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.
The concept of LOFT was first expounded in ICAO Circular 217 AN/132 'Human Factors Digest No 2' in 1989 which has since been republished in its original form as UK CAA Publication CAP 720 (Crew Resource Management and LOFT)
CAP 720 states in the introduction to Chapter 5 that:
"LOFT can have a significant impact on aviation safety through improved training and validation of operational procedures. LOFT presents to aircrews 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 programme 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 problem as a result of incorrect procedures, conflicting or incorrect manuals, or other operational aspects.
- It may reveal areas in aircrew training programmes 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 programmes 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. Part of 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 thorough debriefing should be made of all aspects. 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."
- Air Pilots Safety Briefing Note 07: "The role of safety pilots during line training"
- CAA Publication CAP 720 (CRM and LOFT)
- UK CAA Standards Document No. 29 Version 4, Guidance for Flight Crew CRM Instructors
- UK CAA Standards Document No. 80, Version 1, Alternative Training and Qualification Programme (ATQP), July 2013
- AC 120-35D: Flightcrew Member Line Operational Simulations: Line-Oriented Flight Training, Special Purpose Operational Training, Line Operational Evaluation, FAA, March 2015
- Culture in the cockpit - CRM in multicultural world, an article by Michael Engle, NASA, published in Journal of Air Transportation Worldwide, vol 5, no.1 - 2000
- LOFT Debriefings: An Analysis of Instructor Techniques and Crew Participation, March 1997