General Flight Safety Rules and Recommendations for Pilots Flying in Africa.
Landing and take-off at private Airfields in Africa
- Prior permission to operate in and out of private airfields must be obtained from the licence holder or owner.
- Refer to the latest Airfields Directory for more details and telephone numbers.
- Pilots must ensure that the airfield is in fact suitable and safe for use by the particular aircraft flown.
The following factors should also be considered:
- Ensure that length of runway is adequate compared to requirements of aircraft.
- Condition of the runway surface during wet conditions may impair braking action and during dry seasons, strong winds may cause sandy surfaces to become very uneven.
- Length of grass cannot be accurately judged from the air and the surface under the grass may be dangerous.
- Depth of motorcar tracks across or alongside landing strips are often deceptive.
- Damage caused by rodents overnight may not easily be observed from the air.
- Unserviceable portions of landing strips may not be marked.
- Cattle or sheep may graze on the airfield.
- Game may be a hazard, especially at airfields in or near game reserves and parks.
- Pedestrians may be crossing the runways, especially if there are settlements, rubbish dumps or townships in the vicinity
Landing at unlicenced fields is entirely at the Pilot’s own risk. Contact owner or operator before landing so that they can check the runway condition and repair if necessary.
General Flight Safety:
Use of GPS
GPS should not be used without standard, common sense navigation techniques. Prepare well for your flight, i.e. plan the route, alternates, checkpoints, frequencies, up-to-date charts, airfield charts and double-check information like co-ordinates. Never rely entirely on your GPS as batteries can go flat or it could become unserviceable during the flight, or information could have been entered incorrectly.
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For inflight navigation EasyCockpit
Correct Fuel Management
Always assume you have less fuel than indicated. Never completely trust the fuel gauges in your light aircraft but always do a visual check using a dipstick. Incidents occurred where fuel is drained from aircraft at night and then sold back to the crew, often in containers without approved filter devices. Overloaded Aircraft and incorrect mass distribution can have serious consequences. Check your aircraft manuals for correct data.
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- Ensure that filler caps seal properly.
- If possible, fuel tanks should be filled before parking the aircraft at the end of each day’s flying to minimise condensation.
- Allow for adequate settling time before checking fuel for presence of water.
- Before refueling and again before flight, check the fuel for the presence of water. Use transparent container and drain off generous amounts of fuel from the fuel tank sumps and the filter bowl. If still in doubt, use water-detecting paste.
- When refueling from drums or other containers, carefully inspect, identify and check the contents for contamination.
- Do not use fuel which has a cloudy appearance or which is “off-colour.”
- When refueling from drums, filter the fuel through a 5-micron metal filter, or, as a last resort only, a chamois skin filter. Filtration through chamois skin is dangerous because of the excessive static electricity, which is generated when the fuel passes through the skin pores.
- Use only the fuel recommended by the engine manufacturer.
- Ensure that the aircraft is parked on level ground when checking the fuel. Failure to do this could result in water gravitating to an area of the fuel tank where it will not flow through the tank drain.
Should you experience headache, drowsiness or sluggishness or smell exhaust fumes, shut off all hot air supplies, open window or other fresh air sources and land at first opportunity. Keep a carbon monoxide detector in your aircraft.
Proper Pre-Flight Check
Should be done every time before take-off. Check that:
- Cowlings are secure.
- Fuel and oil quantities are sufficient and uncontaminated.
- Flight control surfaces are secure and functional.
- Air intakes are clean and unobstructed.
- Check that no birds, rats etc. have nested.
- Check that Undercarriage, Wheels & Brakes are in good condition and secure.
- Check the Propeller’s condition and for cracks.
- Make sure that the control lock, chocks and covers are removed.
Special Note: The pre-flight inspection must be carried out in accordance with the specific aircraft-operating manual.
Density Altitude: Remember – with a higher temperature and/or a higher airfield elevation, the take- off distance required will increase significantly.
Unless for landing or take-off, aircraft are generally not allowed to fly lower than 1000 ft above the surface. The VFR minima below 1000ft are only 1,5 km flight visibility and clear of cloud. Remember that power lines, radio masts, microwave towers, low-flying SAAF aircraft, telephone lines and kite fishing are hazards that can cause serious accidents. Low flying can also endanger wildlife and birds, especially ostriches in the ostrich farming areas, and eagle breeding in certain areas.
As part of flight safety, every pilot should have a full understanding of weather patterns. But it is not always easy to keep track of them during flight. EasyWeather is a product developed to keep you informed of weather patterns before and during flight with the aid of weather downloads overlaying satellite, radar & forecast images to the maps in EasyPlan and EasyCockpit.