Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Canton, MI
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...
I've been following this thread here and other sites on this subject for a bit now. I'm new to the forum and fairly new to sailing as well. I will not pass judgement on what happened aboard the Bounty but as a 747 captain (an airplane of that size is in many ways, a flying ship), I, however, will say a few things since I do find a similarity as far as responsibilities go between both airliner and ship's Captains.
First of all, as a Pilot in Command, you are responsible for everything that goes on, into and about that aircraft that you are about to fly. It is your job to check the aircraft logbook that all maintenance has been properly carried out according to the prescribed guidelines
Same goes for the weather along the route, destination and alternates. The physical well being of your crew and passengers, physically and mentally. The cargo if there are hazmat or other DGs on board.
Actually, the Flight dispatch will send you all the info in a nice thick packet half the size of a phone book for every flight. They will brief you as well but if they screwed up, it is still your airplane. You are responsible for everything and I mean everything.
What I'm saying is that, as a Pilot in Command, you make the final decision, period. No one can force you to leave if you do not feel that either you, your crew or the aircraft is capable and can safely complete the trip. Not your Company, Chief Pilot, Union etc.
And not to take anything away from anyone, but I cannot just take a FAA test, buy an airplane and a nice white hat and be a Captain. The main difference here is that we, as far as professional pilot group goes, have to go through all kinds of emergency training scenarios and drills every six months. We must attend recurrent training annually (I believe freighters, tankers and cruise ship crew go through similar training). They pay us good money not to fly the airplane, the airplane can do all that by themselves. Heck, my 747-400 and land and come to a complete stop on the runway without me ever touching the yoke or the throttles. What they really pay us for is to make safe and sound judgements and prudent decisions.
As a pilot in command, the decisions are all yours and yours alone. Whatever decision you make, good or bad, you'd better be able to defend it if you ever ended up at that long inquisition table with no ashtrays, if you survive the incident or accident that is.
1975 Cheoy Lee 33 Clipper Ketch