So you are in a flight department without any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), you want some, but have no idea where to begin. Well let's try starting at the beginning! No, on second thought, let's start at the middle!

— James Albright





I've written a complete set of SOPs that was used by a management company I used to work for, has since been adopted by many other companies, and is currently in use at my company. These SOPs have been through countless audits, so they have been vetted. The only problem is that they are written for my operation, not yours. But you can easily adapt them.

There are eleven chapters and you might be best off by starting somewhere other than the first chapter, which is helpfully called Chapter Zero. But it would be a good idea to skim through everything: An SOP Starter Pack. Each chapter contains a presentation of the material, ideas on where to start, how to start, and a Microsoft Word Document file you can customize for you operation.

1 — Why this chapter matters

2 — SMS, ICAO, ISBAO and other alphabetty spaghetti

3 — The chapter itself

4 — Where to start

5 — How to start

6 — Word file



Why this chapter matters

This is the chapter outlines how everyone is trained, which makes it easier to figure out what standard they are trained to and when that training falls short.

This chapter includes:

  • Flight crew currency
  • Initial and recurrent training
  • Captain and international captain upgrade training
  • International procedures training
  • Crew resource management
  • High altitude training
  • EFB training
  • Aircraft Specific Survey and Emergency Training (ASSSET)
  • . . . and much more


SMS, ICAO, ISBAO and other alphabetty spaghetti

The International Civil Aviation Administration (ICAO) dictates how things happen in aviation worldwide, with exceptions permitted within a country's airspace. In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration has made quite a few exceptions, but has been working over the years to whittle those down in number. Even if you never venture outside the sovereign airspace of your country, ICAO rules will impact you at some point.

If you fly internationally, you will need a Safety Management System (SMS). Even if only fly domestically, you may find that an SMS is required by your operator or your insurance broker. You will definitely find that SMS will improve how you fly.

One of the ways you can demonstrate your adherence to SMS and other best practices is to get inspected by an approved auditor, such as the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), who can measure you against the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).

This chapter includes references to ICAO Annexes, which are the regulations that cover international aviation. Among the references throughout this chapter:

  • "NX6" — Annex 6: Operation of Aircraft


The chapter itself

Note: I have used "Acme Corp" as the company name. Unless that is your company's name, you should substitute your company's name wherever you see Acme Corp.

7 Training

[NX6 and NX6]

Acme Corp Flight Department employees are expected to maintain the highest level of professionalism. This includes an expectation of self study to remain information current in the aviation industry. Areas of self study include, but are not limited to, advancements in technology, regulatory changes, worldwide ATC procedures, and changes and updates to aircraft operating procedures, including auto flight and other automated systems. Crewmembers also are expected to maintain the highest skill levels in basic flying technique with use of auto flight or other automated systems. Crewmembers are challenged to be the most proficient and professional in the world.

In support of this philosophy, Acme Corp Flight Department training is challenging and thorough. Crewmembers are expected to maintain the highest level of proficiency.

NOTE: Acme Corp Flight Department prohibits simulated emergency or abnormal situations with passengers onboard the aircraft.

7.1 Flight Crew Currency

[14 CFR § 61.57(e)(3)(ii)(D)] [NX6, NX6 and NX6]

Acme Corp Flight Department flight crewmembers must hold current license type ratings and medical certificates and must have successfully completed the training programs and competency checks as prescribed in this chapter, including both initial and annual recurrent training.

a. Use of simulator training counts toward the currency requirements as specified in the regulations

b. In order to maintain landing currency, Pilots in Command (PICs) must have accomplished within the preceding 90 days:

i. Three takeoffs and landings

ii. Three night takeoffs and landings, or have met the requirements of 14 CFR § 61.57 (e)(3)(ii)(D) within the preceding 12 months (to be night current)

c. To maintain instrument currency per 14 CFR § 61.57 (c), PICs must have accomplished within the preceding six months:

i. Six instrument approaches

ii. A holding pattern

iii. Intercepted and tracked a course

7.2 General Training Program Requirements

Training provided to Acme Corp personnel shall be:

a. Conducted in accordance with the Acme Corp Flight Department training programs

b. Conducted using the manuals, publications, checklists, and other relevant documents used by Acme Corp Flight Department

c. Given on the same type and model aircraft or approved flight simulator of the same type and Flight Deck layout as that used by Acme Corp Flight Department

Aircraft flight training is the responsibility of the Director of Aviation. He/she shall ensure that any person or company designated to conduct aircraft flight or simulator training is competent to do so.

7.3 Initial and Recurrent Flight Crew Training

7.3.1 Aircraft Type Ground Training Initial Training

[NX6, NX6, NX6 and Appendix C]

This training is to ensure that each crewmember understands aircraft systems and normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures. Topics shall include:

a. Aircraft systems operations and limitations as contained in the AFMs

b. Operation of the aircraft equipment

c. Differences in equipment, operation, and layout between aircraft of the same type

d. SOP for normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures for the aircraft

e. Aircraft performance and limitations

f. Aircraft MEL

g. Weight and balance system procedures

h. Stabilized approaches and execution of proper go around procedures Annual Recurrent Ground Training

[NX6, Appendix C]

Each flight crewmember will complete the ground training program provided by the contract training school. Flight crewmembers are required to report for recurrent training well prepared for each lesson and:

a. Use proper ATC phraseology

b. Display high levels of knowledge of the aircraft

c. Use excellent aviation resource management

d. Exhibit thorough knowledge of company policies and procedures

7.3.2 Aircraft Simulator Training


Acme Corp Flight Department utilizes only approved Level C or D flight simulators for aircraft type flight training. Zero time flight training is permitted in a Level D flight simulator. In order to be permitted zero flight time training in a Level C flight simulator, candidates must have previous experience on a similar aircraft type.

Where the flight simulator differs from the Acme Corp Flight Department aircraft in performance, systems, avionics or flight deck layout and configuration, additional training on these differences will be given. Recurrent Simulator Training

All Acme Corp pilots will receive aircraft recurrent training biannually, generally every six months with a one-month grace period. The Director of Aviation may extend the six-month period up to 12 months with no grace period. The recurrent training must be:

a. In the specific type and model of aircraft at least once every two years.

b. In any type and model of aircraft requiring a type rating at least every twelve months.

7.3.3 Captain Upgrade Training

A First Officer (FO)/Second in Command (SIC) pilot will be recommended for upgrade by the Director of Aviation.

a. Objective

The objective of Captain upgrade training is to promote a qualified FO/SIC pilot to Captain/PIC and to satisfy 14 CFR § 61.57 and 61.58 training and checking requirements.

b. Prerequisites

Pilots must satisfy the experience requirements of Captain/Pilot in Command (PIC) and hold the appropriate type rating.

c. Curriculum – Ground

Pilots will complete self-study of the following topics:

i. Use of Checklists/Aircraft Manuals

ii. Performance/Weight & Balance

iii. Flight Planning/Instrument Flight Procedures

iv. Crew Resource Management

v. Company Operations Manual/SOPs

d. Curriculum – Flight

Pilots will fly a line trip with the Director of Aviation with at least one leg as Pilot Flying and one as Pilot Monitoring.

e. Completion Standards

Pilots will successfully pass an oral examination on the subjects listed in Curriculum - Ground administered by the Director of Aviation and successfully demonstrate the ability to plan and execute a trip acting as PIC.

f. Vendors

Preparation for upgrade from FO/SIC to Captain/PIC will be accomplished by qualified PICs assigned to Acme Corp or an instructor from an FAA approved training vendor.

g. Category I

Newly upgraded Captains with more than 100 hours in type while executing the duties as PIC may fly to published Category I minimums. International Captain Upgrade Training

a. Objective

Domestic captains, having demonstrated competency as international captains, will be upgraded with an endorsement to the designation letter.

b. Prerequisites

Pilots must be previously designated Captain/PIC.

c. Curriculum – Ground

International Captain candidates will study the International Operations Manual and the applicable appendices of the manual with an already qualified International Captain and complete International Procedures Training.

d. Curriculum – Flight

Domestic Captains should fly at least one trip with a Acme Corp International Captain and be recommended for upgrade as a result.

e. Completion Standards

Candidates for upgrade to International Captain will be given an oral examination by the Director of Aviation on a sampling of international flight procedure subjects and then be recommended for upgrade. International Procedures Training

a. Objective

International procedures training will provide pilots with the necessary knowledge and preparation to conduct safe operations using International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and international aviation procedures. An initial class will provide the basic fundamentals. A recurrent class will briefly cover these fundamentals and highlight recent changes.

b. Prerequisites

Pilots must meet the basic FO/SIC criteria in to attend initial International Procedures Training. Pilots must have attended an initial course to attend recurrent.

c. Curriculum – Objectives

Training objectives include but are not limited to:

i. FAA and ICAO Regulations and Resources

ii. RVSM

iii. Navigation

iv. RNP

v. Communications and Surveillance

vi. Specific Areas of Operation (North Atlantic, Pacific, etc.)

vii. Contingencies

d. Completion Standards

Pilots will attend the course and satisfy curriculum evaluation.

e. Vendors

Approved vendors include FSI, Scott International Procedures LLC, Advance Aircrew Training.

7.3.4 Transportability of Pilot Proficiency Check


Pilots with a valid pilot proficiency check from an operator or commercial operator that uses a similar training program and proficiency check will be considered to meet Acme Corp Flight Department training and proficiency requirement when they have completed training on:

a. COM

b. Emergency procedures on each type of aircraft the pilot is assigned to fly

c. Pilot ground training on each type of aircraft the pilot is assigned, sufficient to cover the aircraft SOP, equipment differences, and special authorizations

7.4 Emergency Procedures Training

[Appendix C]

Emergency procedures training is required for aircraft crewmembers and will include instruction on the location and operation of emergency equipment. During initial training and every 24 months thereafter, aircraft crewmembers should perform the function or action, or obtain a suitable demonstration by other means (i.e., audio-visual) for the following on each type of aircraft:

a. Fire in the air and on the ground

b. Use of fire extinguishers

c. Operation and use of emergency exits

d. Passenger preparation for an emergency landing/ditching

e. Emergency evacuation procedures

f. Donning and inflation of life preservers (when equipped)

g. Removal from stowage, deployment, inflation, and boarding of life rafts (when equipped)

h. Pilot incapacitation

i. Unlawful interference, bomb threat, and other security procedures

7.4.1 First Aid Training

First aid training for crewmembers will consist of:

a. CPR

b. Automated External Defibrillator (AED) (when equipped)

c. Ear and sinus blocks

d. Seeking medical assistance

e. Treatment of shock

f. Bloodborne pathogens

g. Use of first aid kits onboard Company aircraft

h. Use of the Tempus medical device

i. Integration and utilization of the MedAire/MedLink service

7.5 Cold Weather Operations Training

[Appendix C]

a. Objective

Cold weather procedures training will be presented prior to each cold weather season to prepare pilots for cold weather operations.

b. Prerequisites


c. Curriculum – Ground

Cold weather procedures training will be provided prior to winter operations using the following resources:

i. Acme Corp SOPs and COM Policy/Procedures

ii. Aircraft GVII-G500 Operating Manual

iii. Ground De-icing/Anti-icing Procedures

iv. FAA Holdover Time Guidelines, published annually

d. Curriculum – Flight

Not applicable.

e. Completion Standards

Not applicable.

f. Vendors

The cold weather procedures class will be administered by a pilot assigned by the Director of Aviation or a Acme Corp approved vendor

7.6 Warm Weather Operations Training

a. Objective

Warm weather procedures training will be presented biennially to prepare pilots for warm weather operations.

b. Prerequisites


c. Curriculum – Ground

Warm weather procedures will be provided prior to summer operations using the following resources:

i. Acme Corp SOPs and COM Policy/Procedures

ii. Aircraft GVII-G500 Operating Manual

iii. Contaminated Runway

iv. Severe Weather

d. Curriculum – Flight

Not applicable.

e. Completion Standards

Not applicable.

f. Vendors

The warm weather procedures class will be administered by a pilot assigned by the Director of Aviation or an Acme Corp approved vendor.

7.7 Enhanced Vision System/Heads Up Display

[NX6] [Appendix C]

After initial training, flight crewmembers will receive recurrent training on EVS/HUD approaches by conducting a minimum of two instrument approaches at each recurrent training cycle. Maximum use of HUD and EVS is required.

7.8 Crew Resource Management

[Appendix C]

Acme Corp crewmembers will be trained in Crew Resource Management (CRM). CRM training will generally cover:

a. Communication processes and decision behavior:

i. Briefings

ii. Inquiry, advocacy, and assertion

iii. Crew self critique

iv. Conflict resolution

v. Communications and decision making

b. Team building and maintenance:

i. Leadership, followership, and concern for task

ii. Interpersonal relationships and group climate

iii. Workload management and situational awareness:

A. Preparation, planning, and vigilance

B. Workload distribution and distraction avoidance

C. Individual factors and stress reduction

7.9 Emergency Response Program Training

Annual training and testing of the Emergency Response Program will be conducted to ensure the integrity of program features and readiness of participants. Necessary changes will be made and communicated to employees.

This training will include material such as:

a. Role specific training

b. Likely scenario based training dealing with the aircraft and facility Notes and lessons learned will be distributed to all personnel.

7.10 High Altitude Training

High altitude training (above 10,000 ft ASL) will be provided during initial training to flight crewmembers operating Acme Corp Flight Department aircraft. It will cover the:

a. Physiological phenomena in a low pressure environment, including:

i. Respiration

ii. Hypoxia

iii. Duration of consciousness at altitude without supplemental oxygen

iv. Gas expansion and gas bubble formation

b. For flight crewmembers of pressurized aircraft, it will cover phenomena associated with rapid or explosive loss of pressurization, including:

i. Most likely causes

ii. Noise

iii. Cabin temperature change

iv. Cabin fogging

v. Effects on objects located near the point of fuselage failure

vi. Actions of flight crewmembers immediately following the event and the likely resultant attitude

NOTE: The same high altitude training is recommended for all other crewmembers performing duties on aircraft operating above 10,000 ft.

7.11 Aircraft Database Training

During initial and recurrent training of aircraft specifics, employees will review the procedures and guidelines for updating electronic databases such as, but not limited to:

a. Aircraft MFD/PFD system updates

b. EFB charts, documents, Applications, and iOS updates

c. Garmin systems updates

7.12 International Operations Training

[Appendix C]

Flight crews engaged in operations in international airspace must be authorized by the Chief Pilot and documented in their training record. The following general training program shall be completed prior to Acme Corp Flight Department authorization of flight crews to operate in international airspace:

a. ICAO operational standards

b. ICAO units of measurement standards

c. Sources and content of international flight publications

d. Itinerary planning

e. Preparation of:

i. ICAO international flight plans

ii. Navigation logs

f. Route planning within the HLA/RNP airspace where flights are to be conducted

g. Enroute and terminal procedures

h. Long range, air to ground communications procedures

i. Structure of the HLA/RNP use airspace where the flights are to be conducted

j. Air traffic clearances

k. International meteorology to include:

i. Significant weather charts

ii. Prognostic weather charts

iii. Tropopause prognostic charts

iv. Terminal weather forecasts (TAF)

v. Aviation routine weather reports (METAR)

l. Specific enroute navigation procedures for each type of navigation equipment required for use in the special use airspace, including abnormal procedures

m. Emergency procedures:

i. Required emergency equipment

ii. Search and rescue techniques

iii. Navigation equipment failure techniques

iv. Communication equipment failure techniques

v. Specific contingency procedures within HLA/RNP airspace

n. Specialized training for operations in areas of magnetic unreliability

7.13 EFB Training

[Appendix C] [Amendment 37 Part 2 NX6]

EFB training is completed during initial company training for all Acme Corp employees.

7.14 HAZMAT/Dangerous Goods Training

[Appendix C]

Acme Corp is a “Do Not Carry” operator. Acme Corp crewmembers shall complete HAZMAT/Dangerous Goods training every 24 months via company approved in-house or CBT program.

7.15 MEL Training

Acme Corp crewmembers and Technicians shall complete MEL training every 12 months, which at minimum should include the operation and use of a MEL from a flight crew and Technician perspective.

7.16 General Security Training

Acme Corp employees shall receive General Security Training every 24 months that at a minimum should include information specific to the conduct of Acme Corp operations.

7.17 Fatigue Management Training

[Appendix C]

Acme Corp employees shall complete Fatigue Management training every 24 months that at a minimum should include the fundamentals of fatigue, duty time limitation guidelines, and reporting fatigue within the SMS.

7.18 Company COM/SOP Training

This biannual training is required for newly hired persons involved in control of flight operations as appropriate to their assigned duties and new crewmembers. The purpose of this training is to ensure an adequate knowledge of procedures unique to the operations of Acme Corp Flight Department. The training shall include:

a. Company organization and reporting relationships and communication procedures, including duties and responsibilities of crewmembers and the relationship of those duties to other company personnel

b. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

c. Use and updates of company checklists

d. Hazard/incident reporting procedures, per the SMS

e. Flight planning and operating procedures

f. Use of COM, including maintenance release procedures and accident and incident reporting procedures

g. Navigation procedures and other specialized operations applicable to the operator

h. Company operational control system

7.19 Local Procedures Training

a. Objective

All pilots, including contract pilots, will be given local procedures indoctrination administered by a qualified Acme Corp PIC using the Aircraft Specific Survey and Emergency Training (ASSET) form. The instruction will emphasize policies and procedures found in this Company Operations Manual.

b. Prerequisites


c. Curriculum – Ground

Subjects are listed in the Aircraft Specific Survey and Emergency Training (ASSET) form. Each pilot must complete one ASSET checklist for each aircraft type flown at least once every 12 months.

d. Curriculum – Flight


e. Completion Standards

i. Pilots will demonstrate adequate knowledge of the items which reference this Company Operations Manual, as evaluated by the PIC administering the ASSET checklist.

ii. The completion of one ASSET checklist is required for each type of aircraft the crewmember will fly. Crewmembers will not receive credit for the completion of annual emergency training requirements until the ASSET checklist is accomplished and recorded. A qualified PIC administering this training also receives credit for the training.

iii. The completed forms are maintained in the crewmember’s training folder maintained by the Director of Aviation.

7.20 Flight Coordinator Training

[Appendix C]

Flight Coordinators will be trained to have the competencies appropriate to the level of scheduling performed.

The training can take place with a combination of an internal program, training service provider, NBAA PDP and/or CAM accredited curriculum or international equivalent.

The training program shall include initial and recurrent training appropriate to the operations.

The training program should include subjects such as:

a. Policy and procedures

b. Computer skills and scheduling software application

c. Aircraft performance and weather

d. Fatigue management/Human factors

e. Safety Management Systems

f. Emergency Response

g. Leadership and team work

h. Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) and International Regulations

i. Interpersonal skills and effective communication

j. CPR and hangar safety

7.21 Maintenance Training Program

[NX6, NX6 and Appendix C]

Due to the complexity of the aircraft, engines, and systems factory training is essential. Initial and recurrent maintenance training requirements will be determined by the Director of Maintenance with the assistance of the Director of Aviation.

Training for each airframe and engine type is required for each Technician. Training includes, but is not limited to:

OEM Airframe

Initial training course

Recurrent airframe course


Advanced troubleshooting


Initial line maintenance

Recurrent line maintenance

Advanced Course

Flight safety master technician

FAA inspector authorization (IA)

Maintenance resource management (MRM)

Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)

Company Course

As required

Scheduling will be at the discretion of the Director of Maintenance. The Director of Maintenance will keep copies of FAA Technician certificates and training certificates.

7.21.1 Course Outlines

Course outlines are retained on file in the Director of Maintenance’s office.

7.21.2 Line Service Technician Training Program

a. Training

Training Subjects Include:

i. Introduction to line service

ii. Safety

iii. Towing

iv. Customer service

v. Fire safety

vi. Security

b. Approved Vendors

Training will be provided by the Director of Maintenance and/or by vendors approved by the Director of Maintenance.

7.22 Overview of Personnel Training Requirements

[Appendix C]


Flight Crew

General Training

A/C Surface Contamination X 24

Crew Resource Management X 24

HAZMAT Dangerous Goods X 24

Emergency Procedures X 24

High Altitude Training X N/A

First Aid X 24


International Procedures X 24

Aircraft Type X 12

Aircraft Database X 24

MEL Training X 24


MEL Training X 24

Aircraft Training X 12

Aircraft Database X 24

Flight Coordinators

Annual Scheduling Training X 12

All Personnel

Company COM/SOP X 24

ERP X 24

SMS X 24

Security X 24

Fatigue Management X 24

Accountable Executive

SMS X 24

7.23 Pilot Proficiency Certification

[NX6, NX6 and NX6]

Acme Corp training will be done on the basis of “training to performance.” This means that the person conducting or providing the training will consider the training complete only when the candidate can effectively perform the tasks that they are being trained to do. Upon completion of the training the person conducting or providing the training will ensure that the training has been recorded in each individual’s training record.

Pilots will complete an exam set by the training school at the end of initial aircraft type ground training. The exam will be reviewed with the candidate to ensure that the correct answers to questions are understood.

7.23.1 Certification


After completion of initial and recurrent aircraft type flight training, pilots will be certified as proficient at least once every 12 months by one of the following:

a. An instructor/evaluator from a vendor approved or designated by the state civil aviation authority

b. A pilot examiner that holds approval authority from an ICAO contracting state

c. The Director of Aviation

The proficiency certification will be done to the standard specified which must be assessed as satisfactory in order to constitute a completion of training. The Pilot Proficiency Check Form used by the flight training school may be used to record the results of the training to proficiency. The form will then be reviewed and signed by the Director of Aviation and be retained in the individual's training record for a maximum of five years.

7.24 Training and Qualification Records


Acme Corp Flight Department maintains records for persons receiving training. The records for each person will include:

a. Name, personnel license number, type, and ratings (as applicable)

b. Medical category and expiration date (as applicable)

c. Dates on which any required training, pilot proficiency check, or exams were completed

d. Information relating to failure to successfully complete any required training or pilot proficiency check, or to obtain any required qualification

e. The type of aircraft or flight training equipment used for training, pilot proficiency check, or required qualification

f. For pilots, the results of the most recent examination completed by each pilot for each type of aircraft for which the pilot has a qualification

Required records will be maintained for a minimum of three years. The results of the most recent written exam completed by each pilot shall also be retained.


Example ASSET, page 1


Example ASSET, page 2


Example ASSET, page 3


Example crewmember record of training


Where to start

It is easy to get into the mode that if you need training, it will come from your simulator training vendor. You really ought to consider other providers as well as training not provided by the usual suspects.

Our example manual might cover more topics than you need, or maybe not enough. But it will get you started.


How to start

With each chapter it is a good idea to:

  1. Talk it over with your team, get their ideas on how to best accomplish the chapter's goals given your unique situation. All ideas are worth considering, write them down in a way the person offering it agrees fully captures the idea.
  2. Give the team time to digest the proposals.
  3. Ask the people with the right background to massage the ideas into concise concepts, then have your best wordsmith turn those concepts into paragraphs. The paragraphs need to be in plain spoken sentences, easy to read, and written at the fifth grade level of comprehension.
  4. Present the ideas to the group. Listen to any objections and seek consensus. Repeat the entire process if needed, but understand that the person in charge will eventually make a decision that becomes department policy. At the very least, stress that each policy can be tested on a trial basis and looked at again in the future.


Word file

You can download a Microsoft Word "docx" file of this chapter here: Acme Corp Operations Manual Chapter 7 - Training.

Remember, this is your blank canvas to customize as you see fit.