Pilot's tip of the week

Should Passengers Stay Quiet?


Subscriber question:

"A friend of mine who flys for an airline told me I should keep a sterile cockpit on departure and arrival. Is this worth doing in my GA aircraft?" — Craig N.



“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.”

Do you brief passengers on what they're allowed to say during departure and arrival?

(If you do, tell us below what you say and when.)

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