Communication in the cockpit

pavelump

Well-Known Member
With all of the recent (negative) activity on the forums, it got me to thinking about the day when I begin to sit next to somebody for hour/weeks on end.

This isn't a new thing for me because I was in a band for several years and I was "trapped" in a van criss-crossing the country for months at time. The major difference though was that we were all friends; that and the fact that we could drink on the job.
And did. A lot. No .04 for us!

Anyway, we would argue about anything and everything just for the hell of it out of boredom, but in the end it pretty much didn't matter. And if for some reason you didn't get along with somebody, you could just avoid talking to each other for a few days. I suppose in retrospect, we were a pretty homogeneous group. That's why we would have to argue over things like whether eggs should be in the dairy section or the meat section. (Seriously, this argument went on for days) We didn't really have any major differences to speak of.

My question to you pro pilots is how do you handle interpersonal communications with your co-workers? Obviously, you aren't dealing with a homogenous group. What do you do when somebody says something that you completely disagree with?

My tendency would just to be to avoid religion, politics, or other controversial subjects in the cockpit. Does this just undermine my individuality and make me bland?

As a new hire, what are your options for not flying with somebody who you don't get along with?

Thanks,
Dave
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
From what I've seen, if you are simply two opposite personalities, you just keep it professional and 'lite'-hearted, no talks about religion, politics, etc and generally everything works out pretty good.

Like the captains that I'd prefer not to fly with (only a couple) would probably have no idea that I felt that way, just probably thought I was on the quiet side.

But after a few legs, you can usually feel-out the captain and at times politics, religion et all are highly discussable. The captain I'm currently flying with and I share pretty much the same views on a lot of things so we can talk about anything under the sun.

I flew with an extremely one-sided, highly political, very religious guy a few months ago and I continued to dance around the conversation and change subjects away from those topics because I didn't see any value in entering into a debate about why we just can't go nuke the third world, Africa, France, and the Persian Gulf and make the survivors watch Pat Robertson and Fox News.

I mean, this guy was damned near that extreme but it was pretty easy to route the converstion back to the task at hand, flying and what it was like to fly his paritcular aircraft in the Air Force.

If you've got to argue, that's not a cockpit-compatible topic of conversation in my eyes.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
I have flown with my share of captains that couldn't get along with a puppy.

All I can say is that a bad day at captain beats ANY day at FO.

You will know you are in for a long month when you get your 2nd or 3rd choice, and you are bidding #30


Sometimes it helps to talk it out, other times you are better off just keeping your mouth shut. Tell the difference? That, sir, is what being an FO is all about.

FO = Flexible and Obedient
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
For me, I've enjoyed everyone I've flown with. I guess at our company there are some bad apples, but as long as you keep it professional and friendly there shouldn't be many problems. I am really easygoing, and if the captain wants to tell me about something they are doing or have done, I just listen and take in what they are telling me with interest. I may not agree with their opinions or how they handle situations, but that's just what comes along with dealing with people for 3 days straight.

One thing I try to do is stay away from gossip, and keep an easygoing attitude about everything. Sometimes it's hard to know what is gossip and just telling the facts... it's a gray line between the two. You just have to realize that if a particular person gets some impression of you, you have a bunch of other people out there who have a different impression.

Basically what I'm saying is just to keep cool, listen, express your interests smartly, and realize you won't be best friends with everybody!
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Wait - didn't you just finish IOE? How many captains have you flown with that aren't IOE captains?

Remember IOE captains get picked because they can get along with people.

You may still meet a bad apple.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Well you usually get the bad ones right away, since you are junior. Oh wait, you haven't gotten a line yet.

When you get enough seniority to be a line holder, let us know how those first few captains are


I'm not trying to rain on your parade, you will find that most of the captains are great, and you'll enjoy 99% of your flying. I hope your other 1% isn't as "memorable" as mine was LOL.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
I'm a line holder next month (September). Like I said there are bad apples, but it's easy to get along with most, if not all, of the captains by just being easy going and friendly. Differences of opinions can be overcome if you aren't too anal.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I think there were about 4 captains at Skyway that I'd prefer not to fly with and only about 2 at Delta.

Skyway had 130 pilots which makes it about 3% of the pilots whereas the two at Delta comes up to 0.019% of the pilots.

But then, I was a 25 year old hot shot type-a back then and now I'm a greying, married old fart type-A-minus/B-plus at 32!
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
At mesa I ran in to 4 or 5 that I didn't like flying with, and of course I flew with them all the time when I was junior. Most of them it just took time to work out the differences.

Midway had a couple of doozies however. I only had 4 months of flying there, but I ran into the Supreme Cornholio month #4!

Won't say more out loud
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Yeah remember that the next time a captain starts yelling at you about landing technique at 400' AGL.

What do you do?

I almost let go of the controls and said, "Your Airplane!"
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Doug, would you mind telling us what about those 2 Delta guys that you dont like?

[/ QUOTE ]

it's not that I disliked them, it's just that I preferred not to fly with them if given the choice.

The first guy treated flying as a science, and not as an art. You know, when cleared for a visual approach from downwind, instead of flying the aircraft to arrive at a point on final, stabilized and on speed, properly configured for landing, it was, fly to abeam the marker, set your timer for 15 seconds, start a 25 degree bank turn to base, extend the flaps to 15, turn on final, go flaps 23, drop the gear, at the marker reduce speed from 180 to ref+5, add final flaps and make sure you call for the before landing checklist early so I can make sure it's all complete before 1000' agl.

Nah, then I stop flying the jet how I've learned to fly all my life, take on someone else's procedure and spend more time wondering if I'm following his procedure instead of doing whatever it takes to get the job done in the current conditions.

It almost eroded to the point where I wanted to ask, "would you like me to descend in "VNAV" or "vertical speed"? When would you prefer I shallow my descent to reduce to 250 knots to descend below 10,000?"

But instead, I just nodded, smiled and gave my patented "sure, no problem" and "yeah, I can do that".

Gotta learn to grin and bear it when you're an FO. But not to the point where it'll endanger the safety of the aircraft.

The other guy wanted to argue about politics, religion and foreign policy and I think got more insulted when I just nodded and smiled. Those are three absolute non-discussables in my book unless we've got compatible beliefs and views. It's got no place in the cockpit.
 

Eagle

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Yeah remember that the next time a captain starts yelling at you about landing technique at 400' AGL.
What do you do?
I almost let go of the controls and said, "Your Airplane!"

Wait - didn't you just finish IOE? How many captains have you flown with that aren't IOE captains?
Remember IOE captains get picked because they can get along with people.
You may still meet a bad apple.

Well you usually get the bad ones right away, since you are junior. Oh wait, you haven't gotten a line yet.
When you get enough seniority to be a line holder, let us know how those first few captains are


[/ QUOTE ]

Holy cow JT, are you SURE the incidents were bad captains?
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
There weren't that many LOL! Although those captains would probably agree with YOU. I have not learned to be very diplomatic when I fear for my life yet.

Like I said before 99% of my trips were fun!

Haven't you been junior and got stuck with the captain that everyone else bids around? Do they do seniority type bidding at that place you work?
 

Eagle

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

Haven't you been junior and got stuck with the captain that everyone else bids around? Do they do seniority type bidding at that place you work?


[/ QUOTE ]

No, and no.

It works like this.

Ring Ring. hello? Pop up trip to Denver how long till you are ready to go? I'll be at the hanger in 45 min.

I did fly with a guy who was so jazzed because we were going to a place where he could screw around on his wife and kids.

THAT WAS A Smile ( ok grimice) and Nod trip..

Hey you want to play slap and tickle with someone other than your spouse, have at it. I don't care. (honestly I don't care) Just I don't care to hear about it. And no thanks I have < frends Family, Inlaws Outlaws.. or SOMEONE I will be seeing when we land so no I can't make it to the Disco with your Fred Flinstone lookin' ass.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Yeah I definitely don't go for that crap.

People seem to forget that aviation is an incredibly small world, and it is very round.
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
Corporate flying is a little different in that by the time you realize you don't care for the guy you have to fly with its too late. You learn to deal with it or you leave. I used to say of my last job that there was a village missing thier idiot and I knew where he was. In a flight dept. with 3 pilots and 2 aircraft I creatively scheduled myself as to not have to fly with this guy for almost 8 weeks straight, it was a bet I had with the other pilot to see how long either one us could go without flying the boss, I won.

You have to be the bigger man (women) when flying with a non agreeable pilot. As long as the flight stays within standards and no one gets hurt who cares if you don't like each other. I for one have enough friends and I don't have to be friends with the other pilot for it to be professional and safe flight. My feelings don't get hurt that easy.
 
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