Aviators' Model Code of Conduct
reprinted with permission from
concept is fully supported by the staff of Pilotfriend. We believe that a
code of conduct has been rather long in coming and this proposal is an
The Aviators’ Model Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) presents broad
guidance and recommendations for General Aviation (GA) pilots to improve
airmanship, flight safety, and to sustain and improve the GA community.
The Code of Conduct presents a vision of excellence in GA aviation. Its
principles both complement and supplement what is merely legal. The Code
of Conduct is not a “standard” and is not intended to be implemented as
The Principles: The Code of Conduct consists of the following seven
sections (each containing principles and sample recommended practices).
Passengers and People on
Training and Proficiency
Use of Technology
Advancement and Promotion
of General Aviation
The Sample Recommended
To further the effective
use of the Code of Conduct’s principles SRPs offer examples of ways pilots
might integrate the principles into their own practices. The SRPs (which
encourage selected personal minimums) can help GA pilots and organizations
develop practices uniquely suited to their own activities and situations.
Unlike the Code of Conduct principles themselves, the Sample
Recommended Practices may be modified to satisfy the unique capabilities
and requirements of each pilot, mission, aircraft, and GA
organization. Some SRPs do in fact exceed the stringency of their
associated Code of Conduct principles. They are not presented in any
particular order, except that instrument flight rule (IFR)-specific SRPs
appear last. Note: Not all flight operations are authorized in all
Benefits of the Code of
The Code of Conduct may
benefit pilots and the GA community by:
practices that will help pilots become better, safer aviators,
pilot’s roles within the larger GA community, by examining issues such as
improved pilot training, better airmanship, desired pilot conduct,
personal responsibility, and pilot’s contributions to the GA community
and society at large,
development and adoption of ethical guidelines,
by the GA community instead of burdensome government regulation, and
promoting GA & making
flying a more rewarding experience.
Aviators’ Model Code of
Conduct - Principles
make safety their number
seek excellence in
develop and exercise good
recognize and manage
adhere to prudent
operating practices and personal operating parameters (e.g., minimums),
act with responsibility
and courtesy, and
adhere to applicable laws
of Conduct Section I serves as a preamble to and umbrella for the Code of
Conduct’s other principles. It emphasizes safety, excellence, risk mgmt.
responsibility, and lays the foundation for accountability and heightened
Sample Recommended Practices:
Approach flying with the
utmost seriousness and diligence, recognizing that your life and the
lives of your passengers and others depend on you.
Recognize, accept and
plan for the costs of implementing proper safety practices (often greater
conditions and adapt to changing in-flight conditions based on sound
principles of airmanship & risk management.
Recognize the increased
risks associated with flying in inclement weather, at night, over water,
and over rugged, mountainous or forested terrain. Take steps to manage
those risks effectively and prudently without exceeding personal
periodically review and refine personal checklists & personal minimums
for all phases of flight ops. Seek input and review of these materials by
a certificated flight instructor.
Commit to making personal
wellness a precondition of flying (for example, by using the I’M SAFE
checklist before each flight).
Know your personal
susceptibility to hypoxia, carry supplemental oxygen on flights where its
use may benefit you or your passengers; and establish oxygen personal
minimums—e.g., daytime above 8,000 ft. MSL & night time above 5,000 ft.
See and be seen. Employ
techniques for seeing other aircraft, e.g., scanning, & techniques to
enhance your own visibility to avoid other aircraft, e.g., the use of
radio, lights, & strobes (except while taxiing or in instrument
meteorological conditions (IMC)).
Minimize turns and
manoeuvres below 500 feet AGL (except as required for landings and
obstacle departure procedures).
Comply with or exceed the
requirements for mandatory inspections & Airworthiness Directives (ADs),
& voluntarily adhere to manufacturer's recommended inspections, service
bulletins, & checklists.
For cross-country operations, identify alternate landing sites and
available fuel along the planned route prior to departure in case
deteriorating weather or other emergency circumstances make continued
Adhere to applicable
flying club/school and FBO/flight centre rules and operating practices.
Develop and adhere to
personal conservative operating parameters, such as the following
altitude/decision height (MDA/DH) - exercise extreme caution and
voluntarily limit approaches where ceilings are under 800 ft. AGL and
visibility is under 1 mi. for straight-in approaches or ceilings are
under 1,000 ft. AGL and visibility is under 3 mi. for circling
approaches. Never execute a circling approach at night unless there is
no alternative and you are capable of safely executing such an approach.
In deteriorating weather conditions and at night, observe higher
Approaches - limit
approaches to a maximum of two (under the same or deteriorating weather
conditions) & do not prematurely cancel IFR. In an unstable approach
inside the Final Approach Fix in IMC, execute the missed approach
Departures - select a
“departure alternate” landing site (for emergency landing just after
departure), and depart only in conditions above applicable arrival or
departure minimums (unless a nearby airport has an available ILS).
Night operations -
recognize the increased risks associated with night ops. and fly IFR
whenever practical at night (if rated and proficient).
People on the Surface
maintain passenger safety
first and then reasonable passenger comfort,
manage risks and avoid
unnecessary risks to passengers and to people and property on the surface
and in other aircraft,
brief passengers on
planned flight procedures and inform them of any significant or unusual
risks associated with the flight,
seek to prevent unsafe
conduct by passengers, and
avoid operations that may
alarm or annoy passengers or people on the surface.
You are solely responsible for the safety and comfort of your passengers.
Passengers place their lives in pilots’ hands, and pilots should exercise
sufficient care on their behalf. Such care includes, but is not limited
to, disclosing unusual risks, & exercising prudent risk mgmt. Pilot
responsibility extends to people on the ground and in other aircraft.
Keep your passengers as
safe as possible—as though they were your closest loved ones.
Aspire to act toward your
passengers with professionalism.
Seek to improve safety
margins, and always act conservatively to maintain flight safety.
Tactfully disclose risks
to each passenger and accept a prospective passenger’s decision to
refrain from participating.
Require that passengers
wear seat belts and shoulder harnesses, and consider the use of headsets
(or ear plugs) during flight operations.
Provide an instructive
passenger briefing in advance of the anticipated flight.
Determine the applicable
experience, background and concerns of each passenger and incorporate
them into the pre-flight briefing and flight activities.
Become familiar with, and
if feasible, consider obtaining favourable insurance coverage for
passengers, and urge passengers to do so too.
Instruct passengers to
avoid touching or obstructing critical flight controls.
Encourage passengers to
serve as safety resources – for example, by having them identify nearby
aircraft, organize charts, and keep track of landmarks.
passengers for safety & security purposes.
If practicable, favour
precision approaches over non-precision approaches when carrying
participate in training
to maintain and improve proficiency beyond minimum legal requirements,
participate in flight
safety education programmes,
act with vigilance and
train to recognize and
deal effectively with emergencies, and
accurately log hours
flown and manoeuvres practiced to satisfy training and currency
Training and proficiency underlie aviation safety. Recurrent training is a
major component of flight safety. Such training includes both air and
ground training. Each contributes significantly to flight safety and
neither can substitute for the other. Training sufficient to promote
flight safety may well exceed what is required by law.
Pursue a rigorous,
life-long course of aviation study.
Follow and periodically
review programs of study or series of training exercises to improve
proficiency. Adhere to a training plan that will yield new ratings,
certificates and endorsements—or at the very least, greater flight
Train for flight in
unique environments such as over water, remote or desert, and mountainous
terrain. Train for survival and carry adequate survival equipment.
Know your aircraft’s
performance limitations, how to plan flights and determine fuel
Understand and use
appropriate procedures in the event radio communications are lost.
Achieve and maintain
proficiency in the efficient and functional operation of
technology-intensive aviation equipment.
Know current aviation
regulations and understand their implications & rationale. Spend time
each month reviewing the aviation regulations.
Understand and comply
with the privileges and limitations of your pilot certificate.
Attend aviation training
programs offered by industry organizations or your civil aviation
Participate in the civil
aviation authority Pilot Proficiency Award Programmes if available.
Keep up to date with
diverse and relevant aviation pubs.
Study and develop a
practical knowledge of aviation weather.
Each month, review
reports of recent or nearby accidents or incidents, focusing on
to applicable civil aviation authority practical test standards
periodically, and complete additional training as necessary to exceed
those minimum standards.
Before attempting a
cross-country flight or carrying passengers in an unfamiliar aircraft,
complete at least one training flight in that unfamiliar-aircraft model,
and discern differences among similar aircraft (that is, same make and
model but varying tail numbers).
manoeuvres near highly populated areas.
Seek to fly at least once
every two weeks and at least one night a month, to include at least three
night take-offs and landings, or else refrain from flying at night.
Develop a practical
understanding of the mechanics and systems of each aircraft you fly.
Join a “type club”
appropriate to the aircraft you fly to learn more about it (e.g., the
Cessna Pilots Association, Cirrus Owners
and Pilots Association, the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association,
the Piper Owners Society or other aircraft-specific club).
Complete the equivalent
of a Flight Review annually rather than every two years and, if
instrument rated, an instrument proficiency check (IPC) every six months.
including for day, night, and IFR operations that exceeds minimum
Register with your civil
aviation authority for safety meeting announcements and safety
seek to maintain the
security of all persons and property associated with their aviation
remain vigilant and
immediately report suspicious, reckless or illegal activities,
secure their aircraft to
prevent unauthorized use, and
airspace except when approved or necessary in an emergency.
Section addresses preventing criminal acts and promoting national
security. The events of 9/11 have had a profound impact on aviation in
many countries and have created demands for responsive action. Enhanced
security awareness in many countries by aviators is a stark new reality
for the GA community. Accordingly, this section responds proactively to
various new threats and vulnerabilities.
Check thoroughly for
temporary flight restrictions before every flight and in-flight during
Use a transponder (with
alt. encoding) whenever authorized.
Use additional or
enhanced locks or other anti-theft mechanisms to secure all aircraft.
When carrying passengers
who are not well known to the pilot, examine passenger carry-on bags for
Confirm that ramp access
gates are closed securely behind you to prevent “tailgating” by
Become familiar with
Airport Watch or similar organisations and other means to report and
deter suspicious activities.
Report flight safety
hazards or anomalies (such as inoperative VORs and poor radio coverage)
and security concerns to the appropriate authorities.
Use VFR “flight
following” (in Europe, “Flight Information Service”) when practicable.
Avoid deviating from an
active flight plan (both IFR and VFR) or from a clearance without
Consider flying IFR (if
rated) whenever practicable.
recognize and seek to
mitigate the environmental impact of aircraft operations,
minimize the discharge of
fuel, oil, and other chemicals into the environment, particularly during
refuelling, pre-flight preparations, and servicing,
sensitive areas, and
mitigate aircraft noise
in populated or other noise-sensitive areas and comply with applicable
Mitigation of pollution caused by aviation activities is important both to
the general public, to minimize harm to the environment, and to the GA
community, to avoid unfavourable public perceptions. Indeed, environmental
issues such as noise pollution can close airports and otherwise jeopardize
GA. Other environmental impacts of GA have garnered less attention but
nevertheless deserve emphasis.
Use a Gasoline Analysis
Test Separator jar for all fuel sampling and return fuel samples to the
fuel tanks or dispose of them properly.
Learn and adopt
environmentally responsible methods for all aspects of aircraft care,
especially degreasing aircraft and handling run-off.
Learn relevant applicable
local noise abatement procedures and adhere to them whenever it is safe
to do so.
Be aware of the noise
signature of your aircraft, and follow procedures to reduce noise, such
as reducing engine power and propeller RPM, as soon as practicable after
Conform to recommended
practices (such as those of the National Park Service) when flying near
wilderness and environmentally sensitive areas. Consider the impact of
aircraft on wildlife and people on the surface.
providers (such as FBOs, repair services and aircraft cleaners) that
adhere to environmentally friendly practices.
become familiar with and
properly use appropriate available cost-effective technologies,
airport advisory frequencies and report position when approaching
non-towered or unattended airports and other higher-risk areas,
use transponders or
next-generation position-indicating technologies during in-flight
operations unless otherwise authorized by ATC, inoperable, or not
equipped, and use ATC “flight following” for VFR enroute operations, and
transceivers and navigational equipment and use them in appropriate
Innovative, compact, inexpensive technologies have greatly expanded the
capabilities of GA aircraft. This Section encourages the use of such
Use radios and
transponders consistently, except when not authorized.
When practicable, invest
in new technologies that advance flight safety, and train to use them
properly. Learn and understand the features and limitations of such
Keep a back-up (portable
or permanently installed) radio/navigation aid accessible (including
extra batteries or a back-up power supply) during all flight operations.
Maintain all avionics and
flight instruments to keep them operational, current and approved for the
programming navigation systems in flight may distract pilots from other
pilot duties and increase programming errors.
navigation systems while taxiing (for single-pilot operations).
Maintain competency and
proficiency in “conventional” flight planning and ops. to enhance flight
safety in the event of the failure or unavailability of advanced
technologies or services.
avoid flying in or near level 2 (or higher) weather radar returns,
especially when convection is present or expected.
In IMC and at night,
operate with an operational autopilot or a qualified second pilot if
In IMC, operate with
attitude-indicator (AI) system redundancy if practicable and maintain
Advancement and Promotion of General Aviation
advance and promote
general aviation, safety, and adherence to the Code of Conduct,
volunteer in and
contribute to organizations that promote general aviation, and use their
aviation skills to contribute to society at large,
for aviation service providers,
advance a general
aviation culture that values openness, humility, positive attitudes, and
the pursuit of personal improvement, and
promote ethical behaviour within the GA community.
General aviation has a well-recognized (and undeserved) public relations
problem that is, in many respects, worsening. Vigilance and responsive
action by the GA community are essential to ensure GA vitality and to
enhance the GA experience for both you and for others.
Strive to conform fully
to the Code of Conduct.
Serve as a GA ambassador
to the public by providing accurate information and refuting
misinformation concerning GA activities, and by encouraging potential
Volunteer in support of
Make charitable use of
your aviation resources (for example, by transporting persons seeking
medical care or donating flight time to youth and environmental
Express appreciation to
controllers and service personnel for their assistance and good service.
aviation-related fund-raising events.
criticism from your fellow aviators (and provide the same when asked).
Adhere to the highest
ethical principles in all aviation dealings, including business
Seek to resolve disputes
informally and congenially.
||Above Ground Level
||Air Traffic Control
||Fixed Base Operator (servicing)
||Instrument Flight Rules
||Instrument Meteorological Conditions
||Instrument Proficiency Check
||Min. Descent Altitude/Decision Height
||Personal Flotation Device
||Practical Test Standards
||Temporary Flight Restrictions
||Visual Flight Rules
||Visual Meteorological Conditions
The Pilot Friends implementation is a
customized version of the Aviators’
Model Code of Conduct created by Michael S. Baum. ©2003-2006
Pilots and the aviation
community may use the Aviators’
Model Code of Conduct as a resource for code of conduct
development, although it is recommended that this be supported by
independent research on the suitability of its principles for specific or
local applications and situations. It is not intended to provide legal
advice and must not be relied upon as such.
Edits, Errata, Comments
Aviators’ Model Code of Conduct is a living document, intended to
be updated periodically to reflect changes in aviation practices and the
aviation environment. Please send your suggestions, edits, errata,
questions and comments to:
Aviators’ Model Code of Conduct
has had the benefit of extensive editorial comment and suggestions by a
diverse body of the GA community, and beyond. See
. The Permanent Editorial Board of the Code of Conduct is presented at http://secureav.com/PEB.pdf