The FAA refers to an acronym of PAVE for setting your minimums. So what is PAVE and why is it something we should know as pilots?
P – Pilot
A – Aircraft
V – enVironment
E – External Pressures
As pilots we should always strive to consider PAVE before taking any trip. However personal minimums go well beyond the high level litmus test of PAVE alone.
Below you will see the PAV of our checklist and it’s a very good idea to spend some time doing the proper evaluations for you and your passengers.
As a PILOT (P) we need to not only be sure we are qualified for the flight but that we are also proficient and current for the procedures at hand. If the flight is going to take us into an IFR approach to minimums of 200 and 1/2sm we should be very proficient at flying this type of approach or we should raise up our minimums.
I often teach new Instrument rated pilots to keep an initial personal minimum of no more than 1,000 foot thick layer with 1,000 ft ceilings at any location. This give the budding new instrument rating a chance to gain clarity and proficiency.
As a new student pilot getting your Private rating you may want to restrict yourself to Night VFR flying in non-mountainous terrain and only with a full moon or solid ground lighting from a city.
No matter what the situation, declare a personal set of minimums for you before you depart and don’t talk yourself out of them until you prove you can progress pass them with your skills.