What is your greatest piece of advice

Wornsmooth

Well-Known Member
Sorry, but this will be a bit lengthy. Not giving my advice, but relating one of the better pieces of advice I ever got.
I was early in my career...20, 21, or 22 years old. Had a student, a really old guy, like, you know, 50 or so! He was an immigrant from England, WW2 vet. A great guy, I enjoyed getting to know him, and we became friends, at least as much as our age difference allowed.
One day he was hanging out at the airport drinking a soda and general BSing with anyone there. I don't recall what, but I was griping about something regarding my job. Hours, pay, whatever.
He sat across from the table from me and said" you know what you need to do?" Expecting something funny, or sympathetic, or at least friendly, I was all ears....." you need to go visit the hospital and see some people who have real problems". He added a bit more that I don't remember.
I was taken aback and a little hurt. That was all and nothing much changed between us. Sometime later I moved away from that town to another job in a different state.
I don't think much changed with me initially. But as the years passed and I gained, hopefully, a little more wisdom, his admonition came back to me.
It did slowly change me, and hence my life. It has made me much more patient and less stressed over the vagaries of this job and profession.
It was good advice for me. My regret is I never thanked him for it.
 

pdxcfi

Flyin' Shoe
First off, congratulations on the upgrade, you'll make a great Captain! Remember you got to the seat because your seniority number is low enough, not because you have a unique set of skills. That being said you are the technical expert and you are the last link in the error chain. Know your procedures cold, keep up with the changes. Your signature on the release is the final check that the flight is able to be conducted safely, if you have the slightest doubt, delay it or get it canceled. You'll have to justify your actions to a dispatcher and maybe to a chief pilot. So you'll have to know the FOM well enough to justify your actions while backing it up with pages from the FOM, if needed.
You are going to fly with a lot of great folks as a captain. You'll also fly with folks that are a real pain. They've not kept up on procedural changes, they have self esteem issues, or are just a problem. Don't let yourself get talked into something that sounds outside of the bounds of the "norm", the SOP, good airmanship, and legally. You've been around long enough and you know what "normal" is, when things begin to get outside that "normal" or you run out of room on a performance chart you are in unexplored territory, not a place to be with a plane full of passengers.
The first year or so you will experience the weirdest operational problems you've seen in your career. I can't explain why that is, it just happens. Just take it slow and use your resources.
One last bit of advice that I was given before my first watch as the Officer of the Deck in the Navy, "Don't hit anything". Have fun! It's a hell of a ride.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
First off, congratulations on the upgrade, you'll make a great Captain! Remember you got to the seat because your seniority number is low enough, not because you have a unique set of skills. That being said you are the technical expert and you are the last link in the error chain. Know your procedures cold, keep up with the changes. Your signature on the release is the final check that the flight is able to be conducted safely, if you have the slightest doubt, delay it or get it canceled. You'll have to justify your actions to a dispatcher and maybe to a chief pilot. So you'll have to know the FOM well enough to justify your actions while backing it up with pages from the FOM, if needed.
You are going to fly with a lot of great folks as a captain. You'll also fly with folks that are a real pain. They've not kept up on procedural changes, they have self esteem issues, or are just a problem. Don't let yourself get talked into something that sounds outside of the bounds of the "norm", the SOP, good airmanship, and legally. You've been around long enough and you know what "normal" is, when things begin to get outside that "normal" or you run out of room on a performance chart you are in unexplored territory, not a place to be with a plane full of passengers.
The first year or so you will experience the weirdest operational problems you've seen in your career. I can't explain why that is, it just happens. Just take it slow and use your resources.
One last bit of advice that I was given before my first watch as the Officer of the Deck in the Navy, "Don't hit anything". Have fun! It's a hell of a ride.
Thanks! First day of ground school today :)
 

Dphoenix

Love lasagna, hate mondays
First off, congratulations on the upgrade, you'll make a great Captain! Remember you got to the seat because your seniority number is low enough, not because you have a unique set of skills. That being said you are the technical expert and you are the last link in the error chain. Know your procedures cold, keep up with the changes. Your signature on the release is the final check that the flight is able to be conducted safely, if you have the slightest doubt, delay it or get it canceled. You'll have to justify your actions to a dispatcher and maybe to a chief pilot. So you'll have to know the FOM well enough to justify your actions while backing it up with pages from the FOM, if needed.
You are going to fly with a lot of great folks as a captain. You'll also fly with folks that are a real pain. They've not kept up on procedural changes, they have self esteem issues, or are just a problem. Don't let yourself get talked into something that sounds outside of the bounds of the "norm", the SOP, good airmanship, and legally. You've been around long enough and you know what "normal" is, when things begin to get outside that "normal" or you run out of room on a performance chart you are in unexplored territory, not a place to be with a plane full of passengers.
The first year or so you will experience the weirdest operational problems you've seen in your career. I can't explain why that is, it just happens. Just take it slow and use your resources.
One last bit of advice that I was given before my first watch as the Officer of the Deck in the Navy, "Don't hit anything". Have fun! It's a hell of a ride.
Agree 95.6% except for one little bit... I have to justify myself to the dispatcher? You'll have to explain that one to me. (Always happy to justify myself to the chief pilots, though...!)
 

Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
First off, congratulations on the upgrade, you'll make a great Captain! Remember you got to the seat because your seniority number is low enough, not because you have a unique set of skills. That being said you are the technical expert and you are the last link in the error chain.
The bolded is not necessarily true if you upgrade to an airplane you have never flown.

You are presumed to have the superior and final judgment and the superior skill in ship handling, but not necessarily the superior technical knowledge or operating experience in that airplane. In many regards and particularly at the regional level, if you are upgrading to an airplane you have yet to fly, your employer will equip you with the bare minimum level of information required to not be hazardous concerning the aircraft itself. To me, this is an under-recognized and under-appreciated risk in this business; I relied heavily upon my FOs in my first few hundred hours as Captain for what was and was not quote-normal CRJ behavior, having never flown the hoopty before. "I don't speak very good Canuck - what the frak does that mean?"

You'll make the decision, but there's a lot more to it than that if you have a mixed fleet. It certainly helps if you've flown whatever you are upgrading to. It would have been a lot easier to upgrade to the E-jet for me, for instance.

Know your procedures cold, keep up with the changes. Your signature on the release is the final check that the flight is able to be conducted safely, if you have the slightest doubt, delay it or get it canceled. You'll have to justify your actions to a dispatcher and maybe to a chief pilot. So you'll have to know the FOM well enough to justify your actions while backing it up with pages from the FOM, if needed.
Under no circumstances should the Captain surrender command to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher is responsible for the preparation of the flight plan and release, with which the Captain agrees. The Captain retains the ultimate responsibility for the safe operation of the aircraft, including the authority to stop stupidity when (not if) it arises.

In short, there is no argument—you've already won. A bad outfit might make you explain yourself, but a good outfit won't ask you anything about it (assuming you were right, and making the safest possible decision).
 
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Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
Agree 95.6% except for one little bit... I have to justify myself to the dispatcher? You'll have to explain that one to me. (Always happy to justify myself to the chief pilots, though...!)
A good outfit will not even ask you. A bad outfit might make you explain how you made the safest possible decision.

I got exactly zero heat from my chain of command regarding cancelling, delaying or diverting (or adding fuel, or whatever) when I deemed it prudent; in this regard my former employer was a good outfit.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Those that have some 121 PIC experience, what is some advice you’d give to someone now upgrading? Something you wish you’d have been more prepared for or someone would have told you before sliding into the left seat?

I bet this will get drifted but a few serious nuggets here and there would be nice :)
I always reminded myself to put myself in the other guys shoes. If you didn't like what was coming out of your mouth, odds are he probably doesn't either. ie don't micro manage or be a dik
 

pdxcfi

Flyin' Shoe
Justifying to the dispatcher that:

Maybe we should delay the flight so that we don't arrive at the destination with the line of advancing thunderstorms and lightning...to which the reply was "what line of thunderstorms"...

We think you have enough fuel to hold for another 15 minutes, at midnight, over BFE Washington State in moderate turbulence after you just went missed and didn't see anything. To which the reply was, I'm proceeding to my listed alternate. That succeeded in getting a phone call from the CP in the morning. I've never seen anything, anything so black and murky as that missed approach. No lights, nothing.

Please tell me the tear in this tube (for pressurizing a door seal) is airworthy on this recorded telephone line and I'll fly the airplane back to XXX. Oh its not airworthy...great, ill put it in the book and get breakfast.

That kind of justification or maybe more on the "selling" your idea to the other person.

A/T blue, I concur with your comments...



The bolded is not necessarily true if you upgrade to an airplane you have never flown.

You are presumed to have the superior and final judgment and the superior skill in ship handling, but not necessarily the superior technical knowledge or operating experience in that airplane. In many regards and particularly at the regional level, if you are upgrading to an airplane you have yet to fly, your employer will equip you with the bare minimum level of information required to not be hazardous concerning the aircraft itself. To me, this is an under-recognized and under-appreciated risk in this business; I relied heavily upon my FOs in my first few hundred hours as Captain for what was and was not quote-normal CRJ behavior, having never flown the hoopty before. "I don't speak very good Canuck - what the frak does that mean?"

You'll make the decision, but there's a lot more to it than that if you have a mixed fleet. It certainly helps if you've flown whatever you are upgrading to. It would have been a lot easier to upgrade to the E-jet for me, for instance.


Under no circumstances should the Captain surrender command to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher is responsible for the preparation of the flight plan and release, with which the Captain agrees. The Captain retains the ultimate responsibility for the safe operation of the aircraft, including the authority to stop stupidity when (not if) it arises.

In short, there is no argument—you've already won. A bad outfit might make you explain yourself, but a good outfit won't ask you anything about it (assuming you were right, and making the safest possible decision).
 

QXDX

Well-Known Member
Ad someone else said, you will make mistakes. I would expand that to say, sometimes you will be wrong. A mistake is recognized after the fact. Being wrong means you still have a chance to correct it before it becomes a mistake. Be of a mindset to recognize when someone is trying to tell you something.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Don’t be a CA who doesn’t want to make a decision. I flew with a couple guys like that. No matter what, they ALWAYS wanted someone else to make the decision for him. Kept on pestering dispatch until they told him what to do. In one case I directly had a guy say “I don’t want to make the call” about how long he could hold for before diverting to an alternate. He wanted dispatch to provide the absolute bingo fuel value. I was shocked honestly. Heaven forbid you use simple math and common sense to figure out how long you can hold. Now I’m not saying don’t use dispatch, but for goodness sake come up with your own math first so you can ball park it and see how the dispatch numbers look.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
The single biggest piece of advice as a CA is to make sure you tell the FO you're laid back and by the book, and then proceed to micro-manage the FO the entire trip.


That's the difference between good Captains and great Captains.


Hate to quote myself. I just had a FO who briefed me that he was pretty laid back and by the book, SOP kind of guy. And shockingly, he actually was pretty laid back and by the book in a good way. Mind = blown :eek:
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Use your jumpseater as an extra set of eyes aka Flight Engineer. I once forgot to retract the speed brakes and he caught it before it could have caused a problem.
 
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