SIC Responsibilities, Article 1 in a series

“You are cleared to taxi to runway 27L with clearance to cross the 32 approach zone.  Clear on Right, Turn right sir…”  A Second in Command or First Officer is very busy.  There is enough competition as a SIC pilot that if you want to fly often you need to make the captain’s job as easy as possible and make him/her look good, this way,  they will want you in the cockpit with them.  This article is one in a series to help you understand what makes a good Second in Command so that working wFlt Planningith the captain you can ultimately be a number one crew.

We all know each flight begins with someone or something needing to go somewhere.  This needs to be identified, then determine what their needs really are, beyond just going from KIND to KNKT .  When are they going, are their special needs, do they need ground transportation when they reach the destination, what kind of snacks, meals, etcetera do they prefer.   When customers are paying this high a price for travel they need to be treated properly so it is critical to know all their needs while they are under your care.  An example I can share, with one trip we were told that the passengers needed to get to Cherokee NC, and we soon found the best airport was almost 60 miles away in Ashville.  So we had to provide the air travel and organize for the ground transportation as well.  We also arranged for the lodging of all the passengers and the crew.  I ended up being the driver of a rented mini van.  Hey, being a full service travel agent is sometimes what is needed.  So being ready to serve the customer completely is very important in making the crew operate at its finest.

When doing the flight planning, are you involved?  You should be.  In fact, I try to do as much of it as possible to take the load off the Captain.   Is the aircraft clean?  Has the line crew been notified of the pull time and if fuel is needed, how much?  Is the aircraft fully stocked, have ice and fresh coffee on board?  These are all simple things a first officer can do to make the trip go smoothly and make the captain relax, stop worrying and do his roll more effectively.  This in turn will make him more willing to request you on the next trip.  These are some of the things we teach at Global Flight Training.  The best pilot is one that does more than just fly the airplane well.

Eric Q. Howlett

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