It’s the mid-1970s and I am flying for CP Air as a Second Officer on the DC-8 series aircraft. This day I have a trip to SFO and back. I had flown with both the Captain and First Officer before, but not together as a crew. The F/O was very experienced and an ex-RCAF pilot. I did not know the Captain’s previous experience but remembered he had some idiosyncrasies. The flight to SFO was routine. Departure out of SFO was with the Captain as the “pilot flying”. In the departure briefing, he made no mention of modifying the procedures. The SOPs require a “heads-up”, sterile cockpit, and no paper work below 10,000 feet. As we climb through 10000 ft, the F/O picks up the Flight Plan to record our takeoff time and starts calculating the waypoint ETAs.

The Captain explodes: “No paper work below 18000 ft in the States!!!”

He then grabs the clipboard from the F/O’s hand, tears the flight plan in half and tosses the pieces and the clipboard across the glareshield in front of the F/O (clatter, clatter). The F/O looks at the Captain in disgust – reaches down, moves the seat adjustment lever, and his chair ratchets back to full aft. He looks at me and says: “This guy isn’t getting any help from me short of him burying us !!”

WHOA!! So much for Crew Concept, CRM, or whatever!

We made it home. Needless to say, it was a stressful flight.

What is the first air exercise taught to a new pilot?

Attitudes and movements.

When flying night or IFR, what instrument does the Pilot scan most often?


So, the attitude of the aircraft must be important.

Let’s expand this beyond the mechanics of flight.

What about the attitudes of the Pilot?

  • Toward their abilities and capabilities.
  • Toward their aircraft’s capabilities and limitations?
  • Toward the weather?

Exceeding these is looking for an accident – maybe fatal!

  • Toward maintenance?
  • Toward ATC?
  • Toward the pilot’s fellow crew members, flight attendants and passengers.

How about toward your Fellow Pilots or a Flying Club member?

For as much as the aircraft’s attitude is monitored, the pilot should constantly monitor and check their personal attitude.

I have found certain principles of flying can be helpful in how I should conduct my actions in Life.

In ALL things I Pray I have a right ATTITUDE!!


Ken Buchholz

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