Probably apples to oranges, but In the Gulf of Mexico, every oil company, 3rd party support company (like crane mechanics, radio techs, galley crew, etc) and helicopter operator has agreed to this policy of “stop work authority”. Basically, any person has the authority to stop an operation (aviation, oil production, whatever) if they feel it is unsafe.
What does this mean to the pilot? The customer has the ability to either A.) Refuse to fly with you or B.) If enroute, tell you they want to divert/head back if the weather is sketchy or airworthiness is in question.
They are not crew members. They don’t act like they run the aircraft. They are simply customers who have the ability to speak up if there is a safety concern. And I’m 100% ok with that. In the three years I’ve been flying offshore, I haven’t had a single customer elect to do A or B above. There are 3 reasons for that.
1.) I keep them in the loop with the weather and my decision making. I explain what weather factors are present, what I’m looking for, my plan for diverting / returning and what conditions would dictate doing so.
2.) I don’t push weather. There are plenty of days where the weather is marginal and I fly, but I always give myself an out. I give myself viable alternates and fly around the weather, not thru it.
3.) The customer acknowledges that they are not aviation professionals. If they are unsure of something (such as an advisory light in the cockpit), they ask and I explain why it’s safe to continue.
So on the HAA side, you’ve got yourself a bit of a pickle. Seems like you’ve had enough pilots f$&! up #1 and #2, which has bred a mentality the customer not following #3. I could be wrong though; maybe even if HAA had all of the best pilots in the world, the med folks would still try to run the show.
I agree though that the med crew are not ‘flight crew’. They are the exact same as any offshore or utility crew. Use their eyes and ears to stay alert for hazards, and listen to any safety concerns that they have. But at the end of the day, they need to stay in their lane. The people in the back notify the pilot of hazards, the PIC decides how to handle them. Good luck re-establishing that symbiotic relationship on your side of the industry.