Guest Post: The Still Small Voice

Women, reputedly, have exhibited, or lay claim to, a greater sense of ESP, clairvoyance or at the least, a heightened sensitivity to situations. This should serve us well when we are measuring our personal limitations, as in what weather we shall fly in.

VFR limits are usually proportional to one’s experience. However, sometimes, they are inverse. For instance, if you, as a new pilot have experienced unforecast three mile visibility, or flown into a haze layer while climbing into the sun, you may have decided that five miles visibility is way worse than you want to fly into, for pleasure and set your limits at 7-8 miles in familiar territory (which is still far worse than what we usually encounter around the San Luis Obispo area on normal days).

It may be that, as a new pilot, you set 10 miles visibility as your limit and found that by planning obvious checkpoints & navigation, whether by visual or radio navigation you operated fine in 6 miles visibility when you were prepared for it. Your limitations just transitioned.

As far as scud-running, picking your way underneath a low overcast in poor visibility-FERGIT IT!

Listen to that still, small voice that is saying to you…”I don’t like the way this feels and I don’t have a specific reason for it!” Discuss it with a CFI or another experienced pilot and verbalize what you are sensing. …..and USE THE TELEPHONE…AWOS, ASOS numbers are appearing with great regularity….call those destination airports and en route airports to back up what your FSS person told you. Learn to be a discerning pilot.

Whatever you do, listen to your inner feelings. If you are going to be uncomfortable, is this pleasure flying? Also, think about the closure rate between airplanes when there is only 5-7 miles visibility.

Wanda Strassburg

Originally appeared in The Slipstream, a monthly newsletter of the SLO99s in 2005  
Posted by permission on (now defunct) and re-posted here in memory of  an excellent CFI, FAA Examiner and fellow 99.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Still Small Voice

  1. Krlene Petitt April 18, 2013 / 1:14 am

    This is so important. I’ve yet to hear of one accident that someone voiced that small voice, and did not listen to it. A great book to get is The Gift of Fear. Explains the small voice in ordinary life.


  2. flynthings April 21, 2013 / 4:38 pm

    Thanks Karlene. Will check it out!


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