Carrie Giles

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Modern airline pilots are tasked every flight with the safe and efficient operation of highly automated airliners in today’s complicated global and economic environments. Airlines have developed standard operating procedures (SOP) for normal, abnormal, and emergency operations. These procedures serve as a script for crews to follow. These procedures are designed by airlines to ensure that aircraft are operated in the (1) most safe, (2) most efficient, and (3) most on-time manner. For the most part pilots will comply with SOP, but when they (1) don’t agree with SOP, (2) don’t understand SOP or the risks associated with not complying with SOP, or (3) don’t feel adequately trained to know what SOP is, it is difficult to motivate them to comply. Airlines have the means to measure compliance through Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) and Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA). The purpose of this research is to determine if increased understanding, knowledge and awareness of the risk of non compliance with SOP increase airline pilots’ compliance with SOP. This research explores data from line checks at a major US airline that was gathered in pursuit of understanding what drives SOP compliance. Baseline data was gathered and analyzed to determine the top 12 non compliant items. The airline provided training during the Human Factors module in each pilots recurrent training on Pilot Intentional Non Compliance (PINC). The training including developing pilots’ understanding that while most Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) reports grant pilots immunity from legal action, if a violation is labeled PINC, ASAP protections do not apply. Further line checks were conducted after the pilots received the PINC training. The top 12 non compliant items from the pre-PINC training group were compared to the same 12 items in the post-PINC training group. Significant improvement in SOP compliance was found in six of the 12 items tested. The results established that training pilots on the risk of PINC did significantly increase SOP compliance.