Top Letters And Comments, September 15, 2023


The Two-Pilot Problem

My experience validates the saying that “The only thing more dangerous than a single pilot, is two pilots flying together who haven’t been trained to do so.” I’ve got 8,000 single pilot, GA hours. I don’t know how to fly with a second pilot. On the rare occasions I have one aboard I tell them I only know how to fly single pilot and while they are welcome to comment on the flight and my flying, I’m not going to assign them any duties (and please don’t touch anything unless I ask). I tried that once and it just disrupts my flow, making the flying more difficult. That applies even to a second pilot handling the radios. I know how to fly by myself and not in a two man crew. If there was another pilot I flew with regularly I’d consider training and practicing to become part of a two man crew, but that’s never been the case for me.

The flip side of this is when I get in the right seat of another pilot’s airplane I say, “Captain, I’m keeping my hands in my lap unless you tell me to do something.”

Robert D.

I made it through this article but just couldn’t get the drift of it. In my years of flying, I had many other, mostly more qualified pilots in the right seat and I never once ran into a situation where there was any question of who was flying the aircraft. At least from my point of view. Guess I was lucky to have trusting friends and passengers. IMHO, any pilot who flies GA single-pilot aircraft should be comfortable flying the aircraft by themselves. After all, they usually do. Asking another to do simple things such as tune a frequency or look for traffic shouldn’t be that big of a deal. When a pilot is doing a checklist the passenger should be politely asked to be quiet and another rated pilot should know better than to interrupt. Professional pilots are trained in CRM. It does not come naturally. Private pilots are not. IMHO, any rated pilot other than an instructor coming along for the ride should leave his credentials and expertise on the ramp. I think your article simply interjects more chances for confusion and who knows, maybe even conflict.


Best Of The Web: Falling Out Of The SR-71 At 78,000 Feet

Bill was the director of commercial flight operations at Lockheed while I was there working on the L-1011 program in the 1980’s. A very mild-mannered gentleman with no swagger whatsoever. I knew him for quite a while before finding out that he was driving an SR-71 that came apart out from under him. By his demeanor, and the way that he was kind and considerate to all, one would never have known.

Quite opposed to some hot shot general aviation pilots who thought they were God. And wanted everyone to know it.

Thanks for the memories.

Jethro B.

Poll: How Would You Rate The Quality Of ATC Services?

  • Controllers are having to work too many aircraft over too many frequencies at the same time. So they tent to talk too fast and need to annunciate their words. Otherwise, I am just going to say “Say again?” Over and over. The older controllers had a cadence to their speaking.
  • Almost always excellent. No one is perfect. Sometimes they have a bad day just like pilots but 99.9% of my experience is exceptional!
  • They don’t get paid enough. They haven’t had a raise in years. Wonder why New York is suffering with ATC? They don’t get paid enough to live in that taxation and expense nightmare state. Why does this matter? Because you can work a less stressful job for more money and not be worked to death for peanuts. This means there’s less incentive to become a controller and the lack of personnel means less product (ATC services) which seems to be the common theme in the industry right now. In PHL tower, they’re down 40 people. You tell me how quality will be affected in IROPS. Controllers are great people and do a hard job and they’re being screwed so overall quality (effective controlling, safe controlling, etc., etc.) is diminished.
  • Generally excellent; occasionally not.
  • Our system of dependency upon voice communications is too often saturated? The existing technology is in over its head. The fix is not more Band-Aids atop countless previous Band-Aids? Need a fresh start. There’s gotta be a better way. NATCA wants more dues paying members. I want a revised system that can safely handle a lot more traffic. Yup, A.I. will be part of the solution. Humans need to act in a role of oversight, not turn by turn vectors.
  • Fair to good now, declining rapidly.
  • The ATC system is clearly in collapse with no relief in sight. When was the last time you flew a long IFR flight without at least 3 re-routes? I mean, why issue you a clearance at all if you are going to change it continuously? That’s not what we were promised, with ‘point-to-point’ navigation and ADS-B. I have been declined IFR on filed flight plans, and told to ‘hold, I can’t work you in…’ more times than not now, and I’m getting tired of it – I pay my taxes…. where is the service? Snotty inexperienced tower operators, lost enroute controllers, and don’t get me started on the approach controllers, I really am tired of it.
  • Almost always excellent, I’d say.
  • Strained.
  • I don’t use ATC services any more other than flight following. It was always good in the old days when I flew IFR.
  • Too many controllers working multiple frequencies, presumably due to staffing or employees not coming to work.
  • Always excellent, but no one’s perfect. Pretty much the same with pilots.
  • Mixed. I’ve seen everything in 40 years. Outstanding help, to complete indifference.
  • I use untowered airports and rarely need or use ATC.
  • Our airport has a Training Tower. It’s almost laughable.
  • Generally excellent, sometimes just good.
  • That depends on the ATC source. Center and approach, generally good. Tower environment, tending towards mediocre.
  • NavCanada is terrible to GA.
  • It depends on which airport you are approaching or departing. Some are developing terrible habits, others are better. Hard to say. Many bad habits tend to create chaos.
  • Outstanding, and please put my name in so I’m on record when the FAA comes around. – Mike
  • Who cares? ATC is so 1950s. Let’s move forward already and reduce cost, increase safety and lower emissions by automating the whole thing.
  • Don’t know, I never use them.
  • Haven’t spoken to ATC since 2002…

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. “Two Pilot Problem”
    Often, we are quick to point out the wider fuselages because we have spent so much time overlapping shoulders with the person next to us. But, perhaps being that close to that person (at the controls on the co-pilot side) has some advantages here. If you have problems communicating with someone you are practically sitting on, you should not be in a cockpit, but rather in a counselor’s office. Before the headsets go on, a quick smile with, “please acknowledge your understanding that I am pilot in command.” is all it takes.