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Thinking of taking my first passenger

… in a 152
My school recommends that I do 5hours solo post passing the ppl test before I take anyone up with me… I’ve done 4 (the weather isn’t cooperating). I’m thinking of taking a friend up when the weather gets a bit nicer. it could be a long wait if this wind persists!

Anyways suggestions/thinks to watch out for?

Do the walkaround alone. You’ll be nervous and easily distracted. Use the checklist (really use it, not just skim it) for the same reason. Thereafter – enjoy!

Tell your pax beforehand when he should not talk to you nor distract you. And he/she should of course not touch anything without yr consent..

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

You’ll be nervous and easily distracted.

Second that.
[[edit: and second Aart’s comments equally]]

More generally: prepare as well as you can. Prepare answers for questions your passenger might ask. You want and wish and indeed need to come across as being able and knowledgeable and reliable.

It would be double bad luck, (which is very rare indeed) but you don’t want your friend to first grow some doubt on your ability and then something really go wrong, EFATO or such. That would be a sure way to get her/him to panic, and a panicking passenger is what you really do not want.

Last Edited by at 20 Feb 16:38
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Keep it relatively short – the average passenger is quite sceptical, anxious if they have never flown in a small plane before.

A short 20 minute, trial lesson experience is my recommendation. Leave the circuit, fly gently (no steep turns), perhaps to a known landmark, and then back to the airfield for a de brief and a coffee.

By all means check the ’plane beforehand, but it helps for them to walk around with you, and you explain the flight controls, safety airside, staying out of the propeller arc, etc.

Pick a low wind, good visibility day – some cloud ceiling at say 2,000’ is OK – more important is smooth conditions, and good visibility.

Ideally fly during the week when the typical circuit is less busy.

They might ask about engine failure – answer that you have trained for it, there are pre take off and in flight checks, and that in a forced landing into wind the 152 is landing pretty close to bi cycling speeds!

Hopefully they enjoy the experience and you can build from there.

Avoid the urge to impress them if they are adrenalin hooked – book them an aerobatic trial lesson instead.

Oxford (EGTK)

Don’t take someone you want to impress for your first passenger; definitely not the one you want to charm on a date.

Take someone you know well who will laugh with you

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

My first passenger was surely a pilot, although I can’t to be honest remember who. I do remember my second was a former Navy acoustics analyst who’d spent a lot of time in the back of P-3s in far nastier conditions than I was offering. Then I started with non-aviation people. This approach worked for me.

Take a sick-bag for him/her, just in case…

Biggin Hill

Do not feel any need to impress your passenger by making an extra special trip. Your passenger will probably have never been in a light aircraft before and will be impressed that you’ve simply left the ground.

They are also likely to be concerned about that fact that they are a) in a small plane and b) your first passenger. So keep it simple and let them see that safety is foremost in your mind, not impressing them.

I also support the idea of bringing a close friend who you are totally comfortable with rather than someone you would want to create a good impression to. A best friend is a good first passenger.

Also as others have said, tell them when they aren’t allowed to talk to you (take off, landing, when ATC is talking).

Above all, make sure you pick a nice day. Don’t be tempted to go on a day with ok, but poor weather or windy. That will make your first passenger even more nervous, especially if it’s bumpy, and you might find it harder to get a second passenger after they’ve told your other friends their horror story! Remember that what seems ok to you, might seem terrible to them. eg a bit bumpy, but not a lot to worry about to you = extreme turbulence in a tiny, very old aeroplane with an inexperienced pilot to them!

EIWT Weston

My school recommends that I do 5hours solo post passing the ppl test before I take anyone up with me…

Maybe it’s just me, but frankly I think this is a bit daft. When I passed my PPL the examiner said the standard he was looking for was that he would be happy to let one of his children be flown by me. If one didn’t fly solo at all during training then I could understand that perhaps the first flight when you’re in control should be done alone so you can get your head around it, but after that I can’t see the logic. I’m not suggesting that the first trip you do post-PPL is to the other side of Europe in crappy weather, but I see no reason not to take a passenger on a modest flight in decent weather as soon as you’ve got your licence. You’ve been trained, you’ve passed your test, you’ve done 4 hours already; just go for it!

EGTR / London, United Kingdom
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