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4 Important Safety Tips For Pilots

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Getting a pilot's license opens you up to many new and exciting adventures. You can take quick trips to a different state with your family. Or, craving a complete change of scenery, you can venture to a neighboring country. As fun as it is to be a pilot, there are also important safety guidelines to follow each time your plane takes off. Check out four important safety tips for pilots.

1. Perform a Preflight Inspection
Piloting a plane is very different from driving a car. When preparing for a long drive, you likely do a very quick maintenance check of your car, including checking the gas gauge, tire pressure and oil level. On the other hand, before air travel, pilots need to do a thorough inspection of the plane or helicopter.

Responsible pilots perform the inspection with a written checklist. They go through each and every item on the list to make sure all equipment is in safe working order. A sampling of the items from the checklist includes inspecting landing gear, fuel levels, flight controls and radios. In the case that you come across parts that need replacing during a preflight inspection, look to machine parts for high-quality industrial equipment replacements.

2. Do a Personal Check-In
Not only does the plane or helicopter require a thorough inspection prior to flight but you do as well. Unless you have a copilot, there likely isn't anyone on board who can take over in the event you are unable to fly the plane. Prevent this from happening by doing a personal check-in -- or, as it is more commonly known in the flight world: the IMSAFE checklist.

The IMSAFE checklist stands for illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue and eating. A pilot uses the list to assess if any of the items apply to them. For example, flying on an empty stomach may not seem like a big deal but it can cause distraction or fatigue while in flight.
Additionally, it is important for pilots to be alert to their stress levels. Things like deaths in the family or feeling overworked are all substantial reasons to bow out of flying for the day or week.

3. Don't Completely Rely on Tools
With so many electronics making life easier, you end up relying too heavily on them to get you through the day. But the minute your phone or computer breaks down, you become helpless. A similar problem, with more dangerous consequences, can result when someone relies too heavily on the plane's gadgets.

It is common for pilots to become overly reliant on flying gear. Tools, such as autopilot and GPS, make flying a plane a great deal easier. Autopilot is useful when a short break is needed, but it is in no way a complete substitute for a live pilot. It is important to still be alert and within reach of the controls in the event of turbulent conditions or a malfunction.

GPS is another tool that pilots can become overly dependent on. It is better to develop navigation skills independent from GPS. You can improve your navigation skills with the guidance of an experienced instructor and with repeated practice.

4. Practice Emergency Procedures Often
Preparing for the worst is never fun but very necessary. Pilots, in particular, need to prepare and be ready for issues that can arise in flight. It is advised to always review emergency procedures prior to flying.

To help remember emergency procedures, quick memory checks with easy-to-remember words are used, such as "fuel, fire, flight controls." Other important emergency procedures to review include preparing for unexpected landings, bad weather and how to declare an emergency.
Being a pilot opens you up to new job opportunities and exciting adventures.

As a pilot, you also have the responsibility of keeping both you and your passengers safe. You can be responsible and safe by performing preflight inspections, doing personal check-ins, not being overly reliant on flight tools and reviewing emergency procedures.

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