Anticipate the Improbable

When something unexpected happens in flight, the last thing you need is to have to search for equipment that could help ease the problem. Keeping any gear that you could potentially find a need for in flight within reach or even attached to your body could prove invaluable.

Let's just say that you are flying a three-hour long cross-country. As often is the case unexpected circumstances made you depart later than anticipated and the flight will now progress through dusk. You didn't take that fact into consideration before you strapped yourself into the pilot's seat and your flashlight is in the flight bag in the luggage compartment.

As daylight begins to fade, you turn the cockpit lights on. It has been a while since you did any night flying and you had no idea that several lights on the panel are out, including two very critical ones: the airspeed indicator and the altimeter.

If you had placed that flashlight in a side pocket of the cockpit or in the pocket of your flight vest the situation would improve immensely. While illuminating the panel with a flashlight is far from ideal you would at least be able to see the critical gauges.

As you get closer to your destination in IMC conditions you lose all comm capabilities. Imagine the relief as you swiftly pull out your fully charged handheld radio from your side pocket. Less than 30 seconds after you lost comm, you are talking to the controllers once again, provided you had the foresight to copy the last frequency.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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