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onemorepilot

Pilot/Mechanic Relationship

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This is an extension of the UH-1 Drag Brace topic, but it seems appropriate to start a new thread about it.

In the other thread there was talk of ICC requirements and "company critical task lists", etc. GrayHorizons is right when he says that human factors are complex when it comes to maintenance slips. In my mind no amount of regulation or company policy will substitute for an experienced, conscientious professional pilot/mechanic team.

I want to point out that this is not mechanic bashing. Pilots should be judged just as critically. To me, it is about confidence. Here is what I mean:

As mechanics, you have to fly occasionally (test flights, rotor smoothing, etc). When you get in with a new pilot, in the back of your mind you wonder if you should trust this guy. But you have no choice so you go. As you work with him he either gains your confidence or he becomes the pilot that nobody wants to fly with. Most of the time that confidence is a gut feeling (unless he does something blatantly stupid.) You make your judgements about this new pilot by watching how he handles himself. Does he walk around the aircraft before he gets in? (No legal requirement for that.) Does he yank it off the pad or is he smooth and deliberate? These observations will build or destroy the confidence that you have in a pilot. A worthy pilot recognizes that at that moment he is responsible for the safety of his mechanic.

Pilots judge mechanics in the same way: Does he keep his tools neat or does he have to root through a pile of parts from three different aircraft to find what he's looking for? Is he methodical and confident in how he works or does his mind seem to be all over the place? Does he tell the pilot that everything is ready to go or does he say "I worked on this, this and this. Look them over and you're ready to go"? A worthy mechanic recognizes that at that moment he is responsible for safety of his pilot.

There is no room for pilot/mechanic rivalry and blame. Mistakes will be made on both sides from time to time because we are human. We need to work through that as professionals without blaming and finger pointing. Pilots and mechanics have very different jobs but each is required to earn the respect (and trust) of the other.

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes it's learning, sometimes it's babysitting.  A good engineer will have a good repore with the drivers, easy as that.  However, there are several nutjob pilots out there who are just a nightmare to deal with.  Most don't last but there's always going to be a few.

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I always tell my students that, if it wasn't for the fact that you need the pilot to fly the machine, the mech is the most important part of the team. :) I've always admired what they did for me.

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I was told by an Engineer once that the teach them to hate pilots in school. Not a good way to start a relationship IMHO.

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18 hours ago, freck said:

I was told by an Engineer once that the teach them to hate pilots in school. Not a good way to start a relationship IMHO.

Uh no, quite the opposite.  

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Its definately not a course topic, How to hate your Pilot 101

But back in the day, there was definitely many a conversation in class  that included "dumb Pilots" by the instructors.

I'd much rather foster a good working relationship with the other staff. We all have different jobs with one common goal. Working together shouldn't be an issue.

There are some instances where the dynamics just wont work, but thats life.

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10 hours ago, Heliian said:

Uh no, quite the opposite.  

Don't shoot the messenger. Just going with what an engineer said to me and he's a good friend of mine. 

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On 8/23/2018 at 4:12 PM, freck said:

Don't shoot the messenger. Just going with what an engineer said to me and he's a good friend of mine. 

You are not completely wrong as GrayHorizons said. It wasn't a credit class but the sentiment during those first 1.5 years is that pilots are the enemy blah blah blah. I came out of school and worked in a place that had a terrible pilot/mechanic atmosphere. Zero, and I mean zero, face to face communication. But they wanted to be an airline where everyone where white shirts. I didn't last there and came to a place where pilots and engineers buy each other beer. Not because they ****** up anything but because we all just work together. In the last 10 years I have worked with one or two pilots who had the "pilots vs. engineers" mentality and they don't last long. Even pilots don't want to be associated with an engineer basher. LOL.

I do work with a couple engineers still who default to the "your just a dumb pilot" sometimes but I am quick to tell them to check themselves. It is wasted breath.

We are all on the same team.

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