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Pilot Safety Tips You Need to Know

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Many people dream of flying, but few put in the time, effort, and money to make their dream a reality by getting a pilot's license. Once you obtain your license, you must remain vigilant about safety before, during, and after every flight. Otherwise, your dream could quickly turn into a nightmare, both for yourself and any passengers that you may have with you in the aircraft. The following are important safety tips for pilots of all experience levels.

Maintain Constant Communication With the Control Tower
Everyone knows that, as a pilot, you must communicate with the control tower during your flight. You probably know to check in after your flight. However, you should also look into the control tower before ever taking off. Find out about the facility and what procedures are in place to deal with any emergencies that may arise. For example, does the tower have an uninterruptible power supply so that it can keep in touch and guide airplanes in even during an electrical outage? These are things that you should look into while you are still on the ground.

Continuously Refresh Your Skills
As with most fields, aeronautics undergoes a constant state of technological change and improvement. Even if you have been flying for years, there is always something to learn about new aircraft, new equipment, new safety procedures, etc. Refresh yourself occasionally on best practices for your chosen aircraft and maybe expand into something new. There are online resources and courses available to guide you.

Don't Fly Too Low
Always maintain a safe distance from the ground that gives you ample time to deal with any emergency situation. If you fly too low, e.g., below 1,000 feet, you may not have enough time to recover, even as an experienced pilot.

Follow a Pre-Flight Checklist
Air safety is too important to leave to chance. Therefore, you should always have a pre-flight safety checklist and follow it before every flight. You may feel that you do not need a written list because you already have it memorized. Nevertheless, if you don't have a hard copy of the checklist before you, it is easier to overlook something and not realize it until you are up in the air.

Know the Rules for Radio Communication
Clear communication can avoid tragic errors. Unfortunately, the radio tools used to communicate in aviation lend themselves to miscommunication by their very nature. Learn what words and sounds are often mistaken for one another and what appropriate variations you can use to prevent your message from becoming garbled. Be sure to identify the intended recipient, your aircraft, and your location and altitude before conveying your message.

Trust Your Feelings
If you feel sick, it is best to postpone the flight, especially with symptoms of cold and flu. While these may not be severe, they can still pose a sufficient distraction to disrupt your focus. This is an unnecessary risk that you shouldn't take yourself and cannot ethically ask your passengers to assume.

However, it is not only your physical feelings that you should pay attention to but your intuition. If you feel uneasy about taking a flight, for whatever reason, stay on the ground. Don't force yourself to ignore the feeling or allow other people to pressure you into flying when your gut is clearly telling you not to take off.

Keep Your Cockpit Sterile
A sterile cockpit does not mean one that is clean and free from germs, as desirable as that may be. Rather, a sterile cockpit is one that is devoid of any activities or conversations that are not specifically related to the task of flying. These could pose a distraction that could result in a costly mistake. Distracted flying is at least as dangerous as distracted driving. Perhaps even more so due to the altitude involved.

When in doubt, always look to the guidance of authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration.

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