Now that we’re moving the pandemic behind us, life is slowly returning to normal. For pilots, that means more travel and more time back in the cockpit. As we gear up for what’s expected to be a busy flying season, it’s also an opportunity to recommit to safety. Here are a few simple things you can do now to kickstart safety this summer:
Sometimes, even the simplest solutions are overlooked. Take landing lights, for instance. We’re constantly amazed at the number of aircraft with no lights on. It’s probably the easiest way to make yourself more visible, yet for some reason, they’re simply overlooked. Landing lights with a wig wag feature and strobes are a very small investment that makes your aircraft much easier to see on the final approach.
When considering maintenance, one of the things to watch out for (especially if your aircraft has been idle during the pandemic) is grease. Grease can experience oil separation when stored for an extended period of time. The oil either forms a thin film over the thickening agent or gathers in pockets within the grease. So make sure it’s thoroughly stirred using the proper tools. Or just replace it if you can’t get it back to a consistent state.
Sticking the Landing
If you feel a little rusty in your landing skills, one trick that will make you look like a polished pro is to bring the plane as close as you can to the runway without actually touching the ground. Then when the stall buzzer goes off, bring the throttle up off idle as gently as you can (around 50 RPM) and your tires will greet the runway with synchronized perfection.
Equating Gallons with Time
Many incidents in the air are completely avoidable. Running out of fuel is definitely one of them. One thing some pilots overlook is remembering the relationship between time and fuel. In other words, knowing that having X gallons of fuel means you are good to fly for Y amount of time. So, instead of just trying to measure distance in your head, simply set an alarm on your phone that reflects the time you have in the air based on your amount of fuel.
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