By Pilot Institute
Posted on April 24, 2022 - 2 minute read

If your instructor begins talking about “ATOMATOFLAMES,” he’s not having a stroke – he’s trying to teach you a helpful acronym.

ATOMATOFLAMES, also known as “Tomato Flames,” is an acronym for the equipment required on board an aircraft for VFR flight, as per FAR 91.205:

A – Airspeed Indicator

T – Tachometer (for each engine)

O – Oil Pressure Gauge (for each engine)

M – Manifold Pressure Gauge (for each engine, if applicable)

A – Altimeter

T – Temperature Gauge (for each liquid-cooled engine)

O – Oil Temperature Gauge (for each engine)

F – Fuel Gauge

L – Landing Gear Position Indicator (if applicable)

A – Anti-Collision Lights (For aircraft certificated after March 11, 1996)

M – Magnetic Compass

E – Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT)

S – Safety Belts

For VFR flights at night, add the acronym FLAPS:

F – Fuses

L – Landing Light

A – Anti-Collision Lights

P – Position Lights

S – Source of Power

That brings us to a full acronym (VFR day and night) of “A-TOMATO-FLAMES-FLAPS.”

What is FAR 91.205?


FAR 91.205, also known as 14 CFR 91.205, is the regulation specifying the required equipment for aircraft with standard category US airworthiness certificates.

FAR 91.205 (b) details the requirements for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) day flight, and FAR 91.205 (c) for VFR night flight.

FAR 91.205 (d) details the additional requirements for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight, which includes all the requirements from FAR 91.205 (b) and (c).

Why Is This Important?

As the Pilot in Command (PIC) of an aircraft, you are ultimately responsible for its safe and legal operation. It is, therefore, your responsibility to ensure that all required equipment on the aircraft is serviceable.

In a perfect world, every piece of equipment on the aircraft will be serviceable at all times. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and your knowledge of the required equipment could be the difference between a safe or tragic ending to a flight.

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