Pre-Flight - A Photocopy is Good Enough or..."How Much Could Have Changed in Five Years?"

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A Photocopy is Good Enough or...


What's the problem?

Out-of-date publications can be a killer, or at a minimum, they can cause confusion and embarrassment. Make sure that your maps and Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) are current. Failure to do so can have some nasty consequences.

Frequencies, obstructions, availability of fuel, and even the airport itself can change from issue to issue.

A couple of years ago at a western Canadian airport, a Saab340, with 20people on board, had a close encounter of the first kind with an R22 helicopter. The helicopter pilot had not been in communication with any agency at the airport, and when asked about the error of his ways after he landed, the pilot stated that he had called on the frequency listed in his GPS, but had received no reply, so he pressed on. The frequency he called on had changed three years before, and his GPS data had not been updated in four years.

In another instance, the pilot called 1 mi. final at an airport served by a flight service station (FSS). The FSS specialist acknowledged the call, but when the pilot called on the ramp shutting down, the specialist was unable to visually spot the aircraft. After much discussion, it was determined that the aircraft had landed at an old decommissioned airport located 16 km away. The pilot had a very old map.

What's the solution?

  1. Consider the cost of subscriptions as an investment in your personal safety. The CFS is $99.00, plus applicable taxes and handling charges, for a seven-issue subscription (see pageA6 of the CFS). Additional information on publications and maps is available in the CFS General section, or in the MAP section of the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM). Remember, the CFS update is issued every 56days. The information depicted on VFR charts is also constantly changing, but at present is not revised on a fixed cycle basis, although this is a long-term objective. The VFR Chart Updating Data section of the CFS (found in the Planning section) provides a means of notifying VFR chart users of significant changes. How current are your charts or publications? Does the company you work for provide you with the latest in charts and publications? If not, why?
  2. Add "publications - date valid" to your pre-flight checklist. If you find they are out of date, get a current issue, or as an interim measure, go into the nearest FSS and check yours against theirs.
  3. Destroy all publications that have expired so that no one else can use them and get caught in a deadly trap.
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