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  Home > Newsletter > Pre-Flight Travel Tips for Aircraft Pilots, February 2013

Pre-Flight Travel Tips for Aircraft Pilots

A good pilot requires a unique set of skills; the intelligence to know how to fly, mental agility to adapt to changing variables, physical stamina to power through long or difficult flights, and the good sense not to wait until the last minute to prepare for your flight.

Most, if not all, pilots go through a pre-flight regimen to ensure they are rested and prepared for the flight ahead. While in the past this newsletter has focused on more technical aspects of pre-flight readiness, here are some personal pre-flight preparation tips and useful reminders to help ensure you’re ready to fly before you leave home.

Preparation depends on the flight

The way to prepare for a flight will greatly depend on the time of departure, destination and the length of the fight, and whether you’ll have an extra pilot on board. Preparation is the key to an enjoyable, successful flight. It’s also the way to ensure that you arrive at your destination with everything you need, and you’ve handled your duties back at home responsibly.

Preparing for your trip should start at least the day before your flight. Here’s how:

  • Start checking out the Weather Channel and other weather websites to find out how the weather will be where you are, and where you’re going.
  • If you’re planning for a night flight, sleep in during the day of the flight, so you’re good and rested for the flight.
  • Depending on how long you’ll be away, take care of any bills and time-sensitive mail before you go. Talk to your spouse or a close friend or family member about any family, work or business issues that may arise before you leave.
  • Leave a good amount of time to pack so that you don’t feel rushed, and so you can remember everything you’ll need for the flight and destination, including flight and non-flight clothes, underwear/toiletries, cell phone and battery charger, and laptop to stay in touch with family and friends with email. If needed, buy a fresh set of earplugs to use during the preflight walk-around.

It may help you to stick to a routine when packing. Try to place things in the same location each time so you know where to find them when you need them. Take time to write up a packing checklist to help prevent forgetting anything.

  • If you wear a uniform, make sure it’s dry cleaned and ready to wear.
  • Make sure you’re well hydrated and try to drink as much water as possible, especially the day before the flight. Obviously, avoid alcohol — it will only leave you feeling tired and dehydrated.
  • A night or two before you leave, it’s a nice gesture to take your partner and/or family out to dinner, especially if you’re not going to see them for a while. Let them know you love them, will miss them and will be back soon.

On the day of the flight

  • The day of the flight, eat a good healthy breakfast or dinner, depending on when you’re leaving. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein for focus and energy.
  • Take a run or do some exercise to get the blood flowing and endorphins popping. It will also help to limber you up, and help you feel more relaxed during the flight.
  • Refer to your packing list, or do a mental checklist and make sure you have everything you’ll need. Remember your phone and charger, pilot’s license, and airline identification and security badge, if necessary.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, so you’re not rushed and stressed when you get there. Also make sure your onboard pre-flight checklist is ready.
  • When you get to the airport or FBO, check the weather again and confirm your flight plans. Is the trip still a go? Is there any bad weather, heavy air traffic, or other variables that require you to re-route, delay or leave sooner than scheduled?
  • Finally, have fun and enjoy! Feel proud to be a pilot and that you have one of the coolest jobs or hobbies in the world.

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