• NC Software is having a Black Friday Sale Event thru December 4th on Logbook Pro, APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook, Cirrus Elite Binders, and more. Use coupon code BF2020 at checkout to redeem 15% off your purchase. Click here to shop now.
  • NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.

If the Captain went below mins...

flyby

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2001
Posts
132
Total Time
4000
... would you (as FO) really have time to do anything?

So the CA is flying and is on the instruments (ils), you're making callouts peering through the windscreen looking for the rwy env., 500 to mins, 100 to mins, mins. You call 'no contact' (or whatever you're supposed to) and 'Missed Approach'. But there he/she goes again... right below the DA. Tick tock. You think, maybe he/she is incapacitated. You call again 'Missed Approach-No contact'. Tick tock. Then you do as others suggest, call the tower and announce missed approach... tick tock. As a new FO wouldn't you think you're pretty much along for the ride on this kind of scenario? I am talking in the real world, not the interview world. Do you really want to wrestle with the controls at 25 ft agl? Alltogether you may have only 15 seconds from mins to touchdown.

FO's in many cases have a lower tolerance and experience level than their seasoned Captains. They may be scared sh&*less at 300 feet agl. They may think going a foot below mins spells doom.

Is it a bigger compromise to the safety of the flight to delve into this realm where the outcome is also not so certain? That being the imminent confrontation and potential wrestling match? I can see it now, part of the approach brief includes "Okay Cap, this time we're REALLY going missed at the DA... else I am going to grab the controls... okay?"

Would appreciate any and all opinions. Thanks.
 

BigFlyr

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Posts
359
Total Time
10700+
I see you haven't generated much response to the question so far, so if you don't already know the "standard" answers, here they are: If you arrive at minumums without having spotted the runway or approach lights then a missed approach should have been executed the moment the PNF (or airplane) stated "minumums"... However, you the PNF did not see anything and the PF continues the approach so you repeat "minumums" immediately. If a missed is not then initiated... your hand goes to the throttles and pushes them forward as you call missed approach on the radio. Ok... is it realistic? Not really because by the time you're pushing the throttles forward, most likely the runway or approach lights will be visible, unless the field was below mins to begin with, in which case a missed approach should have been expected. Then again, I understand that you don't want to get into a fight over who's flying the airplane. Bottom line... it needs to be thouroghly briefed before it happens.
 

KlingonLRDRVR

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
144
Total Time
5500
You asked real world so here is my 2 cents. The book is already out the window and the CA is basically going to drive it into the ground. Asuming the visability is basically nill you had better be ready to do a quick flair to get it on the ground. Asuming your eyeballs are outside and you are coming down fast the CA will not have time to look up and flair and land if the visability is truly nill. Don't flame me, I know this is in violation of the regs, but you can bet this is how you would do a "poor mans Cat III landing" in an emergency. Of course in the emergency case you would have quickly briefed the above but the "pucker factor" would be the same for both. Cheers.

KlingonLRDRVR
 

LR25

Its just a vintage VW
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
1,641
Total Time
7000
Ok another senario.

"Disclaimer" I dont practice this.

But, say you are on a multiday trip and the weather is down most of all the places you are going that day.

On the 1st approach the capt. doesnt go missed. You get on the ground and you ask the capt, hey, I didnt see anything but you kept going, why?

He might say, WELL SON, Ive been in here 100 times before I knew I could get in.

OK, so the capt has told you what his plans are, and his judgement for future approaches, maybe.

Do you give him another chance?

Do you say Im not having anything to do with him?

Do you say, I would like to know if you are going to go below minimums before we get there so maybe I can "help you" and we are both on the same page?

What is the appropriate thing to do?

Just posing some questions.

Hopefully judgement will prevail.
 

Mr Freeze

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Posts
63
Total Time
6200
flyby.

Is the Captain new or a low time pilot. Your callouts of 1,5, mins and 1 are very helpful to the pilot flying the approach. I may have missed it but what airplane do you fly?
 

JPB

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2001
Posts
83
Total Time
6500
The airplane will not go under minimums under your watch!!
The missed approach was briefed. If the capt is heading below minimums you have to assume that he is incapacitated (dead, sick, crazy,...). We all are professionals.
You will successfully save the day and fulfill what everybody expect from a first officer.

Now in real life: The captain will go missed approach or he s gonna have a lot of explaining to do and it is best for everyone.

On CatIII, if the world "landing" is not issued by the capt, the FO takes the control at 50 feet: no questions, no arguments. Same at 200'.
 

WileE

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Posts
258
Total Time
3100+
For the interview...

If you are in an interview situation, you aren't going to let the Captain go below mins and will take the controls to fly the missed.

In the real world on the other hand, you get your voice on the CVR all the reminders about the mins, call the go around and make sure you are clear about the fact that he is going under the mins. You CYA, but the last thing you want to do as you go under 200' AGL is fight for the controls of the plane. He's the PIC and if he's going to crash the plane the only thing you can do at that point is make sure he is on glideslope and on course so that if he does crash, it will at least be on the airport where there is emergency equipment, not five miles away in the side of a hill.

Odds are he won't crash and you have a decision to make. You can let it go. You can refuse to get back on the plane with him and call your chief pilot, probably followed by a call to the FAA. Or take the guy out back, beat the crap out of him for risking your life and everyone's life on the plane, and then refuse to fly with him.
 

cvsfly

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2002
Posts
723
Total Time
4600
Those are not good odds, especially if my family is onboard. Stick to procedure, make the call outs, listen for the response, take over if he doesn't do or say something that tells you he understands what is going on. You do have enough time at 200' to do something - just don't be polite waiting for a response that should be immediate. If you are worrying about your career by making the Capt. mad then you do not belong there. The days of thinking that the Capt. is god and can do no wrong is long over. We have to all be more professional than this and do better.
 

Sctt@NJA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2002
Posts
226
Total Time
4000
The problem with this question in a training or interview setting, is that it seems to assume an incapacitated or confused captain.

I have been in the right seat shooting below mins -sucking up the buttons off my seat -more than once. (Not at my present job of course) The captains were not confused, they were deliberately going below mins. This makes the correct response as an FO much harder.

I think there is a very natural hesitation to try to take the controls from the captain at a critical point in the flight when you know that they know what they are doing--- you just don't like it.

If you are faced with this senario in real life it means you have gotten into a position where the old school is still alive and the cowboys are running the show.

Personally, assuming a fully fuctioning (although clearly cowboy) captain, I would not try to take the controls from him at mins- he probably wouldn't go limp and say "oh ok, you have it then" anyway.

However, once on the ground (and indeed you probably will live) you will need to make some hard choices. You may be working for a good company, just one loose captain. It may be easy to refuse to fly with him. Or you my be working for a loose company. Then what? In all honesty you will probably have to either suck it up and learn to love the cowboy in YOU, or quit.
 

bigD

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Posts
2,020
Total Time
4.9e17
This thread is very interesting to me, as I hope someday I'll be in an interview room being asked this! :D

At 200', there's no way I'd want to wrestle with the controls. But what if the FO were to just push the throttles forward? I know that jets are far more slow to respond to throttle input than the bug smashers that I fly, but would firewalling the throttles in this situation screw up the approach enough to force the Captain to go missed?
 

Chairman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 2, 2002
Posts
401
Total Time
11000+
There are always canned answers to this question but the question allone never gives you enough information.

If my destination is a mins what is the wx at my alternate.

If I am going into JFK then my alt is LGA or EWR. Good chance if my destination goes down then the alt is in the gutter aswell. Every airplane going into the area BOS, JFK EWR TEB will be diverting to the same airport.

How much fuel do I have,

Is it an ILS

Have I flown with the Captain.

Would rather hit the runway then run out of fuel.

Now this is not normal practice at all, but more things to think about before we start fighting for the controls.
 

ksus

SIUC-DAWG
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
72
Total Time
3500+
I agree with BigFlr, push the power levers fwd
and go missed!!
Radio call comes last, what if you shooting an approach to an uncontrolled airport and you just switch to ctaf freqency, to whom you are going to announce missed?
The capt. is not above the FAR's, do not allow anyone to
put your life and your passenger's life in danger.
As an f/o you are there to keep the capt out of trouble, watch him like a hawk, and make sure he is not going to screw up!!
Fly safe
 

bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Total Time
4565
Your captain v. your pax v. your certificates

The one precept I remember the most from ADM is this one of the Five Hazardous Thought Patterns: Follow the Rules. They're usually right.

You know the rules. Do the right thing. It's all about safety.

Also, don't forget to file a NASA report, primarily to CYA but also because it helps other people. Airline pilots file the most NASA reports. The little blue NASA pamphlet that comes out every month usually has an incident report or two about bad CRM.

I realize that all this is easy to say when I'm sitting in front of my computer typing and not being a scared FO still on probation with an arrogant or cavalier Captain opposite me. Just the same, consider all the factors.
 

Toad4

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2002
Posts
57
Total Time
3500
Sctt@NJA said:
The problem with this question in a training or interview setting, is that it seems to assume an incapacitated or confused captain.

I have been in the right seat shooting below mins -sucking up the buttons off my seat -more than once. (Not at my present job of course) The captains were not confused, they were deliberately going below mins. This makes the correct response as an FO much harder.

I think there is a very natural hesitation to try to take the controls from the captain at a critical point in the flight when you know that they know what they are doing--- you just don't like it.

If you are faced with this senario in real life it means you have gotten into a position where the old school is still alive and the cowboys are running the show.

Personally, assuming a fully fuctioning (although clearly cowboy) captain, I would not try to take the controls from him at mins- he probably wouldn't go limp and say "oh ok, you have it then" anyway.

However, once on the ground (and indeed you probably will live) you will need to make some hard choices. You may be working for a good company, just one loose captain. It may be easy to refuse to fly with him. Or you my be working for a loose company. Then what? In all honesty you will probably have to either suck it up and learn to love the cowboy in YOU, or quit.

NJA is absolutely correct.

Here are some other things to consider, especially at a company where this is likely to happen. A lot of people responded about "brief before it happens" and all. Where is some of the things that I have personally witnessed or heard first hand.

1. Instrument approaches (ILS and non-prec.) going below min.
2. Flying below ref
3. Refusal of the captain to use checklists and/or brief T/O or Landings
4. Continuing the flight with an unsafe condition (fire lights on, spoilers deployed lights on, actually have smoke filling the cabin, O2 is empty, etc.)
5. Flying over gross and/or out of C.G.
6. Exceeding flight/duty times
7. Breaking of other misc. regs.

I try to use a decision tree when these things happen.

1. Is my life in imminent danger?
2. What is the odds that this moron can pull this off?
3. Is my license in imminent danger?
4. What are the odds that we will get caught?
5. What are my alternatives?
6. Can I improve this situation in any way?

The time that a First Officer has the most control over a flight is before the engines start. After that, you can offer advice, offer alternatives, explain the consequences, try to help ensure a positive outcome, and ultimately try to overpower another pilot in a cramped space. If something happens and you survive, follow Webster's (Emanulle Luis) advice: "Go, run, tell!" It is a hard thing to do when jobs are scarce and you need the time to get out of there but I know of no instances where Major airlines interviewed or hired dead people. The job of a First Officer is to have enough of a backbone to stand by the Regs and have integrity even when it's not popular. Hopefully you'll have a Chief Pilot who feels the same way.
 

AWACoff

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
1,121
Total Time
3000
WileE,
I think it is time to reevaluate your thinking. Resignation (ie He's the PIC and if he is going to crash the plane the only thing you can do is let him crash on the airport) is a very hazardous attitude to have. You absolutely can do something about the situtation. You are being paid to prevent the aircraft from crashing at ALL costs. Don't worry about bruising egos or even losing your job. It certainly will be tough to get another job if you are involved in a crash that is partially your fault...it'll be even tougher if you're dead. Assert yourself.
 

WileE

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Posts
258
Total Time
3100+
Thinking

There is a big difference in talking about throwing this around in front of the computer and actual real world situations. Remember what we are talking about here.

The scenario that everyone seems to be talking about is the ILS approach down to mins with a Captain delibrately descending below 200', not one that is somehow incapacitated. Now what is really going to be going on in the cockpit?

First of all, consider the descent rate on this approach if you are on glideslope and at your approach speed. The airline I fly dictates that you fly an instrument approach at 140 kias. On the standard glideslope that means that you should be at about an 800-900 fps descent rate. That's not much time to descend 200 feet.

Second, what should you be doing here as an FO? You are primarily outside the aircraft at this point looking for the runway. While your scan should include the instruments, they are not your primary instruments.

Third, if you fly all the way to minimums, you will go below DH every time, probably by 50-100' anyway. Remember that there is a lot of momentum there. You can see the lights at exactly 200' and still make the approach so you should be preparing to call the field and not taking the controls.

Fourth, there is going to be a delay before you realize the captain isn't doing the missed like he should. Think about it, he probably isn't just going to go below mins and not say anything. What is he going to say? Probably something like "I have the lights" or "Isn't that the runway?". By the time you are sure that he is full of it, he will already be at 100' or less and is trying to land. Start wrestling for the controls at that point and you are only making it more likely that you and everyone else on board is going to die, not making it safer. Remember that you couldn't have even flown this approach without the mins having been reported from the ground (121) so it's not like you know you aren't going to see the field ahead of time. You are prepared not to, but you are really expecting to see it.

My response is based on the fact that this is the first time the captain has done this. If he has a pattern of this kind of behavior and has done it to you before, why are you still flying with him? I'm not denying that this is a dangerous situation, but don't make it worse from the right seat. After that you have to decide what you are going to do. IF you decide to keep flying with him you better have a talk with him before you leave again. Tell him in no uncertain terms that you are not comfortable with what he just did and that if it happens again you WILL be prepared to one: take the controls, two: file a report with the FAA, and three: report it to the chief pilot. If he is being an ass about it or if you feel you can't get back in the plane with him, do all three and ground the plane. Just be prepared to be on the street the next day and hope you are in a union that will work to prevent your termination.

Also, this my response is all based on what is really going to happen out on line. This is not what you should be answering on your interview question. There you need to be following all the PC responses that they want to here about taking the controls, hitting your captain with the fire ax and flying to your alternate single pilot.
 
Last edited:

AWACoff

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Posts
1,121
Total Time
3000
What happens in an interview and what happens on line should not be two different things. Interviewers don't want to hear just any answer, they want to hear the CORRECT answer. I see this a lot out on line. Guys do one thing but when the FAA is in the jumpseat, they do things a different way. That's ridiculous. Fly the plane as if a fed is always in your jumpseat. I've been in a situation while flying the line that was time critical and almost required the PNF to assume control. Do what you need to do to prevent an accident. The "3 strike" rule works wonders in these situations.

Announce the problem...if no response, Strike 1.
State the problem while using the person's name...if no response, strike 2.
State the action you are prepared to do...if no response, strike 3 and assume control.

Ex.- Minimums....Dave, you're below minimums...Dave, I am going to take control.

A person who is not incapacitated will respond before strike 3. This can be accomplished in 5 seconds easily. Assuming 14 seconds until impact, that still leaves you 9 seconds. WileE, I completely see your point of view. It is definitely easier to just go with the flow and not ruffle any feathers. Let's simply agree to disagree and we'll let others decide which course of action to take.
Blue skies and good packs.
 

Toad4

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2002
Posts
57
Total Time
3500
I think that both sides here are correct. The problem is this, either action could result in an accident/incident and both are unsafe.

The key here is to never have this situation. The ONLY way to do that is to ALWAYS adhere to SOP and NEVER allow someone to use their so called "judgement". The problem with that is two fold. SOP can never cover everything, hence you need pilots to use their judgement (otherwise we would have been replaced long ago). However, pilots are human and are prone to having poor judgement.

It is an interesting quandry. I have been in this situation and have come close, real close to taking it away (he was a little guy). I am curious if any of those "cowboys" we are discussing are on here and have had someone else try to take over. How did it turn out? The time I almost did the Captain circled 200-300 foot below minimums after breifing a straight in VOR approach. We circled 3 times , each time seeing the 5000 foot runway while over it and in no position to land, the 3rd time I was just reaching for the controls when we miraculously broke out and were lined up. Of note here is we never went missed. We landed and I refused to fly with him again. He still thinks he was right.
 

Focker

Active member
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Posts
33
Total Time
3000
Since we're on the interview board....

All responses are have been important to me, lots of experience giving lots of food for thought.

What I'm really wondering:
What response have you guys given at an actual interview and were you hired!

I expecially like Toad4's decision tree for flying the line, but what about the interview. Same?

I appreciate all responses to add to my clue bag, since I'm still trying to get job, I'd love to hear interview specific examples that have worked. Thanks! line pilot wannabe
 

Toad4

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2002
Posts
57
Total Time
3500
You should, under no circumstances, no matter what the interviewer says, or tries to lead you into, go below the minimums or anything else. If it can't be MEL'd don't fly, if the descent rate from the MAP to land is excessive and you don't see the runway before MAP don't attempt to land, etc.

I must re-inforce something here. The interview answer IS the right answer. A respectable company and a solid Captain would NEVER do anything that would put you in a position where you are uncomfortable about safety, regulations, etc. Unfortunately, many of us have had to work for less reputable companies and "cowboy" type Captains to get the experience and qualifications to get out of there. I am in no way saying that this is acceptable, but I think it is unrealistic to expect a First Officer to change an entire portion of the industry.

Regardless, under no circumstances should you allow yourself to become dead. That is the first directive and supercedes all others regardless of consequences. If you make it through safely then the people behind, below, and in front of you all live by default and I assure you they along with your government will be most grateful.

Best of luck in that interview!
 
Top