What are the essential tools for General Aviation pilots in Europe?
General aviation flights in Europe require certain minimum equipment onboard the aircraft. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, what we want to discuss is the essential tools for general aviation pilots in Europe.
What does that mean?
Flying involves more than knowing how to start an engine or making a smooth landing. Planning a flight, gathering information, and performing performance calculations are crucial to flying safely.
They’re equally as important as being proficient in operating an aircraft. Pilots combine knowledge, experience, and skills to complete a flight safely and efficiently.
Next, you’ll read on 5 tools that make your life easier as a General Aviation pilot in Europe.
It all starts with planning for your flight.
Sure you can fill and file a conventional, paper flight plan at an Air Traffic Service Unit in the UK.
But why go to the airport if you can do it from the comfort of your home? The Civil Aviation Authority provides an online option at www.flightplanningonline.co.uk.
But it gets better:
Flight planning software has evolved exponentially over the past few years. Nowadays, a few even provide complete “suites” that feature functions such as route generation, weather forecasting, and performance calculation.
At the forefront is ForeFlight, which is probably the best and most sophisticated flight planning solution in the world.
For VFR, SkyDemon is among Europe’s leading VFR flight planning and navigation apps.
Weather constitutes the most critical variable for General Aviation (GA). Private aircraft tend to be smaller and less powerful than their commercial counterparts. Therefore, they’re affected to a much higher degree by the meteorological conditions.
It’s crucial to get the METARs, TAFs, and NOTAMS of your departure point, destination, and airports along the route.
Weather apps make this task simple, easy, and convenient. Flight planning solutions like ForeFlight and SkyDemon feature weather briefings as part of the suite.
You’ll find many other free and paid apps online, though.
Multifunction Display (MFD)
The Multifunction Display (MFD) is a device that interfaces with existing avionics and presents a multitude of flight information on a screen.
The display may also allow you to access the weather radar, view charts, and even see nearby traffic in a mini-map.
Findaircraftforsale.com not only allows you to trade aircraft, but the aviation website also features several aircraft spare parts for sale. One of which is the industry-leading Garmin GTN750, which provides GPS, navigation, and communication capabilities all in one touchscreen display.
The MFD is surely a beneficial addition to any GA aircraft, it makes flying simpler and more fun.
Flying involves using a great deal of arithmetic. Pilots need to calculate many variables, including distance, performance, and fuel.
To perform such calculations, aviators of the last century used pen, paper, as well as analogue flight computers such as the E6B, CRP-5, or CR-3.
Conventional flight computers developed, thanks to technology, into battery-powered, handheld devices.
But even that significant improvement can’t compare with some of the aviation applications available now.
A prime example is the E6B Aviation Calculator, a robust app you can use to perform calculations, convert units, and even access aviation weather reports.
A comprehensive calculator is one of the most crucial tools for general aviation before and during flights.
Being a pilot means recognizing the possibility of getting into an accident. Being a good one entails preparation for that potential mishap.
Although tough to go unnoticed for days, going off the grid for a day or two isn’t unheard of after a crash. When that happens, you go into survival mode.
Naturally, you need a survival kit until the rescuers or a good samaritan arrives at the scene. The kit typically includes items such as a knife, flashlight, compass, and signaling device among other essentials.
How much does it cost? Well, you’ll find decent packages for under 50 euros, but top-drawer kits go up to a few thousand euros.
As your life may depend on the kit, it’s prudent to avoid the cheaper options and invest in a good-quality kit. Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
General aviation flights can be tough to carry out, especially for pilots fresh out of flight school. You can easily find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of preparation, planning, and calculation before you even set a foot inside the aeroplane.
Luckily, though, technology made it possible to drastically reduce the effort and time required to conduct a flight.
From electronic flight planners to survival kits, we presented you with 5 essential tools for general aviation pilots in Europe.
Talal is a Jordanian airline transport pilot and aviation blogger with +2,400 flight hours logged flying in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Europe.