Best practices in general aviation
We encourage all general aviation pilots to stay informed about the latest and safest best practices, and share them in your local flying communities. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and SmartPilot.ca to bring you the following resources.
Use this page to review best practices. “Take 5” minutes to read about topics like passenger briefings and personal checklists, watch a safety video, or order a poster for your flying club.
On this page
- Use safety equipment properly
- Take off and land safely
- Brief your passengers
- Review flight procedures
- Create a personal checklist
- Fly safely with floats
- Fly safely with skis
- See and avoid traffic
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Best practices guides for flying an ultralight aeroplane
Use safety equipment properly
Always use shoulder harnesses
Tragically, one-third of general aviation accidents that should have been survivable end in death because the pilot or passengers didn’t wear a shoulder harness.
To get educated on this issue, visit Using shoulder harnesses on aircraft.
Turn on transponders
Transponders are found in most aircraft today, yet many pilots don’t turn them on. Find out why you should use your transponder: read Turn it on for safety.
Turn off your emergency locator transmitter when it’s not in use
An UNSAR is an unnecessary search and rescue alert. UNSAR costs are huge. Order and share this poster to raise awareness and prevent UNSARs: UNSAR costs are unreal.
Take off and land safely
General aviation accounts for two-thirds of all aviation accidents in Canada, and 72% of these accidents happen during take-offs or landings. Know how to stay safe during these two critical phases of flight.
- Safety in flight begins with the preflight: what can happen if you don’t remove engine inlet plugs or the flight control lock
- Rise high with safety
- The walk from A to B could take the rest of your life!
- Incorrect loading can have an impact
Brief your passengers
You’re required to brief passengers before each flight about what to do in an emergency. But don’t just make time for briefings – make them clear and interesting, too.
To learn more, see Passenger safety briefings: why, when and how.
Review flight procedures
Prior to your flight, take a few minutes to review the applicable procedures for your departure, en-route and arrival.
Create a personal checklist
A “personal minimums checklist” guides you through the knowledge, skills and tools you need for flying and maintenance tasks.
Use a checklist to help you remember everything you need for a safe flight. Here’s an example of what to include: Personal minimums checklist for maintenance.
- Safety in the air starts on the ground (maintenance)
- Safety in the air starts on the ground (inspection)
- Where did it come from? Where is it going?
Fly safely with floats
To prepare yourself and your aircraft for a safe, enjoyable flight during all stages—preparation, take off, during flight and on arrival—read the tips in Flying safely with floats.
- Through the overcast—Floats: challenges of flying with floats (SmartPilot.ca)
- Aircraft egress: benefits of egress training courses, and how to be prepared for emergencies over water (SmartPilot.ca)
Fly safely with skis
Before you fly over frozen lakes and snow, don’t forget to review:
- your operating handbook
- the tips for ski aircraft pilots in Flying with skis
See and avoid traffic
It’s up to all of us to see and avoid other aircraft, including gliders. To do so, it’s helpful to know some facts about gliders.
Reducing risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
CO has no color or odor. The onset of CO poisoning can be insidious: victims are often unaware that their environment is contaminated by this poisonous gas and that their mental and physical functions are being degraded. For these reasons, a CO warning device is a very sensible investment for owners and operators of GA aircraft. Refer to CASA-2019-07 for more information.
Best practices guides for flying an ultralight aeroplane
These guides were created by and for ultralight pilots, but they are also a helpful reminder for all pilots to fly safer. In addition, it is important that you understand the specific rules and regulations related to the airspace you’re flying in, your licence and its limitations, your aircraft, and your abilities.
Let’s all do our part to improve the safety culture in our community by applying these best practices: