Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From SIC to PIC

I'm in Orlando, FL this week to convert my SIC (Second in Command) C510 Mustang Type Rating to PIC (Pilot in Command). This will not be -S, or single pilot, so I continue to require a second pilot on board, which is appropriate to my current level of experience.

Over a couple of months, I've become quite comfortable with Neil, my current mentor and co-pilot. We have our standard flows and procedures. We even finish each other sentences. My assumption is that the person in the right seat is competent, knowledgeable and a teacher.

In my first simulator session, I was paired with another Flight Safety instructor as co-pilot. In fact, this person will be giving me the checkride on Friday. I assumed that he would also be a teacher. I can't say we worked well as a team. It wasn't always clear who should be pushing which buttons. While in NAV (GPS driven) mode, the procedure was loaded and activated that caused us to wallow around. Altitude callouts were not performed. During maneuvers, he dozed off (so I declared an emergency that my co-pilot died).

Initially, I was frustrated by the lack of teamwork. During the de-brief session, I learned a valuable lesson about leadership in the cockpit. As PIC, you can't assume that the co-pilot will always do the right thing. As the pilot in command, who is ultimately responsible for the safety of the flight, it's my responsibility to use my authority to ensure that we are working as a competent team. Equally important is to backup and verify what the co-pilot is doing.

When I return to flying with Neil, or another effective co-pilot, I will have to step up and verify what the co-pilot is doing. This will be safer for everyone.

It may be the most valuable lesson I learn all week.

4 comments:

bb said...

Congrats David! Sounds like fun. Love the blog and following along vicariously.

Can you tell me how much SR22 time you had before you stepped up to the 'Stang?

How much total time? Did you have a lot of multi engine, Turbine or not, time before you bought the Mustang?

Thanks!

Brian (friend of Cyrus and Ben)

David Wihl said...

I had about 400 hrs of SR22, 700 hrs total, and just enough ME to get my rating. So pretty minimal. Having a top quality long term mentor pilot and a dedicated attitude is key to transition. There's a lot to learn but it's also a lot of fun.

bb said...

Thanks David

From cross-correlating your blog with Phil's it seems like Phil is your mentor pilot? But if one doesn't know someone suitable, will Cessna provide a customer with one in their area? Did you do any Jet familiarization with Jetaviva or otherwise?

Keep up the blogging -- very interested to learn [vicariously for now].

best,

Brian

David Wihl said...

Negative. As I mentioned previously, Neil Singer is my mentor. Philip will be a backup. AFAIK, Cessna will not provide one, but your local rep may have contacts to suggest. JetAviva also has deep contacts (and pilots on staff). Another resource is CJP who might be able to suggest a pilot as well.