A flight bag is a bag frequently carried by pilots and flight crews. The contents of the average flight bag may include aircraft operating manuals, navigational charts, route manuals, flight checklists, and manuals for the flight crew, but there is a lot more that every pilot should have in his or her flight bag before take off. Here are ten essentials every pilot needs.
This one may seem obvious, but that’s only because these documents are so important. In fact, you can’t legally fly without both of these. Always make sure you have them with you.
This will probably seem as obvious as #1, but nothing will derail a planned flight faster than realizing you’ve forgotten your headset. Take the time to double check that you have it before leaving for the airport. Additionally, it’s never a bad idea to have extra batteries on hand if you think they may be needed.
ForeFlight enables pilots to increase situational awareness in the cockpit, and is among the most popular electronic chart options on the market. When flying with ForeFlight, it’s a good idea to keep a set of sectional charts as a backup, in case a problem with your tablet occurs.
While it may seem outdated, all pilots should have a pen and paper nearby to write down instructions and frequencies. With a kneeboard, you can be sure your pen and paper will be handy at all times. Most kneeboards are able to hold your tablet as well.
Food may not seem like a necessity, especially on a short flight, but it is better to have some and not need it than need some and not have it. Simple energy bars will take up little to no space and can come in handy if you’re struck with an unexpected bout of hunger. Water, on the other hand, is a must-have. Dehydration can cause serious physical and mental problems, and it’s one of the last things you want to deal with during flight.
When flying with a tablet, a charging cable and backup battery are necessities, especially on a long flight. Ideally, bring a battery capable of charging your tablet multiple times.
When flying certain headings throughout the day, your vision can suddenly become severely impared. To combat this, get a good pair of non-polarized sunglasses. These will help with the sun and won’t reduce visibility through windscreens or instruments with anti-glare filters.
A fuel tester and four-way screwdriver are must-haves. These two tools will allow you to check the quality of your fuel before each flight.
Extra tools can be critical in emergency maintenance stops. Things like a compass, first aid kit, pocket knife, multitool, as well as some extra oil, microfiber towels, and a flashlight are good examples. Additionally, if you frequently fly over water, it is a great idea to get a water-activated emergency beacon. If you fly at high altitudes, a pulse oximeter can be very helpful. It can be distressing to even think about needing these, but should the situation arise, they can save lives.
Each pilot needs a spare handheld two-way radio. You never want to be stuck without communication if your radio fails. Like most of the items on this list, you won’t think about your spare radio until you need it.
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