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dcaord
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Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:00 am

Flying on a United Express E175 operated by SkyWest into ORD -- peeked into the cockpit and noticed a Captain (yes, 4 stripes) sitting in both the left AND right seats. I was quite baffled. How often does this happen and why?
 
mandala499
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:04 am

2 Captains? Happens a lot.
1 could be a check captain sitting on the right checking the performance of the captain on the left... either the captain on the left is a new captain, or he's new to the type, or whatever...
They could have run out of FOs...
The captain on the right may have needed some right seat time for currency, or whatever purposes...
Happens a lot...
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
alasizon
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:08 am

At regionals in the US, this happens a decent bit.

Sometimes if the FO calls out and there are no FO reserves, a CA reserve or CA who is re-flowed can be assigned to junior man the assignment. Depending on contract, some get paid CA pay, others FO pay, others a differential plus the FO pay.

Now a days though, the US regionals are so short that you are short captains and first officers.
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32andBelow
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:19 am

Quoting Alasizon (Reply 2):
At regionals in the US, this happens a decent bit.

Sometimes if the FO calls out and there are no FO reserves, a CA reserve or CA who is re-flowed can be assigned to junior man the assignment. Depending on contract, some get paid CA pay, others FO pay, others a differential plus the FO pay.

Now a days though, the US regionals are so short that you are short captains and first officers.

But when you are short. Captains are more valuable on reserve, since you can use them for both seats (assuming they are right seat qualified.)
 
ABQ747
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:23 am

Quoting dcaord (Thread starter):
How often does this happen and why?

I had two captains on SKW6416 SFO-ABQ a few months ago. The aircraft was a CRJ-700.
 
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KGRB
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:44 am

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 1):
2 Captains? Happens a lot.
1 could be a check captain sitting on the right checking the performance of the captain on the left... either the captain on the left is a new captain, or he's new to the type, or whatever...
They could have run out of FOs...
The captain on the right may have needed some right seat time for currency, or whatever purposes...
Happens a lot...

These are all good possibilities. Another possibility is that one or both pilots are management flying for currency.
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dcaord
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:29 pm

Quoting KGRB (Reply 5):
flying for currency.

What does this mean?
 
Woodreau
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:08 pm

Quoting dcaord (Reply 6):
What does this mean?

Flying for currency.

Pilots have to have 3 landings within the previous 90 days. If they don't they need to requalify.

Management pilots, i.e. chief pilots, fleet/type managers, lots of different managers who are line qualified don't fly in the normal course of their duties, so they either go to the simulator every 90 days or they bump a pilot off a trip and fly to get their 3 landings.
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N353SK
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:54 pm

Quoting 32andBelow (Reply 3):
But when you are short. Captains are more valuable on reserve, since you can use them for both seats (assuming they are right seat qualified.)

Most regionals are staffed OK for captains right now but very short on FOs due to a lack of people willing to take a $20k salary to work there.
 
goboeing
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:27 pm

Quoting Alasizon (Reply 2):
At regionals in the US, this happens a decent bit.

Sometimes if the FO calls out and there are no FO reserves, a CA reserve or CA who is re-flowed can be assigned to junior man the assignment. Depending on contract, some get paid CA pay, others FO pay, others a differential plus the FO pay.

It is worth mentioning that not all allow this totally absurd and unsafe practice.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:06 pm

Quoting goboeing (Reply 9):
It is worth mentioning that not all allow this totally absurd and unsafe practice.

What is absurd about a Captain sitting in the right seat? What's unsafe about it. It's SOP at many airlines.

-DiamondFlyer
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longhauler
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:07 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
What is absurd about a Captain sitting in the right seat? What's unsafe about it. It's SOP at many airlines.

It is not allowed where I fly, unless the Captain is specifically trained and TESTED in the right seat. Those who are, would include Line Check Pilots and Line Training Pilots.

A normal line Captain, who has only undergone training, testing and requalification in the left seat, may only sit in the left seat for take-off and landing.

To be qualified in the right seat, a Captain must undergo manoeuvres training/testing and line oriented flight training/testing in the right seat in the simulator, then perform line indoctrination the right seat with a training captain in the left seat.
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thegman
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:52 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 11):
t is not allowed where I fly, unless the Captain is specifically trained and TESTED in the right seat. Those who are, would include Line Check Pilots and Line Training Pilots.

A normal line Captain, who has only undergone training, testing and requalification in the left seat, may only sit in the left seat for take-off and landing.

To be qualified in the right seat, a Captain must undergo manoeuvres training/testing and line oriented flight training/testing in the right seat in the simulator, then perform line indoctrination the right seat with a training captain in the left seat.

I feel like a lot of companies do a dual seat qual.

Most USAF training syllabi make people straight out of Pilot training qualified to fly from either seat even if they will be relegated to be a co-pilot for the next 2 years. In the C17 inital qual the checkride that happens in the sim is 3 approaches from the left seat then a landing and a seat swap and 1 additional approach from the right seat to make someone who has never actually flown the jet qualified to operate from either seat.
 
KC135Hydraulics
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:18 pm

Quoting thegman (Reply 12):
Most USAF training syllabi make people straight out of Pilot training qualified to fly from either seat even if they will be relegated to be a co-pilot for the next 2 years. In the C17 inital qual the checkride that happens in the sim is 3 approaches from the left seat then a landing and a seat swap and 1 additional approach from the right seat to make someone who has never actually flown the jet qualified to operate from either seat.

I see pilots on our jets swapping seats like they were playing musical chairs all the time. It's completely normal, as I am sure you're well aware, for the FO to occupy the left seat for a landing. On the C-17, it's not nearly that critical as all controls are fully duplicated, but on the KC-135, the left seat pilot will typically perform the landing since anti-skid and nosewheel steering is only available on the left seat. A copilot would never get practice time and experience handling the aircraft on the ground unless he's in that left seat to do it.
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futureualpilot
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:45 pm

First, being a SkyWest flight, it was likely Captain OE (Operating Experience) for the guy in the left seat as SkyWest does not allow two Captains to operate the same flight unless one is a Check Airman conducting OE. A Check Airman will sit in the right seat and act as the First Officer, performing the duties and functions of an FO for the trip but evaluating and helping train the pilot in the left seat. Under these circumstances, the Check Airman remains the PIC for the flight despite sitting in the FO seat and performing FO duties. This is because while on OE the pilot in the left seat is not yet signed off to act as PIC until he or she completes a Fed ride (FAA or authorized representative observes the Captain candidate performing the duties and responsibilities of a Captain) as well as a line check.

As far as a Captain flying in the right seat due to lack of available First Officers, this is not always authorized. Technically speaking once a pilot begins Captain upgrade training, he or she becomes dequalified in the right seat and upon completing upgrade training,mis now qualified in the left seat and only the left seat. Even if they have several thousand hours of right seat time in the same type of airplane they are now in command of, they are no longer legally qualified to fly from the right seat. In order to do this they have to complete right seat qualification training. Absurd, sure, but it must be done. This typically includes a sim session from the right seat to include 3 takeoff and landings, and a V1 cut. Following this there is usually a set number of legs or hours that must be flown in the right seat with a company Check Airman in the left seat. Some airlines refuse to allow this, and some CBAs prevent this.

As far as the safety argument, It is perfectly safe and as professionals we realize that the pilot listed as PIC on the release is in command and acts as Captain. I've yet to run into any ego or professionalism issues with two Captains flying the same flight.

[Edited 2015-09-01 11:48:09]
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N766UA
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:50 pm

I was just reading that Trans States is hiring "captain qualified" first officers. In other words, you fly as Captain when needed, then when you're needed as an FO you go fly right seat. Some sort of double duty to help with staffing issues, as I understand it anyway. Typically it's a check airman, though.

When I flew corporate we'd switch back and forth, though that was without pax. We were both PIC qualified on the airplane, so even though I wasn't the captain I could sit left seat if I chose.
 
Woodreau
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:02 pm

Right seat qualification at my airline involves Cat III landings and Cat III takeoffs, takeoff and landing from the right seat and rejected takeoff from the right seat, so normally the only people at my airline who receive the Right Seat qualification are FOs (because they are typed as Captains in the left seat during initial newhire training), and check airmen.

Captains do not receive the right seat qualification, so they are never allowed to sit in the right seat at my airline.

I think Captains performing FO duties sitting the right seat are more common at regional airlines.

At my last regional airline, Captains were allowed to perform FO duties when FOs were not available, but once we transitioned to Cat II, Captains were no longer allowed to sit right seat for FO duties (check airmen not withstanding)

[Edited 2015-09-01 13:02:31]
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DiamondFlyer
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:20 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 11):
It is not allowed where I fly, unless the Captain is specifically trained and TESTED in the right seat. Those who are, would include Line Check Pilots and Line Training Pilots.

And at my airline, every captain is qualified in both seats, in order to make scheduling easier. No FO available? Throw 2 captains at the flight, or 3, if it's a heavy crew flight.

-DiamondFlyer
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goboeing
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:24 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
What is absurd about a Captain sitting in the right seat? What's unsafe about it. It's SOP at many airlines.

It needs to be done correctly, and I know of several regional airlines that do not do it in a way that any reasonable person would agree is the appropriate way.

If a line check pilot has regular recurrent training events in both seats and regularly gives OE from the right seat as well as line checks, that is fine.


An entirely separate issue, not related to safety, is the fact that it obviously eliminates jobs, so I can't imagine why any pilot would be in support of this practice for that reason alone, to say nothing of the safety concerns.
 
thegman
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:56 am

Quoting goboeing (Reply 18):
An entirely separate issue, not related to safety, is the fact that it obviously eliminates jobs, so I can't imagine why any pilot would be in support of this practice for that reason alone, to say nothing of the safety concerns.

Please explain how it eliminates jobs?

Airlines still have to work with the FAA rules on work hours, and minimum requirements to fly for 121. So explain how it eliminates jobs?
 
goboeing
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:51 am

Quoting thegman (Reply 19):
Please explain how it eliminates jobs?

It lessens the need for appropriate staffing of the first officer seat when all reserve captains are qualified to fly in the right seat themselves (as well as permitting all lineholder captains to pickup flying in the first officer seat).
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:08 am

Quoting goboeing (Reply 20):
It lessens the need for appropriate staffing of the first officer seat when all reserve captains are qualified to fly in the right seat themselves (as well as permitting all lineholder captains to pickup flying in the first officer seat).

Sure, I'll buy that at a 121 major or regional. But at a supplemental carrier, it gives the carrier flexibility in what is an ever changing market. How else would you have a 3 man crew on a 2 pilot airplane? 2 CAs and 2 FOs?

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
goboeing
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:12 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 21):
Sure, I'll buy that at a 121 major or regional. But at a supplemental carrier, it gives the carrier flexibility in what is an ever changing market. How else would you have a 3 man crew on a 2 pilot airplane? 2 CAs and 2 FOs?

Since the thread starter posed a question that was talking about a 2-pilot crew of domestic flying I was talking about having a captain fill the right seat in that type of flying.

Relief pilots on augmented flights is another discussion entirely.
 
diverted
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:06 am

Quoting goboeing (Reply 20):
It lessens the need for appropriate staffing of the first officer seat when all reserve captains are qualified to fly in the right seat themselves (as well as permitting all lineholder captains to pickup flying in the first officer seat).

Sure. But it also greatly increases your per flight staffing...particularly when the guys picking up that open flying are top of the payscale vs a first year FO.

Right seating a CA in my expierence is really only done if they're needed for a line check, line indoc, management pilots flying for currency, or all FO callout options have been exhausted and they've picked up draft.
 
FlyHossD
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:54 pm

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 7):
Management pilots, i.e. chief pilots, fleet/type managers, lots of different managers who are line qualified don't fly in the normal course of their duties, so they either go to the simulator every 90 days or they bump a pilot off a trip and fly to get their 3 landings.

Such a statement, while accurate, saddens me. Chief pilots (etc.) that have difficulty staying current? Let me restate that, chief PILOTS who have difficulty staying current?

Years ago, I was a management pilot and flew often (even flew complete "lines" when we were short) as I'd made that a condition of accepting the position. And yes, I know, that's not the norm.  
Quoting goboeing (Reply 9):
It is worth mentioning that not all allow this totally absurd and unsafe practice.

How so? Many captains are right seat qualified and current.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
thegman
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:00 pm

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 24):
Such a statement, while accurate, saddens me. Chief pilots (etc.) that have difficulty staying current? Let me restate that, chief PILOTS who have difficulty staying current?

Years ago, I was a management pilot and flew often (even flew complete "lines" when we were short) as I'd made that a condition of accepting the position. And yes, I know, that's not the norm.

Same thing happens in Military flying, probably even earlier. As you go up in rank your other responsibilities increase as well taking time away from your flying.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:17 pm

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 24):
Such a statement, while accurate, saddens me. Chief pilots (etc.) that have difficulty staying current? Let me restate that, chief PILOTS who have difficulty staying current?

I am not sure if it is "difficult" for them, but they do have to maintain currency. How that is done varies by each Country's air regulations.

The issue would be ... is it "difficult" because they don't have the time with all of their other non-flying duties? Or is it "difficult" because they don't get a lot of practise? 99% of the time it is the former.

The issue I see is that not that they don't fly a lot, but more that that less they fly, the less "in touch" with real line operations they become. I have always suggested that pilot managers should spend no more than two years in a managerial function.

I recently had a Manager of Line Operations question my fatigue report on a recent mission. I couldn't help but think that he hadn't flown a full block in more than 20 years! When I finally had had enough, I just said, "Look, get your fat ass out from behind that desk you fly for a living more than once every 60 days, and I might respect what you have to say. But in the mean time, you are just irrelevent"

(He stared at me with his mouth open as I walked away).

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 24):
How so? Many captains are right seat qualified and current.

Yes, and those ARE safe operations. I think what was suggested is that in some air regs, Captains can just "slide into" an F/O's seat without being properly trained, tested and experienced in that seat.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
diverted
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:39 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 26):
The issue I see is that not that they don't fly a lot, but more that that less they fly, the less "in touch" with real line operations they become. I have always suggested that pilot managers should spend no more than two years in a managerial function.

I recently had a Manager of Line Operations question my fatigue report on a recent mission. I couldn't help but think that he hadn't flown a full block in more than 20 years! When I finally had had enough, I just said, "Look, get your fat ass out from behind that desk you fly for a living more than once every 60 days, and I might respect what you have to say. But in the mean time, you are just irrelevent"

I agree with this statement. I'd like to see management pilots fly two monthly blocks a year.
 
flyDTW1992
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:39 pm

Quoting diverted (Reply 27):
I agree with this statement. I'd like to see management pilots fly two monthly blocks a year.

Last year I interned at a certain large regional airline receiving a lot of negative press lately, in flight operations in an office full of management pilots. I will say that they all flew fairly regularly in order to stay current, they just picked and chose carefully which lines, trips, etc. they wanted. They also jumped at any opportunity for MX test flights, reposition flights, etc.
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Web500sjc
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:03 am

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 14):

At Skywest, a captain candidate can still fly as an FO for the FO rate plus half the differential pay to captain between the time they finish captain sim training and when they finish their operating experience (as needed if both the company and pilot agree). After they finish their operating experience they may only act as captain.
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vhqpa
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:47 am

About six years ago I flew on a DJ 737-700 SYD-BNE and we had three captains in the cockpit. During the welcome PA the FA made a point how usual it was.
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a320fan
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:05 pm

If I remember correctly the JQ 788 that I flew on while it was doing the domestic flying in late 2013 had 3 captains for a MEL-OOL-MEL sector.
A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A350-900, A380, 737-700, 737-800, 777-200ER, 777-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, Q300, Q400
 
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tb727
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:07 pm

Quoting vhqpa (Reply 30):
About six years ago I flew on a DJ 737-700 SYD-BNE and we had three captains in the cockpit.

What's worse than 2 Captains on the plane? 3 Captains on a plane!
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andrej
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:27 pm

As already stated, this is not really anything special. Two captains flights do happen. I would presume, the PF sits in the left seat.

I believe that this video shows two captain flight (B744 takeoff in HKG).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6U0BCksnRE
 
BravoOne
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:26 pm

The reality of all this is that there is only one Captain on any flight and that's the pilot that signed the release. Doesn't make any difference what seat he/she sits in. End of story 
 
Dogbreath
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:47 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 34):
The reality of all this is that there is only one Captain on any flight and that's the pilot that signed the release. Doesn't make any difference what seat he/she sits in. End of story 

It's quite evident that there are different rules and regulations affecting various airlines. I wouldn't have thought there'd be much of a difference between the FAA and EASA on this, but regardless of the regulation, each Airline can impose more restrictive rules when relating to who sits where, who is the Commander, and who can fly as PF from which seat.

Bravo One - I understand your point here, but I think what you mean is there is only one 'Commander' on any flight. This is true, but there can and always will at times be two Captains on a flight (certainly in Europe). Captain (4 stripes) is a rank, just like First Officer.
Commander (CMDR) can only be a Captain and has the ultimate authority of the flight. In most European Airlines all Captains are qualified to fly from both seats and the Right Hand Seat qualification is conducted during simulator recurrency. If there is a lack of FO's (happens a lot during the summer months), or a certain element of training is required then two Captains can be assigned to fly together. The Airline will during the rostering of this flight, assign one of those Captains as the CMDR. Nothing unusual about this and all approved under EASA regulations.

In answer to the original thread question. Yes it happens, and is not unusual, but I wouldn't say it happens on a regular basis. Having said that though - three of my last six sectors have been two Captain flights (for training purposes).
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BravoOne
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:35 am

Dogbreath...I like that handle  The term Commander is not used by many airlines in the US. More often than not it's just plain old Captain here in the colonies. There are exceptions such as Delta using Commander when operating long haul with four crewmembers comprised of two F/O's and Two Capt's, one of which is designated Commander in this case. I would have to look but I doubt that the term Commander exists in the FAR's? So back to my statement that will stand by. When an airliner is dispatched under FAR 121 there is only one person who can sign the release and that is the Captain along with the Dispatchers concurrence.
 
Dogbreath
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:01 pm

Cheers BravoOne. Thanks for that info.

I wanted to use "DogSpew" but my wife was appalled at the idea.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:02 am

Quoting goboeing (Reply 9):

It is worth mentioning that not all allow this totally absurd and unsafe practice.

Its an over qualification not an under qualification , so why would it be unsafe....
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Goldenshield
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:30 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 36):
I would have to look but I doubt that the term Commander exists in the FAR's?

Not commander, but Pilot in Command, which is close enough. The main point is that the PIC is in command of the airplane. He's the one responsible for the airplane and its contents.

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 36):
When an airliner is dispatched under FAR 121 there is only one person who can sign the release and that is the Captain along with the Dispatchers concurrence.

Not quite. The dispatcher must also explicitly sign the release as well, as BOTH are required for domestic and flag operations. Whether the dispatcher puts pen to paper and signs the actual release, or has his name (or desk number, depending on the certificate...) filled in a field by software and put into a database, it still represents the dispatcher's direct authorization that the flight can be conducted in a safe and legal manner.
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BravoOne
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:16 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 39):
Not quite. The dispatcher must also explicitly sign the release as well, as BOTH are required for domestic and flag operations. Whether the dispatcher puts pen to paper and signs the actual release, or has his name (or desk number, depending on the certificate...) filled in a field by software and put into a database, it still represents the dispatcher's direct authorization that the flight can be conducted in a safe and legal manner.

Don't disagree at all but there is nothing like signing the actual release in person with your own pen with real ink in it 

As far as PIC that's fine also just does not answer the question as posed nor is it a term used in this case as described.
 
chimborazo
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RE: Two Captains, No FO

Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:30 pm

I've flown to Sulaymaniyah in Iraq 8 times and there were always two captains only in the cockpit (always have a good look left when boarding) on Turkish A320/1. Could just be schedule coincidence (and who wanted to go there). The flight lands in the early hours so it's always dark and the airport is in a wide valley surrounded by fairly rugged ridge lines. First time there I thought we were doing some kind of tactical approach until I saw the beautiful mountains the next morning.

I understood that certain airports have Captains only approach and I assumed there were two in case PIC became incapacitated. Does anyone know Turkish' procedures on this?

I've also been in a PIA 777 cockpit (in flight- lucky me!) and there were two Captains (no relief as it was a seven hour block time as I recall).
 
bjorn14
Posts: 3595
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:11 pm

RE: Two Captains, No FO

Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:14 pm

Quoting goboeing (Reply 20):

Airlines want the cheapest person in that right seat, not two expensive Captains.
"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein

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