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Three Ways to Upgrade the Safety of Your Aircraft



If you’ve recently purchased a used small aircraft (or you’re part of the population who buys at 49% completion and finishes the rest), no doubt there are some things that need upgrading.

Some new cup holders, maybe, or a spot for your iPad would be nice. Oh, and vital safety equipment, of course.

There is nothing in your aircraft more important than the stuff that will save your life. Here are three ways you can upgrade the overall safety of your aircraft without breaking the bank at the pilot store.

Watch For Bogeys

One of the worst possible things that can happen to us in the air is a collision with another aircraft. It doesn’t happen often, that’s true. But—does it happen infrequently because people are careful, or because aircraft are fitted with collision avoidance systems?

You can bank on the carefulness of others, but chances are good that collision avoidance is handled by these affordable machines. These systems generally cost between a few hundred and a thousand bucks. Don’t cut corners here: your aircraft—and your life—are certainly worth more than that.

Keep Breathing

Barring a collision of any kind, there are lots of medical things that can go wrong during a flight, regardless of how big the aircraft is or how many people are on board. You must have some essential items easily accessible:

  • First aid kits
  • Life rafts, life vests
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • EKG machines
  • And even environmental hazard detectors, like carbon monoxide
    • Have oxygen handy—it can help in almost every medical situation

While you’re at it, make sure your aviation headsets are functioning properly. If you are unable to communicate with your crew or copilot during an emergency, you will make things worse.

Make Your Presence Known

Broadcast your position. If you fall into an emergency situation, you need help to arrive quickly. That just won’t happen if they can’t find you. To that end, have these two extremely handy devices on board:

  • Personal locator beacons, for yourself
  • Emergency locator transmitters, for your aircraft

It is possible to be separated from your craft, especially if you eject before landing. Think about storing extra PLBs where you store your life vests and rafts since when one is needed, the other usually is too. Even stash extra Bose aviation headsets in case you’re able to radio help from the ground.

There are all kinds of emergency situations that can happen at any time. But with enough preparation and the right safety gear, you can turn a harrowing experience into a glorious tale of survival.