Your No Cost Safety Training Aid
By Dr. Chuck Crinnian, MD
Something in aviation that is no cost? You already have it-your Checklist and your aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH). At this point, you are wondering how this is a safety training aid. Let me expand. This is one way to have a “Safety Standdown” that is tailored to you and your aircraft.
I would probably make a safe bet that the average pilot hasn't read the POH for his aircraft after the initial purchase or checkout. And although most of us use the checklist on every flight, when was the last time you reviewed the emergency procedures? Just as I thought. So here is my prescription for joining the ranks of the Professional [Attitude]Pilot.
Pull the POH out of the aircraft and take it home. Read it. Revisit the section on aircraft systems and understand how it all works. Then correlate it to what variations on the pre-flight inspection may be seen. Assure you know the performance speeds and limitations. Review all the emergency procedures and play the scenarios over in your mind. Visualize what is done with an engine failure after takeoff, fires in flight and on the ground: know them. Know the less-than-immediate issues such as alternator failure, and the more obscure ones such as door open, autopilot failure, etc. Know the maintenance recommendations and assure your plane is in top mechanical condition. You don't have to do this in one setting. Keep the POH in your daily “reading room” and review a section a day. The goal is not rote memory, but understanding.
Next, take out your aircraft checklist. Review both the normal and the emergency checklist sections. Then sit in the plane and visualize each emergency. This is your low cost simulator. Actually go though the procedures in real time simulation in your mind. This will stick with you so if the real situation actually happens, it won't be added stress fumbling through a checklist you haven't seen in years. Now, you are a professional.