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Staying Safe as an Airplane Pilot

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Flying a plane is an exhilarating experience. At the same time, it can also be complicated and dangerous. Even the most experienced pilots need to follow proper measures to ensure their safety in the air. If you pilot a plane, here are seven safety tips to keep in mind.


Create and Use a Checklist

Trying to keep everything that you need for a safe flight straight can be challenging. To ensure that you don’t forget anything in the heat of the moment, create (and use!) a checklist. This way, you know you won’t forget anything when you’re ready to take off.


Follow IMSAFE

IMSAFE is an acronym that the Helicopter Safety Team encourages all pilots to use to assess themselves before heading out on a flight. It stands for:

- Illness
- Medication
- Stress
- Alcohol
- Fatigue
- Eating

This acronym is designed to have pilots take a close look at how they’re feeling to make sure that they’re fit to fly. For instance, you should never fly under the influence, if you’re feeling tired or sick, or if you’ve taken a medication that makes you feel groggy.


Perform Through Inspections

Inspections are vital. You should never skip or gloss over pre-flight or post-flight inspections for any reason. Inspecting your plane before taking off allows you to make sure everything is in good condition. If you find anything questionable, have it taken care of, even if you have to delay your flight. You should also inspect your plane again after you leave, which will give you time to deal with any issues (even minor ones) before your next flight.


Protect Your Eyes

Your eyes are one of your most important assets when you’re flying. A pair of quality sunglasses is a must. The right sunglasses protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays and can decrease eye fatigue. If you wear glasses, however, wearing sunglasses becomes close to impossible. You can have your lenses made to change tint for sunlight, but they may not provide the same protection that regular sunglasses might. If you want to wear regular sunglasses, consider switching to contacts. This way, you can wear regular sunglasses and protect your eyes during your flight.


Have More Than One Navigation Tool

Modern technology has made it easy (and tempting) to plug your flight plan into your GPS and take off. While GPS certainly makes things easier, it’s not foolproof. Sometimes, interference may occur. You need to be able to navigate and fly your plane safely. Having at least one more navigation tool is a must, even if it’s just your eyes.


Communicate with Air Traffic Control

If you plan on flying in a controlled airspace, you need to communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC). By making your intentions known, they can better assist the traffic that is under their control. At the same time, ATC may be able to keep traffic out of your way or alert you to potential issues.
You should also consider using flight following. Again, this requires occasional contact with ATC, but it also means that ATC is watching out for you. They can keep you safe and provide assistance if you need help.


Stay High

It might be fun to fly low and enjoy the scenery, but if something goes wrong, you have less time to react and get your plane under control. Mechanical issues at lower altitudes mean that you have fewer options. When you’re flying a plane, altitude is your friend. Stay above 1,000 feet. Staying high gives you time to figure things out or find a safe place to land if you need to get to the ground.

While you may enjoy the thrill of taking off to explore the skies, don’t let your excitement get ahead of safety. Following proper safety measures is essential for keeping you safe and allowing you to enjoy your flight to the fullest.

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Updated 04-23-2020 at 08:34 AM by Nels_Anderson

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