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Are you performing a self assessment before each flight?
FAA’s latest FlySafe GA Safety Enhancement topic, “Are You Fit for Flight?” discusses the importance of checking in with yourself before each flight to make sure you are nourished, hydrated, rested, and emotionally fit to fly. Similar to a preflight checklist used to inspect your aircraft, the IMSAFE checklist helps you assess your own personal fitness for flight.
The checklist is designed to address six key areas:
M – Medication: Am I taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication that could compromise my ability to fly? Many medicines caution against operating machinery and aircraft certainly qualify as complex machines.
S – Stress: Am I under unusual stress today? We all cope with stress each day and a little stress has been shown to improve human performance. But, if we’re under moderate to heavy stress, our performance will not be our best and it may even be dangerous. If, for instance, we are flying to a very important meeting that cannot be re-scheduled or delayed, the importance of the mission could compromise our pre and in-flight decision-making.
A – Alcohol: Have I ingested any alcohol in the previous twenty-four hours? The rule says eight hours but lingering effects can persist.
F – Fatigue: Am I adequately rested before this flight? And just as important, will I become fatigued during the flight? We may be fine for the short drive home after a long day at work, but embarking on a flight, perhaps at night, may be a greater challenge than we should accept. Getting a good night’s sleep and starting in the morning may well be the safer choice.
E – Eating/Emotion: Am I adequately nourished and hydrated? And am I emotionally ready for this flight? We like to say we leave our problems on the ground when we fly but, for most of us, that’s not really true. If we’re worried or even very happy about something, we may dwell on the topic at the expense of our flight duties or our decision-making may be compromised.