Summer is every pilot’s favorite season, and why wouldn’t it be? Fly-ins, vacations, airborne family adventures, and airshows abound during the summer months, which don’t end until September 22nd. Enjoy the rest of your summer safely with some summer flying tips we rounded up specifically for pilots.
Avoid big cities along your flight path. Summer is the most popular time to fly – not just for pilots, but also for their passengers. Heavy flight traffic over cities, increased costs, and smog can add up to an overall poor flying experience.
Flight plans still trump GPS routes. Just plugging in your destination identifier and taking to the skies can be tempting, but remember that your GPS won’t factor in things like the availability of maintenance services or how heavy flight traffic may be over cities. Use a GPS (and a backup GPS) in tandem with a flight plan to map out a better flight path.
Maintenance services. Speaking of a flight plan, while you may be planning your stops with the usual concerns related to length, fuel availability, and weather, don’t forget to consider the availability of maintenance services when planning your route. Keep in mind that at remote airports with fuel services only, you could end up grounded due to something as simple as having a tire with low pressure.
Get familiar with new airports. Anytime you’re flying to an airport that’s new to you, it can make your flight a whole lot easier if you get familiar with it beforehand. You can find a lot of information online at places like AirNav.com or individual Airport Facilities Directories. Google Maps is also a great way to get your bearings before arrival.
Clean up the windows. Cleaning your windshield and side windows every time you fly is a must. Bugs or blemishes on your windshield can be misinterpreted as birds or even other aircraft when you’re flying. Always do your exterior pre-flight inspection and clean up the windows to ensure you aren’t disoriented in the air by something easily preventable.