What is your greatest piece of advice

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Oh, something else I forgot about this morning.

I use a long “retractable” dog leash leadership style. I’m not going to micromanage and I expect my first officers are going to make mistakes, discover “ooh! crap!” and then course correct back to where they should be. That way they learn, let their own “inner voice” develop and makes for a more cohesive operation. If they’ve “walked down the wrong alleyway” and are about to get hurt, I’ll step in right when I almost can’t save them and then we’ll talk about it.

However...

Some copilots will interpret an open, friendly, “make your own decisions and I’ll veto when appropriate” as an “I’m the alpha, anything goes, amma do whatever I want without regard to convention and procedure”. You’ve got to be swift to learn about the personality you’re working with that is going to misinterpret your “niceness” as “weakness” and think it’s their airplane. Don’t be afraid to confirm that you’re Alpha wolf if you have to. 95% of guys you fly with will flourish in an open leadership style, 5% of them might need to have corrective action. (“Hey, close the cockpit door, it’s cold”, “Are you asking me or are you telling me? If you’re cold, close the door, but either way bring a grey bag from the galley” and then smile widely so he doesn’t really understand if you’re serious or being sarcastic)


I’m actually suffering/learning a bit from this, primarily the second part where that 5% need corrective action because like you said they take niceness as weakness. Trying to learn how to establish alpha in a case like that but without hurting CRM. For the first 200-300 hrs, it was the mechanics of the new left seat, eg, dealing with flying with left hand, dealing with ops, dispatch, the operational stuff. But now I think for the 300-700 hr mark in the left seat as new, is learning how to deal with these kinds of FO dynamics.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I’m actually suffering/learning a bit from this, primarily the second part where that 5% need corrective action because like you said they take niceness as weakness. Trying to learn how to establish alpha in a case like that but without hurting CRM. For the first 200-300 hrs, it was the mechanics of the new left seat, eg, dealing with flying with left hand, dealing with ops, dispatch, the operational stuff. But now I think for the 300-700 hr mark in the left seat as new, is learning how to deal with these kinds of FO dynamics.
It’s weird and it’s largely a pain in the ass because those types are stealthy. Once upon a time, the problem FOs would come to the cockpit adorned (festooned?) with “Yeah, they wanted to make me a line validation pilot, but this was too much funnnnnn, I was on the 330, but I’m down to the 320 for overtime flying opportunities, then either (a) “I was #2 at (regional)” or (b) “I’m a Galactic Megatron Mk IV general brigadier wing czar in the guard” and then you know you’re going to have to establish alpha. But some of the ne’er dowells wait until the sheen is off on the second or third leg to let their problem child out.

Yet another reason I full believe in psychological profilings and expansion thereof.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
It’s weird and it’s largely a pain in the ass because those types are stealthy. Once upon a time, the problem FOs would come to the cockpit adorned (festooned?) with “Yeah, they wanted to make me a line validation pilot, but this was too much funnnnnn, I was on the 330, but I’m down to the 320 for overtime flying opportunities, then either (a) “I was #2 at (regional)” or (b) “I’m a Galactic Megatron Mk IV general brigadier wing czar in the guard” and then you know you’re going to have to establish alpha. But some of the ne’er dowells wait until the sheen is off on the second or third leg to let their problem child out.

Yet another reason I full believe in psychological profilings and expansion thereof.


Any tips or your real world example of establishing alpha? You can PM me if you’d like. I’m genuinely curious. As a real world nice guy, it’s an area I need work on.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
As an example, older FO senior to me had skipped upgrade. He kept going on about how I was smart to take it and he was stupid. Last day of our trip and vacancy award comes out, he didn’t get Bus CA like he wanted. Now he’s visibly pissed.

Checklist reading, he cuts me off in response and moves to next item. Like say CA response might be “Checked and onboard” as soon as I say “checked” he cuts off to next item. Like just stating it “altimeters.” That kinda thing. This is last day of trip, so first time I said nicely “hey can ya slow down, I’m not that fast.” But I could tell he was pissed at the award and him not being CA while I was when junior to him. Trip ended and that was the end.

But what if trip continued and next leg it happens again? Establishing alpha how without being rude? If asking to slowdown isn’t good enough and he cuts you off again in checklist responses, what do you do? I ran it by a CA I know and trust, and he said he’d just tell him that every time he does that, he’d take it the checklist from the top again.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s too direct? Or is that good alpha? Stuff like that. I need to learn what’s too weak, too strong, and just middle when it comes to being alpha.
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
As an example, older FO senior to me had skipped upgrade. He kept going on about how I was smart to take it and he was stupid. Last day of our trip and vacancy award comes out, he didn’t get Bus CA like he wanted. Now he’s visibly pissed.

Checklist reading, he cuts me off in response and moves to next item. Like say CA response might be “Checked and onboard” as soon as I say “checked” he cuts off to next item. Like just stating it “altimeters.” That kinda thing. This is last day of trip, so first time I said nicely “hey can ya slow down, I’m not that fast.” But I could tell he was pissed at the award and him not being CA while I was when junior to him. Trip ended and that was the end.

But what if trip continued and next leg it happens again? Establishing alpha how without being rude? If asking to slowdown isn’t good enough and he cuts you off again in checklist responses, what do you do? I ran it by a CA I know and trust, and he said he’d just tell him that every time he does that, he’d take it the checklist from the top again.

I don’t know. Maybe that’s too direct? Or is that good alpha? Stuff like that. I need to learn what’s too weak, too strong, and just middle when it comes to being alpha.
"I'm sorry, that's too fast for me. Let's take it from the top. Listen, if there's something bothering you let's get it out now because you're clearly distracted."
 
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ozziecat35

4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
Hardest part of being a “newish” FO is developing my chameleon skills... I’m worried my baby face will serve to backfire on me come upgrade time down the road, since I hate conflict in a professional setting. This thread is really helpful.
 

Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
I have a very small number of pet peeves, but at least at my shop, single engine taxi out is the expectation, and thus the delayed start up is the FO’s job. I keep finding myself flying with Captains who pride themselves on waiting until the last minute to call for the delayed start, and thus turn me into the aviation equivalent of Vishnu.
hurr look at how much gas I'm saving hurr

hey why is that engine not running derp "Buzzsaw 5105, we need to pull off and 'work a problem'"
 
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