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What Does The 'IMSAFE' Checklist Mean For Pilots?

One of the most important acronyms you'll hear in training is "IMSAFE." It's a great way to determine if you're fit to fly. Here's what it means...

I - Illness

Do you have any illness or symptom that prevents you from safely flying? It could be anything from a sinus cold with ear block to a full-blown fever. Included in this category is any recent surgery that might prevent you from changing altitudes rapidly.

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M - Medication

Are you taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications that aren't approved by the FAA or your AME?

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S - Stress

Anything from financial trouble to family or relationship problems might create stress that prevents you from being a safe pilot.

A - Alcohol

Per FAA regulations, you cannot consume alcohol within 8 hours of flying. Beyond that, you cannot be "under the influence" of alcohol, including hangovers or other symptoms.

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F - Fatigue

Did you get a full night's sleep? Are you too tired to fly? Fatigue is a deadly hazard in aviation, and you should pay extra attention to what your body says before flying.

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E - Eating

Did you have time to eat before your flight? Are you carrying enough water and food to get you through a long flight? Dietary needs are important for flight too!

Note: E can mean "Emotion" as well. However, it's equally important to make sure you're fed and hydrated before flying!

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What other acronyms do you know? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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