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2/22/19    Home | Articles | Training | Instructor's Corner | Airplanes | Travelogues | PIREPS | For CFIs | ATPs | Pilot for Hire

By Ryan Ferguson

(cont'd from Page 2)

4. Bring the weather report with you in the airplane.

DUATS weather The DUATS weather briefing is every bit as good as what you'll get from FSS.
If you use DUATS for your weather briefings, print out the standard briefing and bring it with you. This can be invaluable in many situations, not the least of which is finding VFR if you lose electrical power in the aircraft. Aside from the obvious benefits the briefing provides, you might find yourself taking a different routing due to weather, ATC, or whatever and need the winds aloft. Picking the best altitude is a lot easier when you have the report laid out in front of you. You might also need to cross terrain higher than expected you'll have temps to determine the freezing levels. In short, there's really no good reason for not bringing this along, and it helps a lot when you're alone in the cockpit. I leave the weather report clipped underneath the current low-level chart.

5. If you don't have a fuel totalizer or other system on-board, keep track of your fuel burn.

Fuel gauge Okay, it's time to switch tanks.
Depending on the complexity of your fuel system, you may or may not already do this. In the event of an emergency, it may become very important to figure exactly how much fuel you have on-board. In my aircraft, I have main and auxiliary fuel tanks which I must switch between in flight. I have no totalizer, so I keep track via time and stopwatch. Based on experience, sticking my tanks and a rule of thumb (with a slight safety pad) I have a good idea -- within 2 gallons -- of how much fuel I have on-board. My fuel gauges are powered electrically. They're not that reliable anyway, but in the event that I lose them I feel confident that I know how long I have before the engines are starved of fuel from the aux tanks and must be switched back to the mains. My uncle had an instructor who was fond of saying, "If you have enough gas, you live. If you don't, you die." In flying, fuel is life. Having this information at your instant disposal in the event of an emergency is what's valuable; it's yet another form of pre-planning with CRM. Next page: using an IFR Departure checklist.

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