Know Your Limits…and Then Operate Within Them


A simple enough concept, right? But can you do it? Will you do it? 

Whether it’s challenging weather, illness or aircraft limitations, there will come a time when every air show pilot finds himself up against the limits of his skill and experience as a pilot.  

The question is, when it’s your turn, what will you do? 

Because, invariably, the decision comes at an inopportune time. It comes at the top of a vertical maneuver when you don’t have the altitude you need to safely complete the maneuver. It comes at 11:30 in the morning on an air show Saturday when the air boss asks you if you can fly safely with 2,800 foot ceilings. And it comes when you wake up in a hotel room with a sinus infection or flu symptoms that would normally cause you to stay in bed for the rest of the day. 

Sadly, the history of recent air show accidents has too many examples of pilots who either did not know their own limitations or knew them and decided to push on despite those limitations.  

As an industry, we must celebrate those among us who understand their limitations – whatever they are — and make decisions that allow them to always operate within those limitations.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.