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Things Captains need from new F/Os...

1) Information, and quickly...if anything is broken on the preflight, or the catering is missing, or there is flow-control in effect, or the GPU/fuel truck didn't arrive yet...let the captain know immediately. Or even just that the plane is ready and the clearance is as filed. A big one is any major changes to the filed route, as this can have drastic effects on the fuel loading! Captains need data to make sure that everything is going according to the plan, and if they need to change that plan typically a lot of other things need to happen (call dispatch, file new flight plan, etc). ESPECIALLY tell them ASAP if you're going to be late for a flight! Most mistakes can be covered/solved with minimal fuss given enough of a heads up, but if they don't even know something is wrong nothing can be done about it.



2) You need to know how to fly an airplane...not specifically the big new shiny (for you) PC-12 or CJ3 you just got hired to fly as an SIC after spending two summers doing laps in a 1972 C172...but basic airmanship skills, and moderate to good radio skills as well. Most experienced pilots are more than willing to answer any and all questions about their particular aircraft, or teach you the tricks to getting a clearance in KBOS. However, they don't have time to remind you that you need to pull back on the yoke a little to hold altitude when KTEB tower asks you to do a left 360 at 1300' agl over the Alpine tower for spacing. Everybody was a professional rookie at some point, and mistakes will happen, but the captain isn't there to do you favors and drag you kicking and screaming through sky. If you're so far behind the airplane that they are doing both your job and theirs, what's the point of having you take up 150+ lbs of useful load?



3) Willingness to listen and learn. At some point you might have to stand up to the PIC and say you're not going along with plan X, Y, or Z and that's fine, that's part of why you're there. You also need to have the trust that if either pilot yells ABORT, ABORT, ABORT it will be complied with, no questions asked. But the captain is in charge for a reason, and a lot of that reason is way more experience that you. They've seen and done more. So while a good captain will ask for--and seriously consider--your opinion, don't be offended if they seem a little strict until they get to know you. After all, any mistakes you might make are their fault and they might be more on the hook for them than you are! So watch and learn...keep note of things you like from your captains and things you don't like. Watch how they interact with other crewmembers, with the line personnel, etc. That way, when it is your turn to be the captain you can draw on this experience pool and think 'I'm going to copy A, but I'm definitely going to do B differently'



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