Traffic Light State of Flying

Flying in the Yellow:

When I was learning to fly I was taught something by my instructor that I have passed on to my many students and clients over the years.  I find it helps me stay ready and hopefully it helps you.



When flying, you want to be in the “YELLOW” state.  Have you ever heard of this before?

There are 3 states that you can fly in.  RED, YELLOW and GREEN.  RED means you are always in emergency mode and living in a stressful zone that will eventually wear you out and degrade your performance.  Plus it is not that fun to fly in this state!

GREEN is the “everything is good and I don’t have to worry” stage.  You are casual, cocky, and not ready in case something happens.  You don’t really care. 

When you experience an emergency/problem in the GREEN state, you have to transition from GREEN through YELLOW and into the RED.  Once in the RED state, this is where you will then take care of business.  It takes longer to transition from the GREEN state and this is at a cost.

Finally, there is a |_YELLOW_| state.  This is where you are alert and ready, yet not in emergency mode.  You are enjoying the flight, but present and prepared.  You are professional, trained and making appropriate decisions.

Of course, this is an over-generalization and you will slide to different modes depending on the weather, time and place.  But keep alert.  Keep your training current.  Be competent and confident in your abilities.  Review your limitations and emergencies every few months.  Next time you catch yourself too far over in the GREEN state, move over to the YELLOW.   It is important to enjoy your flight, and being prepared will allow you to do so.

Take care and enjoy the skies.

– Luke Yanik