Basic Performance of Flight Crew - Aviation Professional

Basic Performance of Flight Crew

Basic Performance of Flight Crew

Flight Crew operate in an environment in which they have great acceptance to be monitored and measured on their performance during normal line operations, not only during simulator training and checking sessions. At recurrent intervals check, Flight Instructor occupy the jump seat to monitor crew’s performance. In addition, there are many performance monitoring technics such as a Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) programs which capture enormous amount of data, both to discover individual operational exceedances as well as to follow aggregated data trends, across an entire fleet, to discover unwanted operational drift.

Why is performance measuring important?

it is important for the reason, to assure a safe and efficient operation, due to this fact, each Flight Crew Member - Especially Commander - shall be proficient in three areas of competence:

1)    Technical,

2)     Procedural; and

3)    Interpersonal (non-technical skills). 

Each area of competence consists of vital elements. Optimum overall performance is achieved by integrated application of these elements.

In this article, I would like to share with you the Basic Performance of Flight Crew Members and how flight crew can achieve this by the applying a proficiency in three areas of competence. 

This article, will mention a Cockpit Safety Survey was carried out within Lufthansa German Airlines and its subsidiaries Condor, Lufthansa City line and Lufthansa Cargo. 2070 pilots answered the questionnaire and reported 1897 safety relevant events that happened within the last five years of their flying career. ( From December 1997 until march 1999)

I don't know if is there any new research regarding this subject, but I found it easy to be understood by both flight crew and other aviation professionals.

Basic Performance of Flight Crew 

I will start with the competence area one, which is Technical skills.

First :  Technical Competence

To explain this, the table chosen for the “Area of Technical Competence” includes the elements:

1. Manual Aeroplane Control

2. Knowledge of Systems

3. Use of Automation

The Elements         

1. Manual Aeroplane Control

A- Ability

— Be able to control the Aeroplane manually at all times

— Stabilize the Aeroplane in all phases of flights

— Maintain horizontal and vertical profile

— Operate the Aeroplane accurately and smoothly

B- Execution

— Apply basic pitch & power values

— Coordinate control inputs and trim

— Recognize trends by instrument scan and react as appropriate

— Adhere to applicable limitations and tolerances according to Operations Manual.

2- Knowledge of Systems

Flight Crew Members know their Aeroplane well, with special emphasis on operation, limits and interaction of systems.    

A- System Design

— Know the structure and function

— Know the limitations

— Be familiar with the documentation

B- Application

— Know how to operate systems

— Know the behaviour and interaction of systems

3- Use of Automation

FCM is able to operate their Aeroplane in the optimum mode of automation. They have the flexibility needed to move from one level of automation to another.      

A- Handling

— Be able to manage all modes of automation

— Use optimum mode of automation

— Use automation to reduce workload

B- Monitoring

— Be aware of active mode of automation

— Be aware of mode changes

— Be flexible in changing level of automation

In this element, the basic performance of flight crew is developed by Flight Training – type rating skills which are required by aviation safety training regulation.

Second:  Procedural Competence

To explain this, the table chosen for the “Area of Procedural Competence” includes the elements:

1. Knowledge of Procedures

2. Adherence to Procedures

In this element, the basic performance of flight crew is developed by SOP skills which are required by aviation safety training regulation.

The Elements         

1- Knowledge of Procedures

It is essential for FCM to be thoroughly familiar with published procedures 

A- Normal Procedures

— Know normal procedures for all phases of flight

— Be thoroughly familiar with all relevant standard operating procedures.

B- Abnormal Procedures

— Know how to handle an abnormal situation

— Know memory actions by heart

— Be familiar with relevant abnormal procedures

2- Adhere to Procedures

Use and application of procedures is vital.

If the situation requires, deviation from standard procedures might be necessary. This requires prior announcement, and consultation with the crew.

A- Discipline

— Strictly apply required published procedures

— Perform procedures disciplined and accurately

— Deviate from procedures only if a higher degree of safety is achieved

Third: Interpersonal Competence

To explain this, the table chosen of the non-technical skills is called “area of interpersonal competence” and consists out of the four elements:

1. Communication,

2. Leadership and Teamwork,

3. Workload Management

4. Situation Awareness and Decision Making

The Elements                   

1- Communications

Generally, communication includes information transfer and social aspects.

Flight Crew member share information, and assure reception and understanding.

Suggestions of other crew members are considered, even if one does not agree. Ambiguities and uncertainties are announced.       

A - Atmosphere

— encourage open and honest communication

— achieve a positive first impression

— listen actively

— consider suggestions

B- Information Transfer

— share information

— assure reception

— assure understanding

C- Information Management

— clearly state plans and intentions

— announce ambiguities

— announce uncertainties

— speak frankly about problems within the crew

2- Leadership and Teamwork 

Led by the Commander, the crew achieves a safe and efficient performance in a climate, that is rational and free of intimidation. Social interaction conflicts have to be addressed and managed. Every crew member takes initiative to be an active and constructive part of the team.   

A- Commandability

— take the lead of the crew as Commander

— establish goals, control outcome and correct

— consider condition of others

B- Team Ability

— act as a constructive member of a team

— take initiative

— encourage others to cooperate

— support others

— seek ideas and views from others

— present own point of view

— provide appropriate feedback

— propose alternative ideas if appropriate

C- Conflict Management

— address and manage conflicts

— achieve rational climate

— avoid intimidation

— adopt assertive behaviour if appropriate and persist until attention of others is                         gained or corrective action taken

— accept appropriate criticism

— avoid competition between crew members

3- Workload Management

Flight Crew Member clearly prioritize operational tasks and distribute them appropriately. Available external and internal resources are used to accomplish task completion in good time. Stress and error are inherent factors of flight, and crew members aim to minimize their negative effects.  

A- Task

— prioritize operational tasks

— distribute tasks appropriately

— complete tasks in due time

— use external and internal resources

B- Time

— plan ahead

— allocate time to tasks appropriately

C- Stress and Error

— aim to minimize negative effects of stress

— aim to minimize effects of error

4- Situation awareness and Decision Making

Flight Crew Member recognize and anticipate factors affecting the flight. After these factors are evaluated, they choose the appropriate course of action.

To achieve a favourable outcome, Flight  Crew Member actively monitor execution and development of the situation.       

A- Preparation

— act with respect to time available

— avoid distractions

— anticipate factors affecting the flight

— recognize factors affecting the flight

B- Processing

— evaluate factors affecting the flight

— choose appropriate course of action

— monitor execution

— monitor development of the situation

— apply FOR-DEC for complex decisions:

— F-Facts, O-Options, R-Risks & Benefits,

D-Decision, E-Execution, C-Check

C- Interaction

— involve others in the process

— discuss discrepancies


In this element, the basic performance of flight crew is developed by CRM skills which are required by aviation safety training regulation.



For the assurance of a safe and efficient flight basically three areas of competence seem to be essential for Basic Performance of Flight Crew Members:

    1)    Technical

“Area of Technical Competence” includes the elements:

a)    Manual Aeroplane Control

b)    Knowledge of Systems

c)    Use of Automation

    2)    Procedural

“Area of Procedural Competence” includes the elements:

a)    Knowledge of Procedures

b)    Adherence to Procedures

    3)    Interpersonal

Non-Technical Skills is called “area of interpersonal competence” and consists out of the four elements:

a)    communication,

b)    leadership and teamwork,

c)    workload management

d)    situation awareness and decision making

Optimum overall performance is achieved by integrated application of the nine elements attached to three competence areas.

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