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Flybe pilots fired after flight deck row

Old 20th Apr 2012, 18:54
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I guess it is a typo but I would like to propose that the word "tribuneral" is adopted into general usage to mean "a tribunal with a predetermined (wink) outcome of dismissal".
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 20:04
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Regarding experience etc, looking at his Linkedin profile:

stephen akers - United Kingdom | LinkedIn

I'm guessing that the Sqn Ldr (Retd) was not a service pilot, but someone who made a late career change into the flightdeck.
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 21:19
  #23 (permalink)  
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Looks like the national press picked the up from the local Western Morning News in Exeter. It appears the first officer has history hence
Capt Bird said Mr Akers then called him a “control freak”, to which he replied: “Now I can see why you have had issues with other captains.”
Their story is below
A captain was sacked along with a first officer after calling him his “bitch” before a flight in which they had a furious row.

Captain Stephen Bird used the term to describe his senior First Officer Stephen Akers ahead of the Flybe Embraer jet flight from Exeter to Malaga in Spain.

They fell out again before landing in Malaga, when Captain Bird ignored Mr Akers’ request to avoid the “dark clouds”, sparking a furious row. Mr Akers called Capt Bird a “control freak” and told him to “f*** off” before refusing to shake his hand after they returned to Exeter and landed the aircraft. The pair yesterday represented themselves in an unfair dismissal case against Exeter-based Flybe.

In his statement Capt Bird, from Northam, North Devon, said banter was commonplace between work colleagues.

When Mr Akers asked if he had completed the flight log giving details of fuel, weather and the destination, Capt Bird said he hadn’t done the paperwork “cos you’re my bitch”.

Capt Bird said his comment was made in a “clearly jovial manner” with no-one else present and was said in “jest”.

He said he did not realise that former RAF squadron leader Mr Akers had “found it offensive” and later offered him his sincere apologies.

But during the flight to Malaga there was turbulence over the Bay of Biscay and the seatbelts warning sign was switched on.

During the descent to the Spanish airport, Mr Akers urged Capt Bird to avoid a weather formation, but he said he was reluctant to take his advice because as an experienced captain he had to take into account the implications as they were already running 25 minutes late on the flight in May last year.

He claimed Mr Akers was becoming very “agitated” and insistent. They clipped the edge of the bad weather and Capt Bird conceded that it was “worse than I expected”.

Flybe found there had been a “massive breakdown” between the pilots that could have put passenger safety at risk.

Capt Bird said Mr Akers then called him a “control freak”, to which he replied: “Now I can see why you have had issues with other captains.”

The captain then said if Mr Akers continued to argue with him he would have no choice but to report the incident to the company, to which Mr Akers replied “F*** off”, the Exeter tribunal panel was told. The row lasted several minutes but the plane and passengers landed safely.

The return flight was in “virtual silence”, with Mr Akers reading a newspaper and they landed after a “perfectly safe and uneventful” trip. Once on the ground, Capt Bird said he always shakes the hand of his First Officer, but Mr Akers told him: “You owe me a f***ing apology.”

The skipper said: “I was shocked by his reaction.”

Both pilots phoned their manager, Captain Stan Wood, about the incident and he told them to file an Air Safety Report. They were both later sacked.

Mr Akers said he was concerned about the weather on the flight because two weeks earlier his plane had been struck by lightning and severe turbulence. He said Captain Bird had told him: “I am the Captain, just fly the plane.”

Capt Bird has 1,100 hours flying time and Mr Akers 2,000 hours, the tribunal was told. Both had clean disciplinary records.

The tribunal continues.
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 21:29
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Looking at Mr Akers profile I have to say I've met many of his ilk in my time. Ex forces RAF Sqn Ldr on a non flying desk job and career change to flying instructor at Stapleford,Kidlington and Cabair says it all.
He probably forgot he was not sitting alongside one of his students. No doubt a few of those will be along soon with their version of flying with him.
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 22:11
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I'm grossly offended reading about this situation.Who can I complain
too, it's just not on having to read such things.
I will put money on the ex RAF dickie wacker's attitude being
the root cause of the problem.
Should have stayed in the service old boy.
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 22:14
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Capt Bird has 1,100 hours flying time
I don't think so!
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Old 20th Apr 2012, 23:11
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On type?

Maybe they mean 1,100 hours on type - the 190's are quite new to Flybe.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 10:02
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Can a pilot refuse to fly with a captain who insults him/her?

Consider a hypothetical situation. A pilot is mortified by an insult from the captain prior to take off .
Can that pilot justifiably quit the flight deck and refuse to fly with that captain? Do airlines have regulations to cover such eventualities - and what would the legal position be? ...and would there be a CVR of the incident?
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 10:21
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Sterility pays sometimes.

Being called somebody's "bitch" is likely to cause offence (no matter how jovially it was said) in the air and on the ground and in any profession!

However the general lack of empathy, CRM and the mutual provocation shown by both parties in this case probably justifies the final harsh sanction by the airline. Sometimes it just pays to button it. The result of this spat is going to reverberate though these guys careers if they ever resurrect the flying part of them again.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 10:40
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caveat: Apart from the terrible CRM, this is............

COMEDY GOLD

This industry is full of and attracts fruitcakes.

And it looks like he has a hard time staying in one flying job.

Last edited by jamestkirk; 21st Apr 2012 at 11:18.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 10:55
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Being called somebody's "bitch" is likely to cause offence (no matter how jovially it was said) in the air and on the ground and in any profession!
Not sure, I used to work with an openly gay guy and he often referred to himself as my 'bitch' and everyone around us took it in good spirit. I think it was clear to all that we were on good terms.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 11:06
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Banter is fine if the two (or more) concerned know each other well (good mates etc.). In situations like these where FD crews may not be that well acquainted it would be prudent to be very selective about the type of banter one might use. Based on what I have read here I can certainly understand why the company elected to sack both parties.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 11:16
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CRM not

I expect this will be discussed at alot of CRM courses this fall, especially where there is a high proportion of ex mil guys joining.
Should be fun.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:09
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I assume these guys probably had some sort of history between them before this incident.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:12
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Joking aside

Airlines in Britain have really plummeted.Go back twenty years and you had some nice places to work.Now youve got a lot of back-biting,grassing,fiddly annoying procedures and just a generally depressing workplace(smoking on the deck?Youre fired!No Yellow jacket?Right youre fired!Chewing gum in class?Youre fired!)
Pilots now pack their sandwich box and flask,don their little yellow jacket,say "yes sir,no sir 3 bags full sir" to the security tyrants,lock themselves into their computerzed flight deck and spend 4 hours pushing buttons afraid to take the AP out in sunny ALC and do a visual in case the big bad wolf CP back in Blighty gets a report that they were seen flying the plane and werent stabilized at 20 miles.
I was FO in late 80's and had a riot in Dan Air.There was no CRM,no SOP,no grassing,no yellow jackets,no bs.There was the Captain andsomething called airmanship.We took our cue from him or her and knew our place.0.5% were tyrannical and thus posed a CRM threat but who says life is a bed of roses?You learned to adapt.99.5% were gents and you learned a lot.
I worked abroad ever since and have enjoyed moments but wont forget my time in Dan when flying was fun and there was no bs.If I woke up tomorrow and somebody said to me "You can work for Easy or Ryan but theres nobody else left" I'd find something else to do quicker than you can say "politically correct".
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:16
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When I made a request, through the proper channels, not to fly with a certain first officer I was advised that if I pursued the request my services would be terminated after over thirty years with my company. I took early retirement!

MP
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:33
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He was a blanket stacker in the RAF, so I can see why the career change!
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:54
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I've got a better idea. Safer not to employ any ex-military people. Problem solved.
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:56
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Dontdoit - Rest of post self edited to stop me lowering myself to your level!

Ivor
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Old 21st Apr 2012, 12:57
  #40 (permalink)  
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I too guess that there was some history here between them.

Whilst I hate to generalise I am going to none the less.

When I was a young Captain I found that the ex-RAF fast jet guys would have a superiority attitude, thinking that they really should be the ones in the left hand seat. Also thinking that they knew exactly how the Company should be run and how they should manage their staff as if the RAF way is the only way.

Now I am an older more experience Captain it is not quite prevalent but still there.

We are just about to promote some very young guys, but very very competent, to the LHS and I do worry about the command gradient being eroded.

I think that guys coming out of the RAF should have some sort of exit counselling, explaining that there is some competency outside of the RAF. It must be very difficult for them, to go from school into the RAF and not been in the civilian world to fully comprehend how things are on the other side!

BTW ex Herc, C17 and Tristar guys, great guys on the whole.
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