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Pilots: What If You Have A Bad Day?  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8886 times:

Everyone has a bad day occasionally. Maybe you just couldn't fall asleep, as hard as you tried, and you only got two hours. Or maybe you just wake up in the morning with a head ache, and it won't go away after a couple of tylenols. If that happens to me, as a cubicle monkey, the worst thing that can happen is that I doze off while coding at work.

But if you're an airline pilot, the worst thing that could happen is... much worse. So really, if you wake up just feeling not your best, and are supposed to fly 400 passengers for 8-hours, what do you do? Can you just call in sick that morning? As a passenger I would prefer the pilot not showing up than the pilot flying while he's feeling less than perfect.

Realistically speaking I'm surprised no-show pilots doesn't happen more often.

[Edited 2008-01-20 20:41:17]

52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8831 times:



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
Realistically speaking I'm surprised no-show pilots doesn't happen more often.

You probably just dont notice it since airlines keep relief crews on call just in case someone does call in sick. This way the planes stay pretty much ontime.


User currently onlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4786 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8778 times:

Welcome to life as a professional pilot.

Unless you are genuinely debilitated you just do your job, this is not general aviation, there are times you simply have to perform at your best while feeling your worst.

You do your best to stay in shape physically, but there are times when you simply will not be able to get as much sleep as you want to, or eat properly or just might not be doing that great, mentally or physically.

I can tell you this with a certainty, especially in long haul, if we all waited until we felt great to fly, there would not be much service !



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 8739 times:



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
So really, if you wake up just feeling not your best, and are supposed to fly 400 passengers for 8-hours, what do you do? Can you just call in sick that morning? As a passenger I would prefer the pilot not showing up than the pilot flying while he's feeling less than perfect.

Welcome to the world of long haul flying! There are times where you won't be able to sleep, if you do sleep it won't be enough. You'll be tired and you will feel just not yourself. That's what it feels like after doing 12+ hours, going to the hotel and leaving with a minimum rest layover. It's part of the job and you just adjust.

Now, if you are genuinelly sick, then you use sick leave and just call in sick for the trip and let crew scheduling sort it out.


User currently offlinePiedmontINT From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8669 times:

I wonder how often (and what happens) if a pilot calls in sick while overseas. I know they have relief pilots that take over mid-flight to remain legal, but if "starting" pilot is sick, who relieves the relief pilot?

User currently offlineFlyinTLow From Germany, joined Oct 2004, 525 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8596 times:

It is important how you judge yourself and your performance. If there is any doubt that you will be able to perform the way it is necessary, it is a safety item and no airline in this world should ever begin to lay consequences on you for that decision.
And yes, there are different standby crews around. Normally any airline has crews on a 1-hour standby, meaning they have to be able to be at the airport within 60 minutes and ready to go in case someone gets sick, stuck in traffic, car accident, etc.



- When dreams take flight, follow them -
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 8568 times:



Quoting PiedmontINT (Reply 4):
I wonder how often (and what happens) if a pilot calls in sick while overseas.

Doesn't happen too often, but you get to see crew scheduling rob Peter to pay Paul. If you can give enough notice, they can always shuffle people around from different destinations. And as a last resort, they cancel the flight until they can staff the flight.


User currently offlineRJFlyer0891 From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 86 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8466 times:



Quoting PiedmontINT (Reply 4):
I wonder how often (and what happens) if a pilot calls in sick while overseas. I know they have relief pilots that take over mid-flight to remain legal, but if "starting" pilot is sick, who relieves the relief pilot?

Don't you remember Otto, the inflatable auto-pilot from Airplane!


User currently offlineADXMatt From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 954 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8139 times:



Quoting PiedmontINT (Reply 4):
I wonder how often (and what happens) if a pilot calls in sick while overseas. I know they have relief pilots that take over mid-flight to remain legal, but if "starting" pilot is sick, who relieves the relief pilot?

If overseas the flight could be delayed as they position in a pilot from somewhere else. A US carrier Airline X has alot of European departures may keep a relief crew on standby in a central location and fly them where they may be needed. A few hour delay waiting for them to arrive is better then a cancelation.

If you have a 3 or 4 person crew due to the length of the flight you may be able to start towards your dest and land short to pick up a new crew. i.e. NRT-EWR 4 person crew 1 is sick. 3 person crew flies NRT-CLE (just under 12hours) then pick up new 2 pilot crew for CLE-EWR) Hour or 90min delay is better then a cancelation.

It doesn't happen that often but it does happen. Same with a Flight Attendants. However with the F/A many times the flight is staffed over the FAR minimum and you can go with 1 less. If you can't you have the same issues.


User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8015 times:

When i went for an aptitude test for a pilot course i got 4 hours sleep (probably due to nerves) and was absolutely shattered the next day. I was so tired i couldn't figure out how to operate the coffee machine and during the first round of the test i was all over the place.

But by some miracle i manage to pass the test. So it must be possible to fly whilst having an off day, just like it's possible to work on an off day, in an office job ect.


User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 7976 times:

One time, I boarded an early bird NW DC9 flight from CMH to DTW. To make it short, the pilot woke up feeling ill and said he prefers not to fly. The gate agent announced that the pilot is not feeling good and that they will find a pilot. The whole crew came on on time. Northwest put another pilot from later flight on my flight. My flight was delayed for like 15 minutes. I am not sure as what happened to the other flight NW took the pilot off and put on my flight.


Airliners.net of the Future
User currently offlineZakHH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7266 times:

I remember a flight back in 1995, with LH from LAX to FRA. I was sitting with friends at the gate already, when I decided to do some last-minute shopping.

A couple of meters away from the gate the LH crew had gathered. Just when I went past them, their captain showed up, and he did not look well at all. He was booming at the F/A's: "Gals, if any of you thought about quitting, maybe now would be a good time to do so. I feel like shit today!" Made me look very forward to my flight... Big grin

After boarding, we were greeted from the cockpit: "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, this is your First Officer speaking. I will be flying you out of Los Angeles today...". I grinned and thought: "And I know why..."  Smile


User currently offlineLoggat From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7057 times:

Reminds me of something I heard once...

If the pilot messes up, the pilot dies

If the controller messes up, the pilot dies

If the mechanic messes up, the pilot dies

Can't really afford to have a bad day, I suppose.

There are 2 ways to make a perfect landing. Unfortunately, no-one knows what they are.



There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
User currently offlineHighFlyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7025 times:

How many sick/personal days does a pilot get per year? or is it per bid period? i would think they have a much more genorous allowance considering their need to be alert?


121
User currently offlineMax777geek From Italy, joined Mar 2007, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6937 times:



Quoting Loggat (Reply 12):
There are 2 ways to make a perfect landing. Unfortunately, no-one knows what they are.

Chuck Norris does.  laughing 


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6875 times:



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
But if you're an airline pilot, the worst thing that could happen is... much worse. So really, if you wake up just feeling not your best, and are supposed to fly 400 passengers for 8-hours, what do you do? Can you just call in sick that morning? As a passenger I would prefer the pilot not showing up than the pilot flying while he's feeling less than perfect.

Realistically speaking I'm surprised no-show pilots doesn't happen more often.

To be totally honest, from your line of thought, you will be surprised as to how many pilots feel like shit and they are flying you around. Or they just had an argument with their wife and now they are on their way to take you from Atlanta- LAX. It happens, and we are all human. You just have to make that choice on weather you feel you are capable to fly. When I was working for Acey in Atlanta, I became friends with a lot of pilots there, especially the guys on the ATR's and CR7s. Let me tell you, they have issues! Sometimes when I am sitting on the pushback LEKTRO with the headset on, the captain/FO will be telling me stories on what happened the night before, how much of a bitch the F/A is, etc. Just things you have to deal with in life.

My father is a heavy captain with CO and although we do not live together anymore as a family, I do remember the days when we were together and he would leave the house in the morning and I knew he wasn't his best but he always said he had a job to do. If it was bad enough, he would stay home, but that wasn't too often.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineMax777geek From Italy, joined Mar 2007, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6783 times:



Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 15):
Or they just had an argument with their wife

Uh, traveling a lot helps quite right in many ways..


User currently offlineTheGreatChecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1130 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6658 times:

It's a job like any other. Of course there are moments of sheer beauty and exhilaration, but at the end of the day, we all have job's to do and that is to safely transport your passengers or cargo to their destination and go home at the end of the day. Maybe if you are lucky you get a decent amount of rest in between and a respectable paycheck every few weeks.

For example, I'm sitting in a hotel right now drinking a ton of water because I'm not at 100% due to dehydration. I know that in three or so hours I'll be driving the bus back to the hub and I have to be up for it. If I was truly sick, yes I'd probably call in, but unless I know I can't do my job in a safe and professional manner, I will not do it. I will do everything I can to solve the problem before I'd go and drop an outstation sick call (or any sick call, really) on the folks in crew scheduling.

Like any other job, we are expected to show up on time and ready to do what we are paid for.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 15):
Sometimes when I am sitting on the pushback LEKTRO with the headset on, the captain/FO will be telling me stories on what happened the night before, how much of a bitch the F/A is, etc. Just things you have to deal with in life.

How true it is! Thankfully I'm with a pretty awesome crew and that makes all the difference.

That is one advantage of being on reserve, you aren't with the same crew all month long. Therefore, if you get a bad group, you don't have to deal with them for weeks on end.

Checko



"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offlineTheGreatChecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1130 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6549 times:



Quoting Loggat (Reply 12):
Reminds me of something I heard once...

If the pilot messes up, the pilot dies

If the controller messes up, the pilot dies

If the mechanic messes up, the pilot dies

Can't really afford to have a bad day, I suppose.

AND the accident report will find that it was caused by "pilot error."  Angry



"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6380 times:



Quoting Max777geek (Reply 16):
Uh, traveling a lot helps quite right in many ways..

Come again? Well let me respond to the way I interpreted it...

Not necessarily my friend. Not if you just left Atlanta and your overnight is in Boston with your girlfriend (bear in mind you have a wife in Atlanta  Big grin ). My my, how air travel has changed. Does stuff like that still happen?



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6224 times:

If a pilot has a really bad day, he/she can just take it out on the mechanics  Wink

Relax!!!!! Its a joke!!  Smile


User currently offlineMav75 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 228 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4972 times:



Quoting ADXMatt (Reply 8):
If you have a 3 or 4 person crew due to the length of the flight you may be able to start towards your dest and land short to pick up a new crew. i.e. NRT-EWR 4 person crew 1 is sick. 3 person crew flies NRT-CLE (just under 12hours) then pick up new 2 pilot crew for CLE-EWR) Hour or 90min delay is better then a cancelation.

Didn't that actually happen on CAL 2 or 3 years ago?


User currently offlineDC8FriendShip From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 243 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4243 times:



Quoting Aogdesk (Reply 20):
If a pilot has a really bad day, he/she can just take it out on the mechanics


My attitude is, the worse you want it, the worse you get it. so maybe we should all get along.  Smile



Come fly the Friendly Skies of United
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4235 times:



Quoting ADXMatt (Reply 8):
If you have a 3 or 4 person crew due to the length of the flight you may be able to start towards your dest and land short to pick up a new crew. i.e. NRT-EWR 4 person crew 1 is sick. 3 person crew flies NRT-CLE (just under 12hours) then pick up new 2 pilot crew for CLE-EWR) Hour or 90min delay is better then a cancelation

Ohhhh, that would be devious, or illegal depending on your ops policies. To fly just under 12 hrs THEN add the 4th pilot for a 1 hr leg would completely negate the reason for the fourth pilot in the first place. We see that some and it's always contested. They add the 3rd pilot because it's over 8 hrs but it's actually 2 legs of less than 8 each. Totally useless as far as rest periods go which is what the extra guy is for in the first place.

Quoting DC8FriendShip (Reply 22):
My attitude is, the worse you want it, the worse you get it. so maybe we should all get along

You're right but you can always count on the 5% rule. 5% won't be happy no matter what.


User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4171 times:



Quoting DC8FriendShip (Reply 22):
My attitude is, the worse you want it, the worse you get it. so maybe we should all get along. Smile

You've got that right. Its unfortunate how flight crew/mx crew relations have suffered at many carriers over the years. When we all get along, things are pretty good!!


25 Lowrider : When deciding I am fit to fly, I try to consider if I could pass a sim check. If I would call in sick for a checkride, then I would call in sick for t
26 Post contains images GRZ-AIR : As a professional, if you don't feel fit to fly, and you still go flying, you break the law. Being exhausted, tired, emotionally upset is all part of
27 JAGflyer : What happens if a pilot is on layover in a foreign country (without a crew base or back up crew) and he feels ill? Would the airline cancel the flight
28 FlyASAGuy2005 : Pretty much hit that nail on the head. You damn right. As a matter of fact, Chuck Norris doesn't really land the plane. He just brings it to a nice c
29 Flyf15 : Many many pilots, especially those at regional airlines, are so threatened by management that you will find many flying sick, fatigued/tired, or in em
30 Barney Captain : That's insane - and clearly against the spirit of the FAR's. Here at WN, we have a no questions asked fatigue policy - I would hope that policy is st
31 Pilotpip : You might have had to do the carpet dance at my old workplace but they were understanding if it were a legitimate situation and you could explain it a
32 TheGreatChecko : One of the many reasons Southwest has some of the best pilot QOL in the industry... We all unfortunately don't have the same luxuries..
33 AirPortugal310 : I am flying out of HPN in February on a Shuttle America flight that leave at 750am. According to Delta, the inbound flight arrives from ATL the night
34 Stratosphere : It happens a lot. They are called "illegals" or "high speeds" by flight crews. I don't really know the particulars I guess each airline has their own
35 Pilotpip : You're assuming alot there. It's likely not the same crew as that would make it a standup/highspeed/continuous-duty overnight (depending on what your
36 Post contains images Cancidas : regardless of how bad a day you've had, NEVER NEVER NEVER take it out on your airplane. they can make bad turn to worse if mistreated...
37 Flyf15 : Our minimum required rest (when under reduced rest regulations) is 8 hours off duty. This starts 15 minutes after the cabin door opens (ie: roughly a
38 Post contains images WILCO737 : Well, as a Cargo pilot it is a requirement to be tired when going to work Just kidding... If I dont feel well, I call in sick of course! But not getti
39 AirPortugal310 : Thanks for the educated responses.
40 MQTmxguy : The trouble is it's true! Pilot: "I'm pissed, so I'm gonna punch every button in this mother as many times as I have to untill I get an EICAS warning
41 Post contains images HAWK21M : On the Freighter it would be more boring.When you look accross & see the same face for hrs regds MEL
42 Post contains images WILCO737 : Well, how often do you actually see a F/A in the cockpit during flight?! Not too often! so you see the same face as well all the time! And 99% of the
43 CosmicCruiser : Nah, if it's true at all it's the 5% that I spoke of earlier. That's true and for us we can go around the world in a min of 9 or 10 days with only 1
44 MQTmxguy : Oh I know, most of em are good guys that try to help us out whenever they can. Doesn't mean it's not still fun to pick on em though.
45 Post contains images HAWK21M : Everytime to ring the bell Thats good to hear & its long haul ops you do.Spoken to crew that operate Small sectors & they do complain that it would b
46 Post contains images WILCO737 : There is no bell for the F/A in our aircraft And even IF there would be one: no one will answer or will come into the cockpit Sure, more poeple, more
47 Post contains images HAWK21M : The other day during a Coffee break with some folks from other Pax Airlines,we were comparing how good a Freighter ops can be to a Pax Airline & one
48 Post contains images WILCO737 : 100% agreed!!!!!!!!! unbelievable peaceful on an cargo aircraft... WILCO737 (MD11F)
49 CosmicCruiser : Gotcha, OK here's back at ya, "Ops checks good, no discrpencies found, returned to service". Doooohhhh!! I had a pax carrier crew tell me this while
50 HAWK21M : true,some Pax can be troublesome if there is a delay.While some create a tantrum over a doubt they have which may never exist,but they dont want to b
51 Lowrider : I gotta agree with Cosmic on this one. If I get annoyed with the other guys up front, I usually find it is time to go make a fresh pot of coffee or c
52 MQTmxguy : What tool fixes everthing? A pen! "Can not Duplicate" or "Deffered as per MEL XXXX-XX..." DISCLAIMER: Pencil whipping is baaaaaad.
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