One of the most exciting things about getting a pilot’s licence, besides the freedom, is getting to share your passion with others. However, not everyone has been in a light aircraft before, and some people make nervous passengers. If you are taking someone up for their first light aircraft flight, you can influence how they feel about flying for the foreseeable future; if they have a bad experience, you may never see them in a light plane again! So here is a few tips on how to make your passengers experience that little bit more comfortable.
1. Involve them in the preflight planning.
If you are going away on a nav, show your passengers how you plan the flight. Show them the route you are planning to take and discuss the weather expected enroute.
2. Take them with you to preflight the aircraft.
Walking around the aircraft and showing them all the parts gives them confidence that the aircraft is in good condition and fit to fly. Invite them to ask questions and explain what you are doing throughout the preflight. Help them get settled into the aircraft when you are ready to go, and remember to give a good safety brief.
3. Verbalise checklists.
Verbalising checklists makes passengers interested and gives them confidence that you are thoroughly making sure everything is in check before takeoff and in flight.
4. Maintain communication.
Explain each stage of the flight and discuss any strange sounds, light turbulence or banks and ensure them that it is all safe.
5. Creature comforts.
Taking some water and snacks for your passengers can help them feel a little more relaxed as well. Also, remember to remind everyone to use the bathroom before departure – there’s nowhere to pull up in the air! Packing some sick bags just in case could avoid a nasty mess, too.
By following a few of these tips you will have happy, comfortable passengers from startup to landing. Always remember though, you are the PIC so remember to brief your passengers and ALWAYS fly the aircraft safely first.