Is there a document which highlights the responsibilities of the Pilot Flying and the Pilot Not Flying? Specifically, I want to find out what instruments are assigned to whom in all the stages of flight.

I haven't had any luck in finding any documents which highlight these points. So far I have read through the FAA handbooks but to no avail.

For example:

  • During takeoff, PF focuses on X and Y but PM monitors X, Y, A and Z
  • Then during descent, PF focuses on C and F but PM monitors C, F and A

Are there any resources which I have failed to look at? Does any document explain this?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! This might also depend on a specific airline's operating procedures $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 13, 2019 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


The general duties of Pilot Flying (PF) and Pilot Monitoring (PM), also called Pilot Not Flying (PNF), are e.g. outlined in the following section of the Boeing 737 NG FCOMv1 (NP.11.2 Normal Procedures - Introduction, emphasis mine):

Crew Duties

Preflight and postflight crew duties are divided between the captain and first officer. Phase of flight duties are divided between the Pilot Flying (PF) and the Pilot Monitoring (PM.)

Each crewmember is responsible for moving the controls and switches in their area of responsibility:

  • the phase of flight areas of responsibility for both normal and non-normal procedures are shown in the Area of Responsibility illustrations in this section. Typical panel locations are shown
  • the preflight and postflight areas of responsibility are defined by the "Preflight Procedure - Captain" and "Preflight Procedure - First Officer."

The captain may direct actions outside of the crewmember’s area of responsibility.

The general PF phase of flight responsibilities are:

  • taxiing
  • flight path and airspeed control
  • airplane configuration
  • navigation.

The general PM phase of flight responsibilities are:

  • checklist reading
  • communications
  • tasks asked for by the PF
  • monitoring taxiing, flight path, airspeed, airplane configuration and navigation.

PF and PM duties may change during a flight. For example, the captain could be the PF during taxi but be the PM during takeoff through landing.

So monitoring instruments is primarily the responsibility of the Pilot Monitoring (hence the name). But of course the pilot flying will also monitor instruments like e.g. airspeed indicator when hand flying.

The exact duties for each phase of flight are also outlined in the FCOM, but they are of course aircraft specific. The following is part of the 737 takeoff procedure:

FCOMv1 NP.21.39

If you are interested in more details, I suggest you try to find an FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual) for the aircraft you are interested in online. It should have detailed lists of responisibilities for each phase of flight.


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