Close Calls

Fitness to Fly - Yanine Hey

Human Factors, Personal Health, Safety

Friday 10 February, 2017

As part of National Safety Month 2016, we invited our members to submit stories relating to Human Factors.
Below is an article submitted by one of the competition's finalists:


I was completing my two final checks and solos preparatory to my student pilot licence check the following week. The morning sessions were wonderful and I felt confident. However, before my afternoon check flight I told my instructor that I would rather not fly as I wasn't ill but that " I just did not feel 100%". The flights were postponed.

Two days later I had a minor blackout after work, lasting but a few seconds, and ended up in hospital with a pacemaker. I stress I had not had any of the 'typical' heart attack feelings-pains, etc. So, I am very glad that I listened to my feelings of "not feeling 100% fit" as anything may have happened in the air if I had continued my afternoon flights.

I also feel I need to mention a not publicised condition of POCD (Post Operative Cognitive Disorder) which can affect people of any age. Anyone who has had anaesthetic will find that their cognitive functions can become scrambled-with short or long term.

I found after a minor operation that my memory had been affected and it took me almost six months to regain all my flying skills and knowledge and to stop making basic flying mistakes, for example misjudging height.

I feel this condition should be mentioned in Human Factors- take care flying after any anaesthetic procedure. Fortunately both these precautionary tales did not happen together, but both did slow my flying progress.

However I am now more aware of, and trust, my feelings before flying.