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Commercial Pilot Requirements -Check-List

 commercial pilot requirements


commercial pilot requirementsCommercial pilot requirements – The importance of a complete and thorough preflight preparation routine and checklist should never be underestimated. A great pilot knows what to check and why, is knowledgeable about what contributors to consider for ensuring true airworthiness, possesses great organizational skills and exhibits a penchant for attention to detail. To ensure a thorough and comprehensive preflight check is performed, the pilot should reach the airport about 90 minutes before takeoff and follow the stages, as outlined below:

Stages of pre-flight preparation: Pre-flight preparation is comprised of five essential stages the AIS Briefing, Meteorological Briefing, Route Selection, Chart Preparation and Flight Plan Preparation:

AIS briefing: This stage involves the pilot identifying all information related to the plane that might affect the flight. This includes permanent aeronautical information, printed on aeronautical charts. They are contained in national Aeronautical Information Publications (AIPs) or guides for commercial flights.

Meteorological Briefing: This brief predicts the weather conditions and forecast for the plane’s route as well as chosen airfields on this route and they are identified on special charts. The meteorological forecast consists of temperature forecasts, wind level and cloud forecasts, icing and turbulence.

Route Selection: When choosing the route for a flight, the following considerations must be taken into account:

  • Pilots who cross countries’ borders must obey the rules laid down in national AIPs.
  • Pilots in the controlled airspace must follow the rules of the national authorities where it is flying, and as laid down in the national AIP.
  • If airspace restrictions are mentioned, pilots must avoid them.
  • The pilot should avoid routes showing turbulence or severe icing.
  • Pilots should check that navigation equipment in the aircraft is safe for operation as laid down by national AIPs and in accordance with the Minimum Equipment List. For visual navigation, the route should avoid low clouds or poor visibility areas. For radio navigation, the route should be so designed that it follows tracks between bearings, radials or radio signals.

Commercial Pilot Requirements – Chart Preparation: Charts with specific aeronautical information should show all air space restrictions and prohibited areas including temporary airspace restrictions as notified in NOTAMs, AICs, controlled airspace, etc. The charts should be checked for their relevance of information shown therein. The flying route, topographical charts, ranges or bearings from navigational beacons should be marked on these charts.

Flight Plan Preparation: During this phase of preparation, a set of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) or Visual Flight Rules (VFR) is prepared for submission to the appropriate Air Traffic Control (ATC) authorities only if there is a national requirement for this information. This plan should be submitted within the time constraints expressed in the national AIP.

Additionally, a navigation flight plan must be prepared which shows the route, planned levels, minimum levels for safe flying, tracks, times, distances, times, Expected Time of Arrivals (ETA) and fuel needs.

The above steps are the broad stages of preflight preparation.  Below are additional steps the pilot performs to ensure readiness prior to takeoff:

Physical Inspection of the aircraft:  As the pilot approaches the plane, he gives it an overall visual inspection to determine if there are any noticeable deficiencies such as flat tires, bent wings, damaged fuselage, etc.

The ARROW check: This acronym helps the pilot to remember all documentation required for takeoff:

A: Airworthiness Certificate

R: Registration

R: Radio Station License

O: Operating Limitation documents

W: Weight and Balance Information


Logbook check: By checking the logbook periodically, the pilot can ensure that all the necessary inspections are current. Every two years, the altitude encoder, transponder, static system and altimeter, should be inspected if the plane is being flown via IFR. Additionally, the plane’s VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR) accuracy should be checked monthly.

Cockpit check: Once the paperwork is done, the pilot should ensure that all valves and switches are in their proper place and in working order. He should clean the cockpit of any trash and check the seats and seat belts to ensure proper operation.

Check brakes and tires: Brakes and their pads should be inspected for the required pad thickness. The pilot should also check the brake disc for grooves, any rust and overall thickness. Tires should be checked for flat spots and wear and tear.

Check the engine and prop: The overall condition of the propeller should be checked, particularly for nicks. Props should be checked for oil leaks and for unnecessary blade movement.

The pilot should inspect the engine for overall good condition and adequate oil levels. The air filters should be devoid of excessive dirt, bugs, oil, soot and grease and the exhaust pipe should be dull gray in color and its compression rings should not be excessively worn.

Check the fuel system: The pilot also checks the fuel to ensure the proper level, octane color, gauges readings, and that no contamination exists.  Additionally, it’s common for the pilot drain a little fuel from the sumps to ensure there is no leakage.

Windows and windshields clean-up: Lastly, the pilot should clean the windows and ensure that there are no bugs on the windshield that can interfere with a perfect traffic scan.

The commercial pilot requirements checklists above are all requirements pilots must fulfill prior to takeoff.  If you have planned to fly in the near future; be reassured that your pilot will have carried out all the above-mentioned checks to keep you safe during your flight.

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