Do you ever resent the FAA for making so many rules? This is an anti-authority attitude. It can be very hazardous because it can lead to poor decision making out of spite.
It’s ok to question the FAA about their many rules and feel free to even publicly denounce their many rules…..but only while on the ground. When you are in the air, you must fight against your anti-authority tendencies and remember this:
The rules are written in blood!
Most of the rules are there because somebody died doing something that was legal at the time. The rules don’t guarantee your safety but they do provide a framework of general safety limits.
Signs of an Anti-Authority Attitude
If you find yourself thinking some of the thoughts below (in bold) then you are experiencing anti-authority to some degree.
- “Don’t tell me what to do.” The rules are usually telling you what to avoid, and while this may be inconvenient, there is a usually a pretty good reason. Follow the rule for now and find out why that rule exists after you land.
- “This is a stupid rule.” It very well may be a stupid rule but professionalism and strict adherence to rules and procedures greatly enhance your survival chances.
- “These rules don’t apply to me because I’m a better pilot than those who died.” Incorrect, you are a worse pilot than those who died in many ways. For example, you are letting yourself succumb to a hazardous anti-authority attitude. Those pilots who died before this rule existed were significantly more professional than you are being right now. Put down your pride and be safe.
Anti-authority goes hand-in-hand with invulnerability and is particularly dangerous because it leads to some of the most dangerous activities. Pilots who fly VFR into IMC or break up the plane doing unscheduled aerobatics usually suffer from both of these two delusions.
The rules and safety
Are the rules safe enough? No.
As pilots, we need to have personal minimums that are more restrictive than the rules. This is a personal decision and it will be different for everyone. For example, you only need 1 statute mile of visibility to fly in class G airspace, during the day, under 10,000 feet.
However, sticking to a higher minimum like 3 miles is probably a good idea.
Have you ever heard the phrase “8 hours bottle to throttle”? It means that you need to leave 8 hours time between drinking alcohol and flying. A better personal minimum that many use is “24 hours bottle to throttle”.
Be well aware of this attitude and decide in advance that you will be a professional pilot who follows the rules, even if you disagree with them.