ASO Standards



The AIRBORNE SENSOR OPERATOR CODE OF CONDUCT is a living document, intended to be updated periodically to reflect changes in aviation/remote-sensing practices and the aviation environment. Please send your suggestions, edits, errata, questions and comments to: .


The AIRBORNE SENSOR OPERATOR PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS GUIDE is the first of its kind effort by professional ASOs to institutionalize the role of the ASO. In its entirety, this standards document describes the primary functional areas associated with being a professional ASO:

• ASO Description
• Definition
• Industry Sectors
• Titles
• General Professional Standards
• Attributes
• Education
• Basic Training
• Continuing Education and Advanced Training
• Professional Development
• Certification
• Professional Liaison
• Leadership
• ASO Managers


The AIRBORNE SENSOR OPERATORS CODE OF CONDUCT offers recommendations to advance flight safety, airmanship, remote-sensing and professionalism. The Code of Conduct presents a vision of excellence for aviators/remote-sensing aircrew professionals. Its principles complement and underscore legal and/or professional requirements. The Code of Conduct will be most effective if users have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of flight & remote-sensing as well as a commitment to the pursuit of professionalism. The Code of Conduct has five sections, each presenting Principles and Recommended Practices. 

1. GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF AVIATORS - Airborne Sensor Operators should:

    • approach flying with seriousness and diligence,
    • seek excellence in airmanship,
    • develop and exercise good judgment and sound principles of aeronautical decision-making,
    • recognize and manage risks effectively, and use sound principles of risk management,
    • maintain situational awareness, and adhere to prudent operating practices and personal operating parameters (e.g., minimums),
    • aspire to professionalism,
    • act with responsibility and courtesy, and
    • adhere to applicable laws and regulations.


    • maintain a professional crewmember mindset at all times (vs.  passenger mindset),
    • Keep your fellow crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations as safe as possible,
    • act professionally towards your crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations and practice the principles of Crew Resource Management,
    • seek to prevent unsafe conduct by crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations, and
    • avoid operations that may alarm, disturb, or endanger crewmembers, passengers or people in your area of operations or people on the surface.

3. TRAINING AND PROFICIENCY - Airborne Sensor Operators should:

    • participate in regular recurrent training to maintain and improve proficiency beyond legal or professional requirements,
    • participate in flight safety & remote-sensing education programs,
    • remain vigilant and avoid complacency,
    • train to recognize and deal effectively with emergencies & collection system failures,
    • prepare for and review each lesson carefully, and
    • maintain an accurate log to satisfy training and currency requirements.

4. USE OF TECHNOLOGY - Airborne Sensor Operators should:

    • become familiar with and properly use appropriate aviation & remote-sensing technologies,
    • Invest in new technologies that advance flight safety & remote-sensing. Learn and understand the features, limitations, and proper use of such technologies,
    • carry redundant systems and equipment and use them in appropriate circumstances,
    • maintain basic flying and remote-sensing skills to enhance safety in the event of failure or absence of advanced instrument displays or automation, and
    • use flight simulators and training devices as available and appropriate.


    • advance and promote aviation safety & aerial remote-sensing and adherence to the Code of Conduct,
    • volunteer in and contribute to organizations that promote aviation, aerial remote sensing, and use their skills to contribute to society at large—and encourage other Airborne Sensor Operators to do so as well,
    • demonstrate appreciation for aviation remote-sensing professionals and service providers,
    • advance an aviation and aerial remote-sensing culture that values openness, humility, positive attitudes, and the pursuit of personal improvement,
    • promote ethical behavior within the aviation community, and
    • mentor new and future Airborne Sensor Operators.