Pilot Acronyms for all pilots

Getting ready for a BFR and need to brush up on some regulations?
Getting ready for a practical test?
Or do you just want to brush up on some general aviation knowledge?

Here are some acronyms and mnemonics that I have used throughout my learning and instructing that have come in useful. Let me know if you have some that you have found useful that I am missing.

Regulations

There are so many regulations in aviation. These are some that commonly come up during practical tests. I was asked about them and most if not all of my students have been asked about them. Especially good old ATOMATOEFLAMES – Required VFR Instruments. I think I was asked this question in all my checkrides, how about you?

FAR 91.103 Preflight Action
NWKRAFT

NOTAMS
Weather Reports and Forecasts*
Known Traffic Delays
*
Runway lengths
Alternates Available*
Fuel required
*
Takeoff and Landing Performance

*IFR Flights or flights not in the vicinity of the airport

FAR 91. Required Aircraft Documents
ARROW

Airworthiness Certificate 91.203
Registration Certificate 91.203
Radio Telephone License (if International) 91.711
Operator’s Handbook (AFM/POH) 91.9
Weight and Balance Data 91.103

FAR 91.205 Required Day VFR Equipment
A TOMATOE FLAMES

Altimeter
Tachometer
Oil pressure
Magnetic compass
Airspeed indicator
Temperature sensor (if liquid-cooled)
Oil temperature (if air-cooled)
ELT (if required by 14 CFR 91.207)
Fuel gauge
Landing gear position (if retractable)
Anti-collision lights (if certificated after March 11, 1996)
Manifold pressure (if turbocharged or supercharged)
Emergency Equipment
Safety belts

FAR 91.205 Required Night VFR Equipment
Day VFR + FLAPS

Fuses (spares) or circuit breakers
Landing light (if for hire)
Anti-collision lights
Position lights
Source of electric energy

FAR 91.205 Required IFR Equipment
Day & Night VFR + GRABCARD

Generator/Alternator
Radios for Navigation (VOR)
Attitude Indicator
Ball (Inclinometer)
Clock
Altimeter
Rate of Turn
Directional Gyro (Heading Indicator)

91. Required Inspections
AVIATE

Annual: Every 12 calendar months
VOR: 30 days*
100 Hour (if for hire): 100 hours 91.409
Altimeter and Pitot-Static System: 24 calendar months* 91.411
Transponder: 24 calendar months 91.413
ELT: 12 Calendar months, more than 1-hour cumulative use or 50% of its useful life has expired 91.207

*Required for IFR

Airspace

VFR Cloud Clearances is another one that examiners like to ask and it’s one that under pressure can be hard to remember. This doesn’t cover all of the cloud clearances as class B and most of class G are missing but instead, it focuses on the major areas which are the 3 SM and the 5SM.

Special Use Airspace
WARMPC

Warning Area (Uncontrolled)
Alert Area (Uncontrolled)
Restricted Area (Controlled)
Military Operating Area (MOA)
Prohibited Area (Controlled)
Controlled Firing Areas (Uncontrolled)

Cloud Clearances
3-152 or 5-111

C,D,E under 10, Dark G under 10
3 SM visibility
1000′ above clouds
500′ below clouds
2000′ horizontally from clouds

E and G over 10
5 SM visibility
1000′ above clouds
1000′ below clouds
1 SM horizontally from clouds

Pilot Focused

As pilots we need to take care of ourselves first so that we make the right decisions while fling. That starts with making sure we are emotiaonally, physically, and mentally ready to take to the skies. The I’M SAFE checklist is one that I talk about during lesson 1 with my students. Risk management and decision making are just as important but they ofen need some more context and are often introduced later in their training.

Self Assessment
I’M SAFE

Illness
Medication
Stress
Alcohol
Fatigue
Eating/Emotional

Risk Management
PAVE

Pilot
Aircraft
Environment
External Pressures

Decision Making
DECIDE

Detect a change needing attention
Estimate the need to counter or react to change
Choose the most desirable outcome for the flight
Identify actions to successfully control the change
Do something to adapt to the change
Evaluate the effect of the action countering the change

Normal Aircraft Operations

Before takeoff and before landing have their own checklists but there are some memory items you should go over right before you step past that holding threshold line or as you are coming into the midfield point in your pattern and are getting ready to descend for landing.

Before Takeoff
“Lights, Camera, Action”

Lights: ON
Camera: Transponder set to ALT
Acton: Critical items checked

Before Landing
CGUMPS

Carb Heat: ON
Gas: SET to both or fullest tank
Undercarriage: Down
Mixture: Set for a go-around
Prop: Set for a go around
SeatBelts: ON

Emergency Aircraft

Operations

Emergencies don’t happen very often, but when they do it pays to be prepared. These checklists are easy to remember and easy to execute in a real emergency. Besides you can practice your ABCs while on a cross-country flight multiple times to get it to stick.

Engine Failure
ABCDEFG

Airspeed: Best Glide
Best Landing Option: Find and circle over
Checklist/Configure: As the situation and time allow for
Declare: Make a radio call to 121.5 or ATC if already communicating with them
Emergency Landing: Aviate First
Fire Prevention: Fuel and electrical OFF
Get Out Plan: Doors open

Lost Procedures
4C’s

Climb
Circle
Confess
Comply

Instruments

These acronyms come in handy during instrument training. Magnetic compass errors are prominent in the United States so UNOS and ANDS are good ways to think about which way the compass should be turning vs what it’s actually doing when you glance at it.

Magnetic Compass Errors
ANDS & UNOS

Accelerate North
Decelerate South

Undershoot North
Overshoot South

Airspeed Indicator
ICET

Indicated Airspeed
Calibrated Airspeed
Equivalent Airspeed
True Airspeed

IFR

Some more instrument training checklists and CRAFT is one that I used even while working at the airlines. Yes, there were times when we flew out of smaller airports and we had to get our clearance from ATC.

Writing Down Clearance
CRAFT

Cleared to
Route
Altitude
Frequency
Transponder Code

Lost Comms
MEA AVEF

Highest Of:
Minimum IFR Altitude
Expected as advised by ATC
Assigned

Fly the route that was last:
Assigned
Vectored
Expected
Filed

IFR Mandatory Reports
MARVELOUS VFR C500

Missed approach
Airspeed changes more than 10 knots or 5 percent
Reaching a holding fix
VFR-on-top altitude change
ETA change more than 3 minutes (no radar)
Leaving a holding fix
Outer marker inbound (no radar)
Unforecast weather
Safety of flight issues
Vacating an altitude
Final approach fix inbound (no radar)
Radio or nav failures
Compulsory reporting points (no radar)
500 FPM climb or decent unable

Holds
5T’s

Time
Turn
Twist
Throttle
Talk

Position Reports
IPATENS

ID (tail number)
Position (name of fix)
Altitude
Time
Estimated time to next fix
Name of next fix
Supplemental remarks

Approach Briefing
ICEATM

Identify
Course
Entity
Altitudes
Time
Missed

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