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Pilot and Aviation Apparel

 

FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education

Pilot Safety Tip - Distractions
Notice Number: NOTC4341

Distractions in the Cockpit

Two pilots using laptops and discussing crew scheduling procedures lose situational awareness and overfly their destination airport by 150 miles.  A Captain calls for the after landing checklist while completing a difficult double right turn with limited space between runways and misses seeing the hold line, pulling onto the runway in front of a departing wide body aircraft.  These real incidents are only two examples of what can happen if you allow yourself to become distracted when operating an aircraft.

Distractions in the cockpit are one of the leading causal factors in pilot deviation runway incursions.  The runway hold line is a single point on the airport, and if you are not looking for where to hold short and you miss the signs and markings, there is no other visual cue until you reach the edge of the runway.  Distractions which have resulted in pilot deviations include:

  • Completion of run-up procedures while moving the aircraft
  • Dealing with passenger’s questions or issues
  • Crewmembers going heads down in order to program instruments
  • Using electronic flight bag devices while taxiing

What can you do to guard against distractions?

  • Have your head up and out at all times when taxiing your aircraft.  If tasks require you to go heads down, stop in a safe place and complete the task, then continue to taxi.
  • Brief passengers on the importance of maintaining a sterile cockpit while taxiing, and during other critical phases of flight.
  • Review airport diagrams and departure procedure charts before taxi, identifying locations or operations during which distractions carry a greater risk.
  • Turn cell phones off.


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