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Flight Operations: Communications Chills

“It was on my first trip with this company, so I was trying to keep my wits about me as I was flying with the chief pilot.”


October 2, 2007
By John R. Scott

“It was on my first trip with this company, so I was trying to keep my
wits about me as I was flying with the chief pilot.” Thus began Joe
Blotski’s story. Joe had just completed several years of purgatory
attempting to accumulate enough hours to finally compete in the world
of commercial aviation. He was $20,000 in debt. His wife of a couple of
years had only just been able to secure a decent position and pay. His
back was to the financial wall. He wanted to be “de bes’ damn copilot”
(he had read too many Ace McCool stories and wanted to be like Churchy
LaFemme).

Joe
had done well with his training course and showed up for his first line
check flight, polished shoes, good haircut but more importantly he had
spent many recent hours reading the TCapproved company SOPs. He had
laboured over the company procedures, sitting with his buddy going over
and over the approach briefing techniques used. During CRM training in
his first week of ground school, the training Captain had emphasized
the importance of the standardization and crew integration process.
After all, “Safety and standardization is paramount with this company”
was emblazoned on the opening page of the SOPs. “This is going to be
great!” said Joe to himself.

The first flight day came about and
Joe was assigned to be with the chief pilot. Cee Pea was slight of
build, 55-ish with Errol Flynn moustache and black, darting eyes.He’d
been flying this route for the last umpteen years. He could draw the
track and distance on a piece of paper for every leg. He could tell you
every nav aid, frequency, bearing, etc. of every one of the five
airfields you were going to operate into that day. However, Joe was in
for a rude awakening.