Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Who Knew September Was Such a Busy Month
I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I've been flying, amassing comments on the iPad, assessing the proposed new duty time regulations for pilots and how they will affect my company's operations, and mostly stuck in hotels with terrible Internet. That makes company paperwork take twice as long and leaves no room for blogging. Oh good grief, "An error occurred while trying to save or publish your post," and this is one of the better hotels this week. Okay, this is what I've got got for you today: an aviation headset has two plugs, one that connects the earphones to the system so the crewmember can hear, and one that connects the microphone to the system so the crewmember can speak on the intercom or radio. Each seat in the airplane has two receptacles to hold these two plugs. The intercom in this plane has three settings: ISO, CREW, and ALL. The ISO setting allows the left seat pilot to hear and transmit on the radio and talk to herself, while everyone else plugged into the intercom can talk amongst themselves but not hear or disturb the pilot or the radios. The CREW setting allows the two front seat occupants to speak without being heard by the person in the back, and ALL puts everyone in the loop. Generally the intercom is on ALL for normal operations. I will use the ISO settings if the crewmember in the right seat is training the crewmember in the back (or vice versa) and they are talking over ATC or want to talk during sterile cockpit times. I use CREW if I'm training a pilot in the front and want to give feedback in private. Or if the crewmember in the right seat is training the one in the back and we want to make snide remarks about them. I'll also use the ISO setting if I notice the crewmember in the back has fallen asleep (this is permitted, and indeed encouraged when they have no duties) but hasn't pulled out his or her headset jack, so that radio transmissions don't wake them up. I encourage them to pull their headset plugs if they want to sleep, because that way they don't have to throw crumpled up wads of paper at me to get me to turn the intercom back on when they wake up and want my attention. And then there's today: howling headwinds had us slowed to a crawl, done our work but proceeding to another aerodrome where they want us to start tomorrow. And the pilot starts singing, "The propellers on the plane go 'round and 'round, 'round and 'round ..." Usually I swing my microphone away from my mouth before I sing, but sometimes my fellow crewmembers must suffer. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I teach you how to pull out your headset plugs.