The Pilots Operating Handbook

Operating manuals for complex machinery are all around us.  When you purchase a microwave oven or a vacuum cleaner, the equipment comes with an operating manual…do you read it?

What about the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for the aircraft that you fly?  You are probably familiar with the v-speeds and limitations, the checklists, and the performance tables.  But do you feel that you have a thorough knowledge of your aircraft’s systems?

Take this test: read your Pilot’s Operating Handbook from front cover to back cover and make a list of items that were not in your knowledge banks. 

Recently I was browsing an M20J manual in search of the autopilot operating guide…and I found this:

** Battery Service **

Check the battery fluid level every 25 hours or 30 days whichever comes first.

** Hydraulic Brake Reservoir **

Check the fluid level every 50 hours of operation.

I would never think to service the battery or brake reservoir between annuals!

If you are renting aircraft, you can expect items like this to be serviced at the 100hr inspection interval, but if you own a “non-trainer” aircraft, you may find items like this that will require service between your annual inspections.

RECOMMENDATION:  Whether you are an aircraft renter or owner, set aside an hour or two to read your POH every other month or so.  You will be a more knowledgeable pilot, and you will be able to keep the aircraft equipment in better working order for safer, more efficient flying.  Pay attention to the details!

Douglas Pouk

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