We’ve all heard the phrase “that pilot is an accident waiting to happen.” I can remember an incident that made me think exactly that. I watched as the pilot loaded himself and three other large adults into a rough-looking 172, clearly putting the airplane over maximum gross weight. To make matters worse, this was on a 95 degree day and at an airport with a 2500 ft. long runway. It really was an accident waiting to happen, but nobody intervened. Fortunately, the airplane staggered into the air and eventually disappeared over the horizon.
This brings up the question at hand: do we, as pilots, have a responsibility to do something about these people or should we leave them alone? If we do intervene, what should be done? Confront the pilot? Report them to the FAA? Warn their passengers? And how bad does it have to get before you step in?