reducing "Crew-caused"
approach and landing

Pilot-in-charge Monitored Approach

Despite automation and CRM training, transition from instrument to visual reference is still a major accident cause.

Human factors have an enormous effect on achieving a safe outcome of flights, especially when visibility is limited. PicMA procedures were refined over 60 years ago as a way to reduce the risk of accidents following any type of approach involving a switch from purely instrument to visual guidance. The CFIT training aid amongst many other sources suggests their use for approaches "in IMC and at night". 

However, misunderstanding and ignorance today means that even the heads of major regulatory authorities can give seriously incorrect advice about this, such as "Monitored approach is not typically used with Category 1 approaches, or with Category 3 approaches." In fact, although now often mandatory for Category 2 landings, "monitored approaches" were developed significantly before the idea of approach "categories" had even been thought of, and huge safety benefits are found in all types of conditions. 

A basic purpose of this site is to rectify those misleading impressions. They seem to be based on the idea that the problems that "monitored approaches" were designed to resolve have now been eliminated by other means such as automation and crew training. The accident record shows that sadly this is far from the case. 

Only a minute proportion of approaches have the combination of crew qualification, airport equipment, aircraft systems and a specific subset of weather conditions that result in pilot-supervised automated landings, and for simplicity on this website, aspects that are specific to Cat 2 and Cat 3 automatic landings (autolands) are deliberately omitted. 

For the rest, many of the original problems remain, and in this section we are concerned mostly with the everyday manual landing cases, which comprise the vast majority of air transport operations.

Misunderstanding low visibility basics. 

An example of the misunderstanding of low visibility "basics" can be found in the following direct quote from the president of a highly respected training organisation run by very experienced pilots. At the end of an otherwise excellent review of CRM applicability in all flight phases, there is a section relating to this subject as an aspect of CRM when using the traditional PF/PM duties.

The flightcrew sets up and briefs the ILS approach. The weather is reported as 200 overcast and 1/2 mile visibility (minimums). The PNF performs the APPROACH checklist, and the PF shoots a picture perfect ILS! Both needles an crossed right down to Decision Height! And then, they crash! What happened? At Decision Height, the PNF called "lights in sight"; the PF looks up away from his instruments and sees nothing but an array of white flashing lights. He gets vertigo (spatial disorientation), loses control of the aircraft, and balls it up in the approach light array.
IN LOW VIS APPROACHES, I CANNOT [over]STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF "STAYING ON THE GAUGES" UNTIL THE PNF CALLS RUNWAY IN SIGHT! This applies to the real aircraft as much as it applies to the simulator. If the PF transitions from the instruments to the outside without the actual runway in sight, there is a good chance he will become disoriented, I have seen this happen over and over again in the simulator and it either ends as a crash or a missed approach! To preclude this from happening, I highly recommend that the PF waits until the PNF calls out "RUNWAY IN SIGHT, ? O'CLOCK POSITION" before going visual.  (Emphasis added). 
This recommendation correctly recognises the inadequacy of pitch guidance without sight of the aiming point, and so emphasises the need to use instrument guidance as long as possible. But the advice shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the very basis of these minima, which will be discussed in more detail in the last page in this section, "It's DECISION height".