Version 2.0



Model Code

of Conduct


Tools to advance aviation
safety and professionalism




The Aviators Model Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) offers recommendations to advance flight safety, airmanship, and professionalism.

The Code of Conduct presents a vision of excellence for aviators. Its principles complement and underscore legal requirements.

The Code of Conduct is a model, not a standard. Users should customize or otherwise revise the document—including title, length, and organization—to fit their needs. See “Additional Resources” (below) for materials to help facilitate such customization.

The Code of Conduct will be most effective if users have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of flight as well as a commitment to the pursuit of professionalism.

The Code of Conduct has seven sections, each presenting Principles and Sample Recommended Practices.


The Sections:

  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 Aviation


The Sample Recommended Practices:

Sample Recommended Practices are suggestions for applying the principles of the Code of Conduct and tailoring them to individuals and organizations. Sample Recommended Practices may be reordered, modified or eliminated to satisfy the unique capabilities and requirements of each pilot, mission, aircraft, organization, and flight environment. They are not presented in any order of importance. Instrument flight rule (IFR)-specific Sample Recommended Practices generally appear last.


The Commentary:

Commentary on selected provisions of the Code of Conduct is published at <>. The Commentary provides discussion, interpretive guidance, and suggested ways to adopt the Code of Conduct. Published commentary on any provision does not imply greater importance of that provision. Additional provisions will be added as the Commentary evolves.


Benefits of the Code of Conduct:

The Code of Conduct benefits pilots and the aviation community by:


Note: References to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are used as examples. In all jurisdictions, applicable laws and regulations must be followed.



Aviators Model Code of ConducT

Principles and Recommended Practice


I.  General Responsibilities of Aviators

   Pilots should:

a.  make safety the highest priority,

b.  seek excellence in airmanship,

c.  develop and exercise good judgment and sound principles of aeronautical decision-making,

d.  recognize and manage risks effectively, and use sound principles of risk management,

e.  maintain situational awareness, and adhere to prudent operating practices and personal operating parameters (e.g., minimums),

f.  aspire to professionalism,

g.  act with responsibility and courtesy, and

h.  adhere to applicable laws and regulations.


Explanation:  These General Responsibilities serve as a preamble to the Code of Conduct’s other principles.


Sample Recommended Practices:


II. Passengers and People on the Surface

   Pilots should:

a.  maintain passenger safety first and then reasonable passenger comfort,

b.  manage risk and avoid unnecessary risk to passengers, to people and property on the surface, and to people in other aircraft,

c.  brief passengers on planned flight procedures and inform them of any significant or unusual risk associated with the flight,

d.  seek to prevent unsafe conduct by passengers, and

e.  avoid operations that may alarm, disturb, or endanger passengers or people on the surface.


ExplanationPilots are responsible for the safety and comfort of their passengers. Passengers place their lives in pilots’ hands, and pilots should exercise suffi­cient care on their behalf. Such care includes, but is not limited to, disclosing unusual risks, and exercising prudent risk management. Pilot responsibility extends to people on the ground, and in other aircraft.


Sample Recommended Practices:


III. Training and Proficiency

   Pilots should:

a.  participate in regular recurrent training to maintain and improve proficiency beyond legal requirements,

b.  participate in flight safety education programs,

c.  remain vigilant and avoid complacency,

d.  train to recognize and deal effectively with emergencies,

e.  prepare for and review each lesson carefully, and

f.  maintain an accurate log to satisfy training and currency requirements.


Explanation:  Training and proficiency underlie aviation safety. Recurrent training is a primary component of proficiency and should include both air and ground training. Each contributes significantly to flight safety and neither can substitute for the other. To be most effective, training must often exceed legal requirements.


Sample Recommended Practices:


IV. Security

   Pilots should:

a.  seek to maintain the security of all persons and property associated with their aviation activities,

b.  remain vigilant and immediately report suspicious, reckless, or illegal activities,

c.  become familiar with the latest security regulations, and

d.  avoid special-use airspace except when approved or necessary in an emer­gen­cy.


ExplanationEnhanced security awareness is essential to the safety and viability of the aviation community. Threats to security demand effective responses. This section addresses the pilot’s essential role in promoting national security and preventing criminal acts.


Sample Recommended Practices:


V. Environmental Issues

Pilots should:

a.  recognize and seek to mitigate the environmental impact of aircraft operations,

b.  minimize the discharge of fuel, oil, and other chemicals into the environment during refueling, preflight preparations, servicing, and flight operations,

c.  respect and protect environmentally sensitive areas,

d.  comply with applicable noise-abatement procedures and mitigate aircraft noise near noise-sensitive areas, and

e.  review and adhere to prudent hazardous materials handling procedures.


Explanation:  Environmental issues can hamper operations, increase regulatory burdens, and close airports. Reducing pollution caused by aviation will reduce health problems, environmental impact, and unfavorable public perceptions.


Sample Recommended Practices:


VI. Use of Technology

Pilots should:

a.  become familiar with and properly use appropriate technologies,

b.  monitor applicable airport advisory frequencies and report position accurately when approaching airports without an operating control tower and other higher-risk areas, if radio-equipped,

c.  use transponders or other position-indicating technologies during flight operations, if available or otherwise directed by ATC, and use ATC radar advisories for VFR enroute operations,

d.  carry redundant transceivers and navigational equipment and use them in appropriate circumstances, and

e.  use flight simulators and training devices as available and appropriate.


ExplanationInnovative, compact, and inexpensive technologies have greatly expanded the capabilities of aircraft. This section encourages the use and promotion of such safety-enhancing technologies.


Sample Recommended Practices:


VII. Advancement and Promotion of Aviation

  Pilots should:

a.  advance and promote aviation safety and adherence to the Code of Conduct,

b.  volunteer in and contribute to organizations that promote aviation, and use their skills to contribute to society at large—and encourage other pilots to do so as well,

c.  demonstrate appreciation for aviation professionals and service providers,

d.  advance an aviation culture that values openness, humility, positive attitudes, and the pursuit of personal improvement,

e.  promote ethical behavior within the aviation community, and

f.  mentor new and future pilots.


ExplanationVigilance and responsive action are essential to ensure aviation vitality and to enhance the aviation community.


Sample Recommended Practices:


Additional Resources

FAA:        <>, <>

AEA:        <>

AOPA:     <>

EAA:        <>

NBAA:     <>


Airworthiness Directive
Attitude Indicator
Automated Flight Service Station
Above Ground Level
Air Traffic Control
Crew Resource Management
Federal Aviation Administration
Fixed Base Operator
Instrument Flight Rules
Instrument Landing System
Instrument Meteorological Conditions
Instrument Proficiency Check
Mean Sea Level
Practical Test Standards
Service Bulletin
Safety Management System
Single Pilot Resource Management
Temporary Flight Restriction
Visual Flight Rules
Visual Meteorological Conditions



The [insert your organization’s Code of Conduct] is a customized version of the Aviators Model Code of Conduct created by Michael S. Baum. ©2003-2012 Michael S. Baum. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use are available at <>.

Pilots and the aviation community may use the Code of Conduct as a resource for code of conduct development, although it is recommended that this be supported by independent research on the suitability of its principles for specific or local applications and situations. It is not intended to provide legal advice and must not be relied upon as such.


Edits, Errata, Comments

The Aviators Model Code of Conduct is a living document, intended to be updated periodically to reflect changes in aviation practices and the aviation environment. Please send your suggestions, edits, errata, questions and comments to: <>.



The Aviators Model Code of Conduct has had the benefit of extensive editorial comment and suggestions by a diverse body of the aviation community, and beyond. See “Acknowledgments” at <>. The Permanent Editorial Board of the Code of Conduct is presented at <>.

This QR Code points to <>, the Code of Conduct website: