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Pre-flight safety and legality check
Rev. 27b — page content was last changed 29 December 2013
|Flight Planning and Navigation|
Before departure you should have determined if you are completely prepared for the flight and any emergencies that may arise; checked that all navigation planning, navigation equipment, aircraft equipment and survival equipment requirements have been met; lodged your detailed flight plan — in the form of a Flight Note with a responsible person — ensured the aircraft is fit for the journey and the daily inspection has been signed off; attended to your passenger and finally, confirmed that the weather and your own physical and psychological condition are conducive to a safe flight operation.
Coping with emergencies' guide.
Before departure it is certainly wise — if not mandatory — to leave enough information with a responsible person, so if you fail to check in with them by an agreed time a telephone ring-around can be initiated. If that is unsuccessful the Rescue Coordination Centre of the Australian Search and Rescue organisation [AusSAR] can be notified. AusSAR will attempt to make contact with the missing aircraft. If that is also unsuccessful AusSAR will initiate a search that uses your planned track as a starting point. The information that AusSAR requires is contained in the flight note form recommended by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority [AMSA]. AusSAR is a division of AMSA.
For further information on communications when in difficulties, the legal requirement to carry a 406.025 MHz ELT, AusSAR ELT monitoring and search procedures; refer to the 'Safety and emergency communication procedures' in the VHF radiocommunications guide.
Some noteworthy sections of
the Civil Aviation Act 1988, the CAR 1988 and the CASR 1998) that direct pilot actions before flight. These regulations are
CAR 78 'Navigation logs',
CAR 92 'Use of aerodromes',
CAR 233 'Responsibility of pilot in command before flight',
CAR 234 'Fuel requirements',
CAR 235 'Take-off and landing of aircraft etc',
CAR 235A 'Minimum runway width',
CAR 239 'Planning of flight by pilot in command',
CAR 244 'Safety precautions before take-off'
and CAR 282 'Offences in relation to licences, certificates and authorities'. The requirement for two-place aeroplanes to carry an approved emergency locator transmitter is stated in CAR 252A; single-seat aircraft are exempt from that requirement but it's certainly wise for all aeroplanes to carry an ELT.
In addition CAR 232 'Flight check system' requires provision of procedural check lists and the pilot must ensure that the check lists are carried in the aircraft. Note that CASA EX38/2004 exempts owners/operators of aircraft with a MTOW under 5700 kg from compliance with the requirement to obtain prior CASA approval of those flight check systems.
It is advisable to run through a flight planning, navigation equipment and aircraft equipment check to ensure that all requirements have been covered. So, have you:
The I'M SAAFE checklist is:
There are several articles, contained in the online version of CASA's magazine Flight Safety Australia, which are recommended reading. See the section titled 'Aviation medicine' in our index to those magazine articles.
Note: sport and recreational aviators, and the single passenger allowed, are defined by CASA (only in the aviation regulatory sense) as 'informed participants' in the activity being pursued. An informed participant is aware of the risks involved in a particular form of sport and recreational aviation and is willing to accept those risks. How do you make your passenger aware of the potential risks inherent in sport and recreational aviation so he/she can make a risk-informed decision about their participation? Various warning placards must be displayed in the aircraft cockpit but that's hardly sufficient. What if the passenger is legally a child, how can any child be considered a 'risk-informed' participant? Legally, pilots have a duty of care toward their passenger and may not take needless risks or act in an irrational manner.If you intend carrying a passenger have you performed at least three take-offs and landings within the last 90 days? See the RA-Aus Operations Manual section 2.07 para. 11.
Passenger care: please read the RA-Aus Operations Manager's advice on passenger care, appearing in the July 2013 issue of the RA-Aus journal 'Sport Pilot'. Technical Manual section 4.2.1 requires that, before departure, the pilot-in-command must ensure that the aircraft is correctly maintained (by reference to the aircraft log book), the daily inspection has been completed, the RA-Aus registration card is in place and current and the aircraft's fitness for flight has been confirmed by means of a personal pre-flight inspection. CAR 233 (1) (h) states that 'Pilots are required to carry, and have readily accessible in the aircraft, the latest editions of the aeronautical maps, charts and other aeronautical information and instructions, published in AIP, or by an organisation approved by CASA, that are applicable to the route to be flown, and any alternative route that may be flown, on that flight'. Currently (December 2013) that means the paper maps and charts from Airservices Australia, not digital maps stored in an iPad or other tablet computer except if the EFB software is from a CASA approved supplier. The 'other aeronautical information' for VFR operations outside controlled airspace would include the current ERSA and relevant ARFORs, TAFs, METAR, NOTAM etc from the NAIPS Internet Service.
Note: these requirements are in addition to the regulations mentioned above.
CAR 78 states 'The pilot in command of an aircraft shall keep a log of such navigational data as is required to enable him or her to determine the geographical position of the aircraft at any time while the aircraft is in flight' and that 'The log shall be kept in chronological order'. The content of the log is not specified for aircraft operating within Australia however a fuel log facility should also be included. Weight-shift aircraft operating under CAO 95.32 are exempt from the need to maintain a navigational log.
CAR 139 nominates other documents (aircraft maintenance release, aircraft flight manual, pilot licence, medical certificate) to be carried in flight, however sport and recreational aircraft operating under CAOs 95.10, 95.32 or 95.55 are exempt from complying with CAR 139. The RA-Aus Operations Manual section 2.01 requires pilots to carry their Pilot Certificate and produce it on demand from an RA-Aus official, a CASA official or a police officer; but there is no requirement (for non-LSA aircraft) in the RA-Aus Technical or Operations Manuals that mandates carriage of other documents except the aircraft registration renewal card.
LSA aircraft are also required to carry at least a copy of their Special CoA, Statement of Compliance, weight and balance information under the requirements of the Technical Manual section 7.5.3(7).
There is no requirement in the regulations or the RA-Aus Operations Manual for pilots to carry their personal logbook in flight, however, you may find it useful to carry a copy of the logbook notation of the successful completion of a still current flight review and, if carrying a passenger, something that confirms the recent experience requirements.
The Technical and Operations Manuals require that all pertinent cockpit placards, warnings and other labels, be in place and visible to pilot and passenger. Self-administering Sport Aviation Organisations Section do carry out 'ramp check' inspections on pilot and aircraft after landing or before take-off, at any airfield where sport and recreational aircraft are operating. Such operational checks are consistent with the Section's safety surveillance role and are the only means by which the CASA officers can sample the professionalism of the RA-Aus membership and, perhaps, the professionalism of the flight school where the more recently qualified pilots were trained. There is no need for pilots to be fearful or antagonistic — regard the check as an opportunity for a useful learning experience.
Those Flying Operations Inspectors might be interested in how the flight has been planned, whether appropriate information available from the NAIPS Internet Service (and from other authoritative sources) has been used and what the navigation/fuel log reveals about how closely the flight conformed with the plan. Other checks might be appropriateness of Pilot Certificate endorsements to the journey, the aircraft type and the carriage of a passenger; evidence on currency of the biennial aeroplane flight review; currency of aircraft registration; cockpit labels/warnings/placards in place plus safety harness conditions and appropriateness.
The check might include any of the items listed in the preceding planning and equipment check list but perhaps items 7, 10, 23 and 26 stand out. The Self-administering Sport Aviation Organisations Section produced a ramp check booklet in December 2013 that can be supplied in printed form. CAR 232 'Flight check system' is listed under 'Document references' but as it stands the booklet reference to CAR 232 is a little misleading for aircraft weighing less than 5700 kg, so please read an annotated version of CAR 232 on this website.
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Groundschool – Flight planning & Navigation Guide
| Guide contents | 1. Australian airspace regulations | 2. Aeronautical charts & compass | 3. Route planning |
| 4. Effect of wind | 5. Flight plan completion | [6.Pre-flight safety and legality check] | 7. Airmanship, flight discipline & HF training |
| 8. En route adjustments | 9. Supplementary techniques | 10. En route navigation using the GNSS |
| 11. Using the ADF | 12. Electronic flight planning & the EFB | 13. ADS-B surveillance technology |
| Operations at non-controlled airfields | Safety during take-off & landing |
|The next section of the flight planning & navigation ground school discusses airmanship and flight discipline|
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