CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain


Get It Done with Crew Workload Management

Posted by Jeffrey on September 13, 2008

I had a captain once that couldn’t stay in his seat. If the fueler was over-fueling the airplane, HE would jump out of his seat and go talk to the fueler. If the load sheet was wrong, HE would jump out of his seat and talk to the ramper. If there was an “issue” in the back, BOING, out of the seat he went to save the day. I called him the “Jack Rabbit Captain” because he just couldn’t sit in his seat and I saw a problem with this. You see, to me, a captain should delegate and monitor. A captain has responsibilities and a lot to do.

As a leader and pilot-in-command he has a lot to think about and jumping around micromanaging everyone is counterproductive. Here is a list of a few things I think a captain should be thinking about:

  • Delegate tasks and receive acknowledgements. Treat your charges with respect though and don’t be condescending.
  • Establish priorities. Take your time, think about what has to be done, and then work each task of in a logical order.
  • Slow down and recognize task overload. If things start getting out of control put on the brakes and slow it down.
  • Eliminate distractions. Sterile cockpit usually will take care of this one but we all know how difficult it is to remain completely task oriented during sterile cockpit but just remember, there is a time for everything, so throttle back on the conversation during really busy times.
  • Encourage feedback. This is one of the easiest things to do because all you have to say is, “What do you think about…?” Of course, you can change the words but I think you get the gist of it. It has the added benefit of making your crew feel like a team member.
  • Synergy is the operative word. Everyone working together can get more done than just working solo.

I’ve seen captains that alienate their crews and as a result loss control of their crews. Don’t let that happen. A trip goes better when the captain leads and treats everyone fairly. Be personable but don’t let personal issues get in the way. Keep it professional and remember it’s a job with a lot of responsibility. Get the job done!

Till next time…

P.S. I’d like to recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for your library. If you are serious about becoming a better captain, read this book!


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