Bozk
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:02 pm

CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:49 am

I'm not a pilot (yet) and I try to learn as much as possible about being a pilot. So if this question/thread is too ridiculous, my apologies.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-proce ... ion-flight

Here on quora someone suggests to raise the landing gear in order to stop the captain from making a very bad decision.

If it comes to the point where it is a matter of life or death and you gear up and say my controls! anything is better than risking people's lifes and assets and reputation of the company.
But before you get to that point how do you make the captain giving up on his bad judgenent and listen to you? His response purely depends on how you tell him what the situation is and what should/shouldn't be done.


If you raised the gear you may escalate the conflict and the captain might be very annoyed which might not be good for his performance for the rest of the flight or he could respond impulsively considering he is the type of person who ignores the FO.


What would be a better approach to take the control of the aircraft? I read about CRM on some wikis and aviation websites yet still couldn't find a good answer to what should the FO do if the captain makes a dangerous decision. Obviously FO should intervene but how? Is there a textbook or online resource you would suggest? I would really appreciate. I am aware my English is a bit like Yoda sorry about that.
Last edited by Bozk on Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:38 pm

"You are aware that 'the book' says we cannot do that?" The 'book' could be any document.

GF
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2107
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:16 am

you wouldn't raise the gear but "I have the jet" would be your course of action. After that you've done all you can do. I've never heard of this scenario but I guess it could happen.
 
twister
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:00 am

Re: CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:30 am

I don't think there will be a straight-forward answer. I'm more of a layman at the moment, as just earned PPL(A) a year ago, and, obviously, haven't been involved in multi-crew operations just yet, so majority of professionals might disagree.

It all depends on what the situation is, what personality sits on the left and what is the reason that personality is acting like that. So FO will have to analyze all of this before taking action, and that's where the Human Perfomance subject comes into play. E.g. the "dangerous decision", as You refer may be a result of poor judgement caused by hypoxia, or lack of situational awareness caused by bad attitude, or tons of other scenarios. And the recepie will change every time.

So what could the FO do when the situation is clear? The most correct "by-the-book" method, indeed is "I have the jet" part. This will definetly put You in to the possition, where You already did everything right. But what if it doesn't help. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not recall any aircraft to have a full control lock-up from the second pilot. I.e. each pilot can take over the control, but it will not prevent a second person from taking the control back and start this "fight for the yoke" thing. At this point, of course, captain already signed the resignation for himself, but for the moment, it's a matter of saving lives and getting to the ground as safe as possible. So I think, in some rare cases, it may be acceptable hitting the captain in the face and making nose bleed, which, most probably will remove him/her from the cockpit for some time (or possibly for the rest of the flight). This will allow the FO to land a plane safely (declaring emergency, of course). Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that any time the situation gets hot in the cockpit, pilots have to use karate skills :D. It means that if the person, whom You are trying to rescue is dragging You down to the bottom in panic and nothing else helps, then physical attack is the last, but quite effective way of taking things under control. I am sure, though, that in the modern cockpits hardly ever the situation gets that bad.

When I went through HP both PPL and ATPL level, I've understood, that if I was in such situation as FO, then before I ever studied the phychological part, I would've sit there and watch the Captain fly us into the ground, because I am very trustful person, and usually hope that the professional sitting next to me will figure it out and correct it at the last moment. Now I am thinking differently, and I would surely try to act instead of just watching, but the most challenging part is actually "acting" :). I know it's easy to sit on the ground and think what I would do, but if I ever find myself in such situation, it will probably be the most challenging mental effort of all. In most of the cases we all know what needs to be done, but actually doing this is a mental barrier for some people.

Bottom-line is - we as pilots, need to be psychologists at times to be able to handle difficult situations in multi-crew environment. The how-to will highly depend on the personality and attitude of each crew member. The outcome of handling the situation will highly depend on our knowledge of phychology and skills putting preventative methods to practice.

While I don't have one at hand. I would suggest searching for Human Performance books which go beyond PPL level.

Apologies if my reply was vague.
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 18031
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:15 am

twister wrote:
I don't think there will be a straight-forward answer. I'm more of a layman at the moment, as just earned PPL(A) a year ago, and, obviously, haven't been involved in multi-crew operations just yet, so majority of professionals might disagree.

It all depends on what the situation is, what personality sits on the left and what is the reason that personality is acting like that. So FO will have to analyze all of this before taking action, and that's where the Human Perfomance subject comes into play. E.g. the "dangerous decision", as You refer may be a result of poor judgement caused by hypoxia, or lack of situational awareness caused by bad attitude, or tons of other scenarios. And the recepie will change every time.

So what could the FO do when the situation is clear? The most correct "by-the-book" method, indeed is "I have the jet" part. This will definetly put You in to the possition, where You already did everything right. But what if it doesn't help. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not recall any aircraft to have a full control lock-up from the second pilot. I.e. each pilot can take over the control, but it will not prevent a second person from taking the control back and start this "fight for the yoke" thing. At this point, of course, captain already signed the resignation for himself, but for the moment, it's a matter of saving lives and getting to the ground as safe as possible. So I think, in some rare cases, it may be acceptable hitting the captain in the face and making nose bleed, which, most probably will remove him/her from the cockpit for some time (or possibly for the rest of the flight). This will allow the FO to land a plane safely (declaring emergency, of course). Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that any time the situation gets hot in the cockpit, pilots have to use karate skills :D. It means that if the person, whom You are trying to rescue is dragging You down to the bottom in panic and nothing else helps, then physical attack is the last, but quite effective way of taking things under control. I am sure, though, that in the modern cockpits hardly ever the situation gets that bad.

When I went through HP both PPL and ATPL level, I've understood, that if I was in such situation as FO, then before I ever studied the phychological part, I would've sit there and watch the Captain fly us into the ground, because I am very trustful person, and usually hope that the professional sitting next to me will figure it out and correct it at the last moment. Now I am thinking differently, and I would surely try to act instead of just watching, but the most challenging part is actually "acting" :). I know it's easy to sit on the ground and think what I would do, but if I ever find myself in such situation, it will probably be the most challenging mental effort of all. In most of the cases we all know what needs to be done, but actually doing this is a mental barrier for some people.

Bottom-line is - we as pilots, need to be psychologists at times to be able to handle difficult situations in multi-crew environment. The how-to will highly depend on the personality and attitude of each crew member. The outcome of handling the situation will highly depend on our knowledge of phychology and skills putting preventative methods to practice.

While I don't have one at hand. I would suggest searching for Human Performance books which go beyond PPL level.

Apologies if my reply was vague.


Multi-crew flying really threw me in the beginning. You can be an excellent single pilot operator and struggle with the human to human part of the equation. It took training and lots of experience before I started to "get it", and I still feel like I have a long way to go. For me, it was perhaps the hardest part of airliner transition training. When you see it done well, multi-crew is a like a well choreographed ballet of commands and responses. More than the sum of its parts.

As you say the response is a spectrum. No one solution works for everything. You don't start with "I have control" unless the situation is really time critical. Try to de-escalate. And read the situation. Does the other guy seem distracted or angry or tired? Is there actual danger right this second or are we ok for a couple of minutes while we figure things out? Can I do something not directly confrontational (e.g. call to confirm a clearance) that will point things in the right direction?

Examples:
- If you think the captain is a bit late configuring and you're getting to the point where maybe you need to, maybe he just forgot. A simple "you want Flaps 1?" will jog his memory. Or "when you planning Flaps 1?" He might just "share his mental model" and let you know he wants to wait another 5 miles. Either way you are now on the same page.
- If the captain is intercepting the localiser without a clearance to do so, you can start with "I don't think we were cleared." Or call approach again and confirm your clearance limit. Nice and indirect.
- If the captain continues past minima with no visual, time is more critical. An authoritative "GO AROUND!" should produce the desired result. If he then doesn't go around, assume incapacitation. "I have control."
- If a captain in general does not respond and you believe you are on the highway to the danger zone, don't immediately take over. A simple "You planning heading 340 until we're past that buildup?". More forcefully, "I think 340 looks bad on the radar. How about 300?" Even more forcefully: "This doesn't feel right. You should really go heading 300." Only as a last resort do you take control.

Captains do know CRM (though some perhaps better than others). Their training involves making the cockpit team work together. The good captains go out of their way to include the second, and even the third/fourth crewmember if they can. The cruise pilot might have important information that the front guys have missed, and shouldn't be afraid to voice it despite the rank disparity. And how better to apprentice than to be actively included in decisions? Your average FO can fly the plane very well indeed. The captain is not necessarily better at the technical flying bits. He is paid more because he has final say in the big decisions, personally signs the loadsheet, NOTOCs, tech log and admin report, and because he is the team leader.

And let's not disregard THE PUCKER FACTOR. In training is one thing. When the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller for realsies, the assertive may become withdrawn, the shy may become over-assertive. Your mind does weird things under stress.

Regarding control lockout, Airbus has it, but as you say not "utter and complete". If you hold the takeover pushbutton for 30-40 seconds (type dependent), the other stick will be disabled. That other stick can be reactivated by pressing its pushbutton. However if both pilots press their respective pushbuttons, the last pilot will have priority. It's not really intended for a conflict situation. It is designed for an incapacitation situation when the other guy slumps over the stick, or if a stick malfunctions.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
twister
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:00 am

Re: CRM & Conflict in the cockpit

Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:06 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Multi-crew flying really threw me in the beginning. You can be an excellent single pilot operator and struggle with the human to human part of the equation. It took training and lots of experience before I started to "get it", and I still feel like I have a long way to go. For me, it was perhaps the hardest part of airliner transition training. When you see it done well, multi-crew is a like a well choreographed ballet of commands and responses. More than the sum of its parts.

As you say the response is a spectrum. No one solution works for everything. You don't start with "I have control" unless the situation is really time critical. Try to de-escalate. And read the situation. Does the other guy seem distracted or angry or tired? Is there actual danger right this second or are we ok for a couple of minutes while we figure things out? Can I do something not directly confrontational (e.g. call to confirm a clearance) that will point things in the right direction?

Examples:
- If you think the captain is a bit late configuring and you're getting to the point where maybe you need to, maybe he just forgot. A simple "you want Flaps 1?" will jog his memory. Or "when you planning Flaps 1?" He might just "share his mental model" and let you know he wants to wait another 5 miles. Either way you are now on the same page.
- If the captain is intercepting the localiser without a clearance to do so, you can start with "I don't think we were cleared." Or call approach again and confirm your clearance limit. Nice and indirect.
- If the captain continues past minima with no visual, time is more critical. An authoritative "GO AROUND!" should produce the desired result. If he then doesn't go around, assume incapacitation. "I have control."
- If a captain in general does not respond and you believe you are on the highway to the danger zone, don't immediately take over. A simple "You planning heading 340 until we're past that buildup?". More forcefully, "I think 340 looks bad on the radar. How about 300?" Even more forcefully: "This doesn't feel right. You should really go heading 300." Only as a last resort do you take control.

Captains do know CRM (though some perhaps better than others). Their training involves making the cockpit team work together. The good captains go out of their way to include the second, and even the third/fourth crewmember if they can. The cruise pilot might have important information that the front guys have missed, and shouldn't be afraid to voice it despite the rank disparity. And how better to apprentice than to be actively included in decisions? Your average FO can fly the plane very well indeed. The captain is not necessarily better at the technical flying bits. He is paid more because he has final say in the big decisions, personally signs the loadsheet, NOTOCs, tech log and admin report, and because he is the team leader.

And let's not disregard THE PUCKER FACTOR. In training is one thing. When the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller for realsies, the assertive may become withdrawn, the shy may become over-assertive. Your mind does weird things under stress.

Regarding control lockout, Airbus has it, but as you say not "utter and complete". If you hold the takeover pushbutton for 30-40 seconds (type dependent), the other stick will be disabled. That other stick can be reactivated by pressing its pushbutton. However if both pilots press their respective pushbuttons, the last pilot will have priority. It's not really intended for a conflict situation. It is designed for an incapacitation situation when the other guy slumps over the stick, or if a stick malfunctions.


Very well said. I think we just got a minimal CRM lesson. The examples, actually, explain it all. Thanks :)

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