IMSAFE Checklist: are you ready to fly today?


You can eliminate risks to a flight by first asking if you are physically prepared to fly. The FAA’s IMSAFE checklist helps pilots determine appropriate well-being before flying. Incorporating this checklist into your flight routine will limit risks and improve your safety and comfort while flying.

Before you begin to fly, and especially if you are concerned about any potential flight risks, contact a medical healthcare professional. Earning a pilot’s license requires approval from a doctor.

On a day-to-day basis, you can refer to this checklist. If you have any doubt about your physical and mental ability to operate an aircraft, do not fly.

  1. Illness – A sick pilot may be unable to manage the level of alertness and fast reaction time required for flying.
  2. Medications – Substances that affect your judgment, energy, coordination and more
  3. Stress – Concentration during flight should be focused primarily on procedure and risk assessment and physically flying the plane. Outside stressors, including work, finances, family, or health may distract from flying.
  4. Alcohol – Drinking even 24 hours, not to mention a hangover that may last days longer, before flying poses a huge risk to a pilot’s abilities. Alcohol may impair memory, reaction time and judgment.
  5. Fatigue – Flying while sleepy may lead to unnecessary errors and major accidents. Before flying, determine that you are well-rested, whether you are just starting your flight for the day or continuing a long-distance flight.
  6. Emotion – Emotional disturbance, including fear or anger, may alter your flight ability.

For more information, refer to the FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge or visit our FAQ Page.