Friday, 16 January 2009

There are TWO pilots on the plane, damn it...

First of all, congratulations to the crew of the US Airways Airbus A320 who managed to successfully ditch in the Hudson yesterday. Amazing pictures, and a timely reminder for us all to pay attention to the safety brief! Here's the BBC story about the incident:

Secondly though - is it just me, or is the continual reference to the "hero pilot" rather annoying? Given that, of course, there were TWO pilots on the flight deck - a Captain and a First Officer. Either one of them may have been flying it at the time, and anyhow, the pilot not flying would have also played a crucial role in the handling of the emergency. It just makes me cross that the First Officer isn't even being mentioned.

Ok, end of rant...


  1. Amen Rant.

    My husband's a dang fine FO, and when he had his birdstrike last year that could have caused a crash, he and the pilot meticulously worked together on the contingency plans to allow for a safe landing by putting down the landing gear early, all before the hydraulic fluid bled out.

    He was a hero to 44 passengers that day. They even took pictures of him.

  2. Actually, the one that got to me was during the immediate coverage, the reporters kept saying there were two crew and three flight attendants on board. When did flight attendants cease to be part of the crew? And they are the ones that probably did most of the work getting all those passengers out.

  3. Yesterday I noticed that as well. This morning the media has begun to mention the first officer and attendants, but haven't given any names.

  4. You are of course absolutely right! Sometimes there are three!

    I guess it doesn't annoy me as much as you though. I know that there was a situation in Bf's airline, where a mistake was made that resulted in damage to an aircraft, and it was only the Captain that was dismissed, despite the fact that two pilots were present.

    I'm pretty sure that the FO was reprimanded, but I guess that the ultimate burden of responsibility lies with the Captain.

    It's a reasonable comment though, it doesn't say much for team work does it? Although, I have seen mention of the FO in some of the news stories though, to be fair.

  5. Here you go guys... Just for you, an entire peice that focuses it's attention on the 'unsung hero': Jeffrey Skiles, the FO on board!

  6. Sorry Flying High, just realised that the last link wont work... Perhaps you could change it to this one

  7. Thanks for that... except the article describes him as the "flight engineer"!!! And "among those at the controls of the jet". Blimey, sometimes I want to weep at the inaccurate journalism I come across...

  8. Yes, there is that... What I want to know, is how the captain was concentrating on both talking to ATC and flying it in that situation at the same time.

    Obviously, the FO had popped into the galley to makethem both a nice cup of tea and have a quick flirt with the hosties? Apparently, thats all they do you know:P

  9. This new Virgin advert doesn't do much to help the TWO pilots image either... Mind you, if we're talking breaking stereotypes, this ad is totally off kilt

  10. I found this lovely comment elsewhere on the net, and thought I'd share:

    "My favorite thing is this guy who had the pilot give him the shirt off his back and how the media places it with all this talk of the capt. Don't know about you, but I counted 3 stripes on that epaulet!

    Or the fact that he was piloting the plane and making announcments at the same time- really???

    We all know there are 2 pilots up there! Like the FO looked to his left and said "You got this??", then went back to reading his USA Today! Ridiculous!!"


  11. i think i'm more disgusted with the hero aspect of it.
    what (t)he(y) did was perfectly executed. i know that without a doubt.
    but ... i think the way that these men and women think (in a checklist manner - all the time - often to the demise of their husbands and wives) is what they DO. there isn't much heroicness in that, is there? i would think that my husband would have done the same thing. and so would many of yours.




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