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Home Principals of flying Magic number 4 - part IV

The magic number 4 - part IV

Return to:  Magic number 4 - part III ... 8 hours from a bottle to the throttle

Four things to check before flying.

  • Pilot readiness.   When flying a model or the real plane the pilot is responsible for the safety of the flight.  He or she is the only final decision maker so better it will be the best one. The pilot readiness is a composition of knowledge, training and health.   The safety of the flight can not be guaranteed if pilot in command does not know what to do, or how to execute it or physically is not able to accomplish it.  Pilot is a part of the airplane, and must act like one - just perfect.  Constant learning, training and practicing is a pilot's life.  I hope I don't need to mention that the "health factor" includes such things like "8 hours from a bottle to the throttle".
  • Airplane readiness.  Pre-flight check is good way of verifying that the equipment is ready for the journey.  Making sure, that fuel is there, batteries are charged, radio has desired range and all components are working perfect every time before every flight is a way of avoiding horrible surprises when it is to late.  One "loose nut" can mess up the flight big time.
  • Location.  Is the location of the airport is adequate to the plane performance and requirements?  Are there any restrictions that would limit available runway or airspace?  Is this place safe for bystanders in case of equipment malfunction or executing emergency procedure? These and many alike questions pilot must answer before starts preparations for flying. Full scale pilots have help from many sources and publications (FSS, NOTAMs, TFRs, A/FD e.t.c.), modelers must relay on their own good judgment.  Pilots must make sure they are familiar with the area and plan ahead how to execute emergency procedures if they become necessary. 
  • Weather.  This is the most common limiting factor preventing from safe flying that is beyond our control.  There is no "best", in general, weather for flying as it depends on the type of equipment and pilot skills.  Strong wind may be good for slope flying gliders, but will be a killer for ultralights.  Stable air gives IFR pilots smooth ride but reduces visibility for VFR traffic.  For RC modelers it may be enough to look at local current weather condition at the field for making "go - no go" decision.  Full scale pilots have to use all available weather tools - they are real life savior.  So by all means, use them all.
I think I have already used four times the "Number 4" rule.  That should be enough.  Let's go flying...