What airlines can teach general aviation pilots

Vincent, the blogger behind the Plastic Pilot blog, has written a great short post where he mentioned three key lessons that airlines can teach general aviation. Vincent began his post by first acknowledging that while general aviation’s safety record is generally good, there are still a few things general aviation pilots can learn from airline pilots. He then mentioned the following three areas where there are lessons for general aviation pilots to follow:

SOP, flow patterns and checklists. In addition to checklists, Vincent pointed out that airlines go beyond the use of checklists. Airlines also use Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and flow patterns to do all the actions before cross-checking with a checklist.

Briefings. Moreover, Vincent noted that airline crews also run through detailed briefings before each and every flight and he also does the same. Specifically, Vincent’s briefings cover the following items:

    • Take-off type (standard, performance, soft-field)
    • Vr, Vx, Vy (and Vmca if flying a twin)
    • Safety altitude
    • Actions in case of aborted take-off
    • Actions in case of emergency after take-off, depending on conditions (VMC or IMC)

Vincent also noted that for an approach briefing, he uses the Jeppesen Briefing Strip on top of the approach chart.

Sterile cockpit. Finally, Vincent pointed out that airlines have a sterile cockpit rule for both departures and approaches and typically when operating under 10,000 feet so that the pilot and crew can be focused on flying the aircraft. Hence and when he is flying with passengers, Vincent tells them when he needs to concentrate on flying and when he can carry on a conversation with them.

Keeping the above safety airline lessons in mind will make you a much safer and more professional general aviation pilot.


One Response to What airlines can teach general aviation pilots

  1. Vincent, from Plasti October 6, 2010 at 18:54 #

    Thanks for the mention, I appreciate that. Let's see if you're readers have more ideas and tips to share. I'm sure there are a lot of other tips out there that can help us to become safer pilots. May be not as safe as the airlines as the context and mode of operation is different, but there's always room for improvement.

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