What is ATOMATOFLAMES per FAR 91.205?

Mnemonic acronyms are wonderful mechanisms for condensing complex terms, phrases or lists into something more manageable to commit to memory.  Aviation has its fair share of clever—and sometimes silly—recall devices, which stands to reason when there is critically important information that should be committed to memory.

Speaking of clever and silly, "ATOMATOFLAMES" is a mnemonic acronym used to help pilots remember the critical components required for aircraft airworthiness for daytime flight in visual (VFR) conditions. Each letter in ATOMATOFLAMES corresponds to a specific item that must be operational before takeoff.  This equipment list can be found in § 91.205.

Here's what the letters represent:

A - Airspeed indicator (check for proper operation)

T - Tachometer (for each engine)

O - Oil pressure gauge (for each engine using pressure system)

M - Manifold pressure gauge (for each altitude engine)

A - Altimeter (set to current setting)

T – Temperature gauge (for each liquid cooled engine)

O - Oil temperature gauge (for each air-cooled engine)

F - Fuel quantity gauge (check fuel levels in tanks for accuracy)

L - Landing gear position indicator (for retractable gear aircraft)

A - Anticollision lights (for small airplanes certified after March 1996)

M - Magnetic compass (check for correct heading)

E - Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) (if applicable per § 91.207)

S - Safety equipment (seat belts, shoulder harness (if applicable), flotation and signaling device (if applicable))

Using ATOMATOFLAMES as a checklist helps pilots understand the bare minimum functional equipment to ensure the aircraft is in a safe and airworthy condition before takeoff.  It is commonly evaluated during checkrides.

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