Aircraft Performance and Monitoring

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Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook – Chapter Six

FAA Safety Briefing May/June 2018, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Singularity,” p. 25

National General Aviation Flight Information Database

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General Aviation Joint Steering Committee

Aircraft Performance and Performance Monitoring - SCF-SE-49

Outreach Guidance Document



This outreach guidance is provided to all FAA and aviation industry groups that are participating in outreach efforts sponsored by the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC).  It is important that all outreach on a given topic is coordinated and is free of conflicts.  Therefore, all outreach products should be in alignment with the outline and concepts listed below for this topic.


Outreach Month:  December 2020


Topic: Aircraft Performance Monitoring (SCF-SE-49)

The FAA and industry will conduct a public education campaign emphasizing the safety benefits of Aircraft Performance Monitoring



The General Aviation Steering Committee (GAJSC) System/Component Failure work group contends that unreasonable expectations with respect to aircraft performance have contributed to fatal GA accidents..  The GAJSC also feel that flight data monitoring can help to forecast system/component problems before they reach the point of failure.

Airlines have long been required to equip their aircraft with flight data and voice recorders.  These were, in the beginning, rudimentary devices to record basic flight information.  But now they have evolved to a plethora of sensors throughout the aircraft.  Data from these sensors are recorded onboard or streamed to the ground where they undergo manual or automated analysis.  Information derived from the data is very useful in maintenance planning and invaluable in accident investigation.

While it’s true that most GA aircraft don’t have dedicated automatic flight data recording devices now; we will be able to enjoy the benefits of equipage in the future.  In the meantime it’s often surprising to see what we already have.  Manufacturers are already offering self-contained flight data and visual data recorders for GA airplanes and helicopters. 

Regardless of how they monitor performance, pilots continue to hold unreasonable expectations for their aircraft and themselves.  Reasonable performance expectations based on realistic data result in safer flight operations.


Teaching Points:

  • Discuss the hazards associated with unreasonable performance expectations
  • Discuss the safety benefits of Flight Data Monitoring (FDM).
  • Acquaint pilots with the availability of FDM hardware and software.
  • Encourage pilots to adopt FDM processes.



  • Aircraft Performance and Performance Monitoring Power Point
  • Flight Data Monitoring Systems and Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment