Setting your Personal Minimums
You may have heard many preach about knowing your own personal minimums. But what do they really mean. We see PAVE and IM SAFE. but maybe there is more than just those. Sometimes we don't always know where that line is of should and shouldn't. But we have created another version to help draw that line, a real list that your family members or friends or even your novice passengers or pilot friend can check and possibly prevent you from taking a risk you said you wouldnt do. Once these possible passengers or those who might be effected by your flights outcome, especially that fear of you flying, you are giving that person in your life a voice in your safety. Giving them a say will likely make communication smoother, and develop more trust in your flying. Knowing your personal minimums can prevent you from pushing that envelope without proper planning and skill, even giving you time to arrange an experienced pilot to help you if need be.
What you may do at 50 hour will look possibly different at 100 or even 300 hours, and will likely vary even from aircraft and equipment available.
I might fly minimums IFR in a twin turbine aircrat, maybe even piston, but I will avoid that in a single engine especially in a minimumly equipped one.
VFR folks, can say they may have to have 5 miles visibility, another might say 3 or 7 even 10 miles. Then factor in wind and crosswind, ceilings etc.
This can go great steps in helping those who love you not fear your flying if they can see you are taking those extra precautions for self and them, plus they might keep you from telling yourself well i need 5 miles but its 4 now and i think i can handle that.... anytime you start to say I think I can do that, we can probably beat that storm or we should be there before dark, or its not that much further we don't need to stop for fuel...... Its time to stop and know you are about to enter that statistic zone, much like the twilight zone, only it involves, NTSB, FAA, CAP and the local news. Might even include hospitals and or funerals.
Always make sure you have a back up plan in case first plan goes awry (and plans almost always do). That possible fuel stop on that long leg in case winds are worse than expected, A plan to turn around to return to a safe area if visibility begins to grow worse, If having to delay flight which will put you later than planned make sure take the extra time to pack a working flashlight and alternate landing stops, or even waiting till next day if weather is a strong possibility.
Here is one that we created that can print out a sheet from our website, or make your own.
Ceiling within 25nm __________________
Ceiling beyond 25nm __________________
Minimum visibility __________________
Maximum wind __________________
Maximum X-wind __________________
Maximum density altitude __________________
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Tamara Griffith is the main writer of the blog Gift of Wing and all of Gift Academy's media, yet much of the lessons, and thoughts are from all experiences of Mary and Lawrence Latimer, Tamara Griffith, and everyone else and the aviation community we feel needs expressing.