Reconnaissance missions are not game variant or home rule therefore I post them in Strategy section.
The first question would be what are the reconnaissance missions.
Have you ever had situation when you were flying 6 pilots, 4 were too stressed to fly and 2 more with Stress 0 doing nothing? And probably these 6 will go back with enough Stress so you will have to give them all R&R. So how to use these 2 pilots who could fly but they wouldn't have a chance to destroy a target?
HL: CAO offers Secondary missions. If you lucky to draw one (or you have it as an improvement) you can send your pilots on reconnaissance. Simply arm your aircraft (usually no tanker needed), draw Target bound event (you may now abort mission if sites are too dangerous) than Over target event, spend 1 turn over target until Aircraft Movement phase and exit screen. Than draw Home bound event and enjoy XP for those pilots.
You will always have 1XP (unless some Aircraft were unlucky destroyed) sometimes +1XP for long range mission and sometimes with some nasty event like Political Limitations, etc. you will have another 1XP.
Pilots will of course suffer mission stress (you were planning R&R for your squad anyway) and there is chance for unlucky rolls with events or while spending 1 turn over target but all your weapons are prepared to suppress so chance for bad luck are reduced.
After mission Card goes back for unused stock (or Improvement stays in play) and in future this Target can be used again when Target Deck is re-shuffled.
Everything is by the book as I read the rules. No penalty for mission unless Target card has "Penalty".
To sum up. Reconnaissance missions are missions where you pilots obtain information about target. They avoid any confrontation or take defensive actions if needed. They get rewarded in experience but suffer all standard threats (events, site/bandit attacks Over Target) or consequences (stress).
It won't work in PLD although games are similar. No Secondary missions and Pilots are forced to fly on fly-paths so they need to spend at least 4 turns Over Target instead of 1.
- [+] Dice rolls