Gray Beard do's/don'ts for newbies

A1FlyBoy

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Ok,

We've earned the required ratings, instructed at the local FBO and have managed to stay alive. Our logbook is falling apart, but shows a fair amount of flight time and we have gained enough experience to be hired by a regional, cargo op, or major ( yes, just go along with it <grin> )

Those of you who have been there / done that.. what advice, the do's and don't, would you give to the hungry to fly newbies who love aviation and wouldn't want to do anything else...as you look back on the good and bad decisions you've made.

IE: flying poor aircraft / certain things to look for with a particular aircraft, how CRM really works, helpful hints in cockpit management/house cleaning, how to break the ice with really tough captains/flight crew, 401K, interview/sim items, logging time, to get/not to get a type rating on our own, hotel tricks (planning next flight, washing clothes, stealing pens, etc ) etc etc.

Thank you for sharing your experiences..

A1FlyBoy:) :eek: :D
 

FL000

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My biggest piece of safety advice would be DO NOT RUSH, EVER!
Don't let ATC, passengers, bosses or yourself rush you in any phase of a flight, whether it is planning, taxiing, enroute, whatever...

One time in 135, I tried to save a little time by going on memory instead of pulling out a freakin' low chart before a particular departure. I almost got myself into a world of hurt both physically and professionally. The FAA ended up leaving me alone on the matter, but the occurrence had its effects, both positive and negative.

Read the NTSB page. Listen to other pilots' stories. Learn from others' mistakes.

TAKE YOUR TIME. DON'T EVER RUSH!!!
 

FlyinBrian

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I'll bite on a couple points...

Flying poor aircraft:

Most aspiring professional pilots will fly an aircraft that only its mother could love. I taught in some airplanes with torn up interiors that smelled somewhere between spilled coffee and vomit. The paint left something to be desired, and every plastic or fiberglass trim piece had 10-11 stop drills in it. That's OK. My advice is... take the time to learn the airplane, and learn the regs. Never fly an airplane that is unsafe or not legal. It's not worth your life or your certificates. If your employer ever asks you to fly an unsafe or illegal plane, refuse to do so. If they pressure you further, quit and work for an employer that takes better care of their planes, or at least respects your PIC authority.

How CRM really works:

I am on furlough, and I just went and flew an AST 300 after not having flown on instruments in several months. I realized how fast you become rusty, and also how much the workload is decreased by having another pilot there to keep an eye on things, and perform all those menial tasks like move the lever that turns those little green lights on. All in all, I'd say it works pretty well if it's done right.
 

1800 RVR

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I haven't flown tens of thousands of hours, but I can add one piece of advice.

I was working my first 135 cargo job. It was with a fairly large check-hauling operation that has a great reputation. One night, my second-to-last leg of the night was to fly into an airport that had no deicing fluid at all, and the field was calling freezing fog. The only person on the field was my courier and the FBO clerk who was asleep. Now mind you, most 135 pilots probably came from flight instruction or similar flying backgrounds. I myself had never flown in freezing fog up to this point. I had plenty of experience with inflight icing, but nothing yet actually on the airport. The only experience that I had to call upon is driving a car in those kinds of conditions, and then trying to translate that into a scenario with an airplane.

With so many strikes against this flight just to pick up 1 bag of checks, I decided to make the decision to cancel the flight. There were no other airports that the courier could make it to, and I had no idea what the freezing fog would have done to the airplane (i.e would I become a flying cube of ice, would I only get a trace of ice, would I be able to clean-off the airplane manually before T/O?, etc.) After telling dispatch of my decision, they supported me and had the bag airlined-out a couple of hours later.

Moral of the story: don't ever let anyone pressure you to take a flight. There is no cargo or passenger that is that important that you can't cancel a flight. Make an informed decision based upon the facts (wx, a/c capabilities, airport capabilities, etc.) and stand your ground. If you can change airports, then great. But, if you don't feel safe, STAY ON THE GROUND! There have been too many dead pilots who think they are invincible that are now "pushing up daisies" that would be alive if they just stayed on the ground.
 

A1FlyBoy

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Exactly what we're looking for. Keep em comming!!!
 

BluesClues

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Don't let anyone strong arm you into doing something you either know is not right or safe!! The pressure is real and can come from many places. A stubborn captain that just wants to go, dispatch telling you to go now or the flight will have to cancel, does my release REALLLLLY call for the appropriate fuel load for the current weather?? The possibilites are endless and to be honest, I was burned a couple times as a new F/O and when I was a fresh captain. I chalk them up as learning experiences. Anyways, be assertive and stand your ground.:) :)
 

bobbysamd

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.02 Advice

Here are my thoughts, in terms of importance.

1. Safety.

1(a). Your certificates. Don't do anything that would jeopardize your certificates. Losing a job suxx. A certificate action, of any kind, will suck even more.

1(b). Your reputation. This business can force people into doing things that are, at best, untoward, and at worst, out and out criminal. Don't succumb to temptation. Chances are, if something sounds shady it probably is. Injuries to your person can heal. Injuries to your reputation are irreparable.

2. Try to get along with people. If you don't know how to get along with people by now, it's time to learn. Be humble. As a pilot, you need the goodwill of others. You may be more intelligent than the rest of the universe and the greatest pilot to boot. If both are true, you know it already and you don't need to remind others of these "facts."

3. In line with No. 2, you can always become a better pilot. Polish your skills to better than standards. Learn as much as you can. I found that every day I flew I learned something new, even if it was just a nuance on the same-old, same-old. Don't stop reading. There is always a weak area of knowledge you can shore up.

4. A certain amount of independence is desirable in a pilot. However, you should follow the rules; they're usually right.

5. Further to No. 4, learn Aeronautical Decision Making, the Five Hazardous Attitudes and their antidotes.

Antiauthority: Don't tell me.

Antidote: Follow the rules. They are usually right

Impulsivity: Do something quickly.

Antidote: Not so fast. Think first

Invulnerability: It won't happen to me.

Antidote: It could happen to me.

Macho: I can do it.

Antidote: Taking chances is foolish.

Resignation: What's the use?

Antidote: I'm not helpless. I can make a difference.

AC60-22, http://ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/Ac60-22.html.

Lots of luck as you build your career.
 
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avbug

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Don't piss off mechanics, receptionists, dispatchers, flight attendants, or your wife, not necessarily in that order.

Fly the airplane until you are out of breath, or in the car going home. Never stop.

Never stay in a hotel where you can smell curry when you enter the lobby.

When landing on an icy/contaminated runway, always slow to the point you must add power to taxi clear. Never let the airplane roll clear under it's own inertia.

Don't piss off the FAA.

Remember that your family is more important than your job.

You can never study too much, or learn enough about your craft, your airplane, and yourself.

The day you stop learning, is the day you start dying. Don't forget that, ever.

There is no such thing as "skirting" a thunderstorm. You can never be too far from a cell.

Watch out for cold fronts.

No matter how attractive a flight attendant, it's your wife who loves you. Don't lose sight.

Kids are important. Get some, love them. Let them know it.

Never bust minimums. Period. Set personal flight rules (PFR's) and live by them. Remember that the FAR's are minimums. You must at least stay within them, but there is nothing that says you can't be more conservative.

Some things are safe, but not legal. Some things are legal, but not safe. If it isn't safe, AND legal, the flight doesn't go.

Things always look darkest, just before they go totally black.

In a time of rising unemployment, furloughs, divorce, and calamity, remember that you were alive and kicking before things turned south, and if you keep your head about you, you'll be alive and happy for it long after. This too shall pass.

Tune AND identify. Always.

Don't drink the water.

Always carry mouthwash, antacid, and dental floss in your flight bag.

No matter what anyone says, the person who invented the leatherman was inspired by God, and the leatherman should be required equipment for every pilot, mechanic, and child over the age of three.

Eat your vegetables. Your mother was right.

Don't eat yellow snow. You're mother is still right.

Always have an "out."
 

Fr8Dog

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One more thing to add to that.

Remember no matter how bad a day of flying you have had DO NOT drink the isopropyl, they may call it alcohol but it just isn't the same as a shot of Vodka.
 

Hueydewy

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Make sure you listen to your co-pilot. He is there for a reason. If he says anything with regard to your present situation in flight, there is probably a **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** good reason for it. So don't ignore him because you feel you know the airplane better than anybody. And the same thing applies to you as a co-pilot. If you feel uncomfortable with something, then by golly let your captain know. If he is a decent pilot then he will take whatever you say into consideration.
 

Draginass

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It may sound funny, but don't love flying TOO much. Professionally, she is a very harsh mistress. Be able to do something else you like, too. If I lost my medical tomorrow, I'd be bent, but not broke. I could still support my family, still work at something I like, and be happy.

Keep you first house, first wife, and retire rich.

Your ATP certificate and 777 type rating is STILL a license to learn.

Don't sweat a busted checkride. Take responsibility, correct it and move on.

Shun companies that want you to pay for training or demand training contracts. They cheapen the profession.

Support your union. People like your union brothers and sisters turned the commercial aviation industry from that of a bunch of poor vagabonds into a respected and well paid profession. Don't let anybody, even some of your so-called collegues, tell you that you're overpaid. Based on your education, experience, and training, your contemporaries in other professions are making as much or more. Don't let their jelousy color your sense of self-worth. Keep in mind that aviation is a BUSINESS. Don't let management to abuse your dedicatioin, just because you enjoy going to work. NEVER EVER EVER SCAB. Draw unemployment, get another job, but NEVER scab.

Don't compromise your character for anybody, not even yourself.
 

tcoll777

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temptation is the devil.....(even if it's the director of training)... do what you think is right, not what you are told is o.k..........
 

BluesClues

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Avbug, I must respectfully disagree with item one on your list. Sometimes you're gonna have to piss off MX or dispatch. Granted they can make your life hell for ya, but I'm sure you've had the occassional dispatcher try to send ya out with a full boat and min fuel because "the WX is not that bad" or it's "forecast to improve". I generally try not to piss off MX, but I refuse to accept a questionable MEL item or pencil-whipped repair. If I'm not comfortable, I'm not going. I have yet to get into any trouble for refusing to fly when something just didn't smell right.

I'll add one more to you're list: Beware when the guy you're flying with says "Hey, watch this!" :D
 

enigma

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FL000 advised that you should not let anyone rush you.

Good Advice.

To which I will add a small point. Learn to recognize when you are rushing. The times when you rush yourself may be more dangerous than when others rush you. It's easy to recognize that a gate agent is being pushy, but not so easy to recognize when your own anxiety is pushing. Teach yourself to sit back, take a deep breath, and tell yourself to slow down.

Point two. Avbug speaks truth, grasshopper.

One more thing, learn to say, "could you hold that thought until I finish this xxxxxx". That is a nice non-threatening way of telling your partner to shut up.

regards
8N
 

StaySeated

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one more thing

I would like to add one thing, it will make your life infinitly less stressful.

Dont f up your logbook.

Enter your times as often as possible, not just when the seasons change. Once your start filling in the various time tables each airline sadisticly requires you will find a tenth missing here and a tenth extra there. Take your time, update often, you will appreciate your vigilance later.
 

xhercdriver

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If you want your crew to volunteer information and keep you out of trouble, you have to be willing to take the time required to get their inputs, and then be willing to actually consider those inputs in "your" decisions.

It isn't "indecisiveness" to acknowledge that someone other than you actually came up with the right answer.

If the words "Here's what we're gonna do" come out of your mouth before the words "What do you think?" you probably don't understand CRM yet.
 

avbug

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Bluesclues,

We don't disagree at all. One should never compromise one's judgement. I've refused aircraft before, and been threatened with loss of work. I've refused flights, and have spent nights away from home when I felt it was unsafe to continue or press on.

Compared to potential loss of life, threats to my employment mean nothing. However, my point was simply that there are several ways to approach an issue, and the last confrontational method, or the least offensive method when dealing with maintenance, and others, is usually best. The point I had intended to make, I suppose, is that our jobs depend on many other people, and when the one small moment in time is resolved, we still need to work with them.

Point taken.
 

publisher

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thoughts

1. Air Traffic Control is in a nice room somewhere and fitting you into their plan. Do not let their plan interfere with your safe flight. The person in command is you and they cannot come up to help you out when things are going south.

2. There is no disgrace in saying I'm not comfortable with this approach or this anything, in mssing approaches, taking your time to examnine your options, saying please give me more information, going to an alternates, or not going at all.

3. Treat every flight like you did when you had 55 hours.

4. Runway behind you and altitiude above you are just as worthless as the saying says.

5. Know what your minimums are and what your capabilities are. Because you can does not mean you should.

Lastly, shut off the radio's, the radar, the flight director, and look out the window some night and remember why you wanted to do this.
 

AWACoff

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When flying with a-hole captains, be mindful of shutting your mouth but never shut your mind. The "single pilot" cockpits that a-hole captains create also create smoking holes in the ground. I'm sure Ifly4food would concur when thinking about The Iceman and D U G "doug".
 

LR25

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Flying with the A$$hole

I used to get uptight when I knew the guy I was going to fly with was a jerk.

This is what I do.

I get in the airplane and I do my job, and I make sure I do it good.

If you do it good, it just might get rid of some of the problems that make this a guy a "jerk" that may have been reported to you by others or on previous flights you had with the guy.

I'm not saying take abuse, but I will say go the extra mile to make it a good trip, becuase you might be with the guy for 4 days.

Lets face it, there are always going to be that "jerk" that you are going to have to fly with. I say figure out what makes them tick, and it might just go alittle bit smoother.

I like one of the previous posts.

You can be having a really bad day but, while your up at cruise on a nice clear night, look out the window and know why you are there.

I can't think of a better cubicle.

LR25
 
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