As I am not a pilot myself, I basically have to take the NTSB report at face value, which is why I wrote this the way I did. The NTSB clearly felt that the overarching breakdown in communication was the captain's fault, not the first officer's, in large part because fostering a good cockpit atmosphere was the captain's job, and the cockpit atmosphere on this flight was clearly very tense.

As for whether the FO was really that competent, well, I can only go off what I know. He was top of his (fairly small) class, seemed to be pretty prepared, and had never had any bad comments on his exams, so I think the NTSB went at this from a standpoint of trying to understand why a pilot who had apparently done everything correctly during his training checks would suddenly start doing everything wrong.

I think in hindsight they probably should have given both pilots' mistakes equal weight. I don't think ALPA is right to blame this entirely on the FO, because the importance of creating an environment in which both pilots can do their jobs effectively really cannot be understated. I think it's clear the FO was out of his element, and being told that you're useless can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. No pilot should say something like that to another pilot if he wants him to perform well. Furthermore, Falitz was a union man, and it would've been ALPA's job to try to clear him, so that's something that has to be considered as well.

I think your perspective on this is completely valid, I just don't have the experience to come to my own conclusions unless the report has really obvious glaring inadequacies, and in this case I can see both sides. However, this was a conclusion that many pilots, especially old school pilots, really disagreed with. A lot of newer, less experienced pilots I think related to the FO and were much less critical.



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Admiral Cloudberg

Analyzer of plane crashes. Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit, @KyraCloudy on Twitter, or by email at