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Cockpit Organization for Single Pilot IFR

Source:, Featuring Doug Stewart

cockpit organization

flight planning considerations


"What about cockpit organization? Obviously, a big factor in our planning."


"Major factor in our planning. We talk about the workload involved in flying IFR, and one of the great ways in managing this workload is to be well organized, and that organization begins as you plan the flight.

So that before you walk out to the plane, you've already got your enroute charts folded in sequence as you're going to need them; you have the departure airport approach plates loaded, so that if you do have a failure and have to come back, you now don't have to scramble to find that approach chart back into the airport you just departed from.

I remember, I used to fly a Malibu Mirage with another pilot. We shared the flying chores with it. He departed out of Westfield, Massachusetts into a 300 foot ceiling. He noticed light flickering on the right rudder pedals. He kind of scratched his head, What the heck is that? And then he smelled the very familiar smell of electrical wires burning and realized, Yikes! I've got a fire!

He called Bradley and he says, "I've got a cockpit fire. I'm going to need to return to Westfield".

But he was prepared because he's had not only the VOR2 approach out, but the ILS20, as well. This was part of his cockpit organization. This fella had been a TWA pilot.

So having our departure approach plates, having our arrival approach plates ready, having our alternate approach plates already out and organized and in a folder or however you want to do it. There are numerous tools that you can buy in all the different shops to help you organize that.

But these things should be organized in your flight bag prior to getting to the aircraft, so then all you have to do is transfer them from your flight bag to an accessible place in the cockpit as you fly.

If you do that, now as emergencies come up or problems come up, you're ready for it."

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