Notices
Major Legacy, National, and LCC

Captain's Authority

Old 11-27-2008, 08:12 AM
  #1  
Snakes & Nape
Thread Starter
 
Phantom Flyer's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Nov 2006
Position: B-767 Captain
Posts: 759
Exclamation Captain's Authority

Maybe it's just me but I find the court's decision in the case of the four defendants in the United Air Lines vs. ALPA to be very disturbing.

One doesn't have to have an advanced degree in Business or a law degree to realize that "Captain's authority" is under a full scale attack and the federal court is now in a position to second guess a Captain on decisions that he/she may make. What if you shoot an approach to minimums and end up missing the approach and diverting to your alternate. If the aircraft in front of you and the trailing aircraft end up landing successfully, then your actions could be construed by the court to have been designed to have an economic impact on the company even though the weather, when you got to DH (or MDA), was such that a safe landing could not have been made. It's not a stretch to see the Captain being brought into court to defend his/her actions as a violation of the court order and if you think UAL won't do it, you're living in a dream world. Is the court going to decide what braking action is acceptable or what tower prevailing visibility is required ?

In their e-mail to all United pilots, the defendants stated," As a result of the Court's order, all United pilots are at risk from any delays or cancellations related to pilots. We cannot take any economic action against the company in response to the court's decision,..." Please think about that phase Ladies & Gentlemen.

United and other carriers have gutted our pensions, our schedules, taken benefits and what ever else they can. The only thing they have not taken is the authority to operate their aircraft and make decisions about how that aircraft is operated. Well, here comes that battle and it will reach everyone on this forum at some point in time and some fashion. Look at the battle U.S. Airways pilots have had over fuel loading, and how has your company handled scheduling practices of late. We are under attack and we better stand together or we will certainly loose the battle.

I don't have all the answers and there are some really bright minds on this forum but action by everyone is needed if this once proud profession is going to survive.

On a brighter note, we still have a lot to be thankful for and to everyone who is still in a cockpit seat on any aircraft no matter what or where you fly, thanks for trying to keep the piloting profession an honourable and proud one.

Happy Thanksgiving to all !!

G'Day Mates and eat wisely....aw hell, just enjoy !!
Phantom Flyer is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 10:01 AM
  #2  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,234
Default

Originally Posted by Phantom Flyer View Post
Maybe it's just me but I find the court's decision in the case of the four defendants in the United Air Lines vs. ALPA to be very disturbing.

One doesn't have to have an advanced degree in Business or a law degree to realize that "Captain's authority" is under a full scale attack and the federal court is now in a position to second guess a Captain on decisions that he/she may make. What if you shoot an approach to minimums and end up missing the approach and diverting to your alternate. If the aircraft in front of you and the trailing aircraft end up landing successfully, then your actions could be construed by the court to have been designed to have an economic impact on the company even though the weather, when you got to DH (or MDA), was such that a safe landing could not have been made. It's not a stretch to see the Captain being brought into court to defend his/her actions as a violation of the court order and if you think UAL won't do it, you're living in a dream world. Is the court going to decide what braking action is acceptable or what tower prevailing visibility is required ?

In their e-mail to all United pilots, the defendants stated," As a result of the Court's order, all United pilots are at risk from any delays or cancellations related to pilots. We cannot take any economic action against the company in response to the court's decision,..." Please think about that phase Ladies & Gentlemen.

United and other carriers have gutted our pensions, our schedules, taken benefits and what ever else they can. The only thing they have not taken is the authority to operate their aircraft and make decisions about how that aircraft is operated. Well, here comes that battle and it will reach everyone on this forum at some point in time and some fashion. Look at the battle U.S. Airways pilots have had over fuel loading, and how has your company handled scheduling practices of late. We are under attack and we better stand together or we will certainly loose the battle.

I don't have all the answers and there are some really bright minds on this forum but action by everyone is needed if this once proud profession is going to survive.

On a brighter note, we still have a lot to be thankful for and to everyone who is still in a cockpit seat on any aircraft no matter what or where you fly, thanks for trying to keep the piloting profession an honourable and proud one.

Happy Thanksgiving to all !!

G'Day Mates and eat wisely....aw hell, just enjoy !!
Captains authority. Come to UPS and you will see the total lack of Captains authority, none , nada, zip
757upspilot is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 10:11 AM
  #3  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,317
Default

Originally Posted by 757upspilot View Post
Captains authority. Come to UPS and you will see the total lack of Captains authority, none , nada, zip
Really? A month or so ago a captain bumped 3 mx supervisors in ONT. I have no idea what that was all about but how did he bump those sups if he has no captain authority?

Are you saying that all your decisions are being challenged by the company or that you simply are not allowed to make any decisions on your own?
Confused...
⌐ AV8OR WANNABE is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 12:59 PM
  #4  
Back on TDY
 
Carl Spackler's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Apr 2008
Position: 747-400 Captain
Posts: 12,486
Default

This shouldn't be scary folks. I've used my authority hundreds of times. I was always prepared with the facts to back up my decision during the inevitable rug dance with the chief pilot du juor. Sometimes they got angry, but the facts always speak for themselves.

If you don't use your authority as you see fit, the ensuing error could cost you your license. Which would you rather lose, your job or your license?

Captain's authority can NEVER be taken away, it can only be GIVEN away.

Carl
Carl Spackler is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 01:10 PM
  #5  
Gets Weekends Off
 
CAVOK84's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2008
Position: Bus
Posts: 109
Default

Carl,

Very well put. Keeping that in mind helps prevent me from constantly second guessing my career decision with so many issues that we face. I love to fly and I don't know if I could be happy doing anything else, however, I often wonder if I should have gone to med school or law school.
CAVOK84 is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 01:15 PM
  #6  
Snakes & Nape
Thread Starter
 
Phantom Flyer's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Nov 2006
Position: B-767 Captain
Posts: 759
Angry Standing Tall

Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post
Captain's authority can NEVER be taken away, it can only be GIVEN away.

Carl
I would agree Carl; however, let's say that the authority the Captain has under the FAR's is being "threatened" by the likes of Mr. Tilton et al. If we,as a group, don't stand tall and say "Hell No", you're not taking our authority to operate the aircraft in a safe, professional manner while making decisions we feel are appropriate under the circumstances, then we've lost the battle.

The situation at United is unique and that prompted the thread. I'm just concerned that the pressures to reduce the authority the Captain has will spread across the board in time....if not checked.

I hope I'm wrong.

G'Day Mates
Phantom Flyer is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 01:47 PM
  #7  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,538
Thumbs down

Originally Posted by Phantom Flyer View Post
I would agree Carl; however, let's say that the authority the Captain has under the FAR's is being "threatened" by the likes of Mr. Tilton et al. If we,as a group, don't stand tall and say "Hell No", you're not taking our authority to operate the aircraft in a safe, professional manner while making decisions we feel are appropriate under the circumstances, then we've lost the battle.
There's a corollary to that. If we as a group don't stand tall and say "Hell No, you're not acting contrary to the law and in an unprofessional manner" then we will continue to get what we deserve in third party rulings.

There is ZERO diminishment of Captain's authority in the UAL vs. ALPA court ruling.

APA limited the labor flexibility of all pilots with their actions after Judge Kendall's ruling. A certain number of United pilots have gotten our whole association crossways with the law again, and put us all at risk. Maybe if our profession did a better job of policing itself, and not trying to hide industrial action behind the mantle of "authority", we wouldn't see our Union being held accountable for those types of actions.

It's our responsibility to follow the prudent path.

Gee, I think I've read those three italicized words before....seems like some don't like that "accountability" word.
slowplay is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 03:05 PM
  #8  
Back on TDY
 
Carl Spackler's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Apr 2008
Position: 747-400 Captain
Posts: 12,486
Default

Originally Posted by Phantom Flyer View Post
I would agree Carl; however, let's say that the authority the Captain has under the FAR's is being "threatened" by the likes of Mr. Tilton et al.
It's always being threatened by some management geek. They can threaten all they want, but if they're not in the left seat - they have no say. If you have the facts to backup your decision, any court attempt to sanction you will fail. If a pilot doesn't have any facts on his side, then he/she doesn't have the temperament to be in the left seat yet.

Originally Posted by Phantom Flyer View Post
If we,as a group, don't stand tall and say "Hell No", you're not taking our authority to operate the aircraft in a safe, professional manner while making decisions we feel are appropriate under the circumstances, then we've lost the battle.
I don't mean to sound like such a hard ass here, but the FAR's do not delineate "we" and "our" in the description of the authority granted to the Pilot In Command. It is a singular granting of authority to one person and one person only. Federal law is completely on your side when you act as a prudent commander who is only intersted in safety.

Originally Posted by Phantom Flyer View Post
The situation at United is unique and that prompted the thread.
I know it feels unique to you right now, but it's not. Don't worry about the collective in this regard. Worry only about what YOU think is correct and safe - then act accordingly. That's all you need to know.

Carl
Carl Spackler is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 04:15 PM
  #9  
Gets Weekends Off
 
captjns's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2006
Position: B-737NG preferably in first class with a glass of champagne and caviar
Posts: 5,477
Default

Originally Posted by Carl Spackler View Post
Don't worry about the collective in this regard. Worry only about what YOU think is correct and safe - then act accordingly. That's all you need to know.
Well said Carl.

People... at the end of the day if management wants to manage an errant captain off the property... they will... even as the Union turns their head as one of their own is sacrificed... or for a lack of a better term... whacked... nothing personal... it just business.

Remember captains both current and future... regardless of what the courts decide or the view or management... the one who had the keys to the jet is the one who is responsible for the safety of carriage of passengers, crew, passengers and cargo.

And if an accident that arises out of the necessity by the captain to be a company man to complete the mission??? well you all figure it out how the skipper will be regarded when he/she has their day in court by both management and his representatives.
captjns is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 10:39 PM
  #10  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,234
Default

Originally Posted by ⌐ AV8OR WANNABE View Post
Really? A month or so ago a captain bumped 3 mx supervisors in ONT. I have no idea what that was all about but how did he bump those sups if he has no captain authority?

Are you saying that all your decisions are being challenged by the company or that you simply are not allowed to make any decisions on your own?
Confused...
Bumping people is not using Captains authority.

The fact that every decision made by a Captain that doesn't please the van drivers promoted to contingency in hooterville is questioned. That they presume that they have the authority to pass judgement on the decisions is the problem. We have dispatchers who think they have sole authority over the flights from fuel loads to alternates, without input from the Captains or crews is the problem. The second guessing of the deicing of aircraft by some ACP sitting in and aircraft on the other side of the airport is the problem.
The decisions that need to be made are made.
757upspilot is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DALFA
Union Talk
128
09-10-2009 10:27 AM
vagabond
Aviation Law
12
09-01-2009 07:57 PM
throttlejockey
Regional
10
10-22-2008 12:47 PM
DLax85
Cargo
3
08-30-2008 08:00 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread