reducing "Crew-caused"
approach and landing

Pilot-in-charge Monitored Approach

This section concerns factual material such as reports of actual events (accidents and incidents) and analysis of data, to see whether firm conclusions can be drawn about the benefits or drawbacks of using PicMA.A large number of accident and incident reports can be accessed directly on this site, but it does not claim to be a totally complete and comprehensive list of all relevant events.

The most comprehensive easily accessible database is probably that of the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network. The ASN Safety Database, updated every week, contains descriptions of over 15,800 airliner, military transport category aircraft and corporate jet aircraft safety occurrences since 1921. Airliners are considered here aircraft that are capable of carrying at least 12 passengers. The database can be searched under such headings as Contributory Cause.
Using PicMA procedures cannot eliminate all "crew-caused" approach and landing accidents. However, it will reduce the likelihood of the aircraft being delivered to the runway threshold at an incorrect speed, altitude or trajectory.  Handling errors during landing, including flare judgement and technique, braking and reverse thrust etc. are no less likely when using PicMA procedures than with traditional PF/PM procedures.    

Nearly all accidents occurred using traditional PF/PNF(PM) procedures. 

With exception of those noted below, all of the thousands of "crew-caused" approach and landing accidents and incidents appear to have occurred when it had been the intention of the pilot flying the approach to continue to make a visual transition and then land the aircraft.  These include several accidents or serious incidents which occurred to operators whose policy would have expected the use of PicMA procedures, but where the crew elected not to. These were BEA Argosy Milan 1965 , Thai Caravelle Hong Kong 1967 , and TAA DC9 Melbourne 1978  .  

Accident and incident reports - events while using "monitored approach" procedures. 

Anecdotal and hearsay claims exist that the exchange of control involved in PicMA procedures is inherently hazardous and has led to a number of past accidents. No reports have been identified so far to support this claim.

This site's owner has been able to identify only one "crew caused" accident during a PicMA approach. This was a helicopter accident and various factors render this event's connection to procedural matters tenuous.

Three (3) accident reports have been found relating to events after a PicMA approach had been made, during either the actual landing or go-around after the aircraft had crossed the runway threshold.  Accidents may and indeed have occurred during the visual landing phase after the P1 has taken control following a PicMA approach.

This is only to be expected since there is less difference between PicMA and traditional procedures at this point. The use of PicMA procedures is not a panacea that can magically remove all threats that pilots encounter.  

One was a major accident during the go-around from a PicMA (BEA, Vickers Vanguard, London Heathrow 1965). This occurred before there had been much in-depth research into low visibility issues, when operations were allowed to minima of 200ft in 350m/1200ft RVR.  In this accident, the copilot lost control of the aircraft in a pilot-induced pitch oscillation after the go-around had been initiated. 

The investigation subsequently showed that as well as some pilot factors, a major influence was the design and handling qualities of the aircraft itself, which among other things resulted in contradictory instrument readings that led to pilot disorientation. Four seconds before impact the VSI was probably showing a substantial rate of climb and the altimeter a gain in height, although the airplane was in fact losing height rapidly.  

Two minor accidents have been identified involving runway excursions after touchdown. Both involved very poor visual cues (one dense fog and one very heavy rain) on runways which lacked significant elements of lighting including centre-line lighting, and resulted in minor damage only without casualties.  

Data. It is difficult to obtain statistical "proof" of the actual as opposed to theoretical value of using PicMA procedures in routine operations, because there is no routine recording of their actual use. It can only be said that as almost every known actual low visibility accident was flown using "traditional" duty allocations. It is almost impossible to find a low visibility accident report in which crew factors during a PicMA approach was a significant contributory cause.

One statistical study is referred to in TSB Canada's report into the crash of a Canadair Regional Jet in December 1997, in which the crew survived. The TSB looked at all Canadian low visibility accidents over a 15 year period and noted that 28 such events had occurred. It also evaluated the exposure of its airports to low visibility conditions. It noted that some Canadian operators use PicMA procedures while others including that in the subject accident did not.
The report noted that the two Canadian airlines that use PicMA procedures did not have ANY reported visibility-related landing occurrences, even though one of the airlines has high rates of exposure to low-weather approaches. All 28 low visibility accidents occurred while using PF/PNF procedures.  

Accident reports.  

The link below is gives access to reports on a large number of accidents with causal factors relevant to PicMA issues. A link to the official report of the accident is provided wherever possible. Where an accident report has not been located an independent document is provided wherever possible.

Over 60 such reports are provided on this site, and more will be added as and when found


An attempt to provide some basic statistics by analysis of the little data which exists is available. This gives some indication of the relative effectiveness of the two operational concepts.   


Advocates of PicMA have never claimed it will eliminate ALL "crew caused" accidents, merely that it makes them significantly less likely.  In the absence of rigorous reporting of the use of each type of procedure and the associated conditions, statistical "proof" of this contention is not available. However the balance of evidence appears to be strongly in its favour.