Safety topic from Episode 2

Know your aircraft

How long is it since you’ve read the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for your aircraft? Preparing for an air safari may just be the time to give the pages of your POH your undivided attention. If you become familiar with the layout and content, your POH becomes your go-to reference for gaps in your knowledge of how your aircraft operates and how you as the pilot can operate it safely and efficiently. 

You don’t have to tackle it cover to cover in one go, but over time, the safety of you and your passengers requires you to fully digest the main categories, which include:

  • General stats and information on the aircraft, including instrumentation and power plant  
  • Limitations
  • Emergency Procedures, including 
    • operational checklists
    • engine failure
    • forced landings, ditching
    • fires
    • icing
    • landing with a flat tyre
    • electrical power failure
  • Normal Procedures
  • Performance
  • Weight and Balance
  • Aircraft & Systems Descriptions
  • (if available) fuel burn/TAS/power settings table

Put your knowledge to the test

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are the instruments in MY aircraft that may fail, and what are the implications?
  • Electrical failure – in what order am I going to lose which instruments?
  • Weight & Balance – am I confident about loading the aircraft correctly?
  • Fuel system – do I fully understand it?
  • Vacuum system – why does it indicate a low reading on a low power setting?
  • What PSI do the tyres require?

If you’ve drawn a blank on any of these, then check through the POH or ask your LAME to help you understand.