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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.


M - Medication

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


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.


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.


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!


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, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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