What is your greatest piece of advice

JordanD

Honorary Member
I’m glad latency was becoming a thing when I left. Nothing worse than a full bladder on taxi in, “gate’s occupied” followed by “well they show an out time” followed by 25 min later, “oh yeah we’re ready to push.”
I'm personally not glad that stealing money out of pilot's pockets is a thing, but you know...
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
That’s why I usually have the power up and ride the brakes unless it’s slippery on the ramp for the last couple of feet. Or they can just park you on the wrong RJ line in LGA when you’ve already shut down and you have to get towed back and pulled back in :rolleyes:
Hah or when they realize the jetway doesn't go down low enough in LAX. "Oh woops, we forgot this jetway doesn't fit your plane."
Seat everyone and push back and just tell them screw it, we'll taxi because it's going to take them even longer to tow us to the other alley... during rush hour.
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
I know working with flight attendants at regionals can be a pain since it's their first time doing the job, and many of them are pretty young, but...

Back up your flight attendants.

At the last job, I had multiple situations where Inflight management was calling the flight attendants to chew them out about delays I had caused. I ended up walking back into the galley, taking the phone from the FA, and then informing Inflight management that I was the cause of the delay, and that they could read my delay report.

Those kids were 21 years old and being chewed out about things they had no control over.

So with that, maybe it's easiest to say this; command is the privilege of serving those who support you. That means supporting the people who support YOU. When things go right, they get the praise. When things go wrong, even if you didn't cause it, you take the heat.
It is a pain, but I generally always do. "If they give you any crap about ----, they can talk to me" because generally 9 times out of 10 it's not the FAs fault yet gets coded as an FA delay. For example catering is coded that way... but when they seriously pull the truck up at departure time and pop the doors open on their own accord how is that the FAs fault? I try to treat it with a "help me.. help you" attitude. Most of them are doing what they are trained to do, which sometimes makes it obvious that there needs to be some changes in the schoolhouse instead of telling them to just roll everything up to the skipper.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
I'm not sure who wrote this originally, but I received it some time around my first upgrade in 2008. It's obviously out of the CoEX (nee: ExpressJet ummm... Skywest) system, but 99% of the things hold true. It provides a lot of good questions to think about how you'd handle a very specific situation, as well as some general advise at the end.

Recommended/mandatory reading for new Captains:
Dr. Anthony Kern, LTC USAF. "Flight Discipline" and "Redefining Airmanship",
Ernest K. Gann, "Fate is the Hunter"


General Situations
Great Captains are made not born: Why you should be including your FO in your planning/decision making.

How to fill out an ASAP form. (it’s depressing how few Captains have shown their FOs how to do one.)

Customs in a foreign country pulls one of your crewmembers off into a side room for special questioning. What are your rights, what should you do?

TSA is inappropriately wanding your female FA. What do you do? What are her rights?

You are very close to departure and there is chaos in the jetway with many ground personnel all giving you conflicting information, getting in your FA’s way and wanting to close the MCD and pull the stairs/jetway for an on-time departure. What do you do?

Gate agent pulls jetway/stairs from aircraft, leaving the Main Cabin Door open to the ramp.

Scheduling argues with you about required rest.

You arrive at the hotel after extensive delays for a reduced rest overnight. The hotel informs you they have sold your rooms and all they have are smoking rooms with couchbeds.

You are put on the same floor as a wedding party/convention/group for a reduced rest overnight with a very early wakeup and a 12 hour day scheduled. You can’t sleep because of the noise in the hallway from people partying and running up/down the hall. What do you do?


Aircraft Problems
Loopholes in MELs: example- APU MEL does not state the engine driven gens must all be working, whereas the MEL for the APU starter/gen function does.

Mx in other countries.

At an outstation the station manager comes into the cockpit and says she is grounding the aircraft, it has a fuel leak. Upon inspection you see that the aircraft is being fueled and the "fuel leak" is just venting from the spark arrestor/overflow vent. You explain this to her and she states she has already called Contract Mx and the aircraft will not be allowed to move until they inspect the airplane.

On takeoff just after getting airborne the #2 engine fire warning light illuminates then goes away. What do you do?

You call Mx out to service the #1 hyd system, but they say it is ok. It was much lower in flight, near the yellow low level. What do you do?


Weather Problems

Dispatch says you don’t need the fuel, your gut says you do. If you add the fuel you’re going to have to bump people and or bags. Weather appears to be ok but….

Same as above but you’re going to have to bump nonrevs, including commuting pilots.

When would you perform a high speed abort on icy runway? What about if you have an engine failure with low ceilings in a snowstorm on an icy runway covered with anti-ice fluid with a crosswind in a place such as Halifax?

Ugly weather day going to EWR/IAH. Dispatch lists LGA/EFD as your alternate, 8 minutes enroute, 400# of fuel. You know that if the weather is so bad in EWR/IAH everyone and their brother will be bailing to LGA/EFD and there is No Way you will make it there in 8 minutes with 400# of fuel. It’s going to be more like 30-45 minutes and you’re going to need 800-1,500# of fuel. If you want to list a more realistic alternate you’re going to have to bump passengers to get the fuel on board. What do you do?

Ugly weather day. As you’re boarding a dinosaur FA in uniform looks into the cockpit, and in a loud voice that draws the attention of every passenger within ten feet says "Now, you boys DO know how to fly in weather like this, right?"

Ugly weather day with delay at outstation. While boarding a passengers draws the attention of everyone in the area by saying very loudly (trying to be funny): "Didn’t I see you at the bar during the break?"

TSTMs ahead, you want to deviate. ATC says unable, opposite direction descending traffic for LGA. What do you do?

Same scenario but the frequency is so clogged you cannot get your reply in. What do you do?


CRM Problems
Pilot on jumpseat insists on interrupting the checklist by interjecting "Center" for all challenge/responses. What do you do?

Gate agent says count includes 25 with the FA jumpseater. You say What jumpseater?

FA jumpseater shows up dressed in sandals, shorts, and an Hawaiian shirt. You tell them they can ride but they need to change. They look at you and reply "But you’re Express..."

FA shows up for last flight of the night dressed in blue jeans to ride the jumpseat. You remind them of the dress code and they nod, you let them on because you’re a cool Captain and not one of those hardasses. The next morning they show up again for the jumpseat dressed the same way. What do you do? What about if the only seat is the jumpseat?

A passenger has purchased 2 seats because they are claustrophobic. A FA is supposed to be riding the jumpseat but your FA reports they are talking to the passenger, trying to persuade them to let them ride in that seat.

You have severe problems at home, are possibly looking at a divorce and know you’re not 100% but have to come in even though your mental state is only 50% or less. How do you handle it?

Passenger appears intoxicated and demands to see the Captain while taxiing out.

While performing the Receiving Aircraft Checklist you are grabbed from behind by the shoulder and turned around. A passenger has entered the cockpit, is waving their ticket at you and demanding you make the FA change their seat.

FA comes to you on day 2 of a 4 day and says "You’re really confusing me with the way you do things, and I’ve been here longer than you so here’s how you’re going to do it from now on."

FO/FA appears to be intoxicated.

FO keeps trying to start a political/religious argument.

You’re on a roll of bad landings and the FO is on a roll of greasers. He lords it over you, even making comments in front of passengers or mocking you to the FA.

2nd leg of a 4 day. Taxiing out you call for Flaps 9 and the taxi checklist. The FO rolls his eyes, looks at you and says "Are you one of those guys that’s going to make me run EVERY checklist?!!"

FO is sweaty and appears flushed. You ask if he feels ok and he replies that he has had the flu for 3 days but needs to save his sick calls for a concert he’s going to next week.

FA appears all sweaty and appears flushed. You ask if they feel ok and they reply that they have the flu but they are on termination warning for sick calls. You can hear them hacking through the bulkhead.

After the in-range ACARS you note you are getting a new FA. You query your current FA and she states she was sick all night, called scheduling this morning but said she could get the flight to the base. She states she has been in the lav most of the flight so a passenger did the service for her.

On initial descent, ATC assigns you 15,0’ as you pass through FL250. The FO/PF puts the local altimeter in his PFD. What do you do?

FO hitting on FA, who does not like it.

FA hitting on you, despite you telling him/her to knock it off.

FO/FA hooked up the night before and now there’s a tenseness in the air.

You see one of your crew members drinking in the bar within the 12 hour limit. What about within the 8 hour limit?

The FA is underage, the FO takes her drinking. Do you get involved?

FA has never seen an Orthodox Jew. They are praying, saying their prayers and swaying back and forth. FA is convinced they are an Islamic Terrorist and want you to divert.

In flight the Cabin Emerg light in the intercom illuminates. You try to raise the FA but there is no response. You look through the peephole and they are calmly sitting in their jumpseat. What do you do?

FO is from another airline who does nothing but complain about Express, and constantly tells you how it’s done at a REAL airline.

The FO insists on pounding through the buildups along your flight path (even using the autopilot in HDG mode to go through them) instead of making deviations around them. When you remind him about passenger comfort and the possibility of the FA being injured he sneers at you.

The FO pulls 7 Jepp revisions out of his flight case and say, "One of these days I gotta get caught up. Think I can just get a new set of Jepps?"

FO appears every day unshaven, uniform dirty, tie hanging around his neck. When you tell him to clean up and look professional he tells you when he’s paid like a professional he’ll look like one.

During crew brief before a night flight to a Mexico destination the FO states that if you deviate off the airways they will take the aircraft away from you.

During the pairing the FO tells you that you are in HIS seat and gives you attitude during the trip.

You meet the FO and he says "I hear you’re a new Captain." When you reply Yes I am he says "Good, I’m senior to you so I’ll give you more IOE and show you how we do it at this base."



Postscript...

It is my personal feelings that as the Captain you should no longer worry about flying the airplane, doing the weight and balance, programming the FMS or getting tied down in details you can hand off to the FO. The Captain’s job is to MANAGE the aircraft, keep the big picture and make safe decisions.

Remember that with that responsibility you also need to know how to use your resources for the best and safest outcome of the flight. Even if it means admitting you are wrong or that someone else has a better idea. Which is sometimes the hardest thing for a new Captain to do even if it is the best thing. It was for me sometimes.

The crew, passengers, ATC, Dispatch, ramp and gate personnel are all responsible to the Captain. "The Pilot in Command of an aircraft is ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the flight." (FAR 91.3). Or as Captain Len Morgan said "Everything in the FARs, the Policy Manual, your training, can all be summed up in one phrase: It's your call, Captain."

“As the Captain, you never need to get upset or angry, or lose your temper. You have no need to explain in detail, any decision or request you make. You have already won any argument. You are the Captain".
The only advise I'll add from personal experience is this....

When you first get started in the left seat, you are going to think that you are more conservative than experienced captains because you are new. You are going face situations that you are uncomfortable with but you'll press on because you assume the discomfort is simply your lack of experience and "a senior captain would take off with that storm cell on the departure end of the field no problems". Fight that. Chances are you actually aren't any more conservative than a senior guy.

Also, assuming that, even if you upgrade in the same operation (company and aircraft) you've spend the last few years in, you will, in your first 6 months see so many things you never saw before. If it can break, it will. If a passenger can somehow manage to do it, they will. If a FA can possibly say it, they will ("I'm good now... I took a xanax just before we took off on the last leg"). Be ready for it and keep a sense of humor and you'll be fine.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure who wrote this originally, but I received it some time around my first upgrade in 2008. It's obviously out of the CoEX (nee: ExpressJet ummm... Skywest) system, but 99% of the things hold true. It provides a lot of good questions to think about how you'd handle a very specific situation, as well as some general advise at the end.



The only advise I'll add from personal experience is this....

When you first get started in the left seat, you are going to think that you are more conservative than experienced captains because you are new. You are going face situations that you are uncomfortable with but you'll press on because you assume the discomfort is simply your lack of experience and "a senior captain would take off with that storm cell on the departure end of the field no problems". Fight that. Chances are you actually aren't any more conservative than a senior guy.

Also, assuming that, even if you upgrade in the same operation (company and aircraft) you've spend the last few years in, you will, in your first 6 months see so many things you never saw before. If it can break, it will. If a passenger can somehow manage to do it, they will. If a FA can possibly say it, they will ("I'm good now... I took a xanax just before we took off on the last leg"). Be ready for it and keep a sense of humor and you'll be fine.
Thank you very much for your input!
 

Autothrust Blue

Ultra-low-cost member
It is a pain, but I generally always do. "If they give you any crap about ----, they can talk to me" because generally 9 times out of 10 it's not the FAs fault yet gets coded as an FA delay. For example catering is coded that way... but when they seriously pull the truck up at departure time and pop the doors open on their own accord how is that the FAs fault? I try to treat it with a "help me.. help you" attitude. Most of them are doing what they are trained to do, which sometimes makes it obvious that there needs to be some changes in the schoolhouse instead of telling them to just roll everything up to the skipper.
I wish your coworkers would understand that “DFA” doesn’t mean it was the individual flight attendants fault, any more than DFC means it was the individual pilots’ fault.

“Pilot crew reroute.”

Anyway, don’t freeze.
 
Last edited:

AAPalmTree

Well-Known Member
Be eccentric. Be true to your odd habits that make you, you. Stand up for your extreme political beliefs and belittle those that don’t think the same. Never be afraid to clip your toenails in the cockpit when they need a little clean up. Make sure to talk about the women in your family in a way that both makes your FO uncomfortable and very unsure of your family dynamics. Always wear your hat and tell your FO’s that you’re “laid back.” Sleep 4 hours on red eyes. Berate your FO when he/she does something other than the way you do it. Micromanage, especially when it comes to “your way of doing things” which don’t exactly jive with the manuals. Never shake the hands or make eye contact with jumpseaters. Let your FO pick up the conversational slack with him or her. Ask open ended questions with condescending undertones.....of everyone. Eat both crew meals and feel free to let the gas rip. When it’s all said and done for the day ask your FO if they want to go grab a beer and wonder why they have such a puzzled look.
 
Last edited:

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
Be eccentric. Be true to your odd habits that make you, you. Stand up for your extreme political beliefs and belittle those that don’t think the same. Never be afraid to clip your toenails in the cockpit when they need a little clean up. Make sure to talk about the women in your family in a way that both makes your FO uncomfortable and very unsure of your family dynamics. Always wear your hat and tell your FO’s that you’re “laid back.” Sleep 4 hours on red eyes. Berate your FO when he/she does something other than the way you do it. Micromanage, especially when it comes to “your way of doing things” which don’t exactly jive with the manuals. Never shake the hands or make eye contact with jumpseaters. Let your FO pick up the conversational slack with him or her. Ask open ended questions with condescending undertones.....of everyone. Eat both crew meals and feel free to let the gas rip. When it’s all said and done for the day ask your FO if they want to go grab a beer and wonder why they have such a puzzled look.
I've got a standing upgrade bid in.

It's not for the money.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Be eccentric. Be true to your odd habits that make you, you. Stand up for your extreme political beliefs and belittle those that don’t think the same. Never be afraid to clip your toenails in the cockpit when they need a little clean up. Make sure to talk about the women in your family in a way that both makes your FO uncomfortable and very unsure of your family dynamics. Always wear your hat and tell your FO’s that you’re “laid back.” Sleep 4 hours on red eyes. Berate your FO when he/she does something other than the way you do it. Micromanage, especially when it comes to “your way of doing things” which don’t exactly jive with the manuals. Never shake the hands or make eye contact with jumpseaters. Let your FO pick up the conversational slack with him or her. Ask open ended questions with condescending undertones.....of everyone. Eat both crew meals and feel free to let the gas rip. When it’s all said and done for the day ask your FO if they want to go grab a beer and wonder why they have such a puzzled look.
Sounds like the crew I jumpseated with down to Orlando a week ago.
 
Be eccentric. Be true to your odd habits that make you, you. Stand up for your extreme political beliefs and belittle those that don’t think the same. Never be afraid to clip your toenails in the cockpit when they need a little clean up. Make sure to talk about the women in your family in a way that both makes your FO uncomfortable and very unsure of your family dynamics. Always wear your hat and tell your FO’s that you’re “laid back.” Sleep 4 hours on red eyes. Berate your FO when he/she does something other than the way you do it. Micromanage, especially when it comes to “your way of doing things” which don’t exactly jive with the manuals. Never shake the hands or make eye contact with jumpseaters. Let your FO pick up the conversational slack with him or her. Ask open ended questions with condescending undertones.....of everyone. Eat both crew meals and feel free to let the gas rip. When it’s all said and done for the day ask your FO if they want to go grab a beer and wonder why they have such a puzzled look.
So, be a sociopath basically. Okay, gotcha!
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
So, be a sociopath basically. Okay, gotcha!
So, the problem with being a captain is that you're in an echo chamber of your own design. FO's aren't going to really rail against you unless you're going to do something that will kill or violate them, so you get used to having guys say, "sure boss, whatever you think is best" even if the captain is a raging douchecanoe.

We can all SAY that we expect FO's to speak up when the captain is behaving this way, but we also know it's a lie, because as soon as FO's speak up we start raining against right seat captains, and how these FO's are so stupid and what do they know.

They know a lot, if we give them an environment where they feel comfortable being open and honest. But that tone is set in the first 30 seconds you meet them.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
So, the problem with being a captain is that you're in an echo chamber of your own design. FO's aren't going to really rail against you unless you're going to do something that will kill or violate them, so you get used to having guys say, "sure boss, whatever you think is best" even if the captain is a raging douchecanoe.

We can all SAY that we expect FO's to speak up when the captain is behaving this way, but we also know it's a lie, because as soon as FO's speak up we start raining against right seat captains, and how these FO's are so stupid and what do they know.

They know a lot, if we give them an environment where they feel comfortable being open and honest. But that tone is set in the first 30 seconds you meet them.

"Don't worry. I'm a pretty laid back guy, I just go by the book. We'll have a great trip............"
 
Top