Opinion 05/2013

Sterile flight deck procedures

Opinion of the European Aviation Safety Agency for a Regulation amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 of 5 October 2012 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

This Opinion addresses a safety issue related to flight deck procedures. The safety recommendations linked to this issue were assessed during the development of this proposal.

The specific objective of this Opinion is to mitigate the risks linked to errors due to disturbance or distraction of the flight crew during phases of flight where the flight crew must be able to focus on their duties.

This Opinion proposes to introduce the concept of a sterile flight deck, to consider the taxi phase of aeroplanes as a safety-critical activity, and to introduce procedures for taxiing to enhance runway safety.

The proposed changes are expected to increase safety during critical phases of flight (for helicopters per definition this includes taxiing), for aeroplanes during taxiing, and for flight below 10 000 feet, except cruise flight. With the proposed changes, ICAO compliance is ensured.