Superb Performance Under FAA Scrutiny

by Capt. Ken Kahn

From time to time, an FAA inspector (Fed) would arrive unannounced at one of our stations shortly before departure and ride in the cockpit to observe the manner in which the crew conducted the flight. The Feds were not welcome passengers, as they could cite us for any violation of regulations. In particular, we had to avoid dozing off, even though it was often impossible to do so, given the schedules we flew. A Fed rode with us on one long night flight commanded by Capt. Chuck Burger. Shortly after we reached cruise altitude, Chuck asked the Fed if he would like to sit in the left seat for a while. The Fed enthusiastically said yes. Chuck left the cockpit and spent the rest of the long cruise portion of the flight in back where there were a couple of courier seats. He relaxed, ate a leisurely meal, and napped as he felt the need to do so. The Fed enjoyed his time in the captain's seat and regaled me with airline stories while I saw to the navigation and communication. Chuck returned to the cockpit shortly before the landing.

After we parked, the Fed thanked Chuck and left. I then complimented Chuck on his superb judgment and performance under FAA scrutiny.


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