“There will always be some risk in flying, and it’s possible to encounter a problem that you could not have foreseen. Such situations, however, are statistically rare. If you pay attention to the things that are most likely to cause trouble (weather, manoeuvring flight, crosswinds, etc.), and then handle them in a timely fashion, you’re unlikely to become a statistic.

 Keep These Points in Mind:

  • Contract

Determine a “personal minimums contract” with yourself, based on your own experience and current proficiency in the aircraft you will be flying, and apply it before each flight. Be honest; are you comfortable completing the flight?If you’ve recently earned a new certificate or rating, ask your CFI to help you determine a reasonable baseline to match your new skills. Take a copy of your personal minimums contract with you in the cockpit.

  • Leave yourself an “out” 

Some of the best aeronautical decisions are made on the ground. A prudent pre-flight choice can eliminate the need to make a much more difficult in-flight decision.Before the flight, determine a “no go”decision point, to avoid external or self-imposed pressure to go. Don’t gamble - Avoid pressure to decrease your minimums

  • Anticipate

Before you go, ask yourself what factors might affect your trip. In the air, actively anticipate the things most likely to go wrong

  • Recognise 

Maintain an active mental and physical lookout for things that have gone wrong

  • Act

When things have gone wrong, act quickly and conservatively to remedy the situation

  • Priorities

Know your immediate priorities (Aviate, Navigate, Communicate) and your large-scale priorities (Survive unharmed, Save the aircraft, Reach destination)

  • Evaluate

Once you’re on the ground, spend a few minutes going over the flight in your head. What went right? What went wrong? Were there problems, or potential problems? Could you have anticipated and recognised them sooner? Score yourself. Be as objective as possible. If you do this consistently, you’ll soon find yourself catching problems earlier and dealing with them more effectively”.


Tony Birth