It is summer and the perfect time to take to the skies and travel! Perhaps your flights for the season include a fly-in or two. It feels like almost every weekend there is a new poker run, pancake breakfast, or aviation event to visit! As fun as flying to the destination may be, it’s important to keep your head on a swivel and to plan properly for the flight.
The Code of Federal Aviation Regulations requires you to become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. Larger fly-ins such as Sun ‘n Fun and EAA AirVenture/Oshkosh always have specific NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen) to follow for arrival and departure for these popular events. Be aware that even the smallest of fly-ins may issue NOTAMS or other procedures as well; especially if the airport is not used to supporting additional traffic! Review these procedures before your flight and it never hurts to chair fly the more complicated ones as well. Often a NOTAM may note specific landmarks to follow and online maps with satellite view are an excellent way to get an advanced look at the area you’ll be flying.
While the NOTAMS are designed to allow safe entry and exit within a busy airport environment, it is important to use a vital tool in the aircraft – your eyes! ‘See and avoid’ is one of the most basic yet important concepts of collision avoidance in aviation (as weather permits). A pilot should develop a scan that allows them to double check their instrument readings and/or NOTAMS with what they see outside the aircraft in a quick manner while also scanning for nearby traffic.
Your ears can also be a helpful tool. Listening to the radio and what controllers are assigning or points pilots are reporting can assist in painting a picture of the sky surrounding you (situational awareness). Even though large fly-ins such as Sun ‘n Fun and Oshkosh require radio silence of its pilots, listening to who is cleared ahead and their instructions will offer insight on what to expect.
Finally, it’s important to be where you are expected to be. Traffic patterns have specific entry procedures and required altitudes and a fly-in NOTAM may request you start your inbound leg towards the airport over a certain landmark. Straying from what is considered procedure or requested could cause a traffic conflict.
The agents and pilots of Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR) enjoy attending fly-ins all over the country throughout the year and encourage you to do the same. To keep aviation safe and insurance rates low, it is important each of us take our flying seriously, especially during a busy fly-in season through preparation and keeping our heads on a swivel. To obtain your competitive aviation insurance quote call AIR today at 301-682-6200, complete an online quote request, or visit us at a fly-in!