Good First Officer

mintim216

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2002
Posts
17
Total Time
900
Would someone tell me what it takes to be a good First Officer

Thank you.
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Good FO

Probably most of the same traits it takes to be a good CFI. Honesty. Integrity. Maturity. Professionalism. Self-confidence. Modesty. Ability to get along well with people. Ability to communicate your ideas and thoughts effectively. Respect, but not necessarily awe, for authority. Ability to do what you're told to do the first time, but ability not to be afraid to clarify your orders and to question something that doesn't sound right. Respect for elders. Appreciation for efforts put in by subordinates.

Those are a few traits of a good FO.
 
Last edited:

DAL737FO

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Posts
389
Total Time
8000+
"I'll take the chicken sir"
"The fat one is fine with me sir"
"Boy that was a heck of a cross wind on landing"

Related to me by a Retired TWA captain that was currently at EJA.
 

bigD

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Posts
2,020
Total Time
4.9e17
"I'll take the fat one." or "The fat one is fine with me, sir."

LMAO!
 

Future SNA

KILL
Joined
May 22, 2002
Posts
244
Total Time
3000+
:)

I think for the year 2002, the correct term would be "I'll take the grenade!"
 

Ty Webb

Hostage to Fortune
Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Posts
6,525
Total Time
11000+
Does anyone have the full text of the poem that starts, "I am the co-pilot, I sit on the right . . . "? Would like to get a full copy of it. Don't remember the whole thing, but it ends with something like, " . . . and if, when landing, the Captain is rusty, I'm quick to pipe up with a "Gosh, but it's gusty" . . .

Maybe someone can help out.
 

AWACoff

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
1,121
Total Time
3000
Every captain I have ever flown with (except for the Iceman) has told me that I do a great job as an FO. Here are some of the things I have done.

I always look over the releases. Captains are human and may miss something (ie no weather for destination, notam about a runway being OTS, etc).

On my legs, I command items I want done as if I were the captain. If the captain does not agree with my actions, they will tell me (weather deviations, radar tilt, pax comfort issues regarding turbulence, etc.). As always, coordinate with the captain prior to any changes...you would want the same courtesy.

Be confident and decisive.

KNOW your EPs (don't laugh...you'd be surprised).

Know your aircraft systems better than you need to.

Speak up whenever you are uncomfortable.

Use your CLR checklist.

If something happens during a flight that you felt was unsafe, discuss the matter no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Do not ever be rushed.

The things that make a good FO are also many of the things that make a good pilot in general. Knowing when and how to draw the line in the chain of command is the dance called "being an FO".

Also, if the captain ever pounds on a landing...casually mention..."Boy, did you feel that wind gust?"
 

LJDRVR

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,135
Total Time
13000
A good "sparky" means different things to different folks. My opinion is this. Someone who is competent at their job and fun to work with. Lets take these one at a time.

-Good at job: Feed me information dude. The PF should be able to just sit there and stare at instruments. Get stuff done. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we should never start the descent without the card completed. Keep the VORs tuned up to something, so that when Pa Kettle asks "what town izat?" we have an answer. Verbalize everything you do. Don't touch my navaids without teling me what you're about to do. Be assertive and keep me honest. Don't worry about my EGO. Don't worry about whether or not I like you. If we finish the day with no violations, alive and with happy customers, dude I like you. We fly a two-person jet. Do not turn it into a single pilot environment by trusting me. Mentally question everything I do and say. If it's not right speak up. If I miss a transmission that you heard and read back, don't become a solo pilot by telling me he said: "Cross 18 right and left, yankee route, .65 on top. Make him repeat it. It's your ticket too. DON'T SCARE ME! (ALTITUDE, AIRSPEED AND HEADING)

-Fun to work with: Do not try to sell me anything except your airplane. everything else is off-limits. Kwityerbichen. A little bit is OK, but save it for long-range cruise. Smack me if I violate this rule. Do not describe recent health problems. I really don't want to hear about your wife's irratable bowel syndrome. If we are on a long layover, do not feel that you have to eat every meal with me. I respect your desire to be alone, please respect mine. PLEASE OBSERVE STANDARD AMERICAN HYGIENE GUIDLINES. Deoderent is nice, and dude, you are not gonna wear that same shirt again in my cockpit.
 

Buschpilot

Large Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Posts
114
Total Time
5500+
The Copilot

I am the copilot, and I sit on the right,
Its up to me to be quick and bright,
I never talk back for I have no regrets,
But I have to remember what the Captain forgets.


I make out the flight plan and study the weather,
Pull up the gear and stand by to feather,
Make out the mail forms and do the reporting,
And fly the old crate while the Captain is courting.


I take the readings, adjust the power,
Put on the heaters when we're in a shower,
Tell him where we are on the darkest of night,
And do all the bookwork without any light.


I call for my captain and buy him cokes,
I always laugh at his corny jokes,
And once in a while when his landings are rusty,
I always come thru with "by gosh it's gusty!"


All in all, I'm a general stooge,
As I sit on the right of the man I call "Scrooge",
I guess you think that its past understanding,
But maybe someday he will give me a landing.
 

InHot

Oh Yeahhhh
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
279
Total Time
12000
Great

LJDRVR said:
A good "sparky" means different things to different folks. My opinion is this. Someone who is competent at their job and fun to work with. Lets take these one at a time.

-Good at job: Feed me information dude. The PF should be able to just sit there and stare at instruments. Get stuff done. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we should never start the descent without the card completed. Keep the VORs tuned up to something, so that when Pa Kettle asks "what town izat?" we have an answer. Verbalize everything you do. Don't touch my navaids without teling me what you're about to do. Be assertive and keep me honest. Don't worry about my EGO. Don't worry about whether or not I like you. If we finish the day with no violations, alive and with happy customers, dude I like you. We fly a two-person jet. Do not turn it into a single pilot environment by trusting me. Mentally question everything I do and say. If it's not right speak up. If I miss a transmission that you heard and read back, don't become a solo pilot by telling me he said: "Cross 18 right and left, yankee route, .65 on top. Make him repeat it. It's your ticket too. DON'T SCARE ME! (ALTITUDE, AIRSPEED AND HEADING)

-Fun to work with: Do not try to sell me anything except your airplane. everything else is off-limits. Kwityerbichen. A little bit is OK, but save it for long-range cruise. Smack me if I violate this rule. Do not describe recent health problems. I really don't want to hear about your wife's irratable bowel syndrome. If we are on a long layover, do not feel that you have to eat every meal with me. I respect your desire to be alone, please respect mine. PLEASE OBSERVE STANDARD AMERICAN HYGIENE GUIDLINES. Deoderent is nice, and dude, you are not gonna wear that same shirt again in my cockpit.
Right On, the way it SHOULD be!
 

Ty Webb

Hostage to Fortune
Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Posts
6,525
Total Time
11000+
Thanks, Buschpilot, for posting that.

I had heard a slightly bawdier version from an old Eastern skipper, that had:

I make up the flight plans
and line up his whores
and fly the old crate to the sound of his snores . . . .

you get the picture . . . . .
 

radiofly er

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2002
Posts
54
Total Time
4400
Just doing your job as you were trained(by that company) to do it, if you can do that ya'll be allright.
 

CaptBiff

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2002
Posts
63
Total Time
10000+
It's easy.
Make the boss look good and keep them out of trouble. But don't tolerate the B/S. The really hard part is listening to them say "I do everything by the book" only to find out that they do things differntly. Every CA has their own way of doing things and that is where an FO needs to be a diplomat, a politican so to speak. As an FO, one needs to recoginize each CA's picullar style of doing things and how they prioritize cockpit chores. Once you figure that out, you'll never fly with them again and then the process repeats itself with another one. Good luck...
 

ILLINI

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
495
Total Time
++++
For entertainment purposes only!






Pilot Rules:

The Captain always makes The Rules.

The Rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification.

No First Officer can possibly know all The Rules.

If the Captain suspects the First Officer knows all The Rules he must immediately change some or all of The Rules.

The Captain is never wrong.

If the Captain is wrong, it is due to a misunderstanding which was a direct result of something the First Officer did or said wrong.

The First Officer must apologize immediately for causing said misunderstanding.

The Captain may change his mind at any time.

The First Officer must never change his mind without the express written concent of the Captain.

The Captain has every right to be angry or upset at any time.

The First Officer must remain calm at all times unless the Captain wants him to be angry and/or upset.

The First Officer is expected to mind read at all times.

The Captain is ready when he is ready.

The First Officer must be ready at all times.

Any attempt to document The Rules could result in bodily harm.

The First Officer who doesn't obide by The Rules is grounded.
 

Toad4

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2002
Posts
57
Total Time
3500
LJDRVR hit it on the head. All I can add is this:

A good co-pilot should be able to competently fly the aircraft at all times. There are a lot of operators (mostly cargo) who believe that the only thing wrong with Lear's are that you have to keep the other seat filled with a living, breathing, certified (not necessarily qualified) pilot. The worst part of it is that these so called "co-pilots" expect to get paid and the government won't even let us pay less than minimum wage! The best "training" I ever got was asking questions, photo copying the manual, sitting in the airplane learning switch positions, spending time in the maintenance hangar, bugging the crap out of mechanics, and learning everthing that I possibly could on the ground. Inflight is the worst time to go "what's that light mean?".

The Captain, more than the company will determine the aforementioned policy. I have had the best and the worst, luckily the best came first so I survived the rest.

I am always amazed when I'm sitting next to some guy who says that he won't go to fly for such and such because he would have to be a co-pilot. What's worse is when they have never had to be a co-pilot (most of the time). I love when a Captain tells his co-pilot (or the politically correct First Officer, also known as "the pilot not flying"), how terrible it would be to have to be a co-pilot for God's sake!

I for one can say that it has been the most eye opening and best learning experience I have ever had.

I guess I am kind of rambling now and will put the soap box back in the hangar.

One more thing: be vigiliant, patient, forthright, tactful, and ready to learn. The only hour that really matters is the one you're logging right now and you are just as dead (violated, fired, etc.) as he is if you let him/her do something stupid.

LRDRVR, I'd fly with you anytime.
 

CL60

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Posts
230
Total Time
1.1yrs
Qualities of a good leader:

Knowledgeable
Willing to listen
Decisive
Balance authority with respect
Trustworthy
Set a good example
Demonstrate concern for task



Qualities of a good follower:

Listens
Shows respect
Accepts input
Use inquiry, advocacy, and assertion appropriately
Keep the leader informed
Offer to help
Demonstrate concern for task
Supportive



Although most of us adhere to a set of SOP's, we are all individuals and have our own style. Use the above as a template and form an ideal FO and eventually... captain. You will also have to learn your conflict resolution skills OTJ. If you are observant, you will learn much about people and human behavior under varying degrees of pressure.

Good luck.
 

4fanman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Posts
203
Total Time
n/a
I wish I could take credit for this, but I saw it on this board a year or so ago...

As a FO you should use the following guidelines when you are unsure of a Captain's decision...

1. Will it get me killed?
2. Will it get me violated?
3. Will there be a lot of smoke?
4. Will I still get paid?

These may not necessarily make you a good FO but they should keep you employed long enough to become a good captain. :D

Happy birthday Liberty and Freedom!!!
 

AlbieF15

F15 Ret/FDX/InterviewPrep
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
1,764
Total Time
6000
I don't know the key to being a good first officer/copilot, but I have a hunch it is sort of like being a good FE...

HAVE ANOTHER FLYING JOB OR HOBBY, PREFERABLY FLYING SINGLE SEAT FIGHTERS!

That way when this bombastic SOB you could buy and sell flying but for a few years and line numbers pontificates on why his flying, his career, his choice of domicile, or his choice for dinner is SO ABOLUTELY RIGHT you can quietly nod your head, feign the respect he so desparately craves, and daydream about your next BFM hop with the boys. $200 bucks an hour may buy you a lot of toys, but it won't stop you from being a jerk. My personal favorite type of Capt is the one who says "you MUST try this resturarant tonight....it is outstanding.." after spending 2.5 hours regailing his 401k, his real estate deals, and his MD wife's salary. He drags your new hire butt into the most expensive joint within walking distance of the hotel and then greats the waiter with his first words...."can we get separate checks please?"... Anyone who ever flew with a Flying Tiger guy knows this is NOT the case with them. Its been over 10 years since that company disappeared but I am still embarrassed and overwhelmed at the amount of generosity those guys show new hires. And...95% of the dudes I've met are great....but one FE said to me the other day "the worst part of being an airline pilot is I have to work around all these *(&% airline pilots!". I laughed out loud at that one. One long trip with a jerk on the cockpit is enough to make his point.

Just so you don't think I'm "attitude boy", most of the guys I've met both in our company and jumpseating offline have been great. But if you ever see a "bully" captain or a "micromanager" type working over an FO it does tend to make you roll your eyes.

Maybe one day I can be a bullied FO....

Fly safe
 

Timebuilder

Entrepreneur
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
4,625
Total Time
1634
I haven't seen your name in a while. Uncle Sam keeping you busy?
 
Top