Monday, April 10, 2017

One Year as a Captain

I've now been Captain for a year. I've flown roughly 450 hours in the left seat across two different aircraft. 

It's been a learning experience. I've had the opportunity to fly as Captain to Canada, Mexico and of course the United States. I've had the full range of First Officers from pilots right off IOE to pilots with more hours in the aircraft than I had. I've learned something from all of them. 

The biggest change has been of course the paycheck. It's ridiculous how much more Captains are paid versus First Officers. It's only mid-April, but I've earned more than I did my first full year at my airline. 

After 8 1/2 years in the right seat I learned how to be a great Captain and how to be a horrible Captain. It's an ever evolving role. 

I have never marginalized a fellow crew member regardless of how new they are or how wrong their comment/response is. I will offer and opinion and take their input, but never make them feel small. 

More days than not I do at least one pre/post flight. Even in the rain. Even in the snow. I've taken MANY First Officers by surprise when I tell them I will get the pre/post flight while it's heavy rain outside. At the end of the day it's my responsibility. 

I am not Captain because I'm a superior pilot. When I was a First Officer many Captains exhibited this they have been Captain for 20+ years. No, I am Captain because I applied to the airline before my First Officer did and passed training. That's it. No other reason. I never forget that fact. 

So what's next? Well 8 days from now I will welcome in my second (and FINAL!) child. If all goes well in fall 2018 I will start out in the right seat of a mainline aircraft. It might be sooner...I'm working on a way to get in the front door as well.