When flying in a two-pilot flight deck you can tell whether your partner is on their game. No, I am not referring to competence – that’s another story, but whether they are having a good day. You see it with the best of pilots. But this downfall occurs in most facets of life. I also see it when playing hockey, either with myself or others on the ice. That pass you missed, the shot your team mate misfired, or a gifted skater tripping is because they are not on their “mojo.” Being “behind the eight ball” or a pilot “not on their game” happens for a ton of reasons such as lack of sleep, jet lag, dehydration, malnourished, problems at home, bills to pay, or license renewal to name only a few. I could write pages as to why a pilot is not 100% there. It’s one reason why there are two pilots, so the other pilot rises to the occasion. (If they don’t, then the holes in the Swiss cheese model start to line up for a pending incident). You start detecting things right away. Maybe you partner shows up late, forgot their airport security pass or spilled coffee in the flight deck.
But what about you – a single pilot operator, that runs the entire show from flight planning, self-weather briefing, weight and balance, fuelling, to boarding your passengers. You are a “one person band” and everyone is counting on your pilot proficiency and prowess. Your passengers are counting on you, but can’t help in the decision making. If there is slight hesitation, this may be the time to seek guidance from others like flight service, instructors, fellow pilots, or ask yourself, “am I up for this today?”
***I learned this same thing when sailing. Your sailing passengers are looking to you for guidance. Very few know about sailing so they don’t understand you may need help docking, securing the lines or hoisting the sails. To them it’s magical and that goes for flight and weather prep work. ***
My first boat. You might see it on Lake Ontario.