Great, John, I told you! Geez! The difference between a duck and a co-pilot
This is apparently a classic but new to me: a training video recreating the issues in the cockpit from a runway overrun in 1976.
The question was whether to land downwind on a foggy runway in icing conditions or whether to circle to land. The circle to land could have meant that the crew would not have time to have a meal. The captain and the flight engineer make their priorities clear and when the co-pilot expresses concern about the approach, the flight engineer puts him in his place. “What’s the difference between a duck and a co-pilot? The duck can fly.”
|First Officer||Want me to fly today?|
|First Officer||What’s the glide slope there John?|
|Captain||Well, we know where we are … we’ll be alright|
|Flight Engineer||Don’t you worry, the fox is gonna have it wired.|
|First Officer||I hope so.|
|First Officer||This a little faster than you normally fly this, John?|
|Captain||Oh yeah, but it’s nice and smooth. We’re gonna get in right on time, maybe a little ahead of time. We got it made.|
|First Officer||Sure hope so.|
|Flight Engineer||You know John, what’s the difference between a duck and a co-pilot?|
|Captain||What is that?|
|Flight Engineer||A duck can fly.|
|First Officer||Seems like there’s a bit of tail wind up here, John.|
|Captain||Yeah, we’re savin gas …help us get in a couple of minutes early too.|
|First Officer||John, you’re just a little below the MDA (maximum descent altitude) here.|
|Captain||Yeah, we’ll take care of it here.|
|First Officer||This is a little too high.|
|Captain||Yeah, gear down.|
|First Officer||You really look awfully high.|
|Captain||15 degree flaps … 25 on the flaps.|
|First Officer||John, you’re really high …you’re gonna need 40 on the flaps here to get this thing down. I don’t think you’re gonna make it John, if you don’t get this sucker on the ground.|
|Flight Engineer||Get it down, John.|
|First Officer||I don’t think you’re gonna make it. I don’t think you’re gonna make it.|
|Captain||We’re going around. Oh darn.|
|Flight Engineer||130, 140 knots.|
|First Officer||It isn’t gonna stop John. We’re not gonna make it John. Great John. I told you. …Geez…|
Then there is the sound of impact on voice recorder.
The unprofessional “banter” in the cockpit and the utter disregard with which the captain treats his first officer’s concerns really show the importance of good Cockpit Resource Management (CRM). This is something we know a lot more about now but in 1976, the focus on CRM was just beginning.
The following is directly from the December 1976 NTSB accident report
The Safety Board believes that all flight crew members, and most particularly the second-in-command, should be more outspoken in advising the pilot-in-command when they believe that the flight is being conducted in a non-standard, careless or dangerous manner. Such constructive advice could prompt the pilot-in-command to reassess his procedures. Similarly, pilots-in-command should foster an atmosphere in the cockpit which permits constructive advice and positive recommendations for change where safety may be involved.
The safety board has previously recognized the need for improved guidelines regarding the circumstances and manner in which a flight crew member should take affirmative action and has urged that copilots strengthen their sense of responsibility in adhering to prescribed procedures and safe practicies. The Board again urges airline management and pilots’ organizations to reexamine the relationship between the captain and the flight crew members with a view towards formulating an effective enunciation of responsibilities in circumstances where the aircraft is being operated unsafely.
The reenactment shows how terrible CRM was forty years ago, with the Captain cutting the first officer off and then the flight engineer putting him down. The first officer clearly recognised that the approach wasn’t stabilised and said so repeatedly but the captain was not interested in his help. I have to say, from a modern perspective, I’m a bit miffed that the investigation report complains that the second-in-command (the first officer) should be more outspoken.
These days, of course, he’d be fully correct in taking control from the captain, nevermind “constructive advice”!
The captain’s faulty judgement in initiating a go-around after he was committed to a full stop landing following an excessively long and fast touchdown from an unstabilized approach.
Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s unprofessional decision to abandon the precision approach.