9 Things Every Pilot Should Have During Flight
Every time you take your plane to the skies, you must always be prepared. As a pilot, there are some equipment and documents that you must bring with you each time you take off. Whether you’re a veteran or a new student pilot, these essentials will always come in handy. Now, pick up your favorite flight bag and make sure that you have all the things we have on this list!
Here are the top ten essentials for every pilot:
- Pilot’s license, ID, and medical certificate
Let’s get the necessities out of the way first. Your license, government-issued ID, and latest medical certificate are the most important things you must have, and that should be a given because you can’t fly legally without them. Always be sure that you have them before anything else. It will help if you have an aviation document bag where you can keep all these documents organized and secured. Put them in the same spot in your flight bag so you can easily access them and check if they’re there.
There are only a few things that would ruin your flight day, like a forgotten aviation headset. Your headset is your primary means of communication during flight. To avoid a bad day, always bring your own headset that fits you correctly for maximum comfort. You can keep extra pairs in your plane in case you’re going to fly with passengers. It’s also a good idea to bring extra batteries, especially for longer flights.
- Handheld two-way radio
All planes are equipped with onboard radio. However, communication is a highly vital thing in flight to not have a backup option. In the unfortunate event that your radio systems fail, you’ll regret not having a backup radio. Your flight bag most probably has a compartment dedicated to a handheld radio because it is that important. Having no way of communication during an emergency can lead to dire consequences. Don’t let that happen.
While you can technically bring traditional navigational charts, logbooks, and other documents with you, having an Ipad that can store and display them digitally makes it much more convenient. It has a perfect size for reading comfortably without being too large that it’ll get in your way.
As for the app that you’ll use the Ipad with, we recommend using ForeFlight. It’s one of the most popular electronic navigational charts available, and it’s been receiving lots of great feedback from pilots.
- Kneeboard, pen, and paper
These might seem obsolete, but every pilot could use a pen and paper. You may have to write down instructions and frequencies, and for us, writing on paper still feels different than on a tablet. Most kneeboards now are also built to hold tablets like your iPad, so it would still be nice to have regardless. Bringing a pen and paper won’t hurt, anyway.
- Fuel Tester
A fuel tester is a simple tool, but it’s easily among the top essential things you should bring every flight. With this small tool, you can check the fuel quality of your plane before you fly, which is one of the crucial steps in a pilot’s pre-flight checklist. Using it is relatively easy, and it’s not going to take a lot of space in your flight bag. Different airports may offer different fuels, so it’s best that you can check them on the fly.
- Water and snacks
Why would you need water, you ask? Well, because you wouldn’t want dehydration to put you in danger. Dehydration may impair your cognitive and decision-making capabilities. When you’re up more than 10,000 feet in the air, you need to be in complete control of yourself. Simply staying well-hydrated keeps your mind functioning properly.
As for snacks, you won’t necessarily need them all the time, but they can be valuable at times. You don’t need to bring full meals during the flight as it would be inappropriate. A little energy bar would do. It’s gonna give you the boost you’ll need. Pack a couple of them in your flight bag, and you’re good to go.
- Non-polarized sunglasses
Yes, sunglasses make you look cooler in the cockpit, but they actually serve an essential purpose for the pilot. They give much-needed protection from eye fatigue, which helps you maintain optimal vision. However, not all sunglasses are suitable for aviation use. You should have a non-polarized pair. It will allow you to see through windscreens and instruments with anti-glare filters clearly while protecting your eyes.
- First aid kit
In case of an emergency, a first aid kit might save a life. There’s no telling when you’ll need a first aid kit, but being ready with one can be extremely useful. You may not have lots of space to bring a comprehensive medical kit, so a compact one is already enough. What’s important, though, is that you know how to use all the tools inside it. While it cannot replace a real medical treatment, it will allow you to administer an injury when you need it most.
- Survival gear
Preparing for the worst isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is for the wise. Emergency landings in remote areas are very rare, but they may happen. When it comes to this, you’ll need every tool you may use to survive. A flashlight, extra battery pack, charging cord, water-activated emergency beacon, pocket knife or multi-tool, are only some of the things you may bring. Accidents may happen to anyone, even if you’re the most careful and skilled pilot in the world.
And that’s it! If you have all these with you on your flight, we’re sure you’re going to have a better time. Take note that it doesn’t mean that you cannot bring any more than these. It’s still up to you if you want to pack more stuff in your flight bag; just make sure you’re not exceeding your plane’s maximum takeoff weight!
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