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Skip These 9 Preflight Items, And You'll Have Headaches In The Air

It's your responsibility for a safe flight, and it starts with...

1) Weather Reports and Forecasts

Before every flight, you need a weather briefing. Not only does this help you visualize current and forecasted weather, you'll also know about NOTAMs and TFRs along your route.

Grempz

2) Fuel Requirements

According to FAR 91.151, you need land with a fuel reserve of at least 30 minutes for VFR during the day, and 45 minutes at night. If you plan to fly IFR, FAR 91.167 says you need enough fuel to go to your original point of intended landing, to your alternate (if needed) and thereafter for 45 minutes at normal cruise speed.

Jim Sorbie

3) Alternates

If you fly IFR, you need to determine if you need an alternate. If the weather conditions forecasted an hour before to an hour after the ETA at your destination are less than 2,000' ceilings or 3 SM visibility, you need an alternate.

mathewpiatt

4) Known Traffic Delays

These delays are typically included in weather briefings. They contain information regarding traffic congestion along the route, or in the terminal area. This allows you to plan ahead so that you don't find yourself holding at a clearance limit for extended periods of time, burning precious fuel.

RM Bulseco

5) Runway Lengths

You need enough runway to land, and also take off. Takeoff distance is almost always longer than landing distance. Check your performance ahead of time - you don't want to find yourself stranded on a short runway with no way to depart.

egmboeingpilot

6) Performance

The last place you want to be is rotating on takeoff, realizing that you won't be able to clear obstacles on the departure end of the runway.

Granger Meador

7) Weight and Balance

This also plays in to performance calculations. Make sure you're within weight and balance limits before you go.

US Army

8) NOTAMs

Whether it's runway closures, NAVAID outages, or airspace restrictions, it's essential to review the NOTAMs for your flight.

Corey Komarec

9) Airworthiness

Last but not least: preflight inspection. This means checking the required documents, maintenance inspections, and making sure your aircraft is ready for the air.

Boldmethod

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at corey@boldmethod.com.

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