Today, we’re diving into a crucial aspect of pilot safety and aircraft airworthiness under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). If you’re a pilot or an aviation student, you’re likely familiar with FAR 91.205. For those new to the field, FAR or Federal Aviation Regulations has this section labeled 91.205. This section lists the minimum equipment requirements for VFR flight. But how do you ensure you’ve checked all the boxes before takeoff? Enter the mnemonic ATOMATOFLAMES, a clever and easy way to remember the essential items listed in FAR 91.205.


ATOMATOFLAMES is more than just a catchy phrase. It is a checklist that ensures you meet the FAA’s safety requirements for day VFR flights. Let’s break it down

– Airspeed Indicator

This is your speedometer in the air. It measures and displays the speed of your aircraft relative to the surrounding air. It is an essential parameter for flight.

T – Tachometer

The tachometer in an aircraft indicates the working speed of the engine(s), measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Much like it does in a car. It’s vital for monitoring engine health and performance.

O – Oil Pressure Gauge

This gauge monitors the oil pressure in your engine(s). Adequate oil pressure is crucial for the lubrication and cooling of the engine components.

M – Magnetic Direction Indicator

Essentially, this is your compass. It shows your aircraft’s orientation relative to magnetic north, a fundamental tool for navigation.

A – Altimeter

This instrument measures your altitude, or height above sea level. Which is an essential piece of information for maintaining safe vertical separation from terrain and other aircraft.

T – Temperature Gauge for your engine

For aircraft with liquid-cooled engines, this gauge helps monitor the engine’s temperature. A valuable tool to prevent overheating.

O – Oil Temperature Gauge

Similarly, for air-cooled engines, this gauge measures the engine temperature. It ensures the plane stays within safe operating limits.

F – Fuel Gauge for each tank

These gauges provide real-time information on fuel levels. It is one of the most critical instruments to avoiding fuel exhaustion.

L – Landing Gear Position Indicator (if retractable gear)

For aircraft with retractable gear, this indicator confirms whether the landing gear is extended or retracted.

A – Anti-collision Light System

While not explicitly required for Day VFR, these lights increase the visibility of your aircraft. It helps others identify you quickly, enhancing safety.

M – Manifold Pressure Gauge (if equipped)

This gauge measures the pressure in the intake manifold. Which is relevant for aircraft with altitude engines and critical for engine performance monitoring.

E – Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

This safety device sends out signals in case of a crash, aiding in rescue efforts.

S – Safety Belts for each occupant

A fundamental safety requirement, ensuring that all occupants are secured during the flight.


ATOMATOFLAMES isn’t just a checklist; it’s a safety standard. Each component in this mnemonic plays a vital role in ensuring that your flight is not only compliant with regulations but also safe. Regularly checking each item helps identify potential issues before they escalate into safety hazards.


As we see, ATOMATOFLAMES is an invaluable tool for every pilot. It encapsulates the essence of FAR 91.205 in a memorable and practical way, contributing significantly to flight safety under VFR conditions. Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or just starting in aviation, keeping ATOMATOFLAMES in mind is a step towards a safer flight experience. So, next time you’re prepping for a VFR flight, run through ATOMATOFLAMES, and fly with the confidence that you’ve covered all your safety bases.

Blue Skies and Tailwinds!

To check out more of my Aviation Resources, visit here: