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trusting the pilot

trusting the pilot

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Old Mar 22, 19, 7:45 pm
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trusting the pilot

I had an interesting experience recently, and all turned out fine (otherwise you would've read about it in the news), but it made me think about pilots and how we trust them blindly.
Of course we do, because we (mostly) don't know how to fly, don't know their background/training/hours flown, nor do we have a choice who is piloting the plane (you cannot know it in advance, even if you wanted to google them).

It was a flight that was diverted because of weather issues, the pilot stating that operations was telling him to wait a bit and fly on, but the weather was only getting worse (wind gusts 35 mph) and he just wasn't comfortable flying there on the short runway.

I decided to get off, and arrange my own transportation. Before that, the pilot had spoken to operations and they told him another plane (same type) was flying in, so if they could make it he should be able to as well).

I got off, the plane did end up flying to the destination fine. But how does one deal with the situation when the pilot is uncomfortable and somebody (above him) is saying "do it"?

Should we presume operations knows more? Does a pilot's discomfort mean much? Maybe (like the South African pilot) he actually isn't certified and so knows his limitations and will ensure he doesn't go anywhere near the limit of what he can do?
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Old Mar 22, 19, 8:57 pm
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I don’t worry. If the pilot were truly uncomfortable, he wouldn’t fly.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 6:39 am
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A friend of our is a Delta FO. The final no-go authority rests with the pilot and the union will back them on the decision.

They want ant to go home to their families at the end of the day as much as you do and won’t risk that.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by FinsToTheLeft View Post
A friend of our is a Delta FO. The final no-go authority rests with the pilot and the union will back them on the decision.

They want ant to go home to their families at the end of the day as much as you do and won’t risk that.
Well-said.

From day one of pilot training (I can attest) the following Federal Air Regulation is emphasized
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.3

§ 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

That is not an authority that any pilot takes lightly. If the pilot considers a landing attempt unsafe, she/he has the backing of the Federal government not to attempt it.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Well-said.

From day one of pilot training (I can attest) the following Federal Air Regulation is emphasized
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.3

§ 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

That is not an authority that any pilot takes lightly. If the pilot considers a landing attempt unsafe, she/he has the backing of the Federal government not to attempt it.

actually it is the following regulations (airlines operate under FAR part 121, not part 91):

§121.533 Responsibility for operational control: Domestic operations.

(a) Each certificate holder conducting domestic operations is responsible for operational control.

(b) The pilot in command and the aircraft dispatcher are jointly responsible for the preflight planning, delay, and dispatch release of a flight in compliance with this chapter and operations specifications.

(c) The aircraft dispatcher is responsible for—

(1) Monitoring the progress of each flight;

(2) Issuing necessary information for the safety of the flight; and

(3) Cancelling or redispatching a flight if, in his opinion or the opinion of the pilot in command, the flight cannot operate or continue to operate safely as planned or released.

(d) Each pilot in command of an aircraft is, during flight time, in command of the aircraft and crew and is responsible for the safety of the passengers, crewmembers, cargo, and airplane.

(e) Each pilot in command has full control and authority in the operation of the aircraft, without limitation, over other crewmembers and their duties during flight time, whether or not he holds valid certificates authorizing him to perform the duties of those crewmembers.

[Doc. No. 6258, 29 FR 19219, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 121-253, 61 FR 2613, Jan. 26, 1996]

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§121.535 Responsibility for operational control: Flag operations.

(a) Each certificate holder conducting flag operations is responsible for operational control.

(b) The pilot in command and the aircraft dispatcher are jointly responsible for the preflight planning, delay, and dispatch release of a flight in compliance with this chapter and operations specifications.

(c) The aircraft dispatcher is responsible for—

(1) Monitoring the progress of each flight;

(2) Issuing necessary instructions and information for the safety of the flight; and

(3) Cancelling or redispatching a flight if, in his opinion or the opinion of the pilot in command, the flight cannot operate or continue to operate safely as planned or released.

(d) Each pilot in command of an aircraft is, during flight time, in command of the aircraft and crew and is responsible for the safety of the passengers, crewmembers, cargo, and airplane.

(e) Each pilot in command has full control and authority in the operation of the aircraft, without limitation, over other crewmembers and their duties during flight time, whether or not he holds valid certificates authorizing him to perform the duties of those crewmembers.

(f) No pilot may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property.

[Doc. No. 6258, 29 FR 19219, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 121-253, 61 FR 2613, Jan. 26, 1996]
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Old Mar 23, 19, 4:43 pm
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In the case of the Delta ferry flight to rescue people from hurricane approaching Puerto Rico, do you think they just chose a random pilot?
I would think some pilots are more capable than other pilots. They aren't all the same. And I think most of them don't all think so either.
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