Whether you’re a weekend hobbyist just learning how to fly, or you’ve spent decades in the air, a little preparation goes a long way to making every ride safe, comfortable, and fun. Here are a few flight bag essentials that every pilot should pack when they take to the skies.
Just like you wouldn’t go driving without your license and registration, you also don’t want to fly without your pilot certification and your medical information. This is designed to keep you and your passengers safe in the event of an emergency and should always be close at hand.
Communication is key when you’re in the air, and you don’t want to realize you’ve forgotten this key piece of equipment once you’re already boarded. You won’t get far without your headset, so double-check that it’s packed and loaded with fresh batteries. A good flight bag usually includes extra batteries just in case.
Logbooks are essential for keeping track of flights, lessons, and other vital information, both as a student and as you progress to more advanced flying. Writing things down as you go is an excellent way to retain the important information you learn along the way, so you can fly safely and carefully when you’re ready to head out on your own.
Speaking of writing—the kneeboard is an invaluable tool for keeping notes, accessing flight information, making important calculations, and more. There are many different types of kneeboards that can serve as storage, display, and desk, so search around to find the right one to fit your needs.
It’s important to know where you’re going! Most charts are available on a tablet, which means you just have to make sure you keep them updated, review them regularly, and always have your device in your flight bag and ready to use. To that point, it’s vital that you have chargers with you and keep your devices charged, so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
It’s better to have and not need than need and not have. You’ll want to make sure that the toolkit is designed for your plane’s needs and that your survival pack is appropriate for the environment where you fly most regularly. It’s unlikely you’ll have use of either, but they’re important contingency resources you don’t want to skip.
The extra radio is another essential you hope you won’t have to use. Because constant communication is so vital to safe flying, you don’t want to find yourself without connectivity due to electrical failure or inclement weather. It’s more than worth the space in your bag to ensure you’re always connected.
You need to stay healthy in order to fly healthy. Protein-rich foods like nuts and granola bars are an excellent way to ensure you have the focus and energy to fly safety. Stock a few non-perishables and always make sure you have water on hand, so you don’t get woozy or sleepy.
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