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Monday, January 26, 2015


Is it important for pilots to know why they do what they do?  I thinks so, but some might disagree.  I think we should talk about it.

I have stated before that my desire for this blog is to facilitate a dialog among aviation professionals.  I hope this post will initiate such a discussion. 

Standard Operating Policy (SOP) is the hallmark of private and commercial aviation.  It describes in detail the steps that are to be taken to accomplish a specific action or task. Is it relevant or required to know what the SOP is supposed to accomplish or why it is important?  Must SOP compliance accomplish a specific objective or may compliance be its own objective with no other purpose?

I would like for readers to “weigh in” on this subject based on a specific example.  Therefore, I pose these questions….

As a single pilot or a pilot in command of a multi crew aircraft, what is my responsibility in the following scenario?   I am landing on a runway that I have landed on many times before.  The aircraft is at a normal landing weight and I have landed at this weight many times before. There are no weather considerations and the wind is less than 10mph.  The runway is clear and dry.

Must I compute landing distance for this landing?  If the answer is no, why is it not required?  If the answer is yes, why is it mandatory?  If the only reason to obtain landing data is because it is included in SOP is that a valid reason? Is computing distance the same as evaluating landing performance?

Finally, should a single SOP be written for all conditions or should SOP be based on the relevant conditions?