FO with scratchy voice

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
So your FO shows up for the first day with an extraordinarily hoarse voice.

He exclaims that he's not sick and has no apparent symptoms of being ill, but he's a little hard to understand at times because of potential laringitis.

Thoughts, if any?
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
Well, its an interresting situation. Laringitis is very contagious so it could be a red flag, however he'd probably show some symptoms of being ill. If he shows no symptoms of being ill, or under the influence of medications, I guess I'd leave it up to him. If he feels fit to fly I'd probably let him, though it would depend on exactly how bad his voice was and how hard it is to understand him. I may advise him to drink some water to possibly clear up his throat so I can undrstand him better, and I'd probably handle the radio communications.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
Its day one of the trip, and its potential laringitis. That means it might get worse and could easily last the duration of the trip. I'd try to get him to get off the trip. There's a reason the FAR's require pilots to read, speak, and understand english.


Besides, flying with a required crewmember who can't talk is just asking for a serious miscommunication- which then may need to be reported under NTSB 830.5(a)(2):

"Inability of any required flight crewmember to perform his normal flight duties as a result of injury or illness..."
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
ESF
A little legalistic and in my opionion a little unrealistic response. I would give the FO the benefit of the doubt and fly the trip, unless he is absolutely unable to speak and by then he probably would admitt he's unfit for flight. If I was kept from flying every time I wasn't 100 % I would loose my job, and so would about 99% of the people out there. Sometimes you just have to "cowboy up" or suck it up and get the job done. I am less concerned with a person like this than I am with the person who is constantly comeing up with ill excuses to avoid doing their job. With experience you will see that flying with a crew member who is not up to snuff is not a real big deal ... you just have to be aware of it up front and make the appropriate adjustments. Maybe let him fly today's legs and I would do all the radio work and then tommorrow we switch.
Just my .02 cents worth.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
Go flying.
If he gets worse, you can always have a replacement called in.
Just 'cause he starts the trip doesn't mean you have to use him the whole way.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Well, I had to call in sick once because I had tonsilitis so bad I could not speak. My voice was barely a whisper, and I knew I would not be able to yell evacuation commands if necessary.

The call to crew sched was interesting though, I couldn't talk, so the scheduler had a really tough time hearing me say my name and employee number. I had to say it about a dozen times before she finally understood what was going on!
 

av8rmsu

Well-Known Member
I'm with C650CPT...

Try it out the first day and see if it gets better or worse. He should be professional enough to know if he is fit to fly or not. Be honest with him and tell him your concerns, but let him make the decision for himself.
 

FL270

New Member
My concern is effective communication ... not just the radios, but whether you are PF or PNF there are checklists (to read or respond) and callouts that need to be handled. If you can understand the guy well enough for those things to be taken care of properly, then start the trip. If it gets worse, drop him for a reserve when you pass through base again.

This has happened to me; my boss lost his voice during a layover in New York and couldn't speak for the return flight. We switched duties (I was supposed to be PF that day) so I could handle the radios. The difference between this and the airlines is that the same guy and I fly together in the same airplane ALL THE TIME. We are so used to one another's actions that we can communicate by hand signals without any loss of efficiency. Could be a different situation with an FO who, while s/he has the same standardized training you do, is quite possibly someone you've never met or flown with before. It really is a judgment call on the part of both pilots.

FL270
 

rhs

New Member
Isn't redundancy one of the reasons for having two pilots? If the captain is incapacitated and unable to fly, what happens? The FO can't even speak. How's he going to get the plane down without talking to ATC?

I'd say find a replacement.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
How's he going to get the plane down without talking to ATC?

[/ QUOTE ]
Uhhhh.....fly it?

JK
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Isn't redundancy one of the reasons for having two pilots? If the captain is incapacitated and unable to fly, what happens? The FO can't even speak. How's he going to get the plane down without talking to ATC?

I'd say find a replacement.

[/ QUOTE ]
Well, yeah but how bad can it possibly be? If it is so bad that you really cannot understand him at all, and he wouldn't be able to communicate with ATC then i agree he should not fly. But the way I read it is he is somehwat difficult to understand. In this case the captain could handle the radio communications and in the unlikely event that the captain becomes incapacitated, he can handle it good enough to finnish the flight, maybe with some dificulty, but without creating a real danger. It can't be any worse than someone who is a little scetchy with their English which I hear on the radio ALL THE TIME in the busy airspace around OAK and SFO, and it dosn't create too many problems.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
[ QUOTE ]
It can't be any worse than someone who is a little scetchy with their English which I hear on the radio ALL THE TIME in the busy airspace around OAK and SFO, and it dosn't create too many problems.

[/ QUOTE ]

I've run into some controllers on Miami App that fall into that category.
 

drummerboy

Well-Known Member
I would fly with him and if there was a problem later in the trip then we could deal with it then. If he has no other symptons he could have just been yelling to loud at the hockey game the night before.
 

drummerboy

Well-Known Member
Also how do you even know that it might be laringitis? I've had a few times where I have lost my voice just from yelling, or a bad cold that has gone away.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I think I'd have him call in sick.

All is fine and dandy, right up until you have a major system malfunction and you need to divide the crew up into pilot flying/handling radios and pilot running the checklist and getting the aircraft systems stabilized.

Like if you had to go on oxygen and run a cabin/cockpit smoke procedure, you're more or less down to 1 pilot communications-wise and it's hard enough running that procedure normally.
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
I'm confused here, why does everyone seem to think the guy has gone completely mute?

Doug you yourself said, and I quote:

[ QUOTE ]
he's a little hard to understand at times

[/ QUOTE ]
Why is it such a big deal? He can still communicate, just not quite as well as normal. In the unlikely event of an emergency he'd be able to communicate if he had to wouldn't he?
 

8LegDay

New Member
Call in sick. Stay home, drink OJ and watch Top Gun untill 100% better. Respect the Profession and people you work with.
 

I_Money

Moderator
One could only presume if it was not an illness, he must have been smoking marajuana, and/or other drugs. When going through security, I would jump up and down and be like HE IS ON DRUGS and was on *name a rival airline*. This was you saved your PR department a lot of hardwork, yet provided a safe flight, and the captain with the help he needed.
 

I_WANNA_BE_ATP

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Well, its an interresting situation. Laringitis is very contagious so it could be a red flag, however he'd probably show some symptoms of being ill. If he shows no symptoms of being ill, or under the influence of medications, I guess I'd leave it up to him. If he feels fit to fly I'd probably let him, though it would depend on exactly how bad his voice was and how hard it is to understand him. I may advise him to drink some water to possibly clear up his throat so I can undrstand him better, and I'd probably handle the radio communications.

[/ QUOTE ]

Laringitis is only truely contagious if you have contact with his umm discharge, (like from a sneeze). Just being inthe cockpit should be ok. Just make sure HE washes his hands frequently and you also. You can get alcohol hand gel cleaner that does not need water at any drug store, newstand, supermarket. Also carring clorax wipes helps. I got stuff fromthe hospital I work in and this stuff kills everythings.
I would make sure he drinks lots of fluids, no sodas, or other caffienated stuff (YES I said limit his coffee!!!) You can get medication from any drug store called COLD EZZE or something similiar. Great stuff and doesn't taste that bad. When ever someone in our department starts sniffling we all chip in a get a huge bag of the stuff for all af us. And then see how his day goes. If it gets bad call dispatch and have a reserve take over.
 
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