15 Essential things every Private Pilot must have

15 Essential things every Private Pilot must have

Ever wondered, what the essential equipment of a private pilot is? – The following 15 are the most important things he needs.

1) Airplane

The Cessna 172 is a typical aircraft flown by private pilots. This one is equipped with a state-of-the-art turbo diese engine. That’s easy to fly and eco-friendly too.

2) Watch

Time is a very important element in aviation. Not only passes it by quickly, but it is used to determine take-off and landing as well as to calculate time enroute and the total time of a flight.

3) Map

To plan the flight, a map is needed. Aeronautical charts with scale 1:500 000 for cross-country flights are typically used. For densely populated areas or precision flying, maps with more details are also available.

This is for example the Zurich area taken from the Aeronautical Chart Switzerland. Can you identify Zurich airport and the little aerodrome Birrfeld, west of Zurich?

4) Flight Computer

General aviation pilots calculate their speed over ground as well as wind correction angle to determine flight time and headings for the individual flight. The front side is used for example to calculate time required for a given air speed and distance.

On the backside, speed over ground and wind correction angles are calculated based on the given wind direction and wind speed as well as the true airspeed of the aircraft.

5) Manual

For flights done according visual flight rules, a VFR Manual is required. It contains all necessary information like flight rules, radio navigation facilities and most important the approach charts. That are small maps showing the details of the departure and destination airport like radio communication frequencies and runway elevation and length. Today the Manuals are available on CD and the charts can be printed from PDF files.

6) Flight Crew Licence

Yes, a pilot is part of a flight crew. In small airplanes like the Cessna 172, he is the only member of the crew, operates the plane as single pilot in command, loads and unloads the luggage and also takes care of the passengers on board. The license has a validity of 2 years and has to be renewed afterwards. For that, pilots have to provide evidence that they have been actively flying in that period. This is done with the flying logbook.

7) Medical

All pilots have to undergo regular medical checks. This begins with an initial check to prove they are fit for flying before they can start their pilot’s initial training. The medical has to be renewed on a periodic basis, which is depending on the pilot’s age. Typically the validity is 2 years.

8) Radio Certificate

This certificate entitles the holder to do radio communication on board an airplane in english language. It is a two way communication: messages are read back to ensure they have been sent and received correctly.

9) Flying Logbook

This is just one example how the cover of a flying logbook looks like.

The pilot records all his flights including the airport identifiers from where he took off and landed. Times are recorded in local or Universal Time Coordinated – UTC, also known as “zulu”. In this case the pilot did a number of sight seeing flights around Braunschweig (ICAO identifier “EDVE”).

10) Kneeboard, 11) Check List & 13) Pen

The Kneeboard has a soft twist to fix it to the leg of the pilot. Here he notes important information before and during flight and also the checklist and approach charts can be stored. Every aircraft has an individual checklist for the different flight phases from pre-flight preparation through engine start-up, taxiing, take-off, cruise, descent, landing up to parking. The procedures are highly standardized. A good pilot knows some parts of the checklist by heart.

14) Sun Glasses & 15) Headset

Sun glasses are especially important when flying above the clouds because it is very bright up there. Also they are needed when flying towards the sun or when landing in western direction at sun-set.
A Headset makes radio communication easier compared to the standard speaker and mike. Also it protects the ears from noise inside the aircraft.