flybyguy
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Relieving Captain Of Command?

Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:41 pm

I was wondering if there is any established procedure or any FARs, JARs or CSs that explicitly allow the first officer (or other ranking flight officer) to relieve the Captain of command in the event his judgment is impaired?

After 9-11 and the installation of impenetrable flight deck doors it would be nice to know that there's some sanity check, established procedure, and/or explicit regulations that govern the actions of crew during an in-flight mutiny.
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wilco737
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:50 pm



Quoting Flybyguy (Thread starter):
I was wondering if there is any established procedure or any FARs, JARs or CSs that explicitly allow the first officer (or other ranking flight officer) to relieve the Captain of command in the event his judgment is impaired?

This has always been a rule. Once the captain is not capable of judging correctly or if he is just making a dangerous maneouver and is ignoring the inputs by the first officer then the first officers duty is to take over control.

I never had to do it, but once I was close to it... Thank god he then listened to me.

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pilotpip
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:14 am

We have a "two communication rule" per our SOP. If we have to repeat something without a response twice, we take command of the aircraft.

This is exactly what happened with Air Canada a few weeks back. I also have a friend who had a check airmen have a minor heart attack during IOE. He had to declare an emergency and handle almost everything on his own during his second leg.
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:50 am



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):
This has always been a rule. Once the captain is not capable of judging correctly or if he is just making a dangerous maneouver and is ignoring the inputs by the first officer then the first officers duty is to take over control.

Heard this story, which may or may not be true, about an "old school" SK Captain and his young female F/O. On final the Captain became more and more uncommunicative, refusing to even answer check list items from the F/O. It was obvious to the F/O that he was being surly and didn't feel that a female in her 20s had any place in the cockpit.

The F/O felt that the approach was unsafe this way. Since the Captain had obviously "lost" the ability to communicate he could be deemed incapacitated. She took over command by saying, "my airplane. Going around" and proceeded to execute the procedure. Apparently the Captain immediately found his voice again and proceeded to give her a verbal blistering punctuated by many four letter words. He lost his job.
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Northwest727
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:13 am

Yep, I know rules exist. In fact, I remember being taught by an instructor/former airline FO, she once stated that she had to take the controls from her captain since s/he panicked and did not know how to handle the emergency that had took place.
 
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:54 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):
I never had to do it, but once I was close to it... Thank god he then listened to me.

Any details.
regds
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GST
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:30 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
Any details.

Since Wilco evidently did not need to take command there is really no need to know exactly what happened and unecessarily risk identifying/damaging the reputation of a presumably perfectly competent and safe pilot. If further action was needed in the event it would have been dealt with behind closed doors and that is how it should be. You never know, it could turn out to be a well respected a.nutter!
 
tom775257
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:22 pm

Personally I have had to take control from the Captain who lost situational awareness during a go around. Then after taking over the aircraft, RT, well everything and getting the aircraft set up and stable downwind and the captain back in the loop, II then gave control back to the captain.

The problem for an FO is you best make damn sure you are correct in taking control, and doubly sure you sort it out. With the event I had, the criticism of me in the investigation was that I should have taken control sooner. To be honest it is really hard to make the decision. Sure, if the guy or girl slumps over you know you have it. The question of creeping incapacitation or increasing loss of situational awareness or control is more difficult.

In my situation I ended up taking over with the aircraft nosing full forward stick to minus five degrees pitch attitude, TOGA thrust and flaps 3 at 2,500 feet (basically called approaching the level off altitude, busted, nose shoved down). Previously I was seeing an increasingly unstable approach and called go-around twice before he initiated. Sound bad, but in that situation (that happened very rapidly) after the G/A there is no argument things are wrong so take control.

Protocol, I guess common sense on the whole. There is the simple stuff like you call 100kts on take-off, CM1 doesn't answer, you check and incap, either reject as per current airline; or continue and circuit to land as previous. In the sim if is very clear to be honest, the guy dramatically falls forward on the stick/yoke, you know. In real life, well, very different, insidious. So common sense rules okay.
 
wilco737
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:49 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
Any details.



Quoting GST (Reply 6):
Since Wilco evidently did not need to take command there is really no need to know exactly what happened and unecessarily risk identifying/damaging the reputation of a presumably perfectly competent and safe pilot. If further action was needed in the event it would have been dealt with behind closed doors and that is how it should be. You never know, it could turn out to be a well respected a.nutter!

I won't go into any further detail. Just said so much: he thanked me for being to direct and "waking him up". He said, even if I had taken over control, it would be a safe action and he would have been thankful for that as well. So no need to go into any further detail.
I am just happy that this was a one time experience so far. I don't need to do it again, it feels weird nearly taking away the control of the PIC, Commander, Captain.

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HAWK21M
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:46 am



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 8):
So no need to go into any further detail.

I understand.Just was curious about the situation details.No names sought.
But I can understand the difficulty.
regds
MEL
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flexo
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:36 pm

Begs the question to the pilots here: Is that trained in the sim? And if yes, how often does it occur there?
 
wilco737
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:45 pm



Quoting Flexo (Reply 10):
Begs the question to the pilots here: Is that trained in the sim? And if yes, how often does it occur there?

This is hard to train. As in the sim it is no real conditions. But it will be talked about a lot in CRM seminars and all these courses. but every situation is different and there is no master solution.

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lowrider
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:05 pm

Quoting Flexo (Reply 10):
Is that trained in the sim?

I have had it trained a few times in the sim, for both seats. Basically before a sim event one of the pilots will will be told to "die" on the other guy at a particular time. This little briefing usually takes place while the unsuspecting victim is in the bathroom or getting coffee. It is always interesting.

[Edited 2008-12-28 12:05:50]
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wilco737
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:13 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 12):

I have had it trained a few times in the sim, for both seats. Basically before a sim event one of the pilots will will be told to "die" on the other guy at a particular time. This little briefing usually takes place while the unsuspecting victim is in the bathroom or getting coffee. It is always interesting.

That is something you can train if the captain "dies" or pass out. But what if he is doing something illegal, dangerous and then you have to take over? This is something you cannot really train. In the sim it is easy to say "I have control", but in real life? If he just doesn't listen to you and he is flying into a dangerous situation...

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flexo
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:20 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):
If he just doesn't listen to you and he is flying into a dangerous situation...

I suppose that would call for some acting skills on the captain's end...
Could be interesting though!
 
wilco737
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:25 pm



Quoting Flexo (Reply 14):
I suppose that would call for some acting skills on the captain's end...
Could be interesting though!

it is interesting for sure. And it gives you as a new FO somehow confidence that you actually have to take over at one point. But in the simulator it is still a lot easier than in the actual ariplane.

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lowrider
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:50 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):
This is something you cannot really train.

You are right, that has as much to do with the strength of a person's character as it does their flying skills. It takes a certain level of confidence and commitment to hand your immediate superior a substantial insult, even if it is for the best of reasons. A mature captain might initially be upset, but will recognize it for what it is. Not all captains are so mature. This is why character and personality matter in hiring, not just hours and experience.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:34 am



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 16):
This is why character and personality matter in hiring, not just hours and experience.

Adds to the Arguement that The Experience difference between the Two crew members should not be vast.
regds
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ThePinnacleKid
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:12 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 17):
Adds to the Arguement that The Experience difference between the Two crew members should not be vast.
regds
MEL

Actually, I would say the confidence level in the F/O to actually be able to speak up / take control away is greatly influenced by the Captain. If the Captain is a good Captain and uses good CRM techniques he empowers his F/O to become a valuable part of the crew and treats him with a high level of mutual respect. The final say will always rest with him (Capt), but by engaging the F/O early on and giving value to the F/O's thoughts and inputs it becomes easier for the F/O to say what he doesn't like, etc... It is important for a Captain to recognize the value of having such dialogue on the flight deck in everyday situations and potential emergency situations if he/she is to be a good captain. A Captain should treat their F/O as the most valuable asset on the aircraft and not as their slave to sit there and keep quiet. In return you will see a huge increase in productivity, alertness, and cooperation from the F/O.

Their is a lot that can be said in all lines of business for empowering a subordinate as oppose to micromanaging one.

I would argue that more than the F/O's experience and character, the Captain's demeanor sets up the ability for an F/O to bring to the table their judgment and character.
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njxc500
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:55 pm

As a sidenote to this topic, how does this work in a military situation. It strikes me as this may be a less democratic environment, and therefore the captain may not be questioned, as he is the "captain".

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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:09 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 17):
Adds to the Arguement that The Experience difference between the Two crew members should not be vast

Agreed, the era of an FO as a "Gear and Flap Puller" is over.

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 18):
I would argue that more than the F/O's experience and character, the Captain's demeanor sets up the ability for an F/O to bring to the table their judgment and character

In the absence of those ideal traits in a Captain, the FO should still be able and willing to assume control. Ideally both traits should exist, but hopefully either one is suffiicient to prevent an incident.

Quoting Njxc500 (Reply 19):
how does this work in a military situation

In many aircraft, at least in the US Military, the Aircraft Commander and the Pilot are not the same person. This may vary, particularly in tactical aircraft.
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twal1011727
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:13 pm

I know I'm changing the original topic thread but what if it was the other way around.
Like with the Egypt Air situation....kinda gives ya the creeps.

Quoting Njxc500 (Reply 19):
how does this work in a military situation. It strikes me as this may be a less democratic environment, and therefore the captain may not be questioned, as he is the "captain".

As in Major Deacon and Captain Hale from "Broken Arrow"

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HAWK21M
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RE: Relieving Captain Of Command?

Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:44 pm



Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 18):
I would say the confidence level in the F/O to actually be able to speak up / take control away is greatly influenced by the Captain

true to a great extent.but also the nature of the F/O in being assertive if needed is an important issue here.Thats where experience helps.
regds
MEL
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