Are You Really Fit To Fly?
July 16, 2018
Kay Vereeken

Risk Assessment Begins with YOU! The Pilot!

In this video I’ll explain you how to conduct the very first item of your Preflight Preparation: "Are you really Fit To Fly?"

Use the I'M SAFE Acronym to determine if you're up to it:

  • Illness: Do you have any medical condition such as a cold, sinus block, stomach pain or intestinal cramps, headaches? It’s not because you feel OK on the ground, that certain conditions may not aggravate in the air and become a safety risk.
  • Medication: Did you take any over the counter medication, did the doctor give you a prescription? It’s sometimes hard to determine which medication is allowed or not allowed and not all doctors are aware about your flying activities. A good rule is: "if you have to take any medication, it indicates there is an underlying medical condition".  Most probably you’re not fit to fly. If you have a chronic condition which requires medication, seek the advice of your Authorized Medical Examiner to rule out any doubts you may have.
  • Stress: Are you currently under any psychological pressure? Are there things going on in your life that affect your mental state? As a pilot, you should be well aware about your stress level, but how can you assess this? If you have a hard time concentrating on your upcoming flight and you don’t feel the joy to get in the air, it’s probably not a good idea to go flying.
  • Alcohol: Have you been drinking any alcoholic beverages in the previous 8 hours? Have you been drinking in the past 24 hours? Remember that one ounce of liquor, one bottle of beer or four ounces of wine will impair your flying skills (even if you respect the 8-hour bottle-to-throttle rule). Remember that alcohol makes you more sensitive to disorientation, hypoxia and impairs your night vision.
  • Fatigue: Do you feel tired, or have you not adequately rested? Fatigue is one of the most insidious hazards to flight safety because it may not be apparent until serious errors are made. 
  • Eating: Have you eaten enough of proper foods to keep adequately nourished during the entire flight? Are you sufficiently hydrated? Being hungry will make you more sensitive to motion sickness, reduces your energy level and slows down your response time. Don’t eat too much before your flight neither, as this makes you feel tired!

My Conclusion:

The very first thing in assessing the Risk will be you, the pilot!

Have a SAFE Flight!

Kay Vereeken
Kay started his Aviation Career at the age of 16 and did his first commercial flight at the age of 21. He worked for 3 different Airlines in Europe, flying the F50 and BAE146. Ten years and 8,000 flying hours later, he decided to dedicate his life to his ultimate passion: Professional Pilot Training. Together with his wife, he founded, EuroPilot Center (Antwerp) and SoCal Pilot Center (Southern California).