Things they don’t teach you in flight school...
Always greet your co-worker with a good handshake and look them in the eye. During my initial Environment Canada meteorology course an instructor told me I would pass based on my hand shake. He said shaking hands with some were similar to shaking hands with a wet fish. Remember first impression is huge. Eye contact is imperative. After all, you are bestowing huge trust in your co-worker so it's one way to convey it.
Always treat your co-worker the way you would want to be treated. You wouldn’t believe how this simple rule is abused. Task share during flight planning. Don’t tell them to get this or that. A captain during my A340 days threw out my weather information because I wrote on it. Good way to start the pairing. Another didn’t like how I stapled the papers. He said it would snag his sweater because the staple was facing up instead of down. Another (pre-Air Canada) dropped the amended flight plan on the ground and laughed knowing I had to pick it up. This one time scenario almost caused “laid back calm cool collective Doug” to almost drop the captain. Sometimes CRM...Crew Resource Management...breaks down or is not effective. Another place where CRM experiences a test is when a group of type A to A+ pilot personalities play hockey. Not a pretty sight sometimes.
Walk beside your co-worker. I’ve seen some captains bolt and the first time you see them is on the flight deck. The same happens after the pairing...the pilot vanishes. The word “rude” does not come near explaining this scenario. (I guess this even applies to marriage). Although many pilots would never admit it, you become a quasi couple. Yes, a bond develops over the pairing. Think about it, it’s inevitable two people will bond when sitting in a room the size of a closet during hours on end. Here lies the problem, if the chemistry is off, it makes for one heck of a long pairing. Yes, I’ve been there!
Allow the skipper to enter the aircraft first. Some tradition still exists. After all, it is his/her “ship.”
Offer the first officer the first leg. It drove me nuts when the captain started the “ramp checks” indicating he was flying first. How not to bestow confidence.
On the overseas fleet the walk around is done by maintenance so this next rule does not apply (at least at Air Canada). But on the narrow body fleet, or any aircraft for that matter, always offer to do the walk around. Yes, even if it is raining. Well okay, maybe not in heavy rain. :)
Treat others (non-pilots) with respect. This includes fuelers, rampies, maintenance and flight attendants. Over the years I can't believe how many pilots talked down to their so called inferiors. I’ve heard a story where one captain requested a coffee through the first officer. He would not talk to the flight attendant directly behind him.
“Never bite the hand that feeds you!” I’ve seen it where the pilot royally pisssed off the flight attendant. I dare not think what extra ingredients they might find in their food or coffee.
Compliment the other pilot's landing even if it tended to be a bit “snug.” Back in my Air Atlantic days one particular captain did this and I always remembered it. I’m amazed how many pilots can’t give compliments.
After the parking check list is completed on the last leg of the pairing, always reach over to shake your co-worker's hand and say, “pleasure flying with you.” Yes, there were a handful of pilots where I could not do this. I adopted this tradition again back in my Air Atlantic days. Even though this particular captain proved to be “left of centre” I thought this to be very professional gesture.
Always offer to buy the first beer (beverage) when on a “suitable” layover.
Greet them in the morning by saying their name during crew pick up. Again, many would not even acknowledge you. As Dale Carniegie said in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “everyone likes to hear their name.”
Never board the crew bus or cab without saying hello. I’ve waited for the other pilot only to find him on the bus or in the cab doing their own thing. How rude!
For a multi-crew, offer the cruise pilot to do the ramp checks and to input the flight plan into the FMS. I always did when F/O on the A340.
Try to see things in their shoes.
Offer the choice of meals.
Never take the crossword or Sudoko without asking first if they mind.
When you introduce yourself to the in-charge for the captain briefing (or any other flight attendant for that matter) make sure you introduce the F/O. I always appreciated it when I was an F/O.
Never barge in on their radio work. I’ve had pilots intervene and it makes you look incompetent.
Get the F/O to partake in the P.As. I disliked it when the captain hogged the P.A.
Always mention the other pilot's name over the P.A if you mention yours.
For all those who fly for a living, maybe you can offer some more tips? I know the list can easily be doubled.
While reading this, you probably asked yourself...isn’t this common sense? True, but you will be amazed how uncommon "common sense" does not prevail….even in the professionally conceived flight deck.
After further pondering, I think this topic would make for a great book!This stuff is not written anywhere. Time to start typing.