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Old 6th Apr 2012, 14:58   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Kagerplassen
Posts: 224
Arrow Definition of Captaincy

Hi all,

I'm working on a safety policy paper for a foundation in my home country who are working with GA pilots. One of the main things I want to propose is to introduce a selection process for new pilots and a way of reviewing the current ones (i.e. check flights).

In my list of what we expect any pilot to bring along I wanted to say something about captaincy.

What I am looking for is a nice and "catchy" definition or description of what one may consider as "the right attitude", being independent, doing the right risk assessment, able to withstand pressure from above etc.


Many thanks,
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 16:06   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Encourage all aspiring airline pilots to read Ernest K Gann's FATE IS THE HUNTER. Ask them what they learned about the flight deck environment in Gann's day. Ask them to profile two captains that for Gann epitomised the respected, well-rounded aircraft commander. Ask them to instance an occasion where the skill, experience and resourcefulness of the skipper saved the day.

Select ten major accidents (say since 1979 Air New Zealand DC10 Mount Erebus disaster). Look up the analysis of those accidents. Select some for study and review where the interaction of the crew prior to landing or impact shows that the commander was highly competent.

Pick others were his input (or lack of) may have contributed or did contribute to the accident.

To my mind your brief outline of what you are wanting to do is way short on specifics.

I baulk too at the notion of 'nice and catchy definitions'.

One might prattle on ad nauseam about airmanship, for instance, but in will not be worth a tinker's curse if not rooted in long experience. The good commander is not born to his office. He is made. And not overnight. (Some recent horror stories of overseas 'qualified' applicants for check out in the sims at Tullamarine, Melbourne would give you the heeby jeebies.)

As a man experienced in A340 ops you should by now have a clear picture of what personal attributes you would like to see in guidelines to determine an airline pilot's command potential. So it begs the question, what do you hope to learn about this subject from others that you have not already sussed out for yourself.?

All of the above offered in the spirit of awareness, safety and economy.

May your own efforts be successfully directed along similar lines.

If you care to pay for the mail-out and have a questionairre put together I'd be happy to circulate it to a couple of hundred retired airline pilots if that would help your exercise.
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 19:17   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Castlegar
Posts: 252
technical skills ... "prudence, judgment and care"

From first slot:
"... to propose ... a selection process ... list of what we expect any pilot to bring ... captaincy. ... looking for ... definition or description of ... "the right attitude" ... the right risk assessment ..."
Summer of 1966, CAB's investigators released their AAR on the high sink-rate Landing mishap (fatal) at SLC, of UA227 / 11Nov65 B727.

"C.A.B. ASKS STUDY OF PILOTS' ABILITY," By EDWARD HUDSON; _New York Times_, Jun 13, 1966, pg. 65.

From the CAB's AAR on that B727 mishap, AAR pages 11+,
"... The captain in this case did demonstrate to the satisfaction of the examining company check pilot and an FAA inspector that he possessed the knowledge and the ability to serve in the capacity of pilot-in-command in the B727.

"However, the responsibility and authority which the pilot-in-command has for the operation of a transport airplane also requires the exercise of sound judgment. Fulfillment of the pilot-in-command responsibility demands self-discipline in adherence to tested and approved procedures. In this instance the captain did not follow the approved procedure with regard to rate of descent during the landing approach to the Salt Lake City Airport.

"The training records of this captain indicated a pattern of below average judgment, as well as a tendency to deviate from standard operating procedures and practices. Indeed, it is significant that in this case the history not only reflects an apparent indifference toward adhering to acceptable procedures and tolerances in general, but specifically during the landing ... approach ...

"The aeronautical knowledge and skill levels required for an airline transport pilot may be determined through testing, but the less tangible aspects of mature judgement may not be so readily measured or determined. Pilot-in-command aptitude should be evaluated through supervisory observation of piloting performance in the carrier's day to day operation. Safety in air transportation requires the air carrier to identify those pilots in need of more training ... and particularly to identify those pilots who are marginal or who have demonstrated a failure to adhere to proven procedures and reasign them to duties compatible with their capabilities and limitations."
AAR pg 15, "Recommendations":
#1 "The Board is concerned that the procedures for pilot testing prevailing at the time of this accident were such that an individual with the pilot behavioral characteristics of the pilot in this case could qualify and be retained as pilot-in-command of a B-727 aircraft. The Board therefore recommends that both the Federal Aviation Agency and the air carriers reexamine existing procedures to the end that all feasible steps may be taken to make sure that airmen who serve as pilots-in-command of commercial aircraft, and in particular high-speed jet aircraft such as the B-727, possess not only the requisite technical skills, but the necessary qualities of prudence, judgment and care as well."
= = = / / = = =

From DoT's IG web site:
DOT - Aviation Safety | Office of Inspector General
New Approaches Are Needed to Strengthen FAA Oversight of Air Carrier Training Programs and Pilot Performance
December 20, 2011
Project ID: AV-2012-027

IG's Rpt, pg 13, Conclusions:
"FAA’s 2009 Call to Action Plan was an immediate and focused measure to improve airline safety. While air carriers have responded to the plan’s initiatives to identify and implement safety improvements impacting pilot performance, FAA has yet to provide the level of oversight needed to identify and track poor performing pilots and ensure air carriers have the information needed to hire qualified pilots...."
Online Digital Special Collections Library
DATE Dec-1942

FILE # 7

Conclusions [last page], #4.
"C.A.A. inspectors' grades on the flight test show low correlations with instructors' ratings of students at the end of the course, and with ratings a check pilot at the completion of the course. The data raise doubts as to the value of the C.A.A. Flight Test which now requires so much time and energy on the part of inspectors. Further checks as to the validity and reliability of these Flight Tests are needed."

?? "prudence, judgment and care" ??
Italian cruise ship was making unauthorised manoeuvre when it hit rocks | World news | The Guardian
Costa Concordia captain claims company ordered 'salute' to island | World news | The Guardian

Last edited by IGh; 6th Apr 2012 at 19:42.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 13:52   #4 (permalink)
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Wow thanks, that really helps me a lot!

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Old 7th Apr 2012, 18:15   #5 (permalink)
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Ask when it is right to lock the Captain out of the cockpit.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 23:34   #6 (permalink)
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......... and when not to take any notice of Management.
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