Operational and Emergency Procedures

The bulk of the manual is then devoted to detailed instructions on flying the aircraft, see Table 19.4. This starts with the agreed crewing, flight plan, and location and works through airfield and weather checks, airframe assembly/pre-flight checks, fuelling and engine starting, takeoff, flight, landing, shutdown, and any post-flight checks or disassembly procedures. We make extensive use of checklists, which are also copied to laminated waterproof sheets that the flight crew can mark up as the items concerned are dealt with on the flying field.

The manual will also include a series of well-established procedures for dealing with all foreseeable emergency conditions (it is, of course, vitally important that in the event of an emergency the whole operational team know what their roles are and have to hand any contact information and means of communication to the emergency authorities). We always include emergency sections for unplanned or forced landing/ditching of the aircraft, excursions above the allowed operational ceiling/beyond the allowed operational radius, or other “fly-away,” fire, and injury to anyone involved.

Maintenance Schedule

The parts list in the System Description will include a full list of all components used in the airframe down to the last nut and bolt, along with a complete maintenance schedule. For some parts, this will be a simple visual check that no visible damage has occurred, while for others, such as the engines, a service cycle based on running hours will be specified. The OM will refer to this and note how and by whom maintenance is to be performed and what logs are to be kept. Engine maintenance logs, battery charging logs, and control system update logs are particularly important. We do not generally repeat the full parts list in the OM.

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