Should I Fly Today?

I learned a very hard lesson this week by flying while sick when I really should have stayed on the ground. I thought I could tough it out and attempt to knock out my stage check, well it was a waste of both mine and my check pilot’s time. I was in so much pain from my ears hurting, my eyes would not stop watering, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, and I had not gotten much sleep the night before due to being sick. I was definitely not on my A game and was not able to focus as well as normal and give it my all. I was worried about disappointing people by canceling the check ride when in reality, I ended up disappointing them anyway by not making the right call and not performing my best. The FAA has a great spreadsheet for a Personal Minimums Checklist and I encourage all pilots to fill this out and consider it every time you go fly.  They encourage pilots to think PAVE which stands for Pilot, Aircraft, enVironmental, External Pressures. Pilot obviously stands for the evaluation of yourself for example have you been sick, when was the last time you had alcohol or drugs, or how much sleep you have had. Pretty much you need to ask yourself if you are well enough to fly safely that day.  The evaluation of your aircraft includes fuel reserves, experience in type, aircraft performance, and aircraft equipment. With this you need to ask yourself if your aircraft is safe to fly that day. The environment portion is evaluating airport conditions, weather, and VFR/IFR conditions. My instructor always tells me that it is always better to be on the ground wishing you are flying than flying and wishing you were on the ground. The external pressures portion includes trip planning, alternate plans for diversion or cancellation, and personal equipment. As you can tell, there is a lot that you need to consider before flying that day and it is detrimental that you treat each area of your personal minimums equally important. People will not think any less of you for making the smart decision to be safe and stay on the ground. If you are looking for an aircraft to use your personal minimums with, check out! They also have great resources for airport information! Fly Safe!


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