Preparing for Flight

Lists, Lists and more Lists. This wouldn’t be Listomattic without lists, so before you fly, there are some considerations that need to be taken into account.

  1. Pilot Well Being
  2. Weather
  3. Weight & Balance
  4. Takeoff and Landing performance for anticipated weather conditions
  5. Supplies & Materials
  6. Preflight Breifing
Pilot Well Being

Make sure you are physically and mentally prepared to fly. Refer to the IM SAFE acronym which is any of the following:

        • Illness
        • Medication
        • Stress
        • Alcohol
        • Fatigue & Food
        • Emotion
Weather

Check the weather in your current location as well the destination and all paths in between, keeping in mind any potential diversions that may be necessary.

Weather concerns should include:

        • Winds (measured in knots and “from” direction”)
        • Visibility conditions including need for VFR vs IFR (measured in miles and refers to the distance in which an object or light source can be seen)
        • Sky Condition (Clouds referred to as AGL (above ground level described as overcast or broken)
        • Temperature and dew point (degrees in Celsius, Higher temp = lower performance, closer to dew point = greater chance for fog & poor visibility)
        • Altimeter Settings (current atmospheric pressure with standard being 29.92″ of mercury, Above 29.92″ is high pressure, Below 29.92″ is low pressure)

Check airports for the Automated Weather Observation System or Automated Surface Observing System.

Weather conditions determine the permissible flight conditions.

VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions) are when the cloud ceiling is greater than 3000′ above ground level with a visibility of more than 5 miles.

Students pilots should follow the following as a guide -VFR (Visual Flight Rules) – Visual to be able to see conditions and Visual Meteorological ┬áConditions (VMC – a cloud ceiling higher than 3000 Above Ground Level with at least 5 miles of visibility) as well as winds less than 15 knots.

IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) – Requires an instrument rating for permissible flying in weather conditions.

Weight and Balance

This includes you fuel planning, passenger load, luggage or cargo weights.

Weight and balance calculation are done for each flight to make sure the plane doesn’t fly too heavy and to distribute weight appropriately for the flight.

Takeoff and Landing Performance for Anticipated Weather Conditions

Just like weather, keeping in mind all potential landing locations.

Calculating the takeoff and landing performance data is to ensure that you can successfully takeoff given the length of the runway as well as to land and stop the aircraft at the destination or diverted runway under given lenghts.

Supplies and Materials

Any necessary flight equipment such as headsets, charts, airport diagrams, appropriate clothing or attire for destination or any parts in between, food, water emergency gear.

Here are some flight tools to consider before getting the aircraft ready for flight:

    • Communication devices such as headset, iPad, phone
    • Appropriate eye and ear protection (glasses, safety glasses, sunglasses, earplugs)
    • Any keys or access passes for aircraft, luggage compartments, airport gates or keycards, parking pass
    • Pilot Logbook
    • Fuel Sampler
    • Kneepad
    • Navigational Charts
    • Cushion for seat, if needed for visibility.
Preflight Briefing

Flight Instructor and pilot review the purpose of the anticipated flight and work through the roles and responsibilities as well as the activities planned for the trip. Another important topic is the status of the airplane.