With the arrival of good weather and, we hope, the deconfinement, we will start flying again. And considering that many of us have flown little in recent months, we may have lost some skill over the winter. There is no better time to assess our recent experience and examine our personal minimums. Why have these personal minimums?
It is said that every pilot must know his capacities and skills and define them within the limits that he gives himself to frame his decision-making. It is better to define your limits on the ground, with a rested head, without the presence of emotions. These minimums will help us resist the temptation to negotiate with ourselves even in the heat of the moment. Our ability to make the right decisions decreases when we are under stress and busy trying to drive. You all know of cases where the pilot made a wrong decision that led to an accident; often deadly. It is often difficult for humans to change their plans and cancel a planned flight in the heat of the moment. These minimums will serve as a guide and will help you avoid ending up in delicate situations.
The minimums differ from pilot to pilot and depend on several factors such as the weather, your experience with the type of aircraft, and your skills, to name a few. Here are the factors that should be among your minimums:
Weather : One of the most important factors in any go / no-go decision is the weather, such as the ceiling, visibility and winds. Are your minimums different for a cross-country flight compared to a local flight? ? You may prefer a higher cap on long flights, or perhaps higher visibility when the cap is lower.
Airplane : The minimums such as the length of the runway necessary in hot and humid weather, the maximum cross wind, etc. vary depending on the type of aircraft you fly. It is important to put them on paper so that you can easily read them again and refer to them.
The pilot : Your minimums also depend greatly on your level of experience and skill. Your skill level will not be the same if you want to regularly or if you only fly a few hours a year. It is therefore important to determine your limits before boarding an aircraft. For example, what is the maximum gust speed where I am comfortable driving?
So take the time to define or revise your personal minimums. They could help you avoid making the wrong decision!
We invite you to use the checklist you will find HERE
Contributed by Gilles Jean
Photo: AOPA / Air Safety Institute