If you’re like most general aviation pilots, you enjoy sharing your love of flying with friends, family, or loved ones. In addition to the sheer fun of flying together, there’s an advantage to having a knowledgeable, reliable passenger in the right seat helping you manage flight duties. In this series, we’re looking at some ways flying companions can better understand general aviation and take a more active role in promoting safety. Today, we’ll discuss how flying companions can assist pilots during preflight tasks.
Introduce passengers to the preflight
One of the most critical phases of flight occurs before the aircraft ever leaves the ground: the preflight inspection. But far too often, pilots become complacent with their preflight routine, especially if they fly the same aircraft frequently. One way to avoid complacency and ensure you don’t skip any items on your preflight checklist is by asking a trusted flying companion lend a helping hand.
Take the time to run through your standard preflight inspection with your flying companion, step by step. Describe what you’re doing as you complete each task and encourage them to ask questions along the way.
‘Run’ the checklist
Once your passenger is familiar with the preflight routine, he or she can take a more active role in helping you run through your checklist. As you preflight the aircraft, ask your passenger to read the checklist items aloud and ensure each task is completed. You can also have them help you with hands-on tasks, such as checking tire pressure or inspecting the propeller blades. The extra layer of accountability will prevent you from rushing and accidentally skipping items on your list, ultimately helping to improve flight safety.
Having some extra help in the preflight process is beneficial to you as a pilot, but it’s also a valuable opportunity for your flying companion to gain a better understanding of the aircraft and learn basic safety procedures.
Do you have any other tips for flying companions? Let us know on social media @HartzellProp. Stay tuned for the next part in our series, which will cover tips for keeping passengers comfortable and happy during flight.