I found an interesting information. The author writes that on older Russian aircrafts, where there are still navigator and flight engineer and occasionally a radioman present, the navigator normally will be entitled to give commands to the pilot unless an avionic emergency situation demands immediate pilot reaction.
This means, as far as I can understand, that it's not the pilot (or co-pilot, senior first officer a.s.o.) who are in command but the navigator. It does make sense though since the navigator knows and tells, where to fly, while the pilot is the helmsman only.
Has this hierarchy also existed - or does it still exist - in other countries?
Iaherj From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 677 posts, RR: 7 Reply 1, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2801 times:
In a word, no. We obviously have no more navigators left on airline aircraft. Even in those days, the navigator gave directions, however the captain was in charge of the ship. There were many instances where the navigators were chastized by the captains for poor navigation(when it happened). In today's airline environment, there is normally 1 captain and at least 1 first officer. On the larger, long-haul aircraft; there are several first officers who are typed as captains on the aircraft. The first officers rank in order of position on the flight(ie, first officer, IRO#1, IRO#2). These positions are bid apon the month before and do not automatically indicate the seniority of the first officers systemwide at the airline. For example, the First Officer on a EWR-DEL flight might be more junior to the #1 IRO on that trip as that is just how the monthly bid for each pilot's schedule happened to be built for many reasons too boring and complex to go into here. I've been the IRO on the 767 where the first officer was junior to me and vice versa. Not normally the way it goes but it happens all the time.
PS, IRO stands for International Relief Officer. At Continental, they are all First Officer qualified and have a full captain's type rating on the aircraft they are flying.