Sterile cockpit

Thanks to some quick thinking Julio might get a spotless aircraft out of this whole deal. But there probably might be more tears to wipe up after the checkride if Chuck actually has to answer any questions about CRM and a sterile cockpit. In the initial documents, the FAA was mainly talking about multi crew requirements with recommendations of refraining from non-essential activities (specifically bulls#!tting) in the cockpit during critical phases of flight generally below 10,000 feet. This might not work for Chuck anyway since a Cessna 172 will struggle to even make it that far up there. I’m sure Julio is aware of all of this, but there is no sense in telling Chuck right away, or ever for that matter.

In fire flying with a multi crew helicopter, where we are almost always below 10,000 feet, we still use the sterile cockpit rule but in a slightly different way since we have very critical phases of flight if you can imagine, possibly even more critical than landing a plane with computer assistance. We have a sterile cockpit while in the dip site, taking on water, or while we are lining up for a water drop. Our aerial coordinator usually also know not to bother us during these phases as well.
As far as sterility goes the way Chuck understands it … a fire/utility Chinook helicopter is probably a lot less “sterile” than an airliner …

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4 comments on “Sterile cockpit
  1. Bernd says:

    Sterile cockpit is also a good idea for private flying when you have a passenger. I usually brief them not to talk to me during takeoff or approach/landing and when I’m talking on the radio. Sometimes the intercom has an “iso” (isolate) setting to separate the pilot’s headset and radio from the passenger headsets, but I’ve never used it.

  2. mikem says:

    I brief my passengers like this: If you hear something on the radio, stop talking. If I talk, stop talking. If put my hand up, stop talking. If i yell shut up, stop talking. If you still don’t, I will mute you. If I can hear you without the intercom and its not an emergency, I will slap you.
    Sadly I’ve gotten all the way to the last step before with real talkative passengers.
    Also, if your passengers are actually following the radio rule, tune to O Hare tower and they’ll never get a word in 😉

  3. Kingo says:

    Vital part of briefing, I have done it hundreds of times … in boats (think starts, close encounters, high winds, mark roundings, busy traffic), racing & coaching, where “guests” think it is a “joy ride”. Particularly where people think “silence” means “I need to talk to fill the gap”. After the first warning, I add, next time, I will be asking you to “get out”, maybe slightly harsh for an aircraft. but there is a flip side, if they see something really bad or dangerous, say something immediately, I will always acknowledge with an “ok”, “ta” or “got it”. Extra eyes can be useful.

  4. eekee says:

    My mother and I put safety ahead of conversation in the car. She could be very good when her illness didn’t get the better of her.

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