Are YOU prepared to Fly?
I'M SAFE checklist ...
Illness - Is the pilot suffering from any illness or symptom of an illness which might affect them in flight,
Medication - Is the pilot currently taking any drugs (prescription or over-the-counter),
Stress - Psychological or emotional factors which might affect the pilot's performance,
Alcohol - The regs say 8 hours must pass before you can exercise your privilege to fly, however, studies indicate it should be closer to 24 hours to ensure you are not impaired. In addition, be aware that the legal limits on allowable alcohol in blood is much lower than it is for driving.
Fatigue - Has the pilot had sufficient sleep and rest in the recent past, and
Eating - Is the pilot sufficiently nourished?
Is the Weather safe enough to fly?
www.1800wxbrief.com Official FAA weather provided by Lockheed by contract
www.duats.com Official FAA weather provided by Lockheed by contract
Ensure the weather forecast is safe enroute, and at destination at time of scheduled arrival.
Airport Data / Charts
Is both your origination and destination airport open? Are any runways closed? Are the runways you need for current wind conditions available? Are the runways available long enough? Do you know the frequencies used at that airport? Do you have the runway/taxiway diagram to find your way around the airports you're using? If you'll need fuel at your destination, do they have any? Do you have all the applicable current charts? The Airport Facility Directory may state it's normally available, but do they have any today? Do they accept the form of payment you hope to use? Do you have the means to obtain a hotel room if weather prevents you from getting back home?
The Airport Facility Directory is available online through www.FAA.gov
Recommend obtaining a chart subscription from Sportys.com, Aircraftspruce.com or other suitable vendor. Then you won't be caught off guard with out of date Sectional Charts. They expire every 6 months.
Can I Fly Direct? - NOTAMS / TFRs
Are the navigation aids you intended to use working? Much of the info asked for in "Airport Data" (airport and/or runway closings) apply to NOTAMS since any recent changes made to the Airport Facility Directory information will be published in Notices to Airmen, (NOTAMS). Is the airspace you intended to use available, (think Temporary Flight Restrictions, TFRs). TFRs can pop up with little notice, either due to National security, environmental, or law enforcement activities.
NOTAM info is available on www.duats.com, www.duat.com and FAA.gov
Is the plane ready for flight?
Always follow manufacturers recommendations for conducting a pre-flight inspection of aircraft.
There must be a clear line of communication between the licensed aircraft mechanic responsible for the aircraft, and all pilots who have access to the aircraft.
There must also be a system in place for the last pilot flying to communicate with the next pilot flying the aircraft. This is typically performed by leaving the discrepancy log in the pilot’s seat. Please ensure aircraft you fly have discrepancy logs in the aircraft.
TSA requires that aircraft dispatch procedures ensure only authorized personnel have access to aircraft at all times.
Operating Manual pre-flight inspection proceedures will not ensure aircraft is airworthy. One must ensure aircraft is signed off by licensed aircraft mechanics as airworthy and all applicable inspections have been performed and have not expired. This clear line of communication between pilots and designated licensed aircraft mechanic is a must. It is the pilot's responsibility to ensure aircraft is airworthy. [FAR 91.3(a)]
As Pilot in Command, it is your responsibility to ensure aircraft is loaded within Weight and Balance limitations specified by aircraft manufacturer.
Example: a typical Cessna 150 weights about 1,321lbs ready to fly with 21 gallons of fuel. That leaves less than 280 pounds for both you and your passenger or instructor and flight bags. Do the math!