Am I safe to fly?

Every once in a while as we run the IMSAFE checklist we may get stuck on the initial “I” for illness. We may think I’ll be okay, its just a runny nose. Maybe its just a quick sightseeing flight so its easy to cancel. But what if there’s more on the line like a weekend away with your significant other? Do we allow the pressure of a nice weekend and non refundable hotel reservations sway our decision?

I bring this up as I just encountered this situation myself. I had a hotel room paid for in Reno for the Best in the West Rib Cook-off. Plane was reserved and while there was some lingering smoke from the Yosemite fire we were looking forward to going.


So it was with great frustration when I started getting the sniffles Sat and awoke to a sore throat Sunday morning. We had planned to leave that afternoon around 5pm. But I knew deep down that I just wasn’t safe. Despite possibly losing the money for the prepaid hotel I knew I had to cancel. I was still running the scenarios of “what-ifs” so we could go but I knew that wasn’t safe or feasible. With a stuffy head and fatigue caused from the fever I would be in a world of hurt just handling the normal tasks of flying. What if conditions changed and visibility decreased from the smoke and the storm that was forecast to move thru? Nope, I wouldn’t have been 100% capable to handle that and I would be putting myself, my wife and those on the ground at risk. It’s not worth it.

How’s your decision making process? Are you mentally ready to handle the disappointment a canceled trip can reign down on you from friends and family? Its something we need to be ready for as the its our role as PIC to keep everyone safe.

One thought on “Am I safe to fly?

  1. This is often a tough spot to be in as a pilot. Still you made the right choice. I work hard not to scrub flights with my wife but I did about three weeks ago, a vacation to Maine where they were calling for heavy rain, lightning, low IFR followed by gusty (25kt) winds. It was a tough call to make with friends counting on us. But it was the right call (the fact that this weather never materialized is another story for another day).

    GA isn’t for people who “absolutely have to be there”. That’s what airlines are for. Sure, most trips work out. But if we let the “get-there-itis” run our decision making, we’ll end up never arriving at all.

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