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7 Flight Considerations You Need To Prepare For When Fall Arrives

Fall officially starts this week, and the days are getting shorter. Here's what you need to be thinking about the next time you're headed out for a flight...

1) Lowering freezing levels

As the temperature drops, so does the freezing level. If you're planning to go IFR, make sure your route of flight won't pass through any icing hazards.


2) Better performance

As density altitude decreases, you'll see an increase in performance. That means shorter takeoff rolls and better climb rates. But if you're flying a carbureted engine, it also means greater chance of carb ice.


3) Earlier sunsets

FAR 91.57 says you must have logged three landings to a full stop from the time starting one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise in order to carry passengers at night. If you aren't night current and you're carrying passengers, you need to be on the ground before that time.

4) Is your plane warm enough for run-up?

Your aircraft's oil can take quite awhile to get into the green arc. Make sure it's warm enough before you start your run-up.


5) Changing environment

In most regions in the U.S., the scenery will change dramatically when trees start losing their leaves. Get ready for surrounding areas to look a lot different this fall.


6) Bird migration

This can be huge safety concern for pilots. If you have a close encounter with birds, let ATC know so they can inform other pilots.

Thermos / Wikipedia

7) Survival gear

You've been wearing shorts all summer, but how comfortable would you be if you had to overnight in your plane in the middle of October? Make sure you have warm clothes and boots with you.


What else should you be considering as it gets colder? Tell us in the comments below.

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

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