A Complete Manual for Conducting International Flight Operations

Crew Briefing

Crew Briefing

The importance of a through briefing cannot be overemphasized. Unlike domestic flight operations where both crewmembers have a fairly good idea what will occur during a given flight, each International Flight Operation is completely unique and will require both pilots to be familiar with country specific ICAO procedures, weather, aircraft equipment, documentation required, aircraft security, aircraft performance, record keeping, etc.


The best means to ensure that both crewmembers are on the same page and are aware of the different aspects of the flight is by conducting a crew briefing.  The crew briefing shall be conducted by both crewmemebers at a time when neither is in a rush. For example, a Captain who has performed all the flight planning for a given trip shall brief all aspects of the flight and the Copilot, who has completed the preflight shall brief all items related to the aircraft. It is important for the briefing to be timely and to ensure that both crewmembers feel welcome to ask questions and express concerns regarding elements of the flight.

Captain Briefing Elements

  • Departure and Destination Airports
  • WGS-84 Status
  • NAT Track Message Identifier
  • EFB Chart Status and subscriptions
  • Fuel required and fuel on-board
  • Weather at the destination and alternate
  • ETP points and ETP weather
  • ETOPS Status
  • Cruise airspeed and altitude
  • Arrival or Departure slots
  • Actions in the case of an emergency
  • ICAO differences from standard

Example Captain Briefing:


“For the flight today from KSFO to EHAM, WGS-84 status checks good, the NAT message is TMI-284B, all charts are updated and on the EFB. Fuel required is 33,000 lbs and we should have 39,000 lbs on the aircraft. Weather at the time of arrival is overcast at 300’ visibility .5 miles……, the alternate airport is …., Today’s ETP alternate airports are …. and ….. ETOPS check is complete and ETOPS is not required . NOTAMS for EHAM are as follows…. The flight will be conducted at Mach .80 and initially at FL 410 which should put our arrival time at 0310 local. We need to plan to start engines at 0900 local in order to meet our SLOT time. In the event of an oceanic emergency, I will establish a turn, verify the driftdown speed, and configure the aircraft lighting. I would like you to broadcast on 121.5, program the offsets and find the appropriate emergency checklist. The ICAO differences from standard at the destination are ……..Do you have any questions?”

First Officer Briefing Elements

  • Status of the preflight inspection
  • Status of navigation databases
  • Status of VOR checks
  • Status of oceanic position check
  • Route plotting and journey log status
  • GPS RAIM status
  • MEL status
  • Next inspection due
  • Emergency equipment status
  • Exterior preflight and discrepancies, wear items
  • Interior preflight and discrepancies
  • Passenger convenience items status

Example First Officer Briefing:


“The Preflight Inspection has been completed, navigation databases are current until the 28th, VOR checks were performed on the 5th, and the pre-departure oceanic position check has been completed. The fuel on board is 39,000 lbs. We have been cleared via the Offshore 5 departure ….. I have plotted the route and ETP points and I have started a Journey Log for the trip. GPS RAIM checks good and the aircraft has no MEL’s. The next inspection due is in 50 hours. I have verified the emergency equipment, and rafts are aboard and are serviceable. The exterior preflight looks good, although the right main tire has a fair amount of wear. Interior preflight looks satisfactory although a light for the TCAS/GPWS test is out. The catering is on board and all the items requested were delivered.”


Revision date: July 29, 2015

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