Ever been distracted by radio communication or your instrument scan and forgotten something on your checklist during a single-pilot IFR flight?
"A 14-year-old was flying with me, and after a while, she asked me when I was going to put the gear up," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation presenter told more than 100 pilots at a Single-Pilot IFR Safety Seminar during Sun 'n Fun. "I was so busy and had forgotten to go through my checklist, that I had climbed to 14,000 feet without putting up my gear."
Use checklists - not as a "do list," but as a check to make sure you haven't forgotten something critical. That's one of the top safety tips for single-pilot IFR. Another tip is to brief your passengers so they will know when to be quiet.
"You can tell just by the tone of the air traffic controller's voice," the presenter explained, "when you've missed two or three calls because you were talking to your passengers."
If you fly single-pilot IFR but can't attend a safety seminar, check out the Air Safety Foundation's free online course. It's worth it to make you a safer pilot, and it might make your next IFR trip less stressful and more enjoyable.
You should also take a look at the Air Safety Foundation's Single-Pilot IFR Safety Advisor. You can download it here.
April 8, 2006