Preflight checklists

Mnemonics and other things to consider, often before you even get to the airport

IMSAFE

Mnemonic to go over before you even go to the airport. Covers how you are doing.

  • Illness: Are you sick or feel like you’re becoming sick.
  • Medication: Taking anything not allowed, or otherwise out of the ordinary?
  • Stress: Are you stressed/worried about other things? Want to be in a good headspace.
  • Alcohol: >8 hours bottle to throttle in the US.
  • Fatigue: Had enough sleep? Had enough to eat?
  • Emotion: How are you feeling? Are you mentally well enough to fly?

For me, “am I able to make the bike ride to SMO?” is usually enough to answer all of these.

PAVE

Helps you perceive hazards and assess risks.

  • P: Pilot
    Am I ready for this flight? - in terms of experience, recency, currency, physical and emotional connections. See IMSAFE for answers to the latter 2.
  • A: Aircraft
    • Is this the right aircraft for the flight?
    • Am I familiar with and current in the aircraft?
    • Is this aircraft properly equipped for the flight? (Instruments, lights, navigation and communication equipment)
    • Can this aircraft use the runways available for the trip w/ margin for safety & weather?
    • Can this aircraft carry the planned load?
    • Can it operate at the intended altitudes?
    • Does it have sufficient fuel capacity for each leg?
    • Does it actually have the necessary fuel in it?
  • V: Environment
    • Weather
    • Terrain
    • Airports
    • Airspace
    • Nighttime
  • E: External Pressures
    Other things influencing the flight.
    • Someone waiting at the airport for the arrival of the flight
    • passenger the pilot doesn’t want to disappoint (See: hazardous attitudes)
    • desire to impress someone (see: hazardous attitudes)
    • desire to demonstrate pilot qualifications (see: hazardous attitudes)
    • desire to satisfy a personal goal (”get-there-itis”)
    • the pilot’s general goal-completion orientation
    • Emotional pressure/pride that you might not be as good as you thought you were.