reducing "Crew-caused"
approach and landing

Pilot-in-charge Monitored Approach

Experience and usage

"Monitored Approach" procedures are used with differing degrees of obligation depending on weather etc., by numerous air transport operations. Information on this page is believed to be accurate at mid-April 2015, and will be modified as necessary when confirmed information on operators' implementations becomes available.  

This site will not show any airline as a user unless some form of official documentation to that effect has been seen. Therefore, it is likely that many more operators than are listed actually make use of it. Any such updates will be most welcome and should be advised by email to

As an initial indication, operators that are believed (from this author's sight of independent information) to be using "Monitored approach" procedures include

  • British Airways
  • Continental Airlines  
  • Federal Express
  • Ryanair
  • South African Airways
  • Air Mauritius
  • Several Canadian operators 
  • Helicopter operators including CHC Scotia, Bristow, Bond Offshore.   

Operators that used monitored approach procedures in the past but may or may not now use them as a result of mergers/takeovers/cessation of operation include 

  • TWA
  • United 
  • American Airlines
  • Western Airlines
  • NorthWest Airlines 

An initial indication of pilot experience and opinion on PicMA is also listed here. This was obtained by asking for a view from pilots who have decades of experience as pilot representatives in air safety matters. All were Presidents or other senior elected officers of IFALPA, and whose work has been recognised by at least one of the principal awards from the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations.  Since this page was initailly compiled significantly more positive comment has been received and will be added as time permits.  

Name and Airline Comment

Dave Moore, British Airways. 

I was in the " Old School " of BOAC and after the merger we had to convert to the monitored approach. After training for all my Captain career I have to admit to becoming a complete convert to the pilot who is going to do the landing being the non-handling pilot looking for visual clues all the way down to decision height.
Tom Kreamer, USAir.  Completely agree with Dave Moore's comments
Bruno d'Alba, Alitalia Definitely the pilot who is going to do the landing, or initiate the go around, should be looking for positive visual contact and he will be the non handling pilot all the way down to decision height, when land or go around is decided.
Peter Schmidtleitner, Austrian Airlines

When the philosophy of "Monitored Approach" was introduced decades ago (Autoland naturally came later) there was some resistance from the "old eagle" pilots. But even they soon recognized the safety benefit of this philosophy. I am convinced that in absence of autoland the "Monitored Approach" is the safest procedure in marginal conditions. In the interest of safety I do hope that the philosophy of "split cockpit" in marginal conditions is still employed, maybe with another name than "Monitored Approach".

Bill Melvin, Delta Airlines I am 100 percent convinced you are right. In the interest of maximum performance and safety, the command pilot must make the decision to land regardless of who is monitoring the autopilot or hand flying. I have flown approaches where it was not possible for the flying pilot to have seen the approach lights in time to make the landing. The role of the flying pilot is to plan on a missed approach--he is to fly to minimums and make a miss. The procedure should be: the command pilot tells the flying pilot to make a miss or "I have it" and makes the landing.
Harry Hopkins, British Airways Extensive comment in favour. 
Brian Greeves, Cathay Pacific  In the transport force of the Royal Air Force, “split (monitored) approaches” were the norm. I was very surprised when I went into civilian airline flying that the captain was supposed to fly the approaches in inclement weather. Like you, I have always been an ardent supporter of this procedure, but I found resistance to introduce it in every airline in which I flew.

Ted Murphy, Aer Lingus 

I have flown for airlines that do monitored approaches and airlines that don't and I would certainly endorse them.  It is worth noting that low vis autoland approaches are conducted using a version of the monitored approach.
Tony van Heerden, South African Airways Confirmed that it is used in SAA and Air Mauritius

Francis Truchetet, Air France

I have used the MA concept only when I was a copilot on the B727 that was not autoland capable. We had two procedures for Cat 2 approaches, one was the Capt is flying the approach under autopilot until DA (100ft usually) and decide based on visual cues to land (manually) or GA (with the autopilot), the other was the F/O is hand flying the approach until DA and the Capt takes over to land or GA. The Capt usually preferred the second method (MA) as they were able to have a smooth transition and a better feel for the aircraft (they said). So you can tell that I’m not an expert on MA, but I think it is a very good and well proven concept.
Tony Beatty, Canadian Airlines  As you know, I flew for BEA and was an advocate of the Pilot Monitored Approach

Paul Woodburn, Former IATA Head of Flight Safety, former Chief Pilot Technical BAW

There is no question in my mind that the monitored approach concept is safer than any other. The available data and growing adoption by other respected operators supports this conclusion.