FAQ: What needs to be in a Crew Briefing?
April 3, 2024

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FAQ: What needs to be in a Crew Briefing?

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Blog, General Info | 0 comments

When operating a drone, it can be helpful to work with a crew to ensure smooth operations. 

Crafting a comprehensive drone pilot crew briefing is crucial for these safe and efficient operations. This article delves into the essential components necessary to ensure every member is well-informed and prepared.

Short Answer

From The TC Aeronautical Information Manual 


The crew […] needs to be briefed on the following points before takeoff:

  • Roles and responsibilities of each individual crew member; 
  • Flight plans and anticipated procedures (e.g. command hand-off); 
  • Emergency and contingency plans; 
  • Location of the safety equipment and who is trained to use it; 
  • Public management plan


This explanation has enough to get you through, however, if you’d like a more detailed explanation of some of these aspects, read on! 

Long Answer 

‘Roles and responsibilities’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting, but should include aspects such as keeping the aircraft in line of sight, watching for bystanders etc. The Regulations lay out specifically the roles and responsibilities of a Visual Observer. These include;


  • The ability to conduct Reliable and Timely communication with the Pilot in Command 
  • Communicate to the Pilot in Command the presence of conflicting aircraft, hazards to aviation, or bystanders to the pilot 


The regulations also state that a Visual Observer can only observe one RPAS at a time unless the RPAS is designed for multi-aircraft operations, and then, only up to 5 per Observer, unless under an SFOC. 

Most of this is beyond the scope of day-to-day operations for most pilots, so the important things to tell your VO are their responsibilities and a communication plan. While most crew members will be acting as observers, by definition, Crew Member and VO are not synonyms, so if there are specific tasks,  you’ll need to brief these crew. 901.21 states that any crew member must comply with all PIC instructions. 

Some Miscellaneous Points on Crew Briefing 

Pilot In Command Handovers

If you plan on handing over PIC responsibilities during a flight, you’ll need to prearrange it, and have an established procedure in place. (Canadian Aviation Regulation 901.42)

Crew Readiness

All crew members must also be fit and ready for the flight. This includes No alcohol within 12 hours and no cannabis products within 28 days. 

For more information, check out our blog on Crew Readiness! 

Emergency Equipment

As per the regulations, all crew members also need to know the location of emergency equipment, checklists and procedures, and the aircraft manual. (CAR 901.28 (b -ii))

Flight Reviewers as Crew Members

The flight reviewer is not considered a ‘crew member’ in the traditional sense. You’re welcome to use them as a crew member on the review, with 2 caveats. 


  1. If you want them to act as a traditional crew member in any way, they need to be briefed as if they were a crew member
  2. They may not be able to perform all tasks, as they are there primarily to assess your abilities. If the reviewer is unable to perform a task during the review they will let you know 

In conclusion, if you’re employing a crew for your operation, they need to be briefed on their duties and responsibilities. We recommend that all pilots working with crew write a crew briefing procedure, so nothing is missed. 

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