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Certified Flight Instructor Resources by Derek W Beck

Rules of Thumb for Airplane Pilots

Rules of Thumb for Airplane Pilots


During Taxi:

Compass – no cracks, leaks, bubble; swings freely, known heading, deviation card present

Airspeed indicator – indicates zero

Attitude Indicator – upright and erect within 5 minutes of engine start

Altimeter – indicating within 75’ of airport elevation

Turn Coordinator – shallow turns during taxi: turns in direction of turn, ball to outside of turn

Directional Gyro – swings freely, turns in direction of turn

Vertical Speed Indicator – indicates zero, otherwise note deviation

State “Instrument Check Complete”


Right before Take-off:

Lights – Taxi lights, anti-collision lights, etc

Camera – Transponder (set to alt)

Action – Mixture full rich, Propeller to High RPM


On the Runway:

DG gives runway heading

Smoothly Throttle to Full

Engine Instruments in the Green

Anticipate with Right Rudder


Take-off (Climb-out) Checklist:

Clear of obstructions

No useable runway left

Safe altitude and airspeed, positive rate of climb

Gear up

Flaps up


How to Fly an Airplane: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate


Climbs and Descents: Pitch, Power, Trim (in that order)


Same Side Safe: On a VOR being used to identify an intersection, if the heading you are flying is on the same side of the VOR as the CDI is deflected, you haven’t reached the intersection yet


6 T’s After Any Fix:








ABC’s of Emergency Landings:


Best Field

(and if above 3000’ AGL)

Corrective Actions: restart sequence (7 up pattern), shutdown sequence (7 down pattern)

Declare Emergency: 7700, 121.5 MHz

Emergency Landing Checklist


5 A’s Before an Approach:



Approach: how far (down), how long, what direction?




CC-GUMPS Pre-Landing Checklist:

Carburetor – heat on

Cowl flaps – open

Gas – fuel selector (per POH, plus fuel pump for some airplanes)

Undercarriage – landing gear down

Mixture – full rich (or as required if high-altitude)

Prop – propeller to full RPM (low pitch)

Switches – lights as required

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