Thursday, 13 March 2014

Something harder than flying.

RTH and I went on a little jaunt this weekend. Just a little flight to keep RTH in currency. It sparked off an interesting discussion though, about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour from each other whilst flying.

Understand that when RTH started flying, he was the captain, in control of the plane, in charge of the flight. What he said went. And I didn’t know any better to think otherwise.

Now though, I’m starting to catch up with him in terms of ability and in some areas, experience. The lines have become a little bit blurred.

RTH and I have been married for a while, and have every intention of staying that way, so we are smart enough to realise that as this situation develops it has the potential to cause friction and we’d rather that didn’t happen.

The first stage is recognising the potential for conflict. Well we’ve figured that one out. Interestingly I was always worried that RTH wouldn’t be comfortable flying with me because of his control issues. For various reasons that I’ll go into in another post, I’m slightly reassured about that now. I’d never stopped to consider that I might develop into a “backseat flyer” but I have caught myself heading that way on occasion.

I think the key to harmonious cockpit relationships is recognising the fundamental difference in two issues. Style vs Safety. If you are about to comment or do something about an aspect of a flight you need to ask yourself, is this a style thing or a safety concern. Safety you should speak up, style you should probably keep your mouth shut (at least in that moment)

A couple of examples spring to mind: Me saying to RTH “Sweetie did you just skip an entire section of the checklist?” (He had) is perfectly acceptable. His reply: “DOH! Yes, thanks for spotting that”
Me thinking “Hmm, I’d normally have dropped 10 degrees of flap on approach to landing by now” is a style thing and not a flight safety issue and therefore I should keep my mouth shut.

Instead it makes for an interesting conversation post flight. Apparently pilot pillow talk consists of “so do you prefer to crab or slip on final”!

I’m hoping that by recognising the fundamental difference between the two that RTH and I maintain a healthy environment when we are together but I am learning that there is actually something harder than flying a plane.

Not flying it.

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