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"Captain Danger"

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Well-known member
Dec 1, 2001
I've been flying with a captain that flies very dangerously and with no respect for the first officer, FAR's or S.O.P's. I expressed my concern to him and he simply told me to get over it. Spoke to him a second time and no changes; however, he did threaten to advise management to NOT upgrade me when the time comes. shortly after that I wrote a letter to management expressing my concerns, but never sent it in, cause I cooled off.

Well, apparently, another F/O anonmously sent in a complaint about him too and management called me and asked my opinion. I told them how I felt and told them I had written a formal complaint, but never sent it in. I was asked to send it in, and I did without hesitation.

The guy was slapped on the hand and was told to fly straight, and that was the extent of that. Since I was the only one to make a formal complaint, this captain has come back at me with vengance. He has fabricated complaints and sent 'em in almost daily to our chief pilot and Director of Ops. in an attempt to have me fired.

The problem with this situation is that he he buddies with both the owner of the company and the D.O. and is pretty much untouchable. both the D.O and the owner are getting really tired of his complaints about me and I feel that the tables have turned. I feel like they're trying to push me out now, cause I'm considered a "trouble maker." The worse part about it is none of the other F/O's want to fall in the same trap I did and therefore, are not backing me up, nor coming forth with the truth.

Since this began, I've really lost interest in flying. Actually I dreed waking up in the morning and going to work . Has anyone ever been in this sort of situation and if so, what did you do to get yourself out. They're not going to fire him, cause he is typed, and a friend of the owners. What would you do?


It's a 135 operation. with 3 capts and three F/O's at this particular base. The crews alternate weekly.


This sounds just like my office. The only difference is that our captain is not drinking buddies with management. While we haven't had any luck, here's what we're doing to CYA in the meantime:

1. We keep a logbook with every incident that this person has done. Its all we can do. Like you, we've gone to our Chief and told him whats up. It fell on deaf ears. Get it all on paper...dates, locations, etc. That way when the fit hits the shan, you have a little trump card. Worst case scenerio, you lose your job....you have a good paper trail that shows you did everything correctly. See where this is going?

2. Figure out how to get the other F/O's to agree that this person is a problem, and that they don't need to take that stuff. This captain is risking their license, too!! If it were me (oh, wait, it is!) I take that almost personally. Ain't NO man gonna screw my career. Your partners need to realize this. One by one, we go to our Chief pilot and let him know. It's almost to the point where I will not fly with this person. Almost. I have (and neither does anyone else) no reason/need to risk my license everytime I go flying (not to mention the live's of my passengers).

3. Start looking for another job. Don't burn your bridges, but move on. It's tough right now...but there's something out there.

From where I sit, that's how it goes. Best of luck!!


P.s. Whatever you do...don't complain and complain and complain and complain...its bad form. Keep professional and move forward. And hey, at least now you know what it's like to be in that "position" that evey interview seems to ask about!!!

Been there...at great length and with people you would not believe if told. Rest assured it's not worse yet...you can fly with far worse. (I have).

If you can achieve reform, go for it, but don't hold your breath. If unsafe actions are going on which do not provide substance for violation, you're very much on your own. I'll suggest a couple of things, but leave it to your conscience as to how far you wish to go. Be careful.

If this individual is truly unsafe, you don't want to be in the air with him or her, period. It's better to quit a job than fly with someone who is unsafe. I've done it, and threatened to do it at the peril of my employment before. I don't ever regret a single time having done it, either. Standards are not to be bent.

If this individual is a hazard to others, and your situation has passed beyond all reason, collect evidence. Collect it for use if necessary, but primarily to protect yourself. You can use it to protect others. If no obvious violations are occuring, you can do it in other ways. I flew with an individual who would fly off the handle repeatedly during flights, yelling and screaming, swearing at controllers, and making rash acts in the cockpit. Such actions took place away from prying eyes and whitnesses. He threatened to kill me once, when flying an approach in instrument conditions into a busy international airport.

In such a case, posession of a recording device is invalueable. The evidence speaks for itself, and cannot be ignored. When all other avenues of redress have been exhausted (and I do mean all), consider posession of such a tape, and the acknowledgement that you are in posession of COPIES of the tape. You have the option of providing it to the owner/D.O. at peril of your job, or of providing it to others. Depending on the circumstances, provision of such evidence to authorities when absolutely necessary may be best handled anonymously.

I'll add the sidenote that I have never presented such evidence, and have quit jobs instead. However, it is an option, and in the right circumstances, may become a necessary option. By continuing to fly with such an individual, you open yourself up to safety and liability/enforcement issues by implied consent. Be careful how long you let it go on.

Regardless of other evidence gathered, keep a personal detailed log of these events for your own protection. Don't keep it in your logbook, of course, but maintain a journal or other record that provides an accurate account of places, times, comments, actions, etc. Include your responses to these actions, and strive to keep it very impersonal, impartial, and factual.

I'll also add that I've taken jobs cleaning supermarket floors, cutting logs, and digging ditches rather than put up with such behavior, when other work wasn't available. You must set standards for yourself independent of any other person, and you must adhere to them without exception.

I admire your willingness to step forward, albeit anonymously on the board, to present this issue; I suspect that more than a few others here have been presented personally with similiar trying circumstances.

At a small company, to some degree the employer has you over a barrell. I've stated repeatedly here to be very careful how you address the issue, and I'll say it again. Be careful. In many cases, you're best off to walk away rather than fight the issue. You don't want to create a black spot in your past history, and like it or not, PRIA permits an employer some intangible lattitude to do that to you. You can fight that too, but it's hard, and difficult to prove. Nobody talks, and actions get taken in the shadows. I've seen it happen. For that reason alone, be very careful how you approach the issue.

I won't ask the company or the individual, but I'm morbidly curious; I know several people/situations that fit your description like a custom glove.

Good luck!!
I feel for you- At my company we have an older pilot (well over 60) that is kinda the same way however not much leverage due to the fact that he has been flying King Air's since the late 50's- many wish he would retire although dunno if that is going to happen.....I don't have a problem with him due to the fact that I "adapt" to what he wants and I do as he wishes however many other company pilots seem to resent having to share the cockpit with him because of his complete lack of CRM- I have heard that he will swear and give you the book IF you question him (never tried this)... BOTTOM LINE- he has been around alot longer than most SO sit their and trust his skills till "hopefully" one day soon he will no longer be a factor....

3 5 0
Avbug and others make good points. Documentation and Evidence of all sorts is loved by both criminal and especially civil attorneys. Avbug will tell you sometimes you have to fight a fire with a fire. Leverage allows one to accomplish extrodinary results, use it wisely.

Well, I'm sorry to hear about your predicament, and if this person is truly dangerous and not just doing things differently than you would do them you did nothing wrong by trying to talk with him first, then filing a complaint when that had no effect.
It does sound like it may be time to look for another job, don't feel bad about moving on, just put a fake smile on your face when it's time to go to work and try like hell to get out of there as soon as a "better" opportunity comes along. The positives you'll get out of this is that it will help you to evaluate the situation at prospective employers a bit differently, and you'll be less likely to suffer from the same tendencies as this captain later on down the road.
Good luck.

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