Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) is a book containing the information and instructions required to operate the aircraft safely. The pilot must comply with this AFM information.A typical AFM will contain the following:
Operating procedures - aircraft procedures, speeds and configurations used to:
Achieve expected performance and behaviour in Normal situations.
Achieve safe outcomes in some specified Abnormal or Emergency situations (such as a forced landing after engine failure).
Performance - the required variation of the aircraft's maximum allowable weights, as affected by air pressure and temperature, in order to:
Take-off or land in available runway distance.
Climb at the minimum required gradient, or greater gradient needed to clear obstacles in the intended flight path following take-off or missed approach.
Other information and instructions necessary to safely operate the aircraft
The AFM is as important as any other critical part of the aircraft. It is a part of the type design.
If AFM supplements are applicable and required, the complete AFM is the combination of the basic AFM and those AFM supplements.
The Flight Manual for the individual aircraft should contain, in the appropriate sections, information on all the equipment which not only the particular aircraft, but the generic sub-type, may carry. This means that in order for a pilot to familiarise himself with the equipment and handling characteristics of the individual aircraft he intends flying, he ought to sit in the aircraft with the Flight Manual, identify the equipment which that aircraft is carrying, and read the individual applicable sections. As more and more electronic instrumentation is approved for carriage by older aircraft types, the proliferation of possible fits has increased considerably. The manufacturers of many items of modern avionics will often make available a reference guide to the unit’s functionality and operation, which can often be downloaded and used to supplement the information in the Flight Manual.
The Flight Manual contains the checks which the manufacturer considers essential for the pilot to carry out before, during and after flight. However, a Flight Manual is bulky and regular reference may damage the binding, so most pilots purchase and use a generic checklist for the type, as supplied by a commercial organisation. Being generic, these commercial checklists as supplied do not necessarily contain all the checks the manufacturer has published as essential.