Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
How Sterile Is The Cockpit Below 10,000'?  
User currently offlineLevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 994 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6028 times:

Hello everyone!

It was my understanding that below 10,000 feet pilots are not supposed to be distracted from their duties. However, I was spotting at JFK last Saturday and as NA B767 took off from 31L and switched over the departure I overheard the following conversation between a pilot and ATC:

Controller: North American 131 heavy, what is your destination for today?
Pilot: Lagos, Nigeria.
Controller: Wow!
Pilot: Yeah, about 10 hours of wow.
Controller: Do you have a lot of passengers today?
Pilot: About 150.
Controller: There seem to be a greater number of flights going to Africa these days, is there anything
significant about it?
Pilot: Oil.

Now my questions is whether or not this type of conversation is in compliance with the sterile cockpit rule? My understanding was that pilots are not supposed to discuss anything outside of operating an aircraft until they climb to 10,000 feet. Is that the case? If yes, did the controller violate the rule?

Leo.


A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWe're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6003 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
How Sterile Is The Cockpit Below 10,000'?

I wouldn't eat off it.



Dear moderators: No.
User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2683 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5988 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
If yes, did the controller violate the rule?

The controller didn't violate the rule because he or she is not in the cockpit.

As for the pilots...the controller had a question and the pilot answered it. I'm sure someone in the FAA could raise a stink about it for no good reason if they wanted to but it's not a big deal.

How sterile the cockpit normally is below 10,000 feet depends on the situation. Sometimes something out the window draws a comment out of someone and someone else says something about it as well, as the climb or descent progresses. If things are busy it is indeed a sterile cockpit in that not really much of anything is said that does not pertain to the approach.


User currently offlineJoemac547 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5881 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

When landing on 28 L/R @ SFO, the pilot will more often than not give the passengers a "head's up and not to worry" when there is another aircraft lining up for the other runway. Technically speaking, is this a violation?

User currently offlineBigJimFX From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 321 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5839 times:

Well when I jumpseated w/ FX, a sterile cockpit basically meant no distractions in the cockpit. Talking to ATC is kinda mandatory. If the pilot doing the talking felt distracted he would have just said "I dunno" (Regarding the question) or not reply to the "wow". Sometimes when a controller asks a destination, he's usually trying to simplify the route, or offer a direct clearance if able. (Or if the aircraft is capable)

Quoting Joemac547 (Reply 3):
When landing on 28 L/R @ SFO, the pilot will more often than not give the passengers a "head's up and not to worry" when there is another aircraft lining up for the other runway. Technically speaking, is this a violation?

I don't think so. Granted it's the pilots prerogative but it may be covered under a Pax briefing. Maybe a commercial pilot can help elaborate for us.



I'd like to thank me for flying Me Airways...
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5604 times:

14 CFR 121.542 Flight crewmember duties:

Quote:
[...](b) No flight crewmember may engage in, nor may any pilot in command permit, any activity during a critical phase of flight which could distract any flight crewmember from the performance of his or her duties or which could interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties. Activities such as eating meals, engaging in nonessential conversations within the cockpit and nonessential communications between the cabin and cockpit crews, and reading publications not related to the proper conduct of the flight are not required for the safe operation of the aircraft.

(c) For the purposes of this section, critical phases of flight includes all ground operations involving taxi, takeoff and landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet, except cruise flight.

Based on my interpertation of that provision (which of course, only applies to the US, however I imagine other jurisdictions have similar provisions) a few things come to mind
a) The intent is clear -- they want the flight deck to be free from wholly unnecessary distractions that could impede the safe operation of the aircraft (i.e. eating meals or reading magazines)
b) Non-essential conversations between the flight deck and ATC are not mentioned, and I fail to see how a nonessential exchange (I can't really call _that_ a conversation, IMHO) with ATC would have a material impact on flight safety)

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineAirPortugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5468 times:

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 5):
b) Non-essential conversations between the flight deck and ATC are not mentioned, and I fail to see how a nonessential exchange (I can't really call _that_ a conversation, IMHO) with ATC would have a material impact on flight safety)

Agreed. If the flight crew was so busy that they couldnt handle unnecessary conversation, they just wouldnt answer.
Im sure the controller would understand.



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1446 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5348 times:

Quoting Joemac547 (Reply 3):
When landing on 28 L/R @ SFO, the pilot will more often than not give the passengers a "head's up and not to worry" when there is another aircraft lining up for the other runway. Technically speaking, is this a violation?

A little off topic but this would have come in handy for the poor lady sitting next to me when I flew an OZ 772 a few months ago landing on 28L with a UA 757 parallel to us for 28R. She freaked out claiming that the pilots must not be seeing each other. Needless to say, Parallel landings on the 28's at SFO are a lot closer that they sometimes look.



If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlineGeo772 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5289 times:

I jump seated on a 747 out of JFK a few years ago back to London and once we had cleaned up (flaps and gear up) and the autopilot was engaged the crew workload was substantially reduced, despite being well below 10,000ft. However the crew didn't actually start 'normal' conversation again until we had reached our initial cruise, I suspect this was so that they would be more alert for instructions from ATC.


Flown on A300B4/600,A319/20/21,A332/3,A343,B727,B732/3/4/5/6/7/8,B741/2/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772/3,DC10,L1011-200,VC10,MD80,
User currently offlineVgnAtl747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1513 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5154 times:

Some of the EV crews used to cite this rule as their excuse for not calling "in range" into ops. All of the other airlines serving our airport always used to call their respective ground ops, and OH pilots used to always call in, but not EV... it was always a guess as to when they'd show up, since even the DL computer was wrong 80% of the time. We ended up using FlightAware in our ops, as it was more accurate than the DL computer and EV crews never called in.


Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines
User currently offlineLevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4937 times:

Quoting VgnAtl747 (Reply 9):
We ended up using FlightAware in our ops, as it was more accurate than the DL computer and EV crews never called in.

How accurate is FlightAware? I know that flytecomm is delayed by at least 10 minutes. Also, aren't the crews required to notify ops as to their expected time of arrival? I guess it really depends on the company.

Leo.



A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
User currently offlineAllstarflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4913 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
My understanding was that pilots are not supposed to discuss anything outside of operating an aircraft until they climb to 10,000 feet. Is that the case? If yes, did the controller violate the rule?

Good answer by GoBoeing . . .

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 2):
The controller didn't violate the rule because he or she is not in the cockpit.

 checkmark 

Quoting Joemac547 (Reply 3):
Technically speaking, is this a violation?

As Lincoln quoted from the CFR, I don't think it's a big deal - could be helping out an FA by calming down any fidgety pax.

When I jumpseat, the pilots always remind me of the 10,000' rule. And I've always kept my mouth shut. But they usually tell me to let them know if I see anything (pretty much relating to the Comair incident in LEX last year), in which case I would have no problem grabbing their shoulders if I had to do so (but a simple "Hey, Captain" would probably suffice  Wink ).

-R


User currently offlineHighFlyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4909 times:

I listen to BOS TWR on liveatc.nbet and more often than not pilots or the controllers quip to each other..its keeps things lights without violating the rule....


121
User currently offlineBohlman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4694 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
How Sterile Is The Cockpit Below 10,000'?

Not at all. Usually it's relatively sterile until final cleanup, but after that ...

Keep in mind that it only takes but a few minutes to climb up beyond 10000'. But honestly the rule is a little silly, because pilots are competent and professional enough to know when they should be talking and when they should be flying. If radio transmissions are flying at FL200 you can bet that they're not going to sit there chatting about quadruple overtimes in the NHL.


User currently offlineHigherflyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4578 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
How Sterile Is The Cockpit Below 10,000'?

I always wear a condom when below 10,000' due to sterility issues.


User currently offlineHigney85 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4514 times:

As a 121 pilot I can tell you that it really depends. Everyone is aware of the sterile cockpit, but normally below 10k its rather busy in the cockpit- There are checklists, ATC turns/climbs/ advisories for other traffic, and both crewmembers are occupied with their duties. Does that mean that when we are leveled off at 8000' nobody speaks? No- but most of the time we couldn't tell stories/read the paper/etc because we are busy. The rule is there to keep people focused on what is going on b/c statistically the most accidents happen down low in close proximity to airports.

User currently offlineVgnAtl747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1513 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4467 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Reply 10):
How accurate is FlightAware? I know that flytecomm is delayed by at least 10 minutes. Also, aren't the crews required to notify ops as to their expected time of arrival? I guess it really depends on the company.

We found that FlightAware is fairly accurate. There is a delay before it shows that the aircraft has left the departure city, but once airborne the actuall ETA is fairly accurate (at least in our experiences). For example if the flight left ATL the DL computer would show it out and off for about 5-10 minutes before FlightAware, but the "time in flight" section would reflect this and the ETA was usually correct. At the very least it gave us a ballpark for going outside to setup and bring the aircraft in. When there's a -10°F windchill it saved us some time of just standing around outside in the cold. I don't know what it was the the DL computer, but it would frequently show an ETA of 20 minutes later than the aircraft actually arrived, and without a call in the only way to be ready for the aircraft was to stand out there waiting--alright in the summer, but not so much in the middle of winter.

I think it's a company preference about calling in. All of the other airlines at our airport did it, and Comair did when we were served by them. Once our OH service was replaced with EV it stopped. There were a few EV pilots that would call in (generally only on the RON flight because they didn't want to have to wait for the hotel shuttle), but most of the time it was a guessing game.



Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines
User currently offlinePacifica From Canada, joined May 2006, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4312 times:

Quoting Higherflyer (Reply 14):
I always wear a condom when below 10,000' due to sterility issues.

That comment made my day!  Silly

I was wondering when someone would post something like that...LOL


User currently offlineHighFlyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4254 times:

Quoting Higney85 (Reply 15):
Does that mean that when we are leveled off at 8000' nobody speaks?

So "nice day" and little things like that are ok?

Quoting VgnAtl747 (Reply 16):
We found that FlightAware is fairly accurate.

not really- when listening to ATC and comparing, i find that flightaware is 5-7 minutes back. ATC will clear a flight to land, and flightaware shows it at 7000' 210kts....



121
User currently offlineCRGsFuture From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4210 times:

Quoting HighFlyer9790:
So "nice day" and little things like that are ok?

Very, very ok. I actually will wish a controller Happy something or other if their is a holiday near by.

Sterile cockpits also depend on the pilots. If you get an ex-AF/Navy guy this is a law to them, if you get an college kid this more like a suggestion than far/aim. But as I think Bohlman said; pilots are smart. If they hear a million things buzzing over the radio they are not going to speak. Also I know some pilots who won't speak till they are at altitude due to them flying the aircraft up there.



Flying you to your destination; your girlfriend to her dreams.
User currently offlineHighFlyer9790 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4189 times:

Quoting CRGsFuture (Reply 19):
Also I know some pilots who won't speak till they are at altitude due to them flying the aircraft up there.

Isnt there a frequency for "friendly talk" amoung cruising aircraft? also, there was a picture of a PIA777 with the pilots lostening to music- i dont think thats OK in the US?



121
User currently offlineAirPortugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4155 times:

Quoting HighFlyer9790 (Reply 20):
Isnt there a frequency for "friendly talk" amoung cruising aircraft? also, there was a picture of a PIA777 with the pilots lostening to music- i dont think thats OK in the US?

Ive used 123.45 for that numerous times



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlinePilotaydin From Turkey, joined Sep 2004, 2539 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3984 times:

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
Now my questions is whether or not this type of conversation is in compliance with the sterile cockpit rule?

for those of you wondering the rule is actually 10,000 AGL  Wink cuz if you fly to an airport in East turkey the elevation there is about 5600 feet per airport....

the 10,000 sterile cockpit rule is very flight and weather based, you won't find a crew chatting in bad weather, we flew into istanbul 2 days ago with a ground radar failure, we were at 25,0000 feet, yes 25,0000 feet and only 30 miles from the destination, so by using the 1 to 3 rule we could barely make the airport at 300 knots....oh oh problem....

ever intercepted the ILS at 302 knots at 3500 feet?  Smile well trust me when you are descending at 3600 feet per minute in icing conditions you arent chit chatting, needless to say put her down safe and sound all within regulation on a damn slick runway, BUT, had it been VMC and light traffic, we would be chatting all the way till landing checklist...
believe it or not...when you chit chat and make small talk, you are so relaxed that you can spot certain things that arent right a LOT quicker...it catches your ear or eye, you would have to be flight crew to understand...when you do 4-5 legs a day like we do at TK you get VERY used to the environment, any deviation from the norm is spotted....

We aren't robots, we need to chat and be social too up front in our small lil chicken box...coming into AMS or LHR, yeah you shut up and listen up, where are they sending me,looking out on TCAS etc, but if you fly to east turkey and are cleared to land at 25,000 feet.....then it's chill time and you can really do anything you want, slow descent fast descent, you really learn about your aircraft when you fly to the east in my case...

the only annoying thing is, when you're trying to talk on the radio or eat something and the F/A keeps poking you or trying to make conversation with you haah



The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3927 times:

I have done a number of jumpseat rides into and out of LHR and occasionally the pilots do mention things not relevent to the flight below 10,000 ft but it is not full on conversation by any means. I have also heard ATC asking Pilots questions about other things on occasions as well but this is perfectly normal and no threat to flight safety.

User currently offlineVgnAtl747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1513 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3874 times:

Quoting HighFlyer9790 (Reply 18):
not really- when listening to ATC and comparing, i find that flightaware is 5-7 minutes back. ATC will clear a flight to land, and flightaware shows it at 7000' 210kts....

Please read my comments fully:

Quoting VgnAtl747 (Reply 16):
There is a delay before it shows that the aircraft has left the departure city, but once airborne the actuall ETA is fairly accurate (at least in our experiences). For example if the flight left ATL the DL computer would show it out and off for about 5-10 minutes before FlightAware, but the "time in flight" section would reflect this and the ETA was usually correct.

I did not state that the altitude and airspeed were correct, but that the time was fairly accurate. In all of our experiences, the ETA has been within 3-5 minutes of when the aircraft actually landed. Either way it was more accurate than our res computer.



Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines
25 ClearedDirect : As stated above Flightaware and other trackers are delayed by a minimum of 5 minutes as mandated by the FAA.
26 Bond007 : Just to be 100% clear here, the data feed is delayed to the screens by a minimum of 5 minutes, as discusssed - but the content of the data is actual/
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Window Sizes, How High Is The Real Value, ROI? posted Mon May 1 2006 16:51:21 by Keesje
How Much Is The E170? posted Thu Aug 25 2005 17:49:44 by Dsa
How Bad Is The Shortage Of Capacity In Europe posted Sun Apr 3 2005 21:15:20 by MACDADDY
How Fast Is The 767 Line Moving posted Tue Jan 4 2005 13:38:28 by Dkny
How Accurate Is The Info On Faremeasure.com? posted Mon Jul 26 2004 22:59:45 by Kcrwflyer
How Legit Is The Boeing 7E7? posted Wed Jun 9 2004 00:55:32 by AVPOH77
"This Is The Cockpit Door...." posted Sun Jun 6 2004 13:42:57 by DLX737200
How Long Is The Wait At Heathrow? posted Mon Apr 12 2004 15:29:16 by ND
Pilots: How Insulting Is The "bus Driver" Commet? posted Sat Apr 10 2004 02:47:23 by Lehpron
How Much Is The Airlineindustry Levered? posted Fri Mar 12 2004 16:21:40 by Matterhorn