- 1.“I Have Control!” The Pilot Flying (PF) Explained!
- 2.“You Have Control!” The Pilot Monitoring (PM) Explained!
In the last article, I explained the duties of the pilot flying (PF) to you. Now it shall be the pilot monitoring’s turn. As we have learned in the last article, the pilot flying is responsible for flying the aircraft. The pilot monitoring, or PM, consequently takes over all other tasks that do not relate to flying the aeroplane. That includes quite a lot of tasks, as you will see now.
While the PF is busy with flying the aircraft, the pilot monitoring constantly keeps in touch with air traffic control. He or she does that via radio communication. Basically, the pilot monitoring reads back and acknowledges the ATC’s transmissions. Another important task carried out by the PM is to read aloud the different checklists during the flight. Moreover, the pilot not flying handles the aeroplane’s flaps, gear and lights.
Likewise, the PM constantly monitors all instruments for their proper functionality and accuracy. Most importantly, he or she oversees the plane’s flightpath and altitude, and if there is any deviation from the target values.
The Pilot Monitoring is Always Forward-Planning!
In addition to the tasks mentioned above, the PM always tries to support the pilot flying proactively. Despite the fact that he does not fly the aircraft himself, he shall always help if the situation requires it. Regardless of that, the pilot in command (namely the captain) always has to maintain an overview of the overall situation. This is because the captain bears the ultimate (and legal) responsibility for the safe conduct of the flight.
By the way: Both, the captain and the first officer are entitled and able to perform the tasks of the pilot flying and monitoring equally. It is not the case at all that the co-pilot only supports the captain and does not fly the aircraft. The difference between the pilot in command and the first officer is purely legal one. I will further elaborate on that in a future article.