As I pilot you are aware of the five deadly attitudes: Resignation, Anti-Authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability and Macho.
I have been flying since 2000. And don’t recall ever fighting these attitudes until recently.
I belong to several flying clubs. I say this to reinforce the fact that, flying has become my greatest adventure. I am a type ‘A’ personality. Which latter I am finding out a very high percent of pilots fall under this personality group (interesting is in it?).
I have a girlfriend that loves going flying with me. While this is of great joy, since statistically, almost half of pilots’s partner do not like to fly. Having this partner in crime also adds an extra layer of pressure and responsibility to me. Bringing her home safe.
One of the flying clubs I mentioned, Florida Aero Club, have a Chapter monthly dinner meeting and a Chapter monthly fly in. We also have a State Wide, (all chapters in the State) biannual fly in weekend. I have only missed one since becoming a member. I have made great connections with pilots there partner from all the State Chapters. Being a flying club you want to fly to these activities.
This last State fly in was threatened with bad weather almost throughout the entire state both going and returning. On the way back from a great weekend, after having done all my weather studies, I arrive at the FBO to see all other Chapter members there. Ceilings were reported at 800-1000 feet and they were not IFR rated or IFR Current. In my mind I could have made the trip back. Looked at all obstacle in my modified IFR plan which was fly East miss the cell and then cancel and stay on flight watch under VFR rules.
While thinking in all the options including that my girlfriend and I both having to be back to work the next day, she is a very dedicated Head Start teacher, there are friends there which as an instructor I did not want to give them a bad example. Something in my mind click. All of the sudden, I did not want to fly.
While I enjoy flying so much, I go through a mental process and get mentally ready for the task. I could have been that MACHO guy impressing the pilots at the FBO and my girlfriend. I could have made it home safe. Am I sure of that?
After over seven hours driving home I observer the weather I would have flown in and was happy to see I made the right decision. This decision was latter challenged by the great weather at the destination airport.
While this go / no-go decision was not that easy to make I am glad I made it. My girlfriend was very grateful in my brining her home safe, I made a new couple of friends, they road with us, and I modeled to other pilots the antidote to one of the attitude that could have made us part of the Nall Report Statistics. Other pilots also rented car and followed my lead.
Not a bad day from a CFI’s point of view.
I hope this short article helps other pilots facing similar situations in this storm season. Be safe fly another day.