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No matter how illustrious the commercial pilot career may seem, you shouldn’t be blinded by its perks. The stripes on your uniform mean that you’re responsible for ensuring the safety of your passengers and your cargo, so you have to stay focused on your job. If you fail to deliver what is asked of you, you might face suspension or have your license revoked since deviating from the protocols set by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is a serious offense.

Pilot deviations, whether made deliberately or unknowingly, can put everyone’s lives in danger, so you want to avoid making them as much as possible. However, even the most seasoned pilots aren’t free from making the tiniest mistakes that could jeopardize their flights. That’s why you should make the necessary precautionary measures to reduce your chances of committing a deviation.

Here are 5 tips that could help you minimize your risk of committing pilot deviations:

Give Yourself Time to Prepare for Each Flight

During your time in flight school, you learned how important it was to properly prepare for your flight training. It helped you remember the important details of conducting a flight, so you were able to pass your exam with flying colors. Since preparing ahead of time has aided you before, then why not apply it in your professional career as well?

Giving yourself enough time to create a plan for each of your flights will ensure that you have all the data, documents, and clearances you need to conduct safe and legal flights. It also allows you to study your routes better and the possible weather conditions you can encounter, so you can be aware of your surroundings when flying using Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). What’s more, you can mentally and physically prepare for your flights without worry since you won’t feel rushed.

Increase Your Tolerances When Airborne and on the Ground

It’s better to be more careful than content when flying a plane, so it’s a good idea to give yourself a wider room for safety to avoid committing deviations. For example, if you want to make sure that you won’t accidentally enter the wrong airspace class, it’s a good idea to at least fly 500 feet above or under it to stay outside its zone. When it comes to carrying extra fuel, on the other hand, it’s better to bring more than an hour’s worth. It might be a bit much to be over-prepared for your flights, but you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared to handle unforeseen problems that can potentially get you into trouble.

Keep Communications Clear

Even though you’re the one piloting the plane, ensuring the success of a flight is a team effort. You, your co-pilot, the flight attendants, and the people in air traffic control (ATC) are tasked to keep everyone safe on the plane, so you need to work together to make it happen. That’s why having good communication is important.

Maintaining clear communications with your team makes the job easier for everyone. For example, when the communication channel between you and ATC is good, ATC can send you VFR and IFR traffic conditions more efficiently, giving you the information that you need to land safely. In turn, you can give out your calls sign and read back clearances and instructions as received to make sure that you and ATC understand each other. Failure to communicate with your flight team can be marked as a possible pilot deviation, which may give CAAP a reason to inspect your case.

Familiarize Yourself with the Aircraft and Its Instruments

You might think that you know your commercial aircraft pretty well after serving in the aviation industry for so long. However, letting your hubris get the best of you can cause you to trivialize some of the more routine flight procedures or how you use your aircraft’s instruments. That’s why, no matter how many times you’ve flown an aircraft, it’s always in your best interest to familiarize yourself fully with the plane’s operation and instruments. When you’re completely aware of how your plane operates, you can keep your focus on piloting the plane instead of fiddling around with its system while in the skies. Familiarity also teaches you how to use the instruments responsibly, preventing you from being fully dependent on certain features like the plane’s autopilot function or high-tech GPS.

Review Your Flight Plan

If you want to make sure that you won’t make any deviations during your flights, it helps to review your flight plans regularly. Studying these materials will help you remember to follow the rules and regulations set by the CAAP, get a good idea of the layout of the airport you’re heading to, and recall how your flight plans are supposed to go. This way, you’ll gain the confidence and drive to start and finish your flight without making a single mistake.

Safety has always been a top priority in the aviation industry, and as a licensed commercial pilot, you do your part to make sure that your plane, crew, and passengers leave and arrive at their destinations without harm. One of the best ways to ensure everyone’s safety is to minimize the risk of causing pilot deviations. With these tips, you can rest assured that your flight success rate is maintained and stay deviation-free.