Paper 4 Ethnographic Methods

Pilots within a major commercial airline are titled captain and first officer. Each has a set of responsibilities to follow separately, but to fly the plane, they must work together.

Unlike the movies, the captain does not fly both legs. They switch on and off, Captain flying one and First Officer flying another. For instance, if the flight is scheduled to leave from Dulles and arrive in Denver that is one leg. Either captain or first officer will fly from Dulles to to Denver and the other will fly back.

The Captain sits on the left side of the cockpit where as the first officer sits on the right. The main difference between first officer captain is that the captain has the authority to make final decisions in any situatid the first officer flies the other, if it is the first officer’s turn to fly  push back from the gate and taxi the plane to the runway, he will then hand the plane over to the first officer. The captain always taxis. Once landed, the captain will take the plane and taxi from the runway back to gate.on given. In case of disagreement, the first officer may suggestion alternative action to handle the situation.

Something that is always the job of the captain is to taxi. Once the plane is pushed back from the gate the captain, while keeping in contact with ATC at all times, must taxi to the runway.  if it is the first officer’s turn to fly the captain will hand the plane over to the first officer, if not, he will wait to be cleared for take off.  Once the plane has landed the captain will take the plane and taxi from the runway back to gate.

Since Pilots are ranked by  seniority according to their date of hire: performance and experience do not matter. Captain and 1st officer both have sets of checklists and responsibilities they are required of throughout an entire trip. A Captain’s duties will differ slightly from the first officer’s, and vice versa. The captain is responsible for coordination with the customer service agent and flight attendants, talking with the chief flight attendant, and taxiing the airplane. The First Officer will hold these responsibilities only if he chooses to be upgraded to captain, and when it is time he will go to United’s training facility located in Denver, Colorado, to learn his new responsibilities in by following the Captain’s Upgrade Course syllabus according to whichever model plane he is going to be Captain for. Each and every plane requires captains to learn slightly different material because they are all unique.

Every nine months Captain and first officer must participate in and pass a check ride to continue flying. There are certain sencerios, such as, “Category 3 Approaches” that the captain is required to perform but 1st officer is not. At the end of the check ride both pilots perform together in a simulation. Unlike the movies where captain flies both legs, there and back or to the first of two stops, both pilots each fly one leg of the trip.

United pilots fly two major manufactured airplanes, Boeing and Airbus. When in an Boeing airplane, the pilot will steer using a yoke. Each pilot has one of these instruments located at their knees. On an Airbus airplane, pilots steer using a joystick. The Captain will steer using his left hand and the first officer, his right.


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