I was reading that in India regulators have specified certain airports at which the FO is not allowed to take off or land.

The Pilot-in-Command shall not authorise a Co-pilot to effect supervised take-off or landing when TODA/LDA is marginal. A margin of at least 1000 feet must be ensured. Critical airfields, [Mangalore, Port Blair, Leh, Agartala, Lengpui, Shimla & Kullu airports] are specifically excluded for supervised take off and landing.

As a matter of fact they have several limits in place where 'supervised takeoffs and landings' are not allowed and the PIC must fly the plane.

In this unique to India or are limits on FO's common?

  • $\begingroup$ @mins I'm not sure how else one could interpret that. The whole document is on what a co-pilot can and cannot do. That sentence removes the PIC's authority to decide otherwise. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ After second thought, I agree with your interpretation. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


All the airports listed in the AIC are quite tricky to takeoff/land in. For example, the Lengpui airport runway is a classic example of tabletop runway.

Lengpui runway

Source: www.misual.com

The Leh runway is surrounded by steep hills.

Leh runway

Source: geolocation.ws

The kullu airport runway has a river in both its ends.

Kullu runway

Source: www.airportsindia.org.in

This is the reason for these restrictions. I'm not aware of any such regulatory restrictions in case of other countries. However, the operating airlines can have their own rules about (Category C) airports.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeesh, Kullu not only has a river at both ends, but all those buildings (residences???) just off the right-hand end, as well! $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ The old Kai Tak was another good example of what would be a Category C airport, with its insane approach procedure; Aspen-Pitkin is another great example of an airport that is this way. Don't forget to mention that the FO often can't be PF on the ground -- many Boeings only have one tiller! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ I found out about the regulations while reading about the crash of Air India Express flight 812 where the captain overran the tabletop runway and slid the 737 over the cliff. I've never head of a rule requiring the PIC to land at a difficult airport. That seems arbitrary to me. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ I know the captain will almost always be more experienced than the FO, but circumstances may not make him the best choice. It may be his first time flying into that airport whereas the FO may be very familiar with it. One might even make a case that it's better to have the FO flying. In the case of that crash the captain made a poor decision to continue an unstable landing while the FO kept suggesting they go around. If the opposite were true and the FO was flying a bad approach the captain could order a go-around $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ @unrecognizedfallingobject But that's just a limitation of the aircraft. No one is saying the FO is not allowed to do that, it's just that Boeing didn't see a need to provide two of them. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 22:28

The FAA has restrictions for second in commands when conducting certain operations under Part 135 (notably, landing when more than 60% of the runway is required) and the SIC has less than 100 hours in type specified in 14 CFR 135.4(a)(3):

(3) Pilot operating limitations. If the second in command of a fixed-wing aircraft has fewer than 100 hours of flight time as second in command flying in the aircraft make and model and, if a type rating is required, in the type aircraft being flown, and the pilot in command is not an appropriately qualified check pilot, the pilot in command shall make all takeoffs and landings in any of the following situations:

(i) Landings at the destination airport when a Destination Airport Analysis is required by§ 135.385(f); and

(ii) In any of the following conditions:

(A) The prevailing visibility for the airport is at or below3/4 mile.

(B) The runway visual range for the runway to be used is at or below 4,000 feet.

(C) The runway to be used has water, snow, slush, ice, or similar contamination that may adversely affect aircraft performance.

(D) The braking action on the runway to be used is reported to be less than “good.”

(E) The crosswind component for the runway to be used is in excess of 15 knots.

(F) Windshear is reported in the vicinity of the airport.

(G) Any other condition in which the pilot in command determines it to be prudent to exercise the pilot in command's authority.


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