Why having 2 pilots in every flight phase is crucial?

18 June 2024

Why having 2 pilots in every flight phase is crucial?

Pilots are the guardians of the skies, adeptly handling safety, security, and operational risks with a blend of situational awareness and experience. Imagine navigating the ever-changing landscape of aviation, where factors like air traffic control directives, unpredictable weather, equipment malfunctions, airport congestion, and unforeseen flight diversions come into play. Not to mention the in-flight challenges with passengers and cargo!

Picture this: countless instances have shown that the collaborative effort of two or more pilots in the cockpit can make all the difference when confronting equipment failures or unexpected events, averting potentially dire outcomes. Pilots are also on the front lines of addressing in-flight security concerns, tackling everything from airspace disputes and ground-based events to unruly passengers, some with malicious intent. The modern aviation world is not just about flying; it’s about safeguarding against cybersecurity threats and in-flight security breaches, including those from insiders.

What if the pilot becomes incapacitated?

Now, imagine a scenario where the pilot flying suddenly becomes incapacitated. The pilot monitoring must swiftly take control of the aircraft, a feat made possible by a shared operational process that ensures both pilots can seamlessly adapt to the complex and dynamic environment. Automated solutions may promise efficiency, but they can't replace the safety and security margin provided by having a second, well-rested, qualified, and well-trained pilot physically present in the cockpit.

A crucial aspect of training professional pilots is the mentorship and transfer of skills and experience, which thrives in a multicrew setting. Reducing real-time and real-world opportunities for mentorship with eMCO (Extended Multi-Crew Operations) risks leaving future pilots without the necessary competencies for safe, efficient, and effective operations.
When it comes down to it, the arguments for eMCO benefits are often unsubstantiated and driven by economic motives, such as increasing pilot productivity. History has shown that prioritizing economic gains over safety is a perilous path. The safe transport of our passengers and cargo remains our paramount responsibility.

Full article first published on alpa.org