Robinson R22 helicopter at a private site

Preparing to fly again – guide for GA pilots

With the recent relaxation of lockdown restrictions now allowing recreational flying, albeit solo or with members of your own household, many of you may be thinking about getting into the air again.

Of course all pilots regardless of experience will inevitably incur some level of skills fade over time. Even if you flew in the days immediately prior to lockdown you would have been out of the cockpit for around nine weeks. Though for most it will be even longer than that and some of you may have not flown since the last flying season.

Aware of this, the CAA has issued guidance for general aviation pilots returning to flying. We strongly advise everyone reads this, even if you are not planning to go flying imminently, as it will get you thinking about how you need to prepare to get back behind the controls.

Some of the key points are:

  • Are you fit and well? Don’t even think about going flying if you have Covid-19 symptoms
  • Is your licence and medical current?
  • Remember before carrying passengers currency requirements still apply
  • If you’re an owner make sure your aircraft maintenance and documents are up-to-date
  • Make your self aware of any procedural changes at the airport (eg changes in air traffic provision)
  • Do an extra thorough Check A before flight
  • Make your first flight in a local area in good weather
  • Do a ‘hangar flight’ – give yourself a few minutes in the cockpit to re-familiarise yourself with it
  • Take extra time on your first flight and use checklists

The CAA advise that low-hour pilots, those with low hours on a new type or new flying qualification or those that have not flown for a while should consider getting a check flight with an instructor once restrictions are lifted further and dual-training is possible. At Advance we think this is really important so have taken the decision not to go ahead with self-fly-hire until such a time.

Hopefully, training will be allowed again in the coming weeks and at Advance we’re preparing for this. In the meantime we would strongly recommend reading the CAA guidance now so you can get in the preparation mindset and be ready as soon as we get the green light. Another resource worth looking at is the GASCO presentation on returning to flying.

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