Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Telling it as it is

Flying with another pilot, especially one who has a lot more flying experience than you, can be a little intimidating.

I mean I’m under no illusions here, I’m an inexperienced pilot. I know this. But I’m safe, I even have a little blue booklet that says so! Even so it can be hard knowing that the person in the other seat could probably have done a better job of the whole thing than you.

Luckily S is a good person to fly with, for many reasons, including the fact that his background means that we at least share some common cultural experiences and references.

In short we have a similar sense of humour and neither of us are easily offended.

Which is just as well because one thing I’m acutely aware of is the fact that two pilots are not always better than one. There are well documented cases of pilots either assuming that the other one has the situation in hand, or squabbling over what needs to be done in an emergency. Neither situations are terribly conducive to safe flying.

The recommendation is that you brief thoroughly about what the expectations are beforehand.  
Hmmm, good advice in general but how do you handle that when you’re the one flying but you’re the inexperienced one?

Well if you are lucky like me and have a flying companion who “gets” you, my side of the conversation goes a little like this:

“Ok, here’s the deal. I’m PIC for this flight, you keep your hands of the controls unless I specifically ask you to. If you see something that’s a safety issue then you tell me. If it’s anything else then we can discuss it, but if I tell you to shut up then you do! Feel free to point out traffic though.”

Said with a smile of course!

S promised not to scream too loudly!

As it turned out we made a pretty good team. S got to enjoy the view for once and I was comfortable with the fact that he seemed more interested in snapping photos than critiquing my flying.
We even had time to chat about the plane in particular and flying in general (and maybe make a few comments about the quality of the radiowork going on around us!)

I’m generally quite critical of my own flying and I don’t think that S had too much to say afterwards that I wasn’t already aware of.

I’d happily fly with him again, but you’ll have to ask him if the same goes both ways!

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