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First Officers: Could You Do It Alone?  
User currently offlineAguilo From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3073 times:

To all the First Officers out there: Do you think you could do it alone?

If the opportunity presented itself to be a Pilot or the Pilot was unavailable on your flight for some reason could you handle your a/c on your own?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRick767 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 2662 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2982 times:

Without a doubt, absolutely. That is what we are trained to do. In bad weather or with a serious malfunction, it would be very difficult to work as a one man operation, but not impossible.

In normal operations it would be no problem, we would get priority from ATC and make maximum use of the autoflight systems for approach and landing, so that we could monitor the autopilot since there is no-one there to monitor us.

These planes are not difficult to fly, they are designed with straightforward operation in mind.

The most serious concern for the remaining pilot in the "Pilot Incapacitation" scenario is the decision to divert en-route. In making this decision we have to consider all operational factors like:

  • weather conditions at the chosen airfield

  • the reduction in flight time which would be achieved by diverting

  • the workload involved in conducting a diversion single-handed

  • pilot familiarity with the alternate

  • the condition of the incapacitated pilot

  • availability of medical facilities


  • This is regardless of whether it is the Captain or the First Officer who is incapacitated.




    I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
    User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 24
    Reply 2, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2926 times:

    Dear Aguilo,

    I think you have a misunderstanding what a First Officer(FO) is and does in an airplane.Now I am a 737 FO.As I was recruited by my company to be trained as a 737 pilot,I had ground school,then type rating simulator with checkride,and practiced take off and landings in a passengerless flight.

    These were all to learn and demonstrate that I am able and capable to take the airplane back on the ground unscratched even with an engine failure.

    As you demonstrate this you can proceed as a line tranee to learn duties of a FO and to fly your airplane in normal day operations.You fly with an instructor captain and a safety pilot (just incase captain is incapacitated)until he decides that you can land the airplane safely alone with passengers on board.Then you keep on flying for 100 hrs with instructor until you can master you airplane in every kind of daily operations.A FO realesed for line operations means he/she demonstrated ability to fly the airplane under normal and emergency circumstances dictated by Boeing company procedures.

    In my company during normal day operations captain acts as PF(pilot flying)and FO acts as PNF(pilot not flying) during one leg and vice versa on the other leg.

    I don't think you can find any pilot who has doubts about landing if there is a failure or capt.incapacitation and still can maintain his/her job as pilot for an airline.

    I hope I could made it clearer for you.Regards.WING




    Widen your world
    User currently offlineGordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2101 posts, RR: 21
    Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2871 times:

    Check out this incident report where the A320 F/O assumed command from a sick captain midway through a flight, and then had to make a diversion all on his own due to bad weather at the original destination:

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_avsafety/documents/page/dft_avsafety_500280.hcsp

    And here a BA 777 captain flew single-handed across the atlantic after his F/O began chucking his guts up:

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_avsafety/documents/page/dft_avsafety_022812.hcsp

    Regards,
    Gordon.



    Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
    User currently offlineAUAE From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 296 posts, RR: 3
    Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2793 times:

    I am not a pilot, so please correct me if I am wrong here, but don't FO make landings quite often? I was even privy to a FO's last landing as a FO, his next would be as Captain.


    Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
    User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
    Reply 5, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2759 times:

    There is a very old story about a captain dying during a flight and the first officer took over, diverted to a nearby base and landed. The next week the conversations around the crew lounge was along these lines:

    Captains: "I didn't know we had any copilots who could land the plane."

    Copilots: How could he tell the captain was dead?"

    That may date back to the 1940s. For my entire career, captain and first officer have swapped legs. For most of it, the captain has run his decisions past the first officer for concurrence.







    Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
    User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
    Reply 6, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2743 times:

    I thought about this one a little more and I have begun to wonder if some captains could "do it alone"

    Not fly the plane. Of course they could do that. If there were no company contract negotiators lurking here I'd admit that a trained ape could fly the plane. But initiate a flight! At a couple of airlines there are still captains who come strolling out with the passengers ten minutes prior to pushback and unpack nothing but their cell phone. They utterly rely on the first officer to initialize the FMS, load the flight plan and winds etc. I'm fairly sure that there are a few who could not do it without the f/o.

    Any comments on this?




    Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
    User currently offlineRick767 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 2662 posts, RR: 51
    Reply 7, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2731 times:

    As F/o's we fly about half of all sectors. On a 2 sector duty one of us will fly outbound and one back, on 4 sectors we will normally do 2 of those as PF and 2 as PNF.

    The Captain has the decision who flies which sector, but in my experience most Captain's ask which sector you would like to do.

    When the FO is PF, the entire allocation of duties is reversed, except at some carriers where engine start and taxy must be done by the Captain in which case the handover occurs on lineup and again as the aircraft is decelerating on landing or leaving the runway (both stupid times to handover control of an aircraft IMHO).

    Gordon,

    I am familiar with the Air 2000 A320 incident @ BRS, my cousin was an A320 f/o for AMM based at BRS when it happened. The funny thing was, he was supposed to be operating the flight that day with the Captain who became incapacitated, but had to be replaced as he became unwell!

    I believe the F/o in question had a speedy promotion, and also logged some P1 time that night! I would do the same.

    Wonder if he is still with Air 2000 / FCA, my cousin has since moved to LGW as a 757/767 Captain... I will ask him.



    I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
    User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17019 posts, RR: 67
    Reply 8, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2722 times:

    There are two people in the cockpit so that they can:
    - Divide and conquer.
    - Check each other.

    The Captains can't go it alone either. Of course, if one of the two dissapeared in a puff of smoke I have no doubt that the remaining pilot would get the plane safely to the ground, but he or she would probably be a bit stressed out, if nothing else from wondering just how the pilot dissapeared.



    "There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
    User currently offlineGordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2101 posts, RR: 21
    Reply 9, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2708 times:

    I believe the F/o in question had a speedy promotion, and also logged some P1 time that night! I would do the same.

    Absoloutely! If nothing else that hour or so of P1 time in his logbook amongst all that P2 time will be a topic of conversation for years to come - especially at interviews!

    Wonder if he is still with Air 2000 / FCA, my cousin has since moved to LGW as a 757/767 Captain... I will ask him.

    It would certainly be intersting to find out what became of him, just out of curiosity.

    BTW, how are you enjoying things at EZY now that you've been there a fair bit of time? Any word on when the move to the wonder-bus will come?

    Cheers mate,
    Gordon.



    Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
    User currently offlineN6376m From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 10, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2659 times:

    Perhaps this is a bit out of place, but would any of the pilots comment on what probability of success they believe a licensed private pilot with an IFR rating would have at landing a 737 or A320 series aircraft if both pilots became incapacitated.

    I'm not asking whether or not that could ever occur or whether the likelihood of this occuring is realistic, just do you believe a trained private pilot could put the aircraft on the ground in one piece. Assume that everything's working fine and that communication with the ground was available.

    Thanks,

    -76M


    User currently onlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4194 posts, RR: 37
    Reply 11, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2638 times:

    Wouldnt be a problem at all... my ratio is actually slightly over half of the landings so far that Ive done out of my legs (Captain had been off for a few days and didnt want to land in the really gusty conditions).

    If the captain becomes incapacited and I recieve a "battlefield promotion"...just use the autoflight as the flying pilot until I got configured and go land. Only problem from my seat would be turning off the runway on a taxiway that wasnt a high speed since I dont have a tiller on my side. We had a situation like this happen at our airline happen a couple months ago actually. It's really no big deal.


    I had an FA ask me a few weeks ago when i was going to go to school to learn how to fly.... ARGHH!!! One year till captain.. one year till captain.. one year till captain...



    76M- that topic has been butchered and put to sleep...please dont wake that dead horse.


    [Edited 2004-04-09 20:31:22]


    Chicks dig winglets.
    User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8702 posts, RR: 43
    Reply 12, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2636 times:

    What happened to that Air 2000 A320? I've searched a bit and found nothing!  Sad


    Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
    User currently offlineRick767 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 2662 posts, RR: 51
    Reply 13, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2615 times:

    Gordon,

    Actually there has been a slight change of plan, my better half has a new job in Bristol so I have been granted a base change as of the Summer and we will hopefully be moving over there in a couple of months.

    That also means I will stay on the 737 for the forseeable future, there being no plans to introduce the Airbus @ BRS this year.

    Anyway I will ask my cousin when I next see him whatever happened to that f/o!

    Algoes,

    G-OOAC was returned to the lessor in October 2001 and is now with Indian Airlines as VT-EVQ. I think AMM replaced the older A320-200s with newer examples of the same type (Crosswind?).



    I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
    User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 14, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2572 times:

    Basically, today, a First Officer is a Captain with fewer flying hours. They can do everything a Captain can do minus sleeping with the flight attendants. That comes with experience  Smile

    Seriously though, some airlines will switch the person flying the plane on a leg. to keep each other fresh

    Leg 1: Captain flies, First Officer Communicates
    Leg 2: First Officer flies, Captain communicates
    Leg 3: Captain flies, First Officer Communicates

    And so on and so forth.


    User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 24
    Reply 15, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2412 times:

    I have actually met FO's older and has twice as much flight hours than the captains they fly with.Having enough flight hours is not the only requirement to be promoted.

    The seniority is one of the major factors.If a more senior FO meets the reqirements of flt time to be a captain on the type can be promoted before an older pilot who has more total time than the other one.

    Luck also plays a role for the smaller airlines.If the airline expands they need new captains but if keeps the same size you have to wait until a captain retires or quits.And if you quit to start in another airline there you go to the buttom of the seniority list.



    Widen your world
    User currently offlineAir2gxs From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 16, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2211 times:

    What did the FO say to the FE (SO) when the captain had a heart attack?



    Get him out of my seat.


    User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13986 posts, RR: 62
    Reply 17, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2186 times:

    During the early 90´s you could see a lot of LH 737s with a young captain and an old F/O. When Lufthansa phased out their A300-B4s, 727s and DC-10s, a lot of F/Es were trained as pilots and became F/Os.

    Jan


    User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
    Reply 18, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2125 times:

    One of the requirements of becomming an unsupervised FO is that we can bring it back alone, and the fleet I am on is called a training fleet, with many new captains coming on, so often I have more 777 time than they do, and we keep each other out of trouble. It is not unusual for the FO to 'save the day'.

    User currently offlineSQ325 From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 7
    Reply 19, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2088 times:

    As a FO you have the same qualification to fly and operate your Aircraft!
    So there is no reason t be unable to fly by yourself!

    During my line training i had to do a incapacitation check. We were flying CDG-MUC and after lift off when i said Gear up the CPT was "dead" So i made the entire flight alone untill we reached 60kts after we were landed in MUC!
    From that check on there was no need for a nother FO on the jumpseat!


    User currently onlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4194 posts, RR: 37
    Reply 20, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1933 times:

    Of course i forgot to mention that the captain can be deferred by the MEL on any flight.

    Take a 14 knot V1 hit and stick an inflatable dummy in the seat and thats all you need to comply with teh defferral. Of course an orange sticker that reads "CA MEL 25-15-48" must be placed on his seat.



    Chicks dig winglets.
    User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6597 posts, RR: 55
    Reply 21, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1886 times:

    Ah....if only !

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