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Flight Safety audit

Revision: March 14, 2012, at 09:09 AM

Module content

Before departure you should determine if your own physical and mental condition is conducive to safe flight, check that all navigation planning, navigation equipment and aircraft equipment requirements have been met and, finally, lodge your flight plan in the form of a Flight Note (see below) with a responsible person.

Being prepared for an emergency

There is always a possibility of an enroute engine problem, or other event, necessitating an off-airfield landing. A reasonable knowledge is required of the procedures associated with such incidents, particularly those occurring in remote areas. Ensure you are familiar with the operation of your ELT/PLB, and are appropriately equipped for your flight.

Before departure it is certainly wise, if not mandatory, to leave enough information with a responsible person that, should you fail to check in with them by an agreed time, a telephone ring around can be initiated. If that is unsuccessful the Rescue Coordination Centre [RCC] can be notified. RCC will attempt to make radio or telephone contact with the missing pilot, and initiate a search that uses your planned track as a starting point, while at the same time monitoring the 406MHz SARSAT for a distress signal.

A useful template for the the Flight Note information to assist the RCC can be downloaded here.

Flight Fitness

The next check is a personal one, determining if YOU are safe to fly. A mnemonic checklist has been developed for that purpose.

The "IMSAFE" checklist

  • Illness- Do I have an illness or any symptoms of an illness?
  • Medication -Have I been taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs?
  • Stress - Am I under psychological pressure from the job? Worried about financial matters, health problems or family discord?
  • Alcohol - Have I been consuming alcohol within eight hours? Within 24 hours?
  • Fatigue - Am I tired and not adequately rested?
  • Eating and drinking - Am I adequately nourished and not dehydrated?

See also the Human Factors section of the RAANZ Training Manual.

Planning and equipment check list

It is advisable to run through a flight planning, navigation equipment and aircraft equipment check list to ensure that all requirements have been covered:

  • Have I established the safest route and minimum safe altitude avoiding high ground, tiger country, hazards, restricted areas & CTA/CTR?
  • Have I double checked that all magnetic bearings and distances on the flight plan have been measured correctly?
  • Have I checked the locations and the suitability of refuelling stops, of the destination airfield and of alternate landing areas?
  • Have I checked airfield details in the VFG? For airfields not listed in VFG have I checked the airfield condition, approach and departure limitations/obstructions with the owner/operator and is my skill level sufficient to safely land and take-off at those airfields?
  • Have I checked the enroute, destination and alternates weather, cloud base and visibility (ARFOR, TAFs, METARS and surface chart) and notams (ADs, ALAs and restricted areas)?
  • Have I left a Flight Note, showing the itinerary, with a responsible person who knows what action to take if I fail to check in by the agreed time?
  • Have I checked that watch, compass, ASI and altimeter function OK?
  • Should I be equipped with a functional VHF transceiver and if so have I noted/loaded all the required frequencies?
  • Should I be equipped with a 406MHz PLB/ELT? All flights beyond 10NM must carry an ELT/PLB
  • Should I be equipped with lifejackets? And if on a leg over water, wear them!
  • Have I back-up batteries for handheld equipment?
  • Am I wearing suitable clothing for surface conditions, in case of an unplanned landing?
  • Should there be a First Aid kit in the aircraft?
  • Should I take an extra supply of prescribed medication?
  • Is there an adequate water supply in the aircraft?
  • Is tie-down gear loaded?
  • Have I physically confirmed the actual fuel load provides a reasonable margin, on top of the flight plan needs including the reserve?
  • Has the the fuel in the tanks been physically checked for quality and water or other contamination?
  • Have I checked aircraft weight & balance with everything and everyone loaded?