Pilot's tip of the week

Sterile Cockpit


Subscriber question:

"A friend of mine who flys for an airline told me I should use the sterile cockpit procedure on departure and arrival. Is this required in my GA aircraft?" - Craig N.


“Sterile cockpit procedures are very important. We may not be aware of what they are.


Let’s draw a clue here from the professional aviation community. We regulate the airline community to use a sterile cockpit procedure from the time they initiate taxi up and through 10,000 feet. The same is true on descent, from 10,000 feet until their airplane is parked there is no extraneous chatter allowed in the cockpit.

Think about how that can enhance operations in your cockpit, if you are focusing on the details at hand as opposed to extraneous chatter with your passengers.

This begins with our pre-flight briefing. It’s hard to stifle people in the cockpit. It all begins with a good pre-flight briefing. Your passengers can be an asset or a liability. You determine prior to the flight what role they will play by briefing them on how they can help you and how they can hurt you. They can help you by looking for other airplanes. They can help you by not talking when you are busy, and not getting involved with extraneous chatter while you’re trying to get the airplane safely on the ground.

Sterile cockpit. A wonderful concept. Make it part of your flying operation.”

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