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Need advice from fellow professionals

chperplt

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I'm in the middle of a tough decision, and would like the opinions of my fellow professional pilots.

I've been flying with a captain who can barely fly to standards. His altitude control is poor, continually fluctuating 100-200 feet up and down. He routinely blows through assigned altitudes on climbs and decents and cannot fly an approach very well either. His decision making skills are poor, and will chose to land with a 25 knot crosswind if it saves him 2 minutes, rather than use the appropriate runway. Anyone who has been in the back of a 1900 will know how uncomfortable this can be for a passenger who is already apprehensive about flying in the 1900.

He was written up by a previous FO a number of times for his poor decision making skills and was given additional training and a few line checks as a result.

I am contemplating making a call to HQ to discuss the problem. I'm a pretty senior FO and feel quite comfortable with my abilities to keep him out of trouble, but I'm afraid that he's going to be flying with a new FO, or an FO who won't speak up and get into trouble. I'm also concerned with his blatant disregard for passenger comfort and the effect it will have on our company.

Help me out here.
 

B-J-J Fighter

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The Capt.

Be a man and stand up and do whats right! Dont ever let anyone in life push you around, thats including captains. I almost had a physical confrontation with a captain that was broken up by another fellow pilot. In this scenario I was in the right and I stood up for what I believed in.

Make the appropriate calls and do what you need to do. I guess my attitude comes from my college wrestling days and taking things to heart that coaches told me. Plus I will be the 1st to admit that I do have an ego.

I will get off my soapbox now. I just cant stand hearing stories about people being afraid to make dedcisions because of possible repurcussions (SP?). Im a take the bull by the horns kind of guy. Bottom line , do whats right. I have got myself fired up now, I need to head to the gym and lift to get rid of some of this testostorone.
 

FlyingSig

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Do you work for an ALPA carrier? If so you should have a professional standards rep. I would make that your first phone call before you start down the path of getting someone fired.

Since these issues also seem to be safety related, the Pro Stans guy can also get the safety and training committies involved and everybody can have a sit down with this individual and see if problems can be identified and corrected.

However, from what you have said in your post, he has passed his line checks and landing with a crosswind vs. a headwind is a lot differant than exceeding aircraft limitations such as landing with that big of a tailwind. While you may be concerned with passenger comfort more so than this individual try to take a step back and see if this is more a clash in personalities (again, a pro stans issue) then a safety issue.

Let the folks who are trained in making these decisions step in before you ruin some guys career. These people might agree with you and start him down that path anyway...but at least it will be off your individual shoulders.
 

justApilot

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Give this guy a chance. Your first call should be to your unions "professional standards" peeps. Let them handle it.
 

chperplt

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No union.

It's not a personality clash. It's purely a safety concern. On many occasions I've strongly suggested we not do this or that, and he has listened. What's going to happen when he doesn't listen or an FO doesn't speak up is my main concern.

I've talked to him about these issues and it hasn't solved them.

The last thing I want to do is cause problems for someone or get them fired.. that's why I asked for advice.
 

B-J-J Fighter

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My Advice

Better off this guy getting fired than him crashing and killing 19 PAX.
 

walkthasky

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Hmm.. sounds like an interview question????

Just curious, are you working for CommutAir??? The 1900 and no union kinda points in that direction.

Thanks!
:D
 

PHX767

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Your first responsibility is to your passengers, then yourself, and then your airline.

CRM requires that you bring up these problems with the individual first, then elevate it if it cannot be resolved. All major airlines expect you to report the problem to management - you should do no differently at the regional level. Safety is not personality based, nor is it at the expense of punitive action. I am sure the Chief Pilot will tell you that you are not the first one to complain.

Document the facts, keeping emotion and technique out of it. Point out deviations from the flight manual, ops manual, FAR's, and established operating practices such as the AIM. Give dates, times, etc.

I had to do this when I was a B1900 FO. I felt bad, but I would have felt worse if this sphincter had killed someone. In my case, no one had documented events before. They gave him some extra training and put him on notice that was being scrutinized. I heard that he straightened up a bit.

Are you Gulfstream or Colgan?
 

JetProp

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The protocal I would use in order:
1. Speak to the individual directly.
2. Go to Pro-standards with concerns, if you have a union.
3. Call the cheif pilot and tell him/her what you have observed.
4. Have other FO's call the cheif pilot with similar concerns.
5. Fill out a NASA report, naming the captain, with your observations, and FAX it to your chief pilot.
6. Send the NASA report to your POI.
7. Send the NASA report to your FSDO.

Each step turns up the volume a little more and each time you are going over someone's head. Try and get action at one level before proceeding to the next.

You are duty-bound to speak up about unsafe individuals/situations; however, keep in mind this individual may get fired or in hot water with the FAA. So make sure you have solid proof to back-up your statements.
Regards, JetProp
 

jsoceanlord

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No captain can argue against safety, but I've noticed that newer EAGLE F/O's in San juan are way too quick complain; like recently a guy seriously bitching to approach that he was entering IMC along with another aircraft that was supposed to stay VMC - the way he said it ("Ï've got a problem") approach thought he had a real emergency. The controller had everything under control.

I once had an F/O in my Trislander that was second guessing everything - nobody wants a spy in the cockpit.
 

bobbysamd

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Unsafe (?) Captain

I like the idea of sending in a NASA report(s). Send them in by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies. Follow your company hierarchy, beginning with the Captain in question. Maybe he/she will get the message. Then, go up the ladder. If it were me, I wouldn't discuss this Captain with my peers, i.e. other FO's. Perhaps some of them have had similar experiences. On the other hand, you don't know if some might be buds with this Captain and say something to him/her.

I do see this as a matter of damaging a career, but the question you must reflect upon is whose career will be more damaged and whose career matters most. Don't shoot from the hip.

Hope this helps a little.
 

Green Banana

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Well, everybody is out to tar and feather! I think that something should be done, but it is important to look at all the possibilites. I am in no way saying you should keep your mouth shut but...

I know two pilots who have raised the red flag and it bit them in the ass. It turns out that the pilots they turned in, one had friends in the union, the other in mgt. One fellow was black balled by the union and treated as a scab for going to managment to complane. Word spread and he got hate mail in his box and all the capt'ns that he flew with gave him Poo. The other was just fired for bull reasons by managment. Be carfull. in this time of cutbacks and furlows. Managment is looking to loose a few pilots anyway.

Again, Don't read this wrong, SAFETY FIRST, Just rember that for every action there is a re-action. and is not always a pat on the back!

ALOHA
 

RichardFitzwell

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chperplt,

Do the NASA report if it makes you feel more comfortable but definitely talk with you chief pilot about it. I was in the same position once and when I spoke to my chief pilot, he wasn't at all surprised. They knew he was a problem and they handled it in a professional manner. If you aren't the type of person that makes it a point to complain about every little problem, I can't imagine they won't take action. Good luck. Keep in mind SAFETY FIRST.

R.F.

BTW -- I know its difficult to rat on a fellow pilot but imagine how you would feel if someone got hurt because this guy is a hot dog.
 

capnflyright

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You might want to keep that NASA report handy for something a little more useful. I was told by a POI that you only get to turn in one per year. The FAA takes these reports pretty seriously and if they see a pattern they jump on it. After all, they have some of the best statistics you can come up with in order to explain their existence to the government. We had a captain who was too green to be in the left seat of the Metro and it took two incidents to get him out of that position. How knew is he to the left seat?
 

Bluto

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NASA forms...um, send them to NASA!

You can file as many NASA reports as you want, file one a leg if you like. The FAA will never know that you have filed a NASA form unless they try to violate you for an infraction. Then, if you have filed a NASA form, you can be given some protection as long as the violation did not result in an accident, was not intentional, and was not a criminal act. You can only use one NASA form per year to get out of an FAA violation. So your POI was technically correct. You should never send a NASA form to your POI or the FSDO. That is a good way to ask for a violation. You send them to NASA, per the directions on the form.
 

skydiverdriver

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Bluto is correct, you can file as many as you like. However, i belive you can only use one every FIVE years to help you with a problem. I once used one to report on a overzealous FAA inspector, and his boss called us to apologise a few weeks after I sent it in. They do read those things.

As far as the substandard captain goes, I would make sure you aren't the first person to complain about him. If he really is that bad, they should have a file on him, and that will make you look more credible. Otherwise, it may be a you against him thing, and that is never good. Hope it works out for you.
 

RichardFitzwell

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[I would make sure you aren't the first person to complain about him. If he really is that bad, they should have a file on him, and that will make you look more credible. Otherwise, it may be a you against him thing, and that is never good. Hope it works out for you. [/B][/QUOTE]

skydiverdriver,

I agree with many of your post but I differ on this one. It really shouldn't matter if this captain has been turned in by others or not. Chperplt may be the first to complain in a long string of complainers.

Like I said, keep safety first and let your own credibility be the weight behind your complaint. Maybe you are the only pilot with the balls (or smarts) to show concern. This should be based on what YOU have seen, not what others have. Hold your ground and talk to your chief.

R.F.
 
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tarp

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As a captain once told me and now I pass it on ---

Wait till you get your captain's bars and have someone second guess your decisions and flying skills.

Will you be polite and gracious in light of this criticism?

People in glass houses (or cockpits) should never throw stones.
 

Bluto

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If I was wrong, I would certainly hope so. I would hope that if I flew dangerously, my FO's would have the guts to confront me about it. My career, my life, and the lives of my crew and passengers are far more important than my ego. Now, if I felt that I had been flying safely, this might prove a valuable teaching/learning experience for my FO. If we disagree I, as the captain, should feel comfortable explaining my actions to the chief pilot in a meeting with him/her and the FO (and a Union rep, if you are smart.) Or at the very least, explain my actions to the professional standards committee. This is a basic CRM question.
 
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