David Wallace started upgrade class on the Monday, Jan. 30th!
“Yayyyy Me! I knew this moment was coming so I have been trying to prepare myself for it ever since I returned from furlough. I have been studying my operating manual and my systems book. However, I am sure there is more to being a captain than knowing these two books. What else should I be reading or practicing?”
Be a CAPTAIN:
Communicative: Captains listen to their fellow crewmembers, enlisting feedback, then they communicate their decisions, decisively. They speak loud enough for all to hear, with the confidence that they have made the right decision. They create a plan with their crew, and then they communicate that plan with dispatch, ATC, and their cabin crew. They let everyone know what they intend on doing. They know there are people on the plane and in the system who need to know what is happening "after" they deal with the emergency. After they have a plan.
Assertive: Captains know that being assertive with ATC is essential. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, but more the strength to communicate what they want, and need. They do not allow controllers to lead them down the path of no return. When a captain is not ready for an approach, he or she asks for radar vectors, or a holding pattern, until they are ready. If dispatch tells them to do something that doesn’t feel right, they have the strength to override that decision.
Procedures: Captains are perfectionists in themselves and their performance. They know all procedures better than the back of their hand. They know standard operating procedures, set-up procedures, emergency procedures, departure and approach procedures, and with practice will perform them with precision. Knowing procedures, and checklist responses is essential to good performance.
Think: Captains think ahead of the plane. They plan for all contingencies before they step into the flight deck. When they brief the abort, they have taken into consideration the weather, the stopping distance, and any contingency that may limit stopping ability, as well as those that may limit the ability to fly. They think beyond the plane. Instead of being reactive, they are proactive in their thoughts and actions.
Attitude: Captains have an attitude of leadership. They are confident, communicative, willing to listen, and support their fellow crewmembers. They are positive, and encouraging and appreciate the feedback from their team. They instill in their crewmembers a feeling of importance as to the safe outcome of the flight.
Instill confidence: Captains instill confidence in others, by being confident in themselves. They instill confidence by being honest, upfront, and forthright.
Not afraid. Captains are not afraid to be human. They know that we all make mistakes and they encourage their fellow crewmembers to be comfortable in speaking out if they see something wrong. They are not afraid to say thank you, or to be humble.
David tells me his class is one week long, followed by an oral. Seven simulator sessions in the BE-1900D. His checkride might be all in the simulator, or possibly 85% in the simulator, and 15% in the plane. IOE (initial operating experience) will follow, and finally his Fed ride.
What Captain advice do you have for David?
David, you’re going to make a Great Captain! Keep me posted on your progress.
Enjoy the Journey!