ATC Instructions


This topic is best introduced by the following three examples

    1. A CPL pilot conducting an approach to land with an approaching storm front in the vicinity encounters wind-shear and elects to go-around. He requests the into-wind runway and positions for another approach, only to find that the wind has shifted. Once again, he is making an attempt to land in adverse conditions with a estimated crosswind component in excess of both his own and the aircraft limitations.  Electing to conduct another go around he was confronted by ATC who, in the middle of the go-around, wanted to know who the pilot in command was.   The pilot ignored the question and got on with flying the aircraft managing to land on the third attempt.
    2. During Instrument Recurrent training a pilot was established on the ILS for runway 05 at FVHA in cloud and out of site of the ground.  Prior to passing the outer-marker he was instructed to "Break off the approach to the left immediately and position to the North of the field due departing traffic". At this point the aircraft was below MSA, still in cloud and not visual with the ground. The ATC controller was not radar equipped and had no way of ascertaining the aircraft's exact position or altitude.  The pilot responded "Unable", continued the approach and, on breaking cloud, informed the controller that he was now clear of cloud and was breaking of the approach and proceeding VMC back to FVCP.
    3. A CPL pilot conducting a flapless approach during a flight test was instructed to tighten his circuit and position number one.  He immediately turned base and commenced his descent from circuit altitude cutting short his downwind checks. Turning final he realised he was too high and too fast - the result was a touch down half way down the runway and, if it were not for a good set of brakes, he would have gone off the other end.

In the first two examples the pilots were able prioritise their tasks correctly and disregarded the ATC requests and instructions on the basis that they were both unsafe and procedurally incorrect. In the third example the pilot, in his eagerness to follow the controllers instructions, disregarded procedure by omitting his checks and ended up putting himself under undue pressure. On realising he was high and fast he should have elected to go-around, but to save face pressed on with the approach,  resulting in a near over-run of the runway.

Safety Risk:

The tendency of some controllers to exercise positive control over aircraft without the means of ascertaining position and altitude, or to put a lower priority on particular types of traffic, results in pilots getting instructions that if followed will put the safety of the aircraft at risk. The uncertainty these instructions bring to the cockpit put the pilot under stress and greatly increase the workload often resulting in the pilot focusing on the ATC instructions and disregarding all other aspects of the flight.


Pilots should validate ATC instructions and question them if they are deemed to be unexpected or unusual.  The following pointers are offered to assist pilots in ascertaining the quality of ATC instruction they receive.

      1. Proper preflight preparation will allow the pilot to determine what type of ATC services and instructions he can expect in a particular controlled airspace. Armed with this knowledge he is well place to pickup and question any instruction that is not in line with the airspace been flown in. It will also mean that if controller validation or training is scheduled you will be that much more vigilant.
      2. The main function of ATC is to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and provide assistance to aircrew. Any instruction or communication that a pilot deems as not meet these objectives should be questioned or disregarded until work load permits questioning. If you can't comply with an instruction just say "Unable" and get back to flying - remember (ANC) Aviate Navigate Communicate!
      3. ATC instructions should be according to ICAO standards ie they should be short, unambiguous and use standard phrases. Any time it is felt that a clearance is longer than required or states the obvious the pilot should be aware that controller may not be up to speed and he should pay close attentions to instructions an look out for errors. Rememebr short term memory is 7 items. A clearance like  - "Cleared for the left hand circuit runway 06, circuit altitude, after departure a left turn, next call down wind" sounds okay but could be given as "cleared for the circuit O6, downwind next" given:-
        1. all circuits are published as left hand,
        2. you cannot turn right and fly a left handed circuit,
        3. circuits altituded is published as 1000 AGL for piston aircraft.
      4. Listen out to all radio calls even if they are not for you - they will help you build up a metal picture of what is going on in the airspace around you and if you hear pilots / controllers making incorrect calls or errors in ATC read backs it's going to give you the heads up to be on the lookout for mistakes that may put you at risk.

Remember that the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the aircraft lies with the commander. The controller will get to watch the crash while you'll get to experience it first hand! When in doubt question!
We are all human and all make mistakes! By reporting safety issues you do not cost anyone their job or licence, but ensure you play you part in acertaining areas of risk within the industry, that, through training and /or policy, can be mitigated making the skies safer for everyone.  Speak up! it may be your own life you save!


Do you have any thing you may wish to add? feel free to comment.

Fuel & Oil Caps


A recent safety report regarding fuel and oil caps being left off or loose prior to a flight as brought this issue to light.  On no less than three occasions the oil cap was found to be left off and the student found strapped in and ready to go - instructor intervention has prevented this from becoming an incident / accident. I am sure that there have been other occasions where the dipstick has not been inserted correctly and that mere luck has kept the dip stick from moving out during the flight allowing oil to escape from the engine.

Safety Risk:

If oil escapes through the filler cap or dipstick openings it will normally fall to the bottom of the cowling and blow out underneath the aircraft. The decreasing amount of oil in the system will mean that oil temperatures rise, as less oil is doing the same amount of lubrication. This would not normally be noticed a pilot on a training exercise as the oil temperature is fluctuating any way with the changing work load on the engine as training maneuvers are conducted. Thus the first a pilot will know of the problem is when the oil falls to a level where engine oil pump begins to suck air and is unable to maintain oil pressure.  


It is the Pilots responsibility to check this prior to flight! This being said SAFETY is EVERYONES RESPONSIBILITY!  This is the underlying foundation of safety in all operations. 

Regardless of whom the ultimate responsibility lies, we should ensure that fuel and oil caps are secured and dip stick correctly fitted at all times. If you are required to put oil in an aircraft then make sure you play your part in the "Safety Chain" and leave the aircraft ready for flight despite what you may have been told by the pilot. If he or she forgets to check, then at least you have them covered and have prevented an incident.  Be proactive ... tell them they forgot to check! 

Students are students and they will forget or mess up. So if it is a learner pilot, make sure the instructor has checked prior to allowing the student to get airborne.

Make sure you don't leave Safety Traps for others to fall into!


Do you have any thing to add?   Feel free to comment.

DGR - South Africa

Travel from South Africa

The South African Government introducing additional security restrictions of its own, placing limits on the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) that may be carried by passengers on flights.

You are advised to pack your cabin baggage accordingly so as to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.

Specific regulations:

  • Liquids, aerosols and gels will only be allowed in cabin baggage if they are kept in containers of 100ml/3.3oz volume or less.
  • Containers larger than 100ml/3.3oz will not be permitted in carry-on baggage, even if there is only 100ml/3.3oz of liquid/gel in the larger container.
  • These containers must be carried in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag. The total volume of the bag must not exceed 1 litre/1 quart.
  • Each person is allowed to carry only one such plastic bag.
  • The bag must be removed from cabin baggage and presented to Qantas' security personnel at the gate before boarding the aircraft.

Medications and special dietary requirements, including baby formula:

  • Are permitted in cabin baggage.
  • May be subjected to additional security checks.
  • Customers with prescription medicine are advised to bring along supporting documentation (for example, ID cards, letters from doctors).
  • Prescription or non-prescription medicine in the form of a liquid, aerosol or gel, can be carried in quantities over 100ml.  However these should be reasonable for the length of your flight as well as possible delays and flight diversions.

Duty-free purchases:

Liquids, aerosols and gels purchased from duty-free shops that exceed the limits set out above cannot be carried through gate security control points and will not be permitted onto the aircraft.

Baggage Limitations

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods

Smokers are permitted to carry Safety matches (one small packet) or a cigarette lighter.  These are only permitted to be carried in your pocket (not in your carry-on or checked baggage).  Passengers are reminded that smoking in the aircraft at any time is strictly prohibited.

What are Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods are items that may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board the aircraft.

Dangerous Goods are also known as restricted articles, hazardous materials and dangerous cargo.  Their carriage on Guthrie Aviation aircraft is primarily governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Regulations.

Dangerous Goods must not be carried in (or as) passenger or crew-checked baggage or carry-on baggage, except as indicated in the table below.  Security type attache cases incorporating Dangerous Goods, such as lithium batteries or pyrotechnic devices, are totally forbidden.

Disabling devices such as mace, pepper spray, etc. containing an irritant or incapacitating substance are prohibited on the person, in checked and carry-on baggage.

Dangerous Goods

Civil Aviation Safety Regulations forbid the carriage of most items of Dangerous Goods onto an aircraft.


Firearms and Ammunition

We may agree to carry firearms and ammunition as checked baggage.  If we do, these items must be packed in accordance with all applicable national and international laws and regulations.



A guide to Dangerous Goods

What to take out, what to declare and what's okay More Details

The pilot-in-command must be informed of the location  
^The approval of the operator(s) is required       
Permitted on one's person    
Permitted in or as checked in baggage    
Permitted in or as carry-on baggage  
Type of dangerous good  
Disabling devices such as mace, pepper spray, etc. containing an irritant or incapacitating substance are prohibited on the person, in checked and carry-on baggage. cross cross cross dash dash
Electro shock weapons (e.g. Tasers) containing dangerous goods such as explosives, compressed gases, lithium batteries, etc. are forbidden in carry-on baggage or checked baggage or on the person. cross cross cross dash dash
Security-type attaché cases, cash boxes, cash bags , etc. incorporating dangerous goods, such as lithium batteries and/or pyrotechnic material, are totally forbidden. cross cross cross dash dash
Ammunition (cartridges for weapons), securely packaged (in Div. 1.4S, UN 0012 or UN 0014 only), in quantities not exceeding 5 kg (11 lb) gross weight per person for that person's own use, excluding ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles. Allowances for more than one passenger must not be combined into one or more packages.  More Details cross tick cross tick cross
Camping stoves and fuel containers that have contained a flammable liquid fuel, with empty fuel tank and/or fuel container.  More Details cross tick cross tick cross
Battery-powered wheelchairs or other similar mobility devices with non-spillable batteries which comply with Packing Instruction 872 or Special Provision A67, provided the battery terminals are protected from short circuits, e.g. by being enclosed in a battery container, and the battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid. cross tick cross tick cross
Battery-powered wheelchairs or other mobility devices with spillable batteries or with lithium batteries.  More Details cross tick cross tick tick
Mercury barometer or thermometer carried by a representative of a government weather bureau or similar official agency. tick cross cross tick tick
Lithium ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating exceeding 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh for portable electronic devices. No more than two spare batteries may be carried in carry-on baggage only. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Equipment containing such batteries may be in checked or carry-on baggage.  More Details tick cross tick tick cross
Avalanche rescue backpack, one (1) per passenger, equipped with a pyrotechnic trigger mechanism containing less than 200mg net of Division 1.4S and less than 250 mg of compressed gas in Division 2.2. The backpack must be packed in such a manner that it cannot be accidentally activated. The airbags within the backpacks must be fitted with pressure relief valves. tick tick cross tick cross
Chemical Agent Monitoring Equipment when carried by staff members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on official travel. tick tick cross tick cross
Heat producing articles such as underwater torches (diving lamps) and soldering irons.  More Details tick tick cross tick cross
Carbon dioxide, solid (dry ice), in quantities not exceeding 2.5 kg (5lb) per passenger when used to pack perishables not subject to these Regulations in checked or carry-on baggage, provided the baggage (package) permits the release of carbon dioxide gas. Each item of checked baggage must be marked "dry ice" or "carbon dioxide, solid" and with the net weight of dry ice or an indication that there is 2.5kg or less dry ice. tick tick cross tick cross
Insulated packagings containing refrigerated liquid nitrogen (dry shipper), fully absorbed in a porous material and intended for transport, at low temperature, of non-dangerous products are not subject to these Regulations provided the design of the insulated packaging would not allow the build-up of pressure within the container and would not permit the release of any refrigerated liquid nitrogen irrespective of the orientation of the insulated packaging. tick tick cross tick cross
Non-flammable gas cylinder fitted into a life jacket containing carbon dioxide or other suitable gas in Division 2.2, up to two (2) small cylinders per passenger, and up to two (2) spare cartridges. tick tick tick tick cross
Oxygen or air gaseous cylinders required for medical use. The cylinder must not exceed 5 kg gross weight.
Note: Liquid oxygen systems are forbidden for transport.
tick tick cross tick tick
Portable medical electronic devices (Automated External Defibrillators (AED), Nebulizer, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), etc.) containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries may be carried.  More Details tick tick tick tick cross
Aerosols in Division 2.2, with no subsidiary risk, for sporting or home use. cross tick cross cross cross
Non-radioactive medicinal or toilet articles (including aerosols) such as hair sprays, perfumes, colognes and medicines containing alcohol.
The total net quantity of all above mentioned articles must not exceed 2 kg (4.4 lb) or 2 L (2 qt), and the net quantity of each single article must not exceed 0.5 kg (1 lb) or 0.5 L (1 pt). Release valves on aerosols must be protected by a cap or other suitable means to prevent inadvertent release of the contents.
tick tick tick cross cross
Alcoholic beverages, when in retail packagings, containing more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol by volume, in receptacles not exceeding 5L, with a total net quantity per person of 5L. tick tick tick cross cross
Energy efficient light bulbs when in retail packaging intended for personal or home use. tick tick tick cross cross
Non-flammable, non-toxic gas cylinders worn for the operation of mechanical limbs. Also, spare cylinders of a similar size if required to ensure an adequate supply for the duration of the journey. tick tick tick cross cross
Portable electronic devices containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries, such as watches, calculating machines, cameras, cellular phones, lap-top computers, camcorders, etc., when carried by passengers or crew for personal use.   More Details tick tick tick cross cross
Spare lithium or lithium ion cells or batteries, for such consumer electronic devices may be carried in carry-on baggage only. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits.  More Details tick cross tick cross cross
Hair curlers containing hydrocarbon gas, up to one (1) per passenger or crew-member, provided that the safety cover is securely fitted over the heating element. These hair curlers must not be used on board the aircraft at any time. Gas refills for such curlers are not permitted in checked or carry-on baggage. tick tick cross cross cross
Medical or clinical thermometer, which contains mercury, one (1) per passenger for personal use, when in its protective case. tick tick tick cross cross
Fuel cell systems, and spare fuel cartridges powering portable electronic devices (for example cameras, cellular phones, laptop computers, and camcorders).  More Details tick cross tick cross cross
Radioisotopic cardiac pacemakers or other devices, including those powered by lithium batteries, implanted into a person, or radiopharmaceuticals contained within the body of a person as the result of medical treatment. cross cross tick cross cross
Safety matches (one small packet) or a cigarette lighter that does not contain unabsorbed liquid fuel, other than liquefied gas, intended for use by an individual when carried on the person. Lighter fuel and lighter refills are not permitted on one's person nor in checked or carry-on baggage.
Note: "Strike anywhere" matches, "Blue flame" or "Cigar" lighters are forbidden.
cross cross tick cross cross

More information

 What to take out, what to declare and what's okay

Enhanced security measures for carry on baggage, in many countries including Zimbabwe, may override these allowances in some instances.  To view carry on baggage allowances, please visit our Carry on Baggage - Country Specific information.

Ammunition (cartridges for weapons), securely packaged

If you are seeking approval to carry ammunition, please send the following details to

Name and Address
Flight Details
Firearms Licence number and expiry date
Type of ammunition
Return email, fax or postal address.

If you are only planning to carry firearms, no further action is required however – the firearm must be declared at time of check-in, and it must be unloaded and securely packaged for check-in.

In all cases firearms and/or ammunition must be carried in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the State or Territory you are travelling to, or from.

Declaration forms for the temporary importation of weapons and ammunition into Zimbabwe can be found here and must be completed in triplicate.

Camping stoves and fuel containers that have contained a flammable liquid fuel

With the approval of the operator, as checked baggage only, camping stoves and fuel containers for camping stoves that have contained a flammable liquid fuel may be carried provided the fuel tank of the camping stove, and/or fuel container has been completely drained of all liquid fuel and action has been taken to nullify the danger

To nullify the danger, the empty fuel tank and/or container must be allowed to drain for at least 1 hour, the fuel tank and/or container must then be left uncapped for a minimum of 6 hours to allow any residual fuel to evaporate.  Alternative methods, such as adding cooking oil to the fuel tank and/or container to elevate the flash point of any residual liquid above the flash point of flammable liquid and then emptying the fuel tank and/or container, are equally acceptable.  The fuel tank, and/or container must then have the cap securely fastened and be wrapped in an absorbent material such as paper towel and placed in a polyethylene or equivalent bag.  The top of the bag must then be sealed or gathered and closed.

NOTE: This exception is NOT applicable to items with internal combustion engines eg. lawnmowers, chain saws, brushcutters etc.  These items are not permitted for carriage as baggage.

Wheelchairs or other battery-powered mobility devices with spillable batteries or with lithium-ion batteries.

Wheelchairs or other battery-powered mobility aids with spillable batteries or lithium-ion batteries, provided that the wheelchair or mobility aid can be loaded, stowed, secured and unloaded always in an upright position, the battery terminals are protected from short circuits and the battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid.  If the wheelchair or mobility aid cannot be loaded, stowed, secured and unloaded always in an upright position, the battery must be removed and the wheelchair or mobility aid may then be carried as checked baggage without restriction.  The removed battery must be carried in accordance with the regulations.

Passengers wishing to carry wheelchairs with lithium-ion batteries must provide a material safety data sheet from the manufacturer to identify if the battery is permitted for carriage by air.

Portable electronic devices containing lithium or lithium ion cells or batteries and Spare lithium or lithium ion cells or batteries

  • Spare Lithium ion batteries and cells with a Watt hour rating greater than 160Wh, are not permitted on an aircraft under any circumstances.
  • Spare lithium ion batteries and cells with a Watt hour rating of between 100Wh and 160Wh are limited to two batteries per passenger.  Batteries must have terminals insulated or protected to prevent short circuit and must be carried in cabin baggage only. – Operator approval is required for these prior to travel.
  • Spare Lithium ion batteries and cells with a Watt hour rating or less than 100Wh have no limit to the number that can be carried, batteries must have terminals insulated or protected to prevent short circuit and must be carried in cabin baggage only
  • Spare Lithium metal or Lithium alloy batteries with a lithium content of less than 2 grams have no limit to the number that can be carried, however, batteries must have terminals insulated or protected to prevent short circuit and must be carried in cabin baggage only.
  • If batteries are installed in equipment such as laptop computers, camera, calculators etc – the above limits still apply, however they can be carried as checked baggage, provided the electronic device is protected from accidental activation.

Note: Conversion from Ah (Amp hours) to Wh is: Ah x Voltage = Wh.

Heat producing articles

Battery-powered equipment capable of generating extreme heat, which would cause a fire if activated, e.g. underwater high-intensity lamps, providing that the heat producing component or the battery is packed separately so as to prevent activation during transport.  Any battery that has been removed must be protected against short circuit.

Gas cylinders in torches must be removed and cannot travel as either checked or carryon baggage.

Fuel cell systems, and spare fuel cartridges

Please contact for further information.

Are your goods cleared for take-off?

Dangerous Goods must be declared or unpacked before you take off.

While Dangerous Goods must not be packed in carry-on or checked baggage, except as indicated on the table above, many items of Dangerous Goods can be safely transported by air provided that they are correctly packaged, labelled and accompanied by the appropriate documentation.

Who to ask about Dangerous Goods

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations describe in detail what Dangerous Goods may be transported by air, in what quantities, and how they should be packed.



The shortcut to experience and competency is training, but only if it is done properly. We have 25 years of doing this and are proud to see our past students holding some of the most coverited  jobs with the leading companies in the aviation field.

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