Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) is carried out in a flight simulator as part of initial or recurrent flight crew training. It involves a detail conducted in real time and representative of line operations but includes special emphasis on abnormal situations which involve communications, management and leadership. The abnormalities which will be encountered are not pre-briefed.
LOFT can have a significant impact on aviation safety through improved training and validation of operational procedures. LOFT presents to aircrew, scenarios of typical daily operations in their airline with reasonable and realistic difficulties and emergencies introduced to provide training and evaluation of proper flight deck management techniques. The result is an appreciation by the air carrier of operational shortcomings on the part of line crews and an evaluation of the adequacy of flight deck procedures and instrumentation, as well as over-all crew training effectiveness.
LOFT scenarios may be developed from many sources, but accident reports provide a realistic and appropriate starting point. A properly conducted LOFT program can provide great insight into the internal workings of an airline's operations and training programme for the following reasons:
- If similar mistakes seem to be recurring among pilots, it may indicate a potentially serious problemas a result of incorrect procedures, conflicting or incorrect manuals, or other operational aspects.
- It may reveal areas in aircrew training programs which are weak or which need emphasis.
- It may reveal problems with instrument locations, information being presented to pilots, or other difficulties with the physical layout of a particular flight deck.
Air carriers can use it to test and verify flight deck operational procedures.
LOFT should not be used as a method of checking the performance of individuals. Instead, it is a validation of training programs and operational procedures. An individual or crew needing additional training after a LOFT session should be afforded that opportunity immediately with no stigma or recrimination.
A LOFT session should not be interrupted except in extreme and unusual circumstances. Repositioning the simulator and repeating problems is inconsistent with the principles of LOFT. Partof the benefit of LOFT is derived from an individual or crew being able to quickly appreciate the results, either positive or negative, of operational decisions. After completion of such a session, a detailed debriefing should be made. This may be accomplished by an initial self-debriefing by the crew, followed by the LOFT co-ordinator's (check pilot's, instructor's) debriefing.
This critique should include the use of such aids as voice and video recorders, as well as written notes.