Don’t Fly Without These Private Pilot Survival Kit Supplies

Aviators love to tell stories, but you’d never want to tell one about an emergency landing with insufficient supplies. Flying a small plane is always an adventure, but don’t fly without these private pilot survival kit supplies.


Carry water and water purification supplies, like a life straw, with you. Emergency agencies advise a gallon of water per day per person. Water adds weight, but taking off without these basics is foolhardy.

Food and Shelter

Pack a lightweight tent to keep away rain and snow and provide a buffer from the wind. Keep non-perishable snacks in your flight bag and additional non-perishable food items in a brightly colored emergency backpack.

Fire Starter and Emergency Signals

Bring a flint and steel with you, along with a supply of matches and a bit of tinder in a waterproof container. Your aircraft should have an emergency locator transmitter (“ELT”). Still, bring a backup personal locator beacon to help rescuers find you.

Backup Communications

Communications depend on functional equipment. Keep your phone charged, bring a charged battery supply with you, and keep a backup radio in the aircraft.

Routinely test and inspect your headset to ensure it is fully operational, with no frayed wires or other damage. Know when it’s time to upgrade your aviation headset to a newer version with improved features.

Seatbelt Cutter

In an emergency landing, you may find yourself flipped over and hanging upside down, held in place by your seat belt. When the release is damaged, you need a seat belt cutter.

Multi-Tool and Flashlight With Extra Batteries

A multi-tool packs a knife, bottle and can opener, tweezers, pliers, and maybe a screwdriver and wrench, all in one piece. Make sure you also have a flashlight and extra batteries in your emergency kit.

Sleeping Bag and Blanket

When you have your shelter set up, you’ll need something to keep you warm inside it. Pack an insulated sleeping bag and a “space blanket” or the type of mylar blanket that keeps marathon runners warm. Bring warm clothes, even in the summer. Nights can be chilly in the wild.


In the event your GPS malfunctions or your cellphone’s battery runs out, a reliable compass is a must. Knowing the direction that corresponds with your intended flight path will help you get to a place where rescuers might start their search.

First Aid Kit

This is standard equipment for any aircraft. If you haven’t replenished your first aid kit since you last opened it, check for low supplies and refill as necessary.


You may need rope to set up shelter, hang food to avoid attracting animals, create a tourniquet, or lash poles together to make a raft.

Your flight path (including whether you’ll be flying over a large body of water) may determine additional or different supplies you should pack. Check with your local SAR team for advice on private pilot survival kit supplies, including the most visible colors and unique tools suited to the region.

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Written by Logan Voss

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