Any advice for new pilot flying with family?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GSDpilot, Oct 11, 2019 at 3:18 PM.

  1. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    I am wrapping up my PPL. I don't plan on flying with family until I get some XC solo trips under my belt. My wife is the "you'll shoot your eye out" type, she doesn't love the idea of me flying (but she is somewhat supportive). I want her to be comfortable. I know the basics (no more then 500 feet per minute, pick good weather days intially, etc.). A bad experience in the beginning and she won't go up anymore. I won't fly with her until I am confident she will be comfrtable.

    Any advice from those that have been down this path is greatly appreciated. My kids ar 5 and 2, so they don't get much say in the discussion, which scares me more (since the decision and their safety rests in my hands). I saw a video the other day of a pilot and his family that had a throttle cable break in flight, leaving the throttle wide open. He ended up going full lean on final to kill the engine and landed without incident. It got me thinking. Anybody out there fly with their family, or avoid it?
     
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  2. Tommar98

    Tommar98 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I first got my ppl I took my wife up early in the morning or late in the day on those calm summer nights. Quick area flight, see the foliage then back to earth. Next time a little
    Longer route to a nice breakfast place. My kids were little and they loved it. I think you cant overstate how your own state of mind can be an issue. You’re a new pilot. Trying to impress wife and keep kids happy can be a big distraction! Be careful about that and stay focused on flying and doing what you were trained to. My .02 from the cheap seats


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  3. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Do it, it's fun. Safety wise what does everyone need to know aside from how to open the doors/escape after a forced landing and to not distract the pilot during critical phases of flight? I also have a portable PLB and my wife knows how to use that, we carry inflatable life vests too for over water flights(not with the baby yet). Most of the important safety stuff is in your hands as the pilot though.

    The advice I'd give, the thing that really matters is your family needs to understand how fatal getthereitus is. They need to understand when you fly you might not be able to make the next leg or make the return trip as planned. They need to be ready to stay overnight a few nights if need be, possibly somewhere you didn't plan on being. You need it to be OK if you don't make it home on schedule. Some of this depends on the type of flying- you can probably predict the weather well enough for a 1hr $100 hamburger run but long cross country trips with one or more overnights usually- not sometimes but usually run into weather delays. Sometimes these delays are multiple days. Have a plan, be ready to rent a car or have the wife rent a car and take everyone home. You can take so much risk out of the equation just by refusing to fly when it doesn't look completely safe. Your family needs to be understanding of this situation and not pressure you/make you feel like you MUST fly everyone home TODAY.

    Also, while you can totally do this stuff VFR an instrument rating helps. There's still a lot of weather an instrument rated private pilot in a single engine piston plane really hadn't ought to try- but it opens up options on a lot of days that would be risky or no-go VFR.
     

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  4. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Break the family in to flying a little at a time.make sure the weather is good and smooth . Find a good restaurant or a family activity in the area. Don’t even think of scud running.
     
  5. Greenhead

    Greenhead Pre-Flight

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    I worry more about traveling on interstates with family than flying them.

    I prepare as much as humanly possible and preflight as trained. Think about what to do about emergency but not so much as to be overly worried.

    Wife was the same as yours. Eased her into it only on super smooth afternoon flights. Once she started relaxing I flew her to "fun" places. She enjoys good meals and absolutely loves the beach. Planned a few trips to Ocracoke, St Simmons and Jekyll Islands (Being on East Coast) and she was hooked.

    My personal limits with family is that I do not depart at night. I cancel if the weather looks anything other than full VFR.

    Enjoy

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  6. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    Some of this is redundant to what you already know. Please forgive.

    A) Pick nice days.
    B) Don't go very far at first.
    C) Have something to do, not just fly.
    restaurant, event, something
    D) You don't need to teach them flying.
    I'm sure they have heard enough already.
    Your pax most likely doesn't want to hear about mixture settings. Just be a pro and fly.
    E) Don't overdo the passenger-briefing.
    Some instructors want you to do this lengthy briefing to include ALL the
    POSSIBLE emergencies, and how to respond to each. It's a big buzzkill and can
    cause unwarranted concerns.
    F) Watch your pax for discomfort... without WATCHING them.
    make sure a sick-sack is accessible but no reason to discuss the topic at length.
    G) If your nice day turns differently plan another way home, or plan a delay. DON'T RUN SCUD.
     
  7. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

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    Say the following, at some point in the flight:
    • WOAH, it doesn't usually make THAT noise.
    • ...did you feel that? Tell me that wasn't the wing again (frantically look out at wing while talking).
    • (spray mist on your face first) Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit morphine (blink eyes as fast as possible).

    Sorry, do none of that; I apologize.
     
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  8. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Some other practical stuff I thought of that's become so much a part of our routine I didn't think of it. 2-3 hours legs.... people need to stop and pee. Have some bottled water to drink- nothing carbonated or sticky if it spills. Snacks like beef jerky, crackers, pretzels, etc are nice. Sic sacs tucked away and handy if needed.
     
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  9. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    My peeps won’t fly without a reason. Ask them what they want to do. One time they wanted to go to the zoo. OK... we flew to the Memphis Zoo even though the Little Rock zoo is right there.

    Make it about THEM and use the plane as a rewarding way to have fun. Ask my rats if they wanna fly.... all say nope. Anyone want to go to the beach? Yes. OK. We will fly there. OK!!!
     
  10. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    Keep everything within your comfort zone. Progression should be gradual and kept within your level of comfort. If you're stressed out, nervous or otherwise off then it's not going to sit well for your passengers.
     
  11. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    My son has flown tons of different airplanes we have owned with me and loved it.... Here are a few. My wife goes sometimes.

    a 003.jpg a 048.jpg a 054.jpg cub01.png eagletn2.jpg fam pitts 002.jpg me 2.jpg model1203.png ziek cessna.png zulu2.png
     
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  12. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For me... I took work friends before family. We worked in a somewhat dangerous environment, most were "biker" types...

    My late wife wouldn't go up with me and leave the kids... "What if we both die?" Period. She was fine with me taking the kids though. I had 3 kids... Too big for the 172 rental with the wife, too.
     
  13. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Day I got my PPL my wife and kid were waiting for me to get back so we could fly to dinner. I go flying with my daughter all the time, wife doesn't care and she loves it. I feel bad for people who have a wife who doesn't like to fly or won't let their kids fly, they are robbing them of great memories.
     
  14. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-takeoff checklist

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  15. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @pigpenracing so awesome. I’m so envious and I know that’s not healthy.

    @Jamie Kirk awesome! Beautiful family.

    @GSDpilot lots of great advice. I was 19 when I got my PPL and didn’t quite grasp your passengers are taking cues FROM YOU. They are watching you facial expressions and reactions and words. Are you confident or nervous.

    I had a bad habit of talking my way through landings. Explaining what I was doing to my CFI which tookma turn with no CFI there with me reacting to each gust or change coming down final.

    Your pax don’t need to hear your thoughts. Fly the plane. Be confident and project calm.

    My $0.02 you lucky SOB! Enjoy your soon to be issued license and flying with your fam.
     
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  16. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Every situation is different....

    I got my PPL at 17. Met my wife in college at 19. Got married after college and had three kids. The kids flew with me and one got his PPL.

    35 years later oldest kid had two kids himself. Well....my wife took her first flight with me to see our grandkids in Wisconsin. Now she flies with me everywhere and has no issues. In fact she usually falls asleep before we get to cruise altitude.

    So, my point is, that sometimes it takes awhile and you just have to let things happen on their own. And having grandkids may be what it takes.
     
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  17. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    This is my scenario "what if we both die". Thinking about a 182...
     
  18. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    This is my exact scenario. Married, 40 years old, 5 year old daughter, 2 year old son, and a 90lb dog. How do you get the hound in the plane? I am not worried about mine in flight, worried about getting him in on the wing.
     
  19. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-Flight

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    I investigate crashes for a living so I admit i’m probably more jaded than most. I haven’t even flown with my 2 1/2 year old yet and I’m no rush. I’d say stay away from clouds, night, and certainly no clouds at night. Even if you get your IFR rating, a single piston isn’t any match for real IMC(assuming that is what you are flying). Do not fall into get-there-itis. If you feel yourself getting rushed to takeoff, just stop. It’s not worth it. Mistakes will be made.

    Fly by yourself for a while, building confidence and experience. With that, allow yourself plenty of buffer- aka top off fuel every stop, if it’s potentially cloudy at a destination, give yourself and alternate and USE it. You can reflect on it safe on the ground. Remember, There is never a need to push ahead if you are uncomfortable. When i started flying I worried about every flight hour and always wanted to go. Don’t think like that, there is always tomorrow.

    My first crash on the job was a guy who was flying all day in his new high powered aircraft he bought the week before. The sun went down and a low overcast formed. He had not completed IFR training, but was near the end so he felt ok shooting approaches(albeit illegally). He has his wife and son on board, became fatigued, and after 3 attempts at an instrument approach he got too low and plowed into the ground. Terrible scene. Terrible story, but the moral is to always err on the side of caution. Never let ego supersede your logic.
     
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  20. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Great advice, thank you!
     
  21. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Great advice, and keep sharing! You have a peak behind the curtain. My son is 2. I agree I am in no rush, but one day he will want to fly with Daddy. I jsut want to be prepared. Thanks!
     
  22. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I sometimes think that if my wife had flown with me when we first got married that she might not have ever gone up again. I was a much better pilot at 55 years old and had a much better airplane!
     
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  23. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-Flight

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    You'll be fine. Just keep in mind it is a constant learning experience. Every major hour milestone- 100/500/1000/2000/ etc you look back and think "wow, i didn't know s**t before!". By the way my wife loves flying with me even though she's only been up with me a few times. Her first flight with me we had a near miss with other traffic! She still wants to go(company plane so I can't just take her at will) but she's hyper aware of the traffic on the radio and MFD now!
     
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  24. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    My wife will go with me if we're going somewhere. T&Gs around the pattern? No way is she interested in that. My goal is to not scare her while we are flying together. Otherwise that will probably be the last time she flies with me. So far, I haven't scared her. 19 years and counting.
     
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  25. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I put her on the wing and let her walk in, she weighs 80lbs and if the wing can support me it can support her.
     
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  26. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    My wife flew with me in the early days, when we were in our 20s... after all the stupid things a twentysomething pilot will do, she's really not interested any more. But she didn't mind me buying interesting single seat airplanes...
     
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  27. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I do pre-flights and run-ups before the passengers arrive. Running the engine(s) up with non flying passengers can scare the heck out of them, especially if you get a back fire or two while cleaning off the plugs.

    For the first time you might do an abbreviated pre-flight with the family watching. Go through the simple things and tell them what you are doing and why. Ok, I am taking a fuel sample to look for possible contaminants, I am looking at the flaps to make sure they come all the way down and that the tracks are not broken. I am checking the brakes to make sure there are no leaks, and the tires to make sure they are not low on air.... Just go over the points they can see and will understand. I mean you do want to baffle them dazzle them with your newly learned brilliance...

    Before getting in the plane, explain what they will hear during startup and taxi, as well as the take off roll. Tell them that at this pre-determined altitude you will reduce the throttle so don't worry when the engine noise decreases a little. Same for reducing throttle for cruise settings at altitude.

    You might let your wife read the checklist out for you.

    Explain during the landing the engine will get less noisy and that is normal. Explain the stall horn and that it is not unusual to hear it shortly before the wheels touch down. If so equipped with an electric stall horn, turn on the master and let them hear it.

    Explain and enforce the sterile cockpit. Tell everyone you will let them know when it is Ok to ooo and aaah your newly acquired skills.

    And most of all, explain to everyone that no one except the pilot is allowed to get near the propeller. I like everyone to stay behind the wing.

    After landing and shutting down the engine, you may see your wife and kids look at you in a way you might not be used to. This is called respect. Your kids may be totally amazed that dear old pop can actually take an airplane, fly around in the sky, and land. Cherish that look, because as your kids progress into their teenage years, you may not appear to be all that smart to them.

    Have fun, smooth control movements, be safe and when that flight happens, let us know how it went.!!
     
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  28. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    @Zeldman

    My 4 year old cries and wants to go back to the hangar during a run up. I just don’t understand why, but it happens almost every time. Once we are up, he is care free.
     
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  29. gdwindowpane

    gdwindowpane Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    My GF has gone up with me a few times while training with my cfi. She cant wait to be able to sit up front and have a better view. She’s also been up with my dad a few times, sitting up front. He let her take the controls awhile which I think helped.

    i’m quite certain she will have no qualms going up with me after I get my ppl. All of our kids are grown so we don’t have to worry about abandoning them. Well except for her youngest but that’s fodder for the millennial thread. Lol

    Have fun and safe flying!
     
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  30. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    2EB37220-EFDD-4220-A444-0BC9B0FC6528.jpeg 13E9B8BB-8DD2-410A-916A-9A084E20839E.jpeg I’m 43 with two boys. 8 and 10 yo. They love to fly. The 10-year-old will just wanna go up to go flying wherever. Eight-year-old hast to have a destination, and it can’t be food oriented.
    My wife on the other hand is not a huge fan. She’s a fan of getting from a to B a lot faster if it when it makes sense but not a fan of the actual flying. Requires medication to get her on the plane usually sleeps with my foggles on. Our last big trip was about a two hour flight up to Lawrence municipal. It was an IMC take off and climb out.
    +1 to early am or evening loop. Maybe short destination.
    I would highly recommend a good dBrief before the flight and also one in the cockpit reviewing the quiet times. When radios are on, ascent and decent, Or when I have my right hand up in the air. Also for kids I recommend not letting him look at iPads or phones during climb out or decent As that’s when they will get sick.

    On my first trips with them was to Smoketown S37. It’s a unique place with a rather steeply graded runway, at least for me. So I came in a little high and floated it instead of justForcing it down, I did go around - it was a good thing for them to be used to early so that there’s no surprises although my wife was quite surprised then.
     
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  31. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don't think that... No, really. You are learning a skill set. Your rental is checked every hundred hours. When, and if you buy.. a 182 or whatever, you'll get a good pre-purchase inspection, a good annual, and some dual in the plane....

    You'll practice the same things, a little differently, in that new plane.
    You will trust the plane.
    You will trust your skills.
    You will make smart, safe, go/no go decisions.

    You are a pilot (soon). You wouldn't pass the checkride if you weren't able...

    Now, get your ticket and go fly.
     
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  32. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Get her involved. Teach her to watch for planes. Teach her the segments of the pattern so she can know where to watch for planes. Get her to learn how to watch for planes with ADS-B. Teach her to know how to watch your heading and altitude. Teach her to do the radio work, handle the landing gear. Keep feeding her more jobs very slowly a little at a time. Do that and she will be occupied and helpful. Worked for me.
     
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  33. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    My advice for the first flight is a day with high overcast and low wind. No turbulence, no wind shear. Just smooth.
     
  34. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for this thread, I was thinking the same thing a few days ago. Looking forward to being able to take the family up and explore new locations. Luckily, I know my wife likes nature and photography. Turns out the airport I’m flying to today for my solo XC has a bird sanctuary that I can walk to from the airport. I flew there once before but it was night time and I couldn’t see anything around. Should be a nice change today.
     
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  35. Lon33

    Lon33 Pre-takeoff checklist

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  36. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe the noise scares him.??

    I have fading memories as a child of when my dad was working, loud noises such as the skill saw, or planning machine or any machine that was really loud like that scared me. But having my dad nearby helped me eventually overcome the fear.
     
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  37. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    I don't understand the fear of flying with family members on board. I love my family as much as anyone, anywhere, and I can assure you that my will to live is as strong as anyone else's. I don't intend to die or fly recklessly or plan badly or be ignorant or stupid whether I'm alone or with anyone else. I love my airplane, and I fly it like I would like to use it again. That, alone, tends to make for some relatively safe flights. ;) If your family does not want to fly with you, then I'm sorry to hear that. I have the opposite 'problem' where everyone always wants to go with me but my wallet precludes ownership of a large enough aircraft to bring a full squad of aviation enthusiasts all at the same time. Matter of fact, I can bring no more than one. :D
     
  38. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just took my 36 year old daughter for her first flight today. It was a picture perfect day in North Idaho. I’ve had my plane (91 AG5B Tiger) for nearly 4 years but have not pushed aviation on any of my 3 children. She had a great time although not too keen on flying the plane. My wife flys with me regularly when we go places like Reno for the Air Races, to a B&B or a fly-in. My oldest son will never get in a plane with me and can barely stand flying commercially. My youngest son has flown twice with me and flies with his wife all the time in a chartered Cessna 206 out of Kotzebue as part of their duties as school teachers. Haven’t flown any of my 5 grandchildren yet. My daughter asked me today to put her two girls in the Tiger and taxi them around a bit as a warm-up to take them flying. I think I will and see what happens.
     
  39. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It’s the same as flying solo minus the weight.
     
  40. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just be safe. Don't screw with the weather and you'll have eliminated a lot of scenarios that kill people in small airplanes.