Re: ATR Revocation

From:         W. T. McCandless <wayne@heman.jsc.nasa.gov>
Date:         30 Jun 94 00:34:19 
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In article <airliners.1994.1337@ohare.Chicago.COM> Robert Dorsett,
rdd@netcom.com writes:
>    A widebody captain's certificate was revoked because he left the flight
>    deck enroute for a period of approximately 30 seconds without ensuring
>    that a qualified pilot was at a pilot duty station.  At the time, the
>    first officer was on a relief period, and the relief first officer (RFO)
>    was standing just outside the cockpit door.  The captain did not
>    specifically order the RFO to take a pilot seat.

Wait a minute.  So what are you saying, that it's acceptable for the
captain to leave the aircraft with no one at the controls for even the
short interval that it would take for the RFO to take the controls?  I
would imagine that every airline (and the FAA) still mandates that a
qualified pilot be "behind the wheel" for every instant of flight.

If the history of turbine powered aircraft teaches us one thing, it is
that bad things can happen very fast.  Turbulence, other atmospheric
phenomena, autopilot failures, fight control system or engine failures,
etc. can upset a modern airliner in cruise condition such that a pilot at
his station will require time to regain control (or even merely to get
his hands onto the controls).  I certainly don't want the guy who's job
it is to save the bacon for himself and hundreds of passengers to have to
start out from the cockpit door in such an eventuality.

I think the average man on the street does not understand the unique
insecurity of professional pilots, always one minor screw-up (real or
perceived) or a flunked physical away from possibly losing their life's
work.  I do, and thus do not resent the princely salaries that senior
captains command.  At the same time, I cannot tolerate the sort of
complacency described in the above incident report.

Perhaps you are right and "they don't do this in Mother Russia".  But
then, I am unaware that American, Delta, or United feature family days
when the flight crews turn the airplanes over to twelve year olds.