New FAA Guidance On Role of Pilot Flying Featured

FAA Looks at Roles and Responsibilities for Pilot Flying (PF) and Pilot Monitoring (PM), Now More Important Than Ever With Wi-Fi Equipped Airplanes.

You’ve read about it in the news and probably even seen it in the cockpit, situations where no one is monitoring the airplane caused by careless use of PED’s.


“Northwest Airlines Flight 188 was a regularly scheduled flight from San DiegoCalifornia, to MinneapolisMinnesota on October 21, 2009. The flight landed over one hour late in Minneapolis after overshooting its destination by over 150 miles because of pilot errors.

The incident caused American lawmakers to move to prevent pilots on U.S. airliners from using electronic devices while taxiing or flying.”


Now SAFO 15011 encourages operators to define roles and responsibilities for the PF and PM.  Main points of the SAFO include:

  1. At any point in time during the flight, one pilot is the PF and one pilot is the PM.
  1. The PF is responsible for managing and the PM is responsible for monitoring the current and projected flight path and energy of the aircraft at all times.
  1. The PF is always engaged in flying the aircraft (even when the aircraft is under autopilot control) and avoids tasks or activities that distract from that engagement. If the PF needs to engage in activities that would distract from aircraft control, the PF should transfer aircraft control to the other pilot, and then assume the PM role.
  1. Transfer of PF and PM roles should be done positively with verbal assignment and verbal acceptance to include a short brief of aircraft state.
  1. The PM supports the PF at all times, staying abreast of all air traffic control instructions and clearances and aircraft state.
  1. The PM monitors the aircraft and system states, calls out any perceived or potential deviations from the intended flight path, and intervenes if necessary.

We all know that is the right thing to do but in todays high tech airplanes we have more temptation to distraction than ever before.  


Do you have a Personal Electronic Device Use Policy?

Many Part 91 Operators do not have a stated PED use policy.  In creating guidelines for XLPilotStaffing.Com, I reviewed several flight departments policies to come up the following recommendation which can be found in my “Contract Pilots Survival Guide”

Q. Portable Electronic Device Policy:

XLPilotStaffing.Com Contract Pilots are to organize their schedule so they will not need

to use portable electronic devices for personal items such as phone

calls, email, text messages or internet for 1 hour prior to the

estimated time of departure until 15 minutes after the cabin door has

been locked upon completion of the flight.  Use of PED’s in flight should be

restricted to activities solely related to the safe and efficient operation of the

current trip and only after receiving approval from the Pilot Flying.


You may want to be more or less restrictive on your use of PED’s for your flight operation.  In any case, why not take this opportunity to review how you would like to see the roles and responsibilities of Pilot Flying and Pilot Monitoring implemented and how the use of Personal Electronic Devices fits in with them.  Best not to become infamous like the pilots of Northwest Flight 188.

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Mark Mealey

components, K2 User Groups


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Pilot-ol-ogy is the magazine of  XLPilotStaffing, a company created by Mark Mealey in 2013 to take the hassle out of finding a contract pilot for your flight operation.  Whether you need a contractor to fill in for vacations, training, illness, or personal reasons, XLPilotStaffing is here to help.