CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain

Hey Captain, Are You TOO Busy?

Posted by Jeffrey on September 3, 2008

The scenario: You are in ORD, it’s December, and you are three hours behind schedule due to “flow control” because of snow storms. Commissary hasn’t come to restock your airplane, there isn’t a fuel truck to be seen, your crew hasn’t eaten, and you are going to have to get de-iced before you go! It’s a tough day, no doubt about it. It’s one of those days you just want to cancel the flight and go to the hotel. You’ve had enough! But…you can’t…this is your job. What do you do?

You slow down! Why? Because if you don’t, you are going to miss something. And if you have ever read an NTSB accident report, you would know that this is one of the most critical times when you have to stay focused and manage your airplane.

As the captain, you must be able to control the flow and tempo inside the airplane. Your job is to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute to the flight. Step back. Relax. Evaluate the situation. Never forget you have a first officer whose job is to support you. He or she are typically pretty sharp individuals. Empower them to handle some of the tasks. You also have a flight attendant(s) and they are great resources as well. Use them as well. Give them responsibilities and they will shine. Thinking you are a one-captain show is going turn you grey and stress you out and possibly lead down a chain-of-events that could be unfavorable for all. Slow down and take your time. Like I said, control the tempo and you control the flight.

It takes practice and a conscious effort to accomplish this, so when it comes down to it, remember a few things:

  • Communicate specific duties to your crew and receive acknowlegdements
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Know how to control the tempo and slow the tempo down if you need to
  • Control distractions
  • Use your crew

Once you start controlling the tempo, you will see that you are calmer and that you are a safer more efficient captain.

Till next time…

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