This Week’s Flying Tip: Encourage Questions

Preparing Passengers Flying

Many general aviation passengers have a dream to be a pilot, but the apparent complexity in the cockpit can be an intimidating place to a non-aviator. To make the cockpit more inviting to your non-flying friends you should explain what you are doing and encourage your passengers to ask questions. You may find that the experience is fun and educational for both you and your passengers.

After you have explained the critical pieces, such as how to get the seat belt on and off and how to open the doors, you can start by describing in very simple terms how the airplane works. Once the basics are understood you will likely find that your passengers will ask more and more questions.

It is one thing to learn how to fly. It is an entire different thing to explain it. You may find it valuable to practice describing the concepts such as lift, thrust, weight and drag or how the airplane’s systems work to yourself while you are in the shower or stuck in traffic.

As you work on explaining what you are doing and how the airplane is capable of taking to the skies, you will likely have to take to the books to refresh your memory or learn new concepts that you may not have fully understood.

Along with increasing your own knowledge, or at least keeping it up, you may encourage your non-flying passengers take the leap to become pilots themselves. But take it slow. Too much information at one time may be overwhelming. Keep it very simple to start and as you keep flying together you can continue to provide more specific information. Always remember to keep your priorities straight when you are in the cockpit. The main focus should always be on the task at hand. Fly the airplane!

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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