Helicopter instructors can use the PAVE checklist to teach students how to examine risks before a flight. PACE is broken down into four categories: Pilot in command, Aircraft, enVironment, and External pressures.
Pilot in command refers to the students current experience level, currency, physical/emotional wellness, and mental readiness to complete the flight. Your student should ask themselves if there are any personal issues which could prevent them from safely flying the helicopter. Fatigue, alcohol consumption, stress, sickness, and medication should all be considered.
Aircraft refers to the helicopter. Is the helicopter ready for flight? Has a preflight inspection been completed? Has a weight and balance been completed?
Environment refers to the weather. What are the winds? Are there any storms forecasted in the area? Icing can be a serious complication to helicopter operations, what is the temperature-dew point spread? Is it conductive to icing? Student pilots must learn to ask themselves theses questions and learn to evaluate what conditions are safe for the operations of their helicopter.
External pressures are the most often overlooked, but cause their fair share of accidents. Is a client waiting for you? Or is the airport closing at a certain time? Make sure your students don’t rush and put themselves and others at risk just because they have a case of “get-there-itis.”
Using the PACE checklist, students can easily examine each unique situation and make a successful go/no-go decision.
CASEY Ryan Richards