CRM – Made my Day.

August 31st, 2007

The following post is an example of how I feel sometimes the rest of the crew can really make your day, (or not). We must remember CRM is not just about touchy feely stuff, mood is proven to effect performance levels.
How we all interact can mean critical differences in times of pressure.
The following example I thought was really cool CRM…

Cessna Training Manuals

Precautionary Landing

August 28th, 2007

The precautionary landing procedure, unless there is a standard issued by the authority is one subject to debate. Students often ask -”what type of precautionary landing will the Flight Examiner expect to see?”.

It should be remembered that a precautionary landing is not an exercise taught to display a nice neat series of manoeuvres for the Examiner, although this is generally a requirement in the flight test. It is a procedure to be carried out whenever you are landing at a field you did not intend to when the flight began, or at a field where little information is known about the condition of the runway.

In this respect for practical considerations a precautionary landing should always have a scenario attached.

For training we assume the worst – not to be nasty, but to prepare you for every possible scenario. Generally the scenario starts with you having a REALLY bad day, the weather is deteriorating providing poor visibility and a low cloud base, typically 600ft, the engine is beginning to run rough, you are running out of fuel and daylight, and there are no known fields in the vicinity, forcing you to choose a paddock or a road.

However any number of these things may have prompted the real life scenario….


Procedures MY Arguments with ATC

August 12th, 2007

IFR Procedures MY Arguments with ATC

I want to raise a few issues I continuously have with ATC – issues I obviously think I am right about – but am completely willing to accept if someone can explain otherwise to me.

1. Canceling IFR.

I’ve mentioned it before but someone please tell me why an IFR aircraft has to cancel IFR to descend into an airfield without an instrument approach? Surely being VMC is the only requirement for descent below MSA on an IFR flight plan?

2. Departure Procedures:

Why is ATC so unhappy about descending an IFR flight below MSA that they refuse to do so unless the IFR flight cancels their status, however they are quite happy to let an IFR flight depart in IMC without a departure procedure. How does the controller or pilot for that matter ensure adequate terrain separation from ground to MSA?

Apparently the common answer to this riddle is that departure procedures are only provided for radar equipped airfields, as there is no requirement to see and avoid terrain at non-radar equipped airfields, and they are called SID’s and have nothing to do with the management or flow of traffic.

4. Boundary Change Over

A number of controllers at my home base continue to instruct students “report entering the training area, call 5 minutes before returning”.
You want to know about us before we are ontop of your airspace so you can plan (5 mintues) , but what about the traffic in the training area, will they hit hover mode when they reach the boundary to avoid a conflict (report entering)? You should know the traffic in your zone, how about a constructive handover for the uncontrolled traffic.

3. Radar Terrain Clearance
PANSOPS 8168 implies the only time, controllers are responsible for terrain clearance is when radar vectors are being issued, for obvious reasons the pilot cannot always work out where they are. My common understanding is “Radar Terrain” are the terms used when an aircraft descends below MSA whilst said radar controller is watching said pilots position on his/her radar screen with terrain mode activated. That is my understanding.
So why does the controller become irritable when I confirm -”descent under radar terrain clearance?” with the response “ABC you ARE under rader control” like the two things are the same?

Controllers Vs Pilots – Why it is a bit like a Bad Marraige…

August 7th, 2007

A few years and many landings ago….
A Controller once said to me – why is it that it seems the relationship between pilots and controllers is a bit like a bad marriage?

Well time gone by it still rings too true – and it seems to me as usual to stem from a few minor things.

Firstly there is a control gradient. I mean how can you work together in an effective partnership when one person is always telling the other what to do?!?

Well I guess it is necessary but – you know it does aggravate issues…

One must remember the most effective control is the one where the other party doesn’t notice – how and why? Either give them what they need, want, or provide attractive alternatives and compensation.

Secondly there is a big – “my wife (husband) doesn’t understand me” issue.

How so? Well pilots don’t always understand the terms required for separation, and seldom do the controllers know what is involved to fly.
Long time ago – they tell me anyway – controllers were required to learn basic flying skills as part of their training – at least to have minimum air experience time. Now days, and I know a few for sure, some controllers have never set foot in an aeroplane whilst others when they do actually fly tend to stick to scheduled pax flights. It’s a bit like the “would you trust a bald hairdresser?” scenario.

I like to rub the salt in a bit more mentioning, pilots normally control to a VFR or tower requirement on their own when at unmanned airfields to some extent. Whereas controllers in question… well enough said.

Of course IFR creates another rift, but that also leads to the scenario of the possible reconciliation through extended knowledge of participants, you either stick together and things get better, or you call it a day and move into a new profession!

Pilots don’t always understand the complexities of the controllers requirements for separation, nor do controllers always find out what the pilots need in terms of performance and engine types (and for those not so sympathetic-we are not just specifying piston/turbine and jet, IFR/VFR, or IMC/VMC here!).

The reconciliation comes in when those of us who want it hang around in the system long enough and take the time to learn a bit about the other side. Information sharing can help dissolve the misunderstandings causing the rifts between us all and promoting more understanding. As I heard once quoted, (the big finger to 911 – see more on locked doors in another post) “Whenever a controller is in the jump seat or a pilot in the control tower we move a step closer to aviation safety”.

When the pilots begin to learn about required separation standards, and provide helpful requests and/or suggestions, and the controllers begin to learn about pilot requirements, aircraft performance, and flight priorities not from the books but from the realities of aviation, we can all work together more effectively.

How to apply for an aviation instruction job in Afganistan…

August 5th, 2007

Dear Sir,
Just am writing to you on my gmail in case I loose your card.
I would like to apply for that training contract you mentioned for the Beech 1900 instructor in Kabul. Can you confirm I would especially like it if it is around one or two weeks max and there is an empty aeroplane going back that I can fill up with Rugs. And do you think there is space for my partner to come along?
My B190 Instructor rating is not current, but since I found out my company flies them to Capetown for a weekend stopover I have been working on it.
I look forward to your response
Some B190 Instructor
C/O Somewhere in Better Times

Oldies but Goodies – The Pilot and the Dog

August 2nd, 2007

Airbus has decided that since pilots cannot be trusted to fly aeroplanes they will design a new cockpit to help in the continual efforts of improving aviation safety.

The new cockpit requires the following crew:
1 x Pilot
1 x Dog

Recommended Operating Procedures

Pilot Responsibilities 1. Feed the Dog, 2. Don’t Touch Anything

Dog Responsibilties 1. Bite the pilot if he attempts to touch anything except the dog food.

Anthosia2 designed by Kaushal Sheth