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Going Direct: When We Don’t Speak Up

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What is your responsibility when you’re flying with a friend or business associate and you see something that either looks flat out wrong or maybe that just don’t feel comfortable with? Most pilots would say, “I’d say something.” But my experience is that, often we don’t actually do that. I know this because I’ve been that person who didn’t speak up and felt terrible about it later (though, thank goodness, nothing ever happened), and I’ve been that person who did speak up and who suffered because of it. There’s risk to speaking up, and it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that I haven’t done some kind of risk-benefit analysis before speaking up on many occasions. How bad is the situation, that is, how much danger is the flight in—including your own kiester—and how easy or hard would it be to recover if things started to go south? If the answers are, it’s not all that risky and recovery would be easy, well, it’s possible that it would be easier to just let it go and, who knows, maybe bring it up later when the PIC might be more open to a discussion of the flight.

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