Although off-field landings are rare they are possible, so it is best to be prepared for anything. Stocking an aircraft with proper survival equipment is vital for the possibility of things going awry. Before taking off, pilots should be sure to weigh in concerns for the particular climate they are flying over, as well as essential survival gear for any potential situation. 


What are the essential survival items? | Flight Academy Van Nuys

  • First Aid Kit – Preparing for unexpected events must include the possibility of injuries, in which case it is crucial to have a first aid kit on board. First aid kits typically include antiseptic wipes, aspirin, gauze, Band-Aids, tweezers, and medical tape. 
  • Water – Regardless of the climate, it is paramount that plenty of water is readily available in the aircraft. Keeping a jug of water on board can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency where it could potentially take some time for help to arrive. 
  • Food – Non-perishable food is a must-have for a pilot survival kit. Even just protein bars and snacks can make a huge difference if you run into a situation where you are stranded somewhere unplanned for some time.  
  • Flashlight (& Extra Batteries) – Having a flashlight on board a flight is never a bad idea. No matter the situation, if you are out once it gets dark or you need to investigate a dark compartment or area, you will be thankful you have a flashlight to guide you.
  • Multi-tool / Knife – A multi-tool can assist you in building shelter if needed, creating a trap, or even fixing an engine. Most of the best multi-tools will have between 10 and 18 common tools. A knife can act as a basic signal mirror to reflect sunlight to signal distress. Having a knife can also put you in a good position to protect or provide for yourself.
  • Rope – Rope can be used in many different ways, such as creating a tourniquet, or building a flotation vessel. 
  • Compass – A compass is an effective tool, as it helps you determine direction relative to the Earth’s magnetic poles. You could also use a clear sky to direct you. 
  • Fire Starter / Waterproof Matches – In the event of an emergency, it is important to be able to build a fire. A fire will provide heat, light, and a way to cook food. It is hard to gauge how long you could be in an emergency situation, so it is best to be prepared for the long haul.
  • Life Raft – While flying over large bodies of water, it is vital to have an inflatable life raft with you in the unlikely circumstance of having to land in the water. The life raft will not only keep you afloat but it can keep you dry as well. 
  •  Blankets / Warm Clothing – This will depend on your climate, but while flying in cold weather, you will want to be sure to have warm clothing or blankets in the aircraft. If you are stranded after an unexpected landing, you will be thankful to have the extra warmth and comfort. 

Regardless of the emergency situation or the severity of it, you will feel better about having the items needed for survival. In any case, these items will come in handy and help you and any passengers feel a little more at ease about the circumstances and the uncertainty of what is going on. There is no such thing as being overprepared when it comes to situations with off-field landing. 


Mach 1 Aviation Academy in Van Nuys, CA is proud to exercise caution and be prepared for any emergency situation. We are constantly staying on top of safety procedures to ensure we do our best to avoid precarious situations. If you have any questions about building a pilot survival kit for your next flight, please give us a call!