- 1.“I Have Control!” The Pilot Flying (PF) Explained!
- 2.“You Have Control!” The Pilot Monitoring (PM) Explained!
Hello dear readers and aviators. After taking you onto the jumpseat to Barcelona in my last article, I would like to introduce you to a new mini-series on my aviation blog, starting Today. In this mini-series, I will briefly familiarize you with all crew members that are required to conduct a commercial flight. I will also explain their responsibilities. To do so, I will begin with the so-called “pilot flying“, or short “PF“.
The Pilot Flying (PF) Flies the Aircraft!
In commercial aviation, the captain and the first officer usually take turns in their responsibilities after every leg. This is quite rational, since by doing so, every cockpit crew member gains the relevant experience equally. Here, one differentiates between the aforementioned pilot flying (PF) and the pilot monitoring (PM). The PM was often also simply called “pilot not flying“. This term, however, is not common anymore.
The pilot flying’s responsibility is exactly what the name would suggest: to safely fly the airplane according to the Standard Operating Procedures. Moreover, the pilot flying is responsible for complying with the orders of the air traffic controllers and for operating the autoflight systems and the flight management system to conduct the flight.
Pilot Flying – Division of Labour on the Flight Deck!
If the pilot flying needs something, or wants the PM to carry our an action that has nothing to do with flying the aircraft, the PF will give a command to the pilot monitoring. One of those command is, for example, “Gear Up!” to retract the gear once a the aircraft reaches a positive rate of climb. This also holds true for other commands, such as commands for setting the flaps, lights, or tuning in frequencies for the radio communication with air traffic control.
The PF will also usually brief the crew before the flight. This is, however, subject to the procedures of different companies. If the PF temporarily cannot perform the task of flying the aircraft, the PF can hand over the control to the PM. This happens simply with the words “You have Control “. The PM then acknowledges this handover with the words “I have Control”. This is the case, for example, if the PF wants to make a passenger announcement.As you can see, flying an airliner is not a job for lone rangers but teamwork!