Aviators Model Code of Conduct

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The Aviators Model Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) is a set of model recommended practices designed to improve general aviation safety and airmanship that was created by Michael S. Baum.[1]


AOPA Air Safety Foundation has calculated that 75% of all general aviation accidents are attributed to improper pilot decision-making.[2] The problem originates with initial flight training: the syllabuses mandated for flight licensure are heavily regulation- and task-oriented.[3] The primary focus is on regulation compliance and flight maneuvers and only secondarily on practical airmanship. As a result, the decision-making skills of new pilots often get them into trouble.[4] Though pilot experience appears to correlate with safer outcomes, it is not clear if more flying leads to better in-air decision-making: according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's 2007 Nall Report[5] about 60% of all fatalities involve a high-time (1000+ flight hour) pilot in command. Further, the likelihood that a personal flying accident is fatal is the same for newer and high-time pilots.

The Aviators Model Code of Conduct was written as a response to this perceived gap between license requirements and practical airmanship. In 2003, Michael S. Baum[1] put together the first version as a one-page summary of “lessons learned”. Today, the Code of Conduct is a comprehensive set of detailed recommendations for aviator decision-making in the air and on the ground.

Permanent Editorial Board[edit]

This non-profit effort is run by a volunteer group of industry, aviation and subject matter experts.[6]

Members of the board are:[6]


The Code of Conduct covers all aspects of operating in the general aviation environment, including:

  1. General Responsibilities of Aviators
  2. Passengers and People on the Surface
  3. Training and Proficiency
  4. Security
  5. Environmental Issues
  6. Use of Technology
  7. Advancement and Promotion of General Aviation

For each aspect, the Code of Conduct covers governing principles (“minimize the discharge of fuel, oil, and other chemicals into the environment”) and lays out specific practical recommendation (“use a Gasoline Analysis Test Separator (GATS) jar or other environmentally sound device/procedure for all fuel sampling”). Where applicable, sourced commentary is used to substantiate principles and recommendations.

Recognizing the need for early socialization, recommendations for integrating the Code of Conduct into flight training (including sample lesson plans) are collected in Notes For Instructors.[7]

The Code of Conduct is intended to be specialized by aircraft operation and to evolve over time and place. Versions are available for:

Foreign-language translations[8] incorporate national and regionally-specific practices and regulations.

Notes for Prospective Implementers[9] provides guidelines and resources for individuals and organizations adopting the Code of Conduct.


In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration includes various versions of the Code of Conduct as online resources.

Other users of the Code of Conduct include major aircraft type clubs, insurers, manufacturers, and other general aviation players, including:


  1. ^ a b Baum, Michael S (2008). "Aviators Model Code of Conduct". Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  2. ^ Do The Right Thing: Decision Making For Pilots
  3. ^ FAA Pilot Practical Test Standards-Private
  4. ^ The Killing Zone: How & Why Pilots Die, McGraw-Hill, 2000
  5. ^ ASF Nall Report 2007
  6. ^ a b Baum, Michael S (n.d.). "The Permanent Editorial Board" (PDF). Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  7. ^ Notes For Instructors
  8. ^ Language Translations
  9. ^ Notes for Prospective Implementers