Flight Risk Assessment Tool
FRAT Version 2.3
The Flight Risk Assessment Tool or “FRAT” is a free iphone/ipad application with a companion watch application. It was designed to aid pilots with identifying safety hazards and the in risk level of each identified hazard during preflight planning. It is primarily targeted for general aviation pilots, but can be used by any pilot to aid in Risk Management (for more information, select Risk Management from the menu above). The FRAT uses the familiar PAVE (Pilot-Aircraft-enVironment-External Pressures) checklist to make the assessment.
Every pilot, from an excited student pilot taking his/her first flight to an old crusty well-traveled airline pilot uses Risk Management whether they know it or not. A pilot evaluates his/her physical condition, weather, the airplane, fuel availability, time constraints (get-home-itis), and many other potential hazards. The pilot then determines the likelihood that any hazard will cause problems during the flight (risk level). Unfortunately, this step may not be given the importance it deserves or evaluated realistically.
Occasional flyers may approach Risk Management somewhat informally and use minimal resources to gather information (possible hazards) about their flight. Airline pilots, on the other hand, have the advantage of a Risk Management system staffed by professionals already in place that evaluate the risks and mitigation strategies for the intended flight. Using a FRAT can bring the inherent safety of an airline safety management system to the general aviation pilot.
The FRAT provides the General Aviation (GA) pilot a systematic checklist of questions to aid in evaluating the risks inherent during a flight. The FRAT provides a Risk Score as well as safety risk status messages to help the pilot visualize their risk. Once risks are identified, the pilot can develop a mitigation strategy to reduce or eliminate those risks. The FRAT can be an integral part of a GA pilot’s overall Risk Management system.
The FRAT is not meant to make a "Go-No Go" decision for the pilot-in-command. The pilot should use the FRAT during preflight planning to identify the hazards and potential risk level that he or she may encounter during the intended flight. Identifying hazards and the resulting risk level will enable the pilot to develop a more effective mitigation strategy. A mitigation strategy is used to eliminate or reduce risks to an acceptable level or may lead the pilot to delay or even cancel the flight if the risk factor is to high.
There is an endless list of questions that could be posed in a risk assessment tool, but we have limited the FRAT to those applicable to most VFR/IFR flights conducted by General Aviation (GA) pilots.
The FRAT also includes in-app use of safety resources such as FAASafety.gov Safety Notices and Safety Discussions as well as information on Risk Management. The FRAT provides easy access to 1-800-WXBrief, CRSA DUATS, NOTAMS, TFRs and METARs all without leaving the FRAT.
The FRAT also has the functionality to take a snap shot of your FRAT and save it to your iPhone. You can also email the FRAT assessment to your CFI if you are a student. The FRAT could be part of a 14 CFR Part 141 school’s Safety Management System where pilots are taught to make a risk assessment and document it for every flight.
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