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Helicopter pilots and the Art of Diplomacy

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Helicopter pilots and the Art of Diplomacy

Old 14th Jun 2008, 11:20
  #21 (permalink)  

Combine Operations
Join Date: May 2005
Location: U.K.
Posts: 687
I used to fly for one client who, if I said something along the lines of, "I don't think we should do this today," would ask the obvious question, "Why?"

"I'm not happy with it," replied I.

Immediately, hands up, "If you're not happy with it, then neither am I. We can do it tomorrow," he'd say. Fantastic. There's not many clients like that.

The trick was figuring out how many times a week I could get away with it.

In my very dim and distant past, I once read the art of diplomacy defined as being able to tell a person to go to Hell in such a way that he would look forward to the journey.
Farmer 1 is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2008, 11:35
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 25
The No word.

I could be accused of banging on, but this is what I think.

After 40 odd years in various cockpits, I am fast approaching the age of mandatory retirement where my company is concerned; even so, my days of provoking providence are far from over. After long hours of contemplation and cleansing, I believe there is light at the end of this ‘No’ tunnel. Reading through this thread as well as the cause for a location shift, there remains, in my opinion, one single and reasonable answer.

Let us therefore seek the root, and the tree, so to speak, will follow. We all seek a number of illusive variables to which our supreme training can be applied lavishly that will prevent any call on our superior talents. I do not believe in the existence of ‘the perfect company’, simply because each one of us is an individual placing different values on different aspects of our personal preferences and requirements. However, the bottom line is always to be given the chance to complete a day’s work in an atmosphere of safety, with acceptable guidelines and risks, and recognition for a job well done. Our varying personalities direct us in different directions to seek that system which suits us best, which is not always found the first time around. The inclination to remain in a non-suitable situation is a strong one due in no small part to out existing responsibilities – financial or otherwise, which then is adapted into a false zone of security. This falsehood begins to wear thin after a while and the griping begins. There are three groups of people in this world: Those who make thing happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened; it might be good to decide to which group we belong as an individual, then plan and act accordingly.

Part and parcel of our profession is fierce competition, both from within the ranks of our respective employers, and from us in terms of personal pride and a determination to be recognized – purely a natural human trait. Our employers are faced with monthly leases or mortgages due to worrying Bank Managers, the sum of which are not for the weak of heart or the thin of wallet. They therefore have to strike a balance between sanity and safety; which of itself is not an easy task. Specialists are therefore employed to ‘make this happen’ in order that an extra Jaguar for Memsaab be squeezed into the equation. As a past owner-operator, they are more than welcome to it. Within those ranks reign the same monsters of jealousy and fear of not performing to standard, which then forces the almost entire decision making process down to the flight line – where blame can be easily discharged to you and me – and the hangar floor where even more monsters lurk amongst our wrenched brethren. Trying to change the pattern of blame assignment, despite wonderful intentions, is labor intensive and almost always without positive response. That leads to the throwing of hats and stomping on carpets which invariably ends in frustration, and can then lead to colored decisions. It is a sad truth which remains despite the efforts of most of us.

Simply put, one either accepts what one believes to be the status quo and deal with the continuing anxieties associated with that comfort zone, or begins a steadfast search for new territory where these problems are considerably less and just reward is actually probable. However, prior to this activity, there is a need for genuine personal and professional accounting in order to seek not only our true north, but how we intend to get there. I know this activity will cause surprises and uncover disturbing truths. If one then want to continue dealing with uncomfortable decisions – go for it; if not, a change is needed. That was dictated by my situation years ago when I decided not to continue working for companies bereft of any form of conscience. My butt, my license, my decision; griping might produce an answer, but will seldom produce the long term answer.

Today I work with a Company that is Safety Adamant, guided by the wisdom of a Chief Pilot who will not accept nonsense from Customer, Passenger and Pilot alike – and we have backing all the way to the dizzying heights of the P+CEO – actually stated and published as such. We are still a group of individuals seeking Nirvana, but – at a much higher level. The ‘No word’ is very seldom an issue here. Not perfect, but pretty damn close. Not a bad result of a few days of personal accounting, the determination and action to step out of what was then my comfort zone. Make it happen for yourself.

Wherefore art thow, Oh great ‘No Factor?’
Last time I checked, it was back in Africa somewhere.
Where is my comfort zone? I am very comfortable, thank you.

cmwangs is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2008, 12:31
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,958
your ops manual should cover it, if not ask the chief pilot to make an amendment that does cover it.

It is a hazard, and should be covered and in a manner that the onus of proof of the pilots judgement is not on him. (especially when dealing with drunks)

quoting the rule book, clearly and in well mannerd fashion is easy, trying to make up stories is ridiculous.
topendtorque is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2008, 12:28
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: France
Age: 79
Posts: 183
Fly with "Prudence" ??

I first met “Prudence” in the crew room of 651 Squadron AAC in Verden just before Christmas 1969.

She was dressed in black stockings, suspender belt, six inch stilettos and very little else and was attached to the wall with a few dobs of “blue tack”.

As a flight safety poster she conveyed a simple message

“Fly with Prudence”
rogerk is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2008, 13:42
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Maitland
Posts: 126
Cost of "No"

If you end up in a situation where you need to bring your passengers attention to the fact that what they want you to do isn't safe, ask them to ring their insurance company and have your wife/partner/boyfriend/casual root/mother/father/bloke next door the beneficiery of their life policy.
You want to make it worth your while to die for someone you're not sleeping with!
I'd rather be alive looking for a job than dead and not needing one. I've worked long and bloody hard to get to where I am now (one rung off the bottom of the ladder). And NO ONE can afford to pay me emough to take unacceptable risk.
And yes, I have said "no" on a number of accasions, both on EMS and corporate tasks
McGowan is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2008, 17:53
  #26 (permalink)  

Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
Age: 68
Posts: 3,810
Sadly, Prudence had gone by the time I got there! There was just the Maid.

paco is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2008, 19:46
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,958
There was just the Maid
that's worse!
topendtorque is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2008, 21:00
  #28 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,633
your ops manual should cover it, if not ask the chief pilot to make an amendment that does cover it.
Much more difficult if there is no ops manual and if there was a chief pilot it would be yourself (as well as the junior pilot and everyone in between) .....
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2008, 08:55
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: South Africa
Age: 53
Posts: 79
Blue tack? In 1969?
Leftpedal is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2008, 09:18
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: France
Age: 79
Posts: 183
Picky !!

... or "Back rolled Sellotape"
How's SA - my wife arrived in JHB this morning to visit a sick son.
rogerk is offline  

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