If you have been away from balloon flying and the fine details of preparing to fly your equipment for a while, maybe it is time to bring out your checklist that you and your instructor fine-tuned a long time ago.
Did you take your equipment out and clean/hydrate your basket? Is everything back in the basket where you think it is? Does the fan start? Got fuel in your tanks? Are your radios charged? Is the fire extinguisher charged? All instruments are in working conditions? Are the required equipment and paperwork on board.
And then there is you. You may have your own method of analyzing yourself to make sure all is well if not the acronym “I’m Safe” is very useful.
- Illness – Do I have any symptoms?
- Medication – Have I been taking prescriptions or over the counter drugs?
- Stress – Am I under psychological pressure from work, financial matters, health problems or family discord?
- Alcohol – Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within 24? How much?
- Fatigue – Am I tired and not adequately rested?
- Emotion – Am I angry, depressed, excited, or anxious?
Perhaps your crew needs a refresher as well.
Finally, in your excitement did you make sure you are hydrated and have enough body fuel (food) to keep you mentally alert for the next few hours? If not, as your mother would say “EAT”.
Fly Safe friends.