The pilot breed has in it the primal instinct to attempt every assigned task, no matter the odds of success. Like many of our innate urges, this proclivity must be kept in check because in an airplane, acting on it can be deadly.
There is an old saying among business aviation pilots: “You don’t pay me to say ‘Yes,’ you pay me to say ‘No.'” Saying “Yes” is easy; it is what the passengers want to hear. It takes real courage to look at the person who controls your fate and
Unfortunately, there is no easy process for attaining the necessary skills needed to say the latter and survive.
Strategies for ‘In the Moment’
Transfer ownership. If you can cite a law, regulation or operations manual entry that forbids the intended action, you can effectively transfer ownership of the word “No.” Then it is not a matter of your refusal, but submission to a higher power. Be very careful to emphasize your agreement with the law or rule.
Delay and redirect. If you are surprised by a request, a polite response that you will “think about it” can help delay your eventual denial. “It might be OK,” you could say, “but many things in aviation can be complicated and I want to make sure I’m not overlooking anything.”
Prioritize. A “No” is often easier to take when the reason behind it is made clear.
Play the safety card. If all your refusals to comply with ill-considered demands land on deaf ears, it could very well be time to firmly say “No” as your final answer, accepting the risk that it could cost you your job. Another military truism is “Don’t fall on your sword over every issue, but when you do, make sure it counts.”
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are very few old, bold pilots.
Flying a drone with an FAA license carries with it certain obligations and liabilities. And while by definition an RPAS pilot can’t die in a drone crash, that in no way means that the drone he or she commands can’t injure or kill people and
When the drone crashed on the slalom course in Italy, Terry Miller wrote a passionate article about the responsibilities of the Pilot In Command (PIC). He made the
It doesn’t take a Monday morning quarterback to realize that the danger was foreseeable and therefore avoidable. There were few, if any, safe options available to the PIC in the event of UAS failure.