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Old 12th Dec 2012, 20:06   #1 (permalink)
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Not respecting SOPs

Considering the fact that 75% of aviation accidents are directly related to human factors, pilots should make every effort to respect procedures established by the manufacturer and airline SOPs. Has anyone of you guys come across any of the situations listed below ?Some of the items are for A320. How would you/ could you correct that when a majority of pilots do not respect SOPs or deliberately violate SOPs because they are simply considered as minor items?

Undocumented procedures generally speaking like resetting breakers when not documented.
Cockpit preparation carried out in an anarchic way, switching on or off whatever comes across.
Before start check list requested when external power connected , or takeoff data not inserted, or fuel pumps off.
No headset used for departure and landing and when below FL100.( Eu ops requirement)
Breifing not performed.
Checklist is read by memory
Beacon switched On, with ground personel working and cargo door open.
Reluctant to use Flaps 3 for take off , and considered as " critical flaps setting" although giving the optimum performance.
After start checklist requested with NSW still disconnected and amber on ECAM memo.
Below FL 100 PF head down on MCDU, and performing PNF tasks.
During Lvp take off , ILS pushbutton ON. Not aware of yaw bar function.
During LVP ,Flight control check performed while taxing out.
During LVP, before take off checklist performed while taxing out.
During LVP , taxi speed above maximum authorised speed. " it"s okay I can see the green lights very well "
During LVP not switching on all lights when stopped.
When *the clearance is given *while taxing out, PF is setting the FCU cleared altitude and setting the transponder head down, and in the same time taxing the aircraft . Disregarding SOP and Airbus 3rd golden rule " one head up at all times "
Accepting intersection take off on ATC request although performance data for that intersection is not available "we can do it as it is just 50 meters shift, no problem"
Descent below MSA
No arrival breifing.
Not considering Optimum FL.
When PNF is copying wheather from Volmet, ATIS, PF *listening out *also on volmet or atis frequency with loud volume and nobody listening out on active ATC frequency.
Standby altimeter set and left in QNH *while during descent or just before top od descent in an anticipation way , before being cleared to an altitude.

Approach flown without any chart .
Refuelling with pax on board without dual communication established
Not respectingthe procedure to open the cockpit door.
Any ATC request to the pilot would give an affirmative answer .. Without calculating, without having a look at the performance of the aircraft Can you make *Fl 360 with 10 nm ? Affirm , then climbing until vls is reached.
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 20:15   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, is this one Captain, or a compilation of many Captains within the one company?
If it is one Captain, I would be refusing to fly with him. If it is an overall company culture, I would be dusting off the CV. An accident waiting to happen....
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 20:36   #3 (permalink)
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c2, just change to a reputable operator. Way too many deficiencies to tackle for my taste.
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 20:36   #4 (permalink)
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Does your company have an operational flight data analysis program?

Even for small operators with small fleets and aircraft with bread-and-butter parameter sets, a decent FDM/FDA/FOQA Program can be run, (provided it has been set up correctly and the data validated.)

A question:
Is this person unique in disregarding SOPs or is this a company-wide trend?

Either way, a flight data analysis program will be able to provide feedback on the daily operation so that these "violations" (Reason's definition etc., not regulatory), may be addressed.

I suspect that a company-wide trend will not welcome a flight data program but the proof is in the results. If such SOP violations are limited to one or two persons, there are other ways to address the matter. As always, such problems if chronic and not once-off's, almost always start at the top of the organization: What is tolerated as an operational standard by senior management is what will occur on the line.

Very often, and where the intent is to improve safety and not resort to ineffective methods such as blame, enforcement and discipline, a flight data program will provide the very basis for change because it provides data not opinions and does not countenance the usual psychological or organizational denial mentality that often those new to flight data analysis can sometimes have.

Good luck. If that is truly the way someone's operation is being routinely carried out, that is seriously disrespectful of one's professional integrity, one's colleagues, one's employer and one's passengers. History shows that it is an accident waiting to occur.
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 22:35   #5 (permalink)
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This is not a unique person behaviour, but rather a wide trend noticed in aviation industry, not everywhere hopefully but enough airlines worldwide. And I am sure that some of you can recognise one or more scenarios listed above.Unfortunately this also happens, sometimes , in reputable airlines which are recognized as being the safest or the best.

I do not understand this lack of discipline , nor the culture and disrespect for the profession that we chose for passion and we all know the result of such behaviour.

The Flight data monitoring has limited capabilities, like it would not be able to detect wether the FMGS entered data was made by PF or PNF, or FCU entered altitude.
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Old 13th Dec 2012, 07:22   #6 (permalink)
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Citation2, next time we fly together I think a little chat might be in order!
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Old 13th Dec 2012, 07:42   #7 (permalink)
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Many of those who "commit" those acts will kill you for really minos deviations, like jot setting the loudspeaker knob at one o'clock or something lime that...

It a part of life
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Old 13th Dec 2012, 08:10   #8 (permalink)

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The Flight data monitoring has limited capabilities, like it would not be able to detect wether the FMGS entered data was made by PF or PNF, or FCU entered altitude.
You seriously need to get a hobby.

Last edited by de facto; 13th Dec 2012 at 08:51.
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Old 13th Dec 2012, 12:49   #9 (permalink)
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Makes you wonder if the SOP's are too prescriptive leaving nothing left for the pilot to use initiative or be flexible. I simply cannot imagine all these sort of gripes occurring when USAF and RAF bomber crews were flying their single pilot IFR four engine bombers with their crew behind them during missions over enemy territory. And they were getting shot at as well.

While I dips me lid to those old bomber crews I sometimes shake my head in disbelief at the proliferation of verbal "SOP's" and other such unnecessarily complex flight deck 'procedures" foisted upon intelligent crews that I am sure could fly quite safely and efficiently using normal airmanship given half the chance.
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Old 21st Dec 2012, 23:24   #10 (permalink)
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Thread inadvertently deleted. Back to the front page in case there be further commentary.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 01:58   #11 (permalink)
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SOP's are too prescriptive leaving nothing left for the pilot to use initiative or be flexible
I sometimes shake my head in disbelief at the proliferation of verbal "SOP's" and other such unnecessarily complex flight deck 'procedures" foisted upon intelligent crews that I am sure could fly quite safely and efficiently using normal airmanship given half the chance
Nicely said.And you're Australian and older generation.It had to be.

As for the original post.The failure to brief is poor airmanship.Checklist by memory is also poor airmanship.Checklist discipline is key.I suppose a two item checklist like descent can be done off the top of the head.I dont see a problem with that but it should never be trained that way.Descent below MSA?Well,you do that on every landing but what context?The Captain doing things whilst taxying?Well,it depends what really.And the conditions at the time.Some are very good at it and some arent.I dont agree that a Captain taxying should never do anything else but taxi.A good Captain will know what he/she can do safely.The Beacon on with cargo doors open is a form of communication.Its neither good nor bad airmanship really.It might get the doors closed quicker or it might not.Standby altimeter set in QNH early/late..okay now things are getting a little picky.Dont forget that flying by rote is in itself poor airmanship.Maybe theres a reason he/she wants the QNH.At any rate its something that a good co-pilot would observe,make a mental note of,and say nothing more on the subject.Not considering optimum FL?So many variables here.Turbulence and wind components are two I can think of.Also,as a very general rule,more experienced pilots fly below optimum whilst more inexperienced pilots gleefully climb to optimum and above not knowing just how dangerous it can be.However,flying more than 2000 feet below opt on a regular basis would cost the company and so would also be poor airmanship.The headset not on below 100?yes,it should be worn but the cockpit spkr and handmike will still enable timely comms.Its not a major infraction to be honest.App flown without any chart?Thats poor airmanship unless on a visual approach I suppose but the chart would still be to hand.Not respecting the cockpit door procedure?Well,that one would cost you your job in the States.This is a SOP well worth following I agree.Taxi speed?Again it shows a general pattern to flout rules but in of itself its not of great concern unless taxiway conditions are hazardous.What was the infringement?3 knots?More?

The danger of your post is that the person you describe is someone who has poor airmanship rather than someone who disregards SOP's.By calling good practice/judgement SOP rather than what it really is(ie airmanship),you fuel the fire for an ever-increasing tide of fiddly procedures to be imposed upon perfectly good flight crew who can think very well all by themselves.The only actual "procedure" you mentioned was the cockpit door SOP and that is certainly a good one.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 02:39   #12 (permalink)
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Every captain I've flown with have their way of doing things. Not always exactly by the book. As long as those are just minor deviations that aren't safety related, I let it pass without giving it a second thought. From the list that would involve things like proper door opening procedure, not climbing all the way to optimum FL, no arrival briefing (when both are familiar) etc. If I have any questions I will ask, otherwise wake him up at TOD. A certain captain is known for reporting people for silly things... not exactly a treat to fly with him. Not the type of reputation I'd like about myself.

Without stepping on their toes too hard and challenge their authority, there are obviously times when you have to put your foot down. It has happened a few times and usually leads to a pretty tensed day with not too much chit-chat. Not that it has to be, but the tensed environment lead to a break down in communication and CRM. Some people have a very task orientated style, some are more person orientated. Dealing with SOP adherence I think requires a little bit of both.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 11:22   #13 (permalink)
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Agree with 172 about briefings, but after reading our ASRs I am changing my attitude to these things as most incidents seem to occur at our base, so complacency maybe rife.

I also agree with not dying in a ditch over non safety deviations. But if the deviation is also clearly inefficient I think it is my duty to press for some kind of acceptale rationale, but at the end of the day he is the boss.

However, when I do have to insist on a different course of action, it thus far has never resulted in a tense day. Quite often the conversation has the potential to get a little tense as some guys can get a bit defensive initially, but so far I have always found a way to get my concern across and dealt with without sacrificing the convivial atmosphere. My most difficult time was with a TRE inappropriately interfereing with the decision making process on a line check! But we survived

Last edited by Sciolistes; 22nd Dec 2012 at 11:22.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 12:02   #14 (permalink)
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Good SOP's are the building blocks of a flexable and safe operation not the word of god written in tablets of stone never to be departed from.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 12:56   #15 (permalink)
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A lot of points you mention are valid, but a lot of points could also fall under the 'seeing the bigger picture' or 'experience'.

-Not calculating if they can reach a certain level before answering 'affirm' to ATC. Experience comes into this. Also the knowledge that they can always timely inform ATC if and when the restriction cannot be made. If you have to calculate each and every ATC request then you will make everyone's life more difficult than necessary 9 out of 10 times.

-Not considering optimum. Well, that depends on what the optimum is based. Do you ask them why they don't climb? Maybe they don't care, but maybe they have a valid reason. Maybe they have route experience about early descents. Ask!

-Before start checklist with external power connected. Is that a problem? How do you do that checklist with an APU inop?

-Briefing not performed. Do you brief everything at your home base? Probably not. If not, then you are on the same sliding scale...careful before you point your finger.

Again, most other points you raise are very valid. I just want to impart on you that the world is not always black and white.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 13:54   #16 (permalink)
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sounds like an immature safety culture might be in place or a misconception of the roles assigned. Perhaps a closer look into part A might prove useful to remind ourselves of the authorities and responsibilities. Put it simple: Commander has the authority, apart from responsibilities and F/O responsibility to assist the commander and to contribute towards safe conduct. The commander should ideally balance between being person and task oriented however exercise assertive style, encouraging and promoting open communication channels at the same time. CRM is supposed to be an effective tool and not grounds for competition or abuse. Cultural, ethnical, religious differences can be mitigated by establishing a safety culture revolving around the subject rather than person. Most of the time it's not what you say but how you say it. For the F/Os a piece of advise: remember a commander was in your place you haven't been in his/her, for the commanders: nothing is more worthy than a timely advise from a fellow crew member. There're always bad apples here and there but in a proper safety culture it's down to individuals not the whole entity.

Last edited by 9.G; 22nd Dec 2012 at 14:25.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 15:43   #17 (permalink)
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SOP's are not in place to be used as instruments of torture. Following them is excellent guidance. Beating the other guy to death with them isn't.

Strive to follow them. At the end of the day if the other guy thinks you followed every SOP, or has to think about which one's you missed, you've done well.

And deviating from SOP? Figure out the balance. What matters and what's just the latest soup du jour that might be different tomorrow? If every little thing bothers you the other guy isn't the problem and heaven help your FO's when you upgrade.

Once you figure out the balance that works for you remember how the non SOP cockpit made you feel. Use that to be a better Captain to your FO's when you upgrade.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 18:23   #18 (permalink)
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Guidance for wise men and obedience of fools. However, there are times when it is very foolish to deviate. Knowing the difference is for wise men. The sad thing is I've had F/O's who did not know when to deviate and when the SOP was not the best thing to do: e.g. "use V/S 1000fpm when 1000' from cleared altitude. DO NOT use V/S on departure until flaps are up." On a SID with ATC cleared level lower then Jeppe: noise abate 1 so accelerate at 3000' agl. Cleared only 4000' due traffic descending 5000'. TA on said traffic passing 3000', and of course flaps still extended. I suggest V/S to avoid an RA. "We're not allowed to do that." AGH! Airmanship. Wise men stuff.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 19:20   #19 (permalink)
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SOPs could be deviated if the commander deems necessary for the safe conduct of the flight. As professionals, we all know this basic rule.

The concern is more related to a routine flight where no particular reason dictate a deviation from SOPs.

An altitude that is 4000 ft below the optimum level produces a fuel penalty of 5% as a general rule. This is your contigency fuel.
If this culture is spread througout the company with a fleet of 50 or 100 aircrafts , figure out the financial damage , I will let you do the maths.

This could contribute to the factors that will close your company, and let you jobless.
The commander has a duty to operate safely And economically. Safety being on top of priorities.

Now if your decision is not just arbitrary and you have reasons at flying even 8000 ft below optimum level, and if your common sense , experience and airmanship make you believe that this is the best course of action for the safe conduct of the flight, considering weather , turbulence etc.. then your well intentioned and thought decision is not just praiseworthy but you are an exemple for the aviation community.

Minor or Major deviations ? I do not think that one is able to quantify the severity of the deviation.
Regulations have been written with blood and accidents unfortunately. And I am sure that we could have learnt something from the " bomber of WW2" , like previously posted above, in order not to reproduce some mistakes. They might appear " minor " to you and could be devastating at some point.

Firstly wearing the headset is a EU ops requirement from the moment you take your clearance. Okay not using the headset below FL100? Big deal? Maybe nothing will happen on "that " flight. But you are just adding a contributing factor to an accident, or you are just adding a hole in your Swiss Cheese model. ( you'd better have French cheese at that point)
Communication being the primary tool of a good synergetic cockpit, by deciding not to wear the headset (just because they bother you ) , you are installing a barrier to communication, which could be severe in critical times, or critical phase of flight.

I can't remember dates and time but some time ago , a corporate jetliner crashed because the flight crew failed to cross check the validity of the approach plates . Thats's where " Mr Pilot " should question himself about the pertinence of the validity plate crosscheck. And not just come up with " don't bother me with your 13-2 effective.."

If it's been implemented , bear in mind that it is for a serious reason and not just for decoration.

SOPs are not a one day job research. Nobody came up one day and said " this is how to do it " We learn every day and it is a never ending process.

Learning is done through experience and mistakes . And SOPs are the experience of our predecessors, and manufacturers .They are also made from the feedbacks of many airlines around the world, which experience different environement , they are evolving and not fixed as being " the science" .
That is why you have revisions.

if you have reasons to believe that SOPS will affect safety in that particular situation that s where you will use common sense and airmanship .
That' s where you will address your concern to your airline which will probably forward to the manufacturer, then maybe a revision will come up , and I will learn from you.

Last edited by Citation2; 22nd Dec 2012 at 19:21.
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 19:26   #20 (permalink)
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Mate, relax, we know about SOP's. Most of us are very conscientious SOP huggers, at least that is the case in my major LCC, and I guess it is so for most major outfits so there is no need to preach. Now did you read our replies?
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