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Safety Starts Before You Go

by Master CFI Bill Cornick

Pilots stumbling into TFRs, breeching the ADIZ around the Nation's Capital area, or bumbling into various classes of airspace are symptoms of what Master CFI Bill Cornick sees as 'one of the most consistent errors in the cockpit: a lack of pre-takeoff planning.'

Inadvertently entering controlled airspace is not the only problem resulting from poor advance flight planning. Fumbling around for frequencies, searching for information on charts, and unawareness of current and forecast weather conditions, are a few of the other situations that can divert a pilot's attention from controlling the airplane and bring  potentially dangerous results.

'Why would anyone take off without knowing where they are going,' Cornick asks. 'Yet I see pilots taking the runway without having prepared the navigation equipment (GPS, FMC, VOR, etc.) for the departure routing or first waypoints. From the time we are kids learning to play, it has always been: Get ready. Get set. Go. I have never heard it said: Go, Get Set. Get ready.'

Proper and thorough advance planning and preparation for a flight are necessary for every flight but they are essentially critical in a single-pilot IFR environment, Cornick cautions.

His advice: 'Plan the Flight and Fly the Plan.'

Master CFI Bill Cornick is a retired airline captain with in excess of 24,000 flight hours. He is an active air show performer and air show competency evaluator for the International Council of Air Shows.  He is an Aviation Safety Counselor for the FAA.  He instructs in the Soccota TBM 700 for the West Coast TBM dealer.

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