What is the 5P model?

The 5P model is an alternative model for decision making. The 5P model addresses the following components: Plan, Plane, Pilot, Passengers, and Programming.

Plan: Has adequate pre-planning been completed? Some of the questions to ask are if the pre-flight planning is adequate, such as weather, fuel, route, etc.

Plane: Is the plane adequate for the plan, including maintenance and equipment?

Pilot: Is the pilot prepared for the flight, considering qualifications and I’M SAFE components.

Passengers: Are there external pressures or requirements from passengers? Pilots need to remember that passengers may not understand the risks involved with flight.

Programming: Are avionics up-to-date and configured appropriately? Does the pilot understand how to use the installed equipment?

The pilot should systematically review the 5P model throughout the flight.  The 5Ps are used to evaluate the pilot’s current situation at key decision points during the flight or when an emergency arises.  These decision points include pre-flight, pre-takeoff, hourly or at the midpoint of the flight, pre-descent, and just prior to the final approach fix or for VFR operations, just prior to entering the traffic pattern.


FAA-H-8083-25B Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge pg. 2-13
FAA-H-8083-21A Helicopter Flying Handbook pg. 14-5

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