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Have You Ever Denied An Airplane? Here Are 6 Times You Should

Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's safe! Here are some times to deny an airplane and find a new one.

1) Maintenance Write-Ups Don't Match

You take a look at the aircraft logbook and maintenance write-ups haven't been completed properly, required inspections haven't been done, or a MEL doesn't match what's actually broken. You shouldn't fly that airplane until it's fixed!


2) Broken/MEL'd Equipment Exceeds Your Comfort Level

Even if a maintenance write-up means the aircraft is still legal for flight, it may exceed your comfort level for safety. Let's say the automatic anti-icing system is MEL'd and you have to control it manually on a day with moderate icing conditions along your route. You may want to deny the airplane and wait for one that's in good shape.


3) You Know Something Is Wrong And Maintenance Can't Identify The Problem

You experience a concerning noise, smell, or vibration in the air that can't be recreated by maintenance on the ground. If the problem can't be identified, don't fly the plane!


4) Long Day + No Autopilot = Fatigue Risks

If you're flying multiple legs during the day in challenging weather conditions without an autopilot, you may want to consider finding another airplane to avoid fatigue risks.


5) The Weather Conditions Exceed Aircraft Capabilities

If your airplane isn't certified for a CAT II approach or icing conditions and weather is on the edge of legal, it's best just to wait to fly!


6) Any Crewmemeber Feels Uncomfortable About Safety Of Flight

Long story short, if any crewmember is concerned about the safety of the airplane, you shouldn't fly. Have an open conversation with your crew and see if there's a solution that would make everyone comfortable. If not, find another airplane!

Swayne Martin

Have you ever made the decision to not fly an airplane? 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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