Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:22 am Post subject: Smoking
I dont know about specific rules on smoking but indirectly one can derive from ICAO Rules of Air on Problematic use of Psychoactive Subsatnces which states:
" No person whose function is critical to the safety of aviation (safety-sensitive personnel) shall undertake that function while under the influence of any psychoactive substance, by reason of which human performance is impared. No such person shall engage in any kind of problematic use of substances "
Although smoking does not come under this directly but considering the gist of this ruling one can understand that anything deteriorating human performance is not legal. So indirectly one can say that if smoking deteriorates the other crew members performance by irritating him then it should be banned. Moreover it will also affect the smoker in loss of cabin pressure as he cannot tolerate hypoxia as much as a non-smoker can. So it is not justified even for the smoker if he says his performance is not affected.
First, let me make it clear that I can relate to legitimate health concerns in the cockpit. I can also empathize with those who are truly uncomfortable with smoke in any confined area. I can also understand the effect of peer pressure, and the urge to jump on a bandwagon in the hope of social acceptance by beating up on the underdog. Further, I strongly support the view that the side-effects of smoking far outweigh its benefits. Finally, I'm not a smoker.
However, IMO, there are three distinct matters at issue in respect of smoking in the cockpit. First, there appears to be a world-wide systematic drive to stigmatize smokers in the hope that the majority will be shamed into quitting. Second, global anti-smoking hysteria has driven smokers into the closet, converted the indifferent to the “anti-smoking cult,” and eliminated the temptation and envy of former smokers. And third, banning smoking, in the cockpit as elsewhere, has nothing to do with smoking: it has everything to do with control.
I can't get into the details of the first two, here, let the reader draw his own conclusions. But the issue of control of the flight deck merits a few observations.
1)Control of the cockpit environment falls under the exclusive authority of the PIC. This is the law. Though the employer (the airline) is subject to other laws such as Labor Laws which often include reference to a healthy workplace environment, lawmakers found it wise to word all laws so they don't conflict with each other. However, when the Executive Branch of Government formulates regulations, it often expands, diminishes, or in some way changes the intent of lawmakers. Sometimes these changes are inadvertent, but most result from external pressure by lobbyists who failed to persuade the lawmakers. Whenever there is such a conflict, it takes time, sometimes decades of even centuries to resolve it. IMO, we are living such times.
2)Attempts to ban smoking in the cockpit, if left unchallenged, risk opening the door to attempts to take over total control of the flight. At first, certain aftershave lotions could be banned citing possible allergic reactions, followed by the banning of peanuts, seafood, etc., using the same argument. Next could be banning anyone who coughs, has a runny nose, or shows signs of some illness citing, once again, health concerns. Before long, pilots with an “attitude” will be targetted citing some form of mental dysfunction. It is apparent that the consequences of a precedent-setting apathy can amount to total loss of control. IMO, all these concerns can be addressed, and most of them—though not all—can be resolved to the satisfaction of the entire crew, in preflight or in the cockpit.
3)The California fires—not to mention such events as the eruption of Mount Saint Helen—generate more toxic smoke in one day than would all the people in world if they were to smoke nonstop throughout a lifetime. Yet, no one is trying to “ban” forest fires or volcanic eruptions for one simple reason: No one can. Conversely, the proponents of a ban on smoking in the cockpit will try to control the cockpit environment, and eventually the flight, simply because they believe they can.
4)And finally, First Officers who believe that their subordinate rank puts them at a disadvantage when such issues become irritants are well advised to ask themselves three questions:
a. Am I objecting to the smoke for legitimate reasons or am I simply a victim of mass hysteria?
b. Can I put up with the occasional smoke and smell in a well-ventilated modern cockpit?
c. Years form now, when the Captain is long gone and I'm sitting in his seat, do I want to be told what I can and can't do.
Once pilots are “conditioned” to resign to the fact that they no longer control their flight decks, taking over control of their flights becomes only a mater of process.
So, should smoking be allowed in the cockpit?...
My my answer is: Captain's discretion.
Seriously though, as long as there are two pilots, no problem as there is somebody else to pick up a dropped cig. With one is a different story however........found out myself the hard way. Was having a quick puff at about 3000 ft in a Warrior, all by myself. Dropped the thing by accident.
All I can say is that finding a burning cigarette in an aircraft cockpit with no auto pilot, on your own, is not easy. _________________ Pilot Keith: JAA ATPL, FAA ATP.
still worth the licence?
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