to get out to the aircraft.
That's your problem she said, you should have come in early, get to the back of the queue.

Harsh words were exchanged at this point which later resulted in me being called up to the FOMs office for a dressing down, and a lecture about how much more important the ticketing staff were than my attempts to facilitate an on time departure!

Lesson learned! So much for putting yourself out to get OTP. Why bother?

But here's the rub.

A decade later I was in a similar situation.
I was called on Reserve to PY someplace to replace another Captain (yes, I'd been promoted, in spite of my over enthusiasm).

When I got to the ticketing counter there was a queue. I joined it!
After 20 mins queuing I got to the top of the line. I asked for my PY tickets.
No tickets here they said, in a sneering tone.
Thank you I said, and walked away.
At that moment my phone rang.
Where are you? said the crewing guy.
I told him.
Go back and insist they find your ticket!, he said.
Very well said I. There's a queue. Give me 20 minutes.
But your flight leaves in 20 minutes, said he.
Well, said I....looks like I'll miss it then. How awful!

Five minutes later I had the tickets shoved into my paw by some abashed ticketing person, and i was whisked off to the gate.

Note the similarities in the two examples, and note the different outcomes.
Read and Learn.
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Old 18th Dec 2013, 23:47
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wherever I lay my hat.
Posts: 111
Unfortunately there are too many PPRuNe Superheroes here, tough as nails online but scared of their own shadows when it comes to the real world, and they join a huge morass of people who, despite the repeated beatings, queue, nay, climb over each other in order to kiss ass in order to curry favour from their tormentors.
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Old 19th Dec 2013, 00:33
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Here
Posts: 460
1. One who keeps his eye on his F/O during the walkaround, to ensure he doesn't go and commit a gross security breach on another Airline's 787..... (F/O..... you idiot!)

2. One who ensures that the 2nd officer is completely rested for his flight because he still has no work ethic and needs to be spoon fed. (Apologies to those who didn't write into the Boeing Fleet office whining)

crwkunt roll is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2013, 10:28
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: cloudcuckooland
Posts: 146
A more experienced equal.

OTP? JFC, as long as you have reported on time then OTP is someone else's problem.
1200firm is offline  
Old 20th Dec 2013, 00:22
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Here
Posts: 460
Unfortunately there are too many PPRuNe Superheroes here, tough as nails online but scared of their own shadows when it comes to the real world, and they join a huge morass of people who, despite the repeated beatings, queue, nay, climb over each other in order to kiss ass in order to curry favour from their tormentors.
This isn't the thread to sh1tbag the AOA committee!
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Old 20th Dec 2013, 06:01
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wherever I lay my hat.
Posts: 111
Ha ha......I hadn't even got to them yet!!
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Old 21st Dec 2013, 05:12
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 169
For those that maybe find it cringe worthy some captain berates some eng or ground staff for their duties.....a little empthay please.

Until "YOU" are signing the dotted line and wear it when it all goes wrong and the blame gets shuttled around you can sit in the right seat and find fault. You probably need only have a few bad office visits as a Captain to find it easier to be an uptight bastard than relaxed about the whole exercise.

But that's not saying some captains can do the berating with more grace and less ugliness. I have been on the fair share end of some when I was an F/O...and took some offence at it. Now sitting on the other side I somedays wish I could remove my past grimaces at Captains who I felt were a bit overprotective.

As for those that sigh when a Captain has his feet on the rudders as they arrive at the bay...ever asked maybe why? I rest them there, I don't push or screw with the F/o's work. My reason for it is I did experience an uncommanded nosewheel steering loss. Its been rectified by engineering now, but am now always cautious just I would hate both of us to say sorry later, all for having the added protection of another who could respond. Its not a mark against the what I feel the F/O capabilities are.

Some say they want a Captain who is relaxed and lets First officers make decisions, not be a remote autopilot etc. Its a fine line that somedays I feel I may screwup, due whatever everyday life stress/baggage I may bring to work. That's just being human.....we all make mistakes its what we do when we make mistakes is what really defines us.

But a good captain in my opinion

1. Respectful of all his crew no matter what their experience level is.
2. Calm in dealings with emergencies or dramas with others. It helps others around you think instead of reacting.... and having your crew think is a big help.
3. Look after my crew first and foremost
4. Being able to laugh at my stupid mistakes and the occasional bad landing. aka a little humility goes a long way.
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Old 21st Dec 2013, 09:12
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 516
For thse who missed it, take a look through the "CXA330 Evacuation". Other's, take a quick look again. That fella is up high on my list .
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Old 21st Dec 2013, 22:12
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 374
To add to scoreboards comments, which I might add are extremely valid, the aspect of responsibility and the interactions with the ground staff pre-departure are where many of the castigations occur.

It should be no surprise that many of the dispatch and ramp staff are inexperienced, they too are often poorly paid and badly treated by their respective employers. Their aim is to get the aircraft away and move on to their next job. Appreciating the fact they get called to task when aircraft depart late, there is a natural tendency to push the departure along regardless. So when occasional problems occur, because of their lack of experience, they may perceive the problem as a non-issue. Not un-naturally, as Captains, we develop a healthy suspicious cynicism of stories we are told, and become adept at subtle interrogation to ascertain the actual facts rather than the initially presented version.

Anecdotally, I hear some captains are less than subtle with their questioning technique, however in this game we are not there to make friends, we are not there to make on time departures at the expense of safety. We are there solely to ensure our fare paying passengers get safely from A to B, knowing we are accountable for even minor transgressions to the company rules and government regulations, some of which could lead to the loss of your licence, employment, or a big bang in the sky. All of which are most undesirable!

Whilst engineers should not be lumped in the same basket as ramp staff, I like many have come across the odd individual, admittedly in a 3rd world port, who was happy to sign and put both of our licences at risk on a dubious interpretation of the MEL because it was easier. My diplomatic questioning met with little luck, more direct questioning and placing my viewpoint more directly was still not successful. However when I eventually stated that I didn't care what the delay was and I was happy to accept all and any responsibility for the delay while the jet was fixed, he did what was necessary. To a casual observer, I could have appeared overly direct and possibly rude.

Sometimes however, getting through to people needs a gradually escalating dialogue, with the hope they catch on before it gets to the stage of being blunt and direct which some can take offence at.
I am by no means perfect, but I do try and put myself in the other persons shoes, hence the healthy cynical approach to the half story we are often presented with.
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Old 22nd Dec 2013, 00:53
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Few place
Posts: 207
Regrettably in this PC age we are too concerned with each others feelings and seem to bend over backwards just so some tosser doesn't lose face.

**** face saving. If he/she is wrong say it up front.

No time for face saving. Helps no one. Get on with it. If he/she is so insecure and puts face first, then they gotta go.

Maybe they should walk backwards , then they lead with their head and not with face!!

Just sayin.
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Old 22nd Dec 2013, 03:02
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: usa
Posts: 31
"Hang your hats jackets and egos at the cockpit door"
"If you see something say something because I've probably missed it"
"We'll talk about it in the terminal"
"Nice job/ landing"
"Keep a close eye on me because I'm sure to make plenty of mistakes"
"Let's have FUN"

A few quotes from previous Captain which I've always liked.
The last my favourite.
teedub is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2013, 05:28
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: my desk
Posts: 108
Scoreboard - you are just like all the other egotistical captains in this industry who let this position really go to their head.

Re-read your points 1, 2 and 3. The crew do not belong to you. Too often you hear speak of "my SO" or "my ISM". Since when did these people become yours? They are the crew assigned to the flight, you do not take possession of them. In the future you might refer to them as "the FO" or "the crew". Your respect by those working with you will increase without any decrease in your authority.

LongTimeInCX - please tell me in your next newsletter how I should wear my headset.....
Thunderbird4 is offline  

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