Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is your "co-pilot" ready to take over the controls?

The recent death of a senior airline captain at the controls should pose as a potent reminder that we all may become incapacitated at the most inopportune times. Armed with that possibility what should be done?

Well for a start, I'll briefly discuss the options and possible outcomes in the case of single pilot operations. Assuming that the pilot is suddenly totally incapacitated, what is the passenger sitting in the right seat to do? Panic is the most obvious option with an unpleasant and predictable outcome. But what if there had been a brief discussion before take-off including the handing to that person an instruction sheet of things to do, a "what if protocol"? Things such as: if the auto-pilot is on, leave it on. If not, push the auto pilot button to turn it on. These suggestions and those that follow assume that the plane is in a fairly stable flight regimen i.e. not take off or landing. How to keep the plane level and upright is a bit much to try and tell someone in a casual 30 second briefing. So anyway, the next thing is to call for help. That is done by keying the mike and calling Mayday three times and listening for a reply. Remember that the distress frequency 121.5 is universally monitored, and a prompt reply is almost a guarantee.

So now you get the idea. PPPPPP (prior planning prevents p-s poor performance) as mentioned in an earlier blog.

I have read accounts of ground personnel talking an unskilled passenger safely down in a small plane. Lets hope this scenario is not ever to be. But if it were, will you be prepared?

I just read an interesting write-up or to do list more complete, but also geared for someone with some flying know how by K. Truemper at:
Have a look and happy, safe flying.

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