Anyone adjust their basic flying because of nervous passengers?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by LongRoadBob, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    Was wondering. If you have a passenger who is very nervous about flying, do you adjust your flying to make it gentler?

    Was thinking we usually climb out at either Vx or Vy, or a combination depending on terrain. But even Vy to someone who is older, never been in a small plane, or just nervous, that attitude can maybe seem very steep. If no obstacles or other hindrance would you change climb out for less angle, attitude?
    Or turns, even a 30 deg turn can seem more like 90 to a newcomer, specially if it is on their side, looking out the door window right down at the ground.

    Obviously you must be safe first.
     
  2. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,958
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Absolutely! I do everything a bit smoother and a bit less overall. Less bank angle, less pitch angle, slower rate of climb or descent.
     
    ktup-flyer, LongRoadBob and Rcmutz like this.
  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    20,184
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Depends if I’m paying to fly them, or they are paying.

    The latter yes

    The prior....lol
     
  4. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Andrew Sarangan, CFII
    Even if they are not nervous passengers, we should endeavor to make it as comfortable as possible. I try to make the first turn after takeoff to the away from the passenger side. Additionally, from the back seat, even a slow climb will look very steep. Low wing airplanes are a little better that way because they block the view of the ground directly below. Looking at the hanging wheel (assuming fixed gear) can be unnerving sometimes.
     
    LongRoadBob and Kenny Phillips like this.
  5. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    13,334
    Location:
    Conway, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LTD
    ^^^yes, this^^^

    In addition, I try to land at least 1,000' from the runway threshold (given ample runway length) instead of attempting to be down and stopped before the 1,000' blocks which is my normal approach and goal.
     
  6. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    4,572
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    with pax its not a check-ride ... keep those 30 degree turns, stalls and steep turns out of the agenda if you can. i also verbalize when i am reducing throttle, learned the hard way that when when you reach cruise altitude and pull the throttle back and it gets a little quieter.. a nervous pax thinks the engine is about to "stall", we shall turn into a fireball and hurl down to earth like a meteor
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  7. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    2,558
    Location:
    Juneau, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKBill
    Drive it like a school bus, steady, not abrupt movements. My wife likes to fly with me as long as I don't make steep turns or a roll a coaster ride out of the flight.
     
  8. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7,002
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    I had a friend fly with me one time where he was fine with the turbulence between Dallas and Tyler, but when we departed Tyler he said he didn't like the bank. It was strange to me, but that was the only part of the flight he was uncomfortable with.

    The other interesting comment was my Stepmother who reported to my Father, "I felt safe the whole time." <- High praise from her :)
     
    Stephen Poole and AKBill like this.
  9. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    First time flyer? In a small GA aircraft?
    Long preflight briefing.
    Tell them once around the airport, if not comfortable, land.
    Then, gentle flight
     
  10. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    796
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lancie00
    I absolutely try and fly smoother with any passenger. No need to scare anyone.

    Most recently I took my niece up who used to fly with my dad all the time but she hasn't flown for 15 years. She was all excited to go on our 3 hour cross country until we left the ground. All she said was "I didn't like that". I asked her if she wanted to go around and land and she said no. I flew that whole trip as careful as I could but every little bump would freak her out. She though we were going to fall out of the sky. And of course, there was a light chop all the way there.
     
  11. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,871
    Location:
    Huntsville AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    cgrab
    Yes
     
    Tarheelpilot likes this.
  12. smv

    smv Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    394
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    smv
    Fly as if Grandma was in the back seat sipping a cup of hot tea. Most 'rough' rides are pilot induced by overcontrolling the aircraft.

    :D
     
  13. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,956
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GeorgeC
    A piece of advice that stuck with me: "you are a little cork floating in the ocean, no sense fighting every little wave".
     
    flyingcheesehead and smv like this.
  14. lsaway

    lsaway Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lsaway
    I always fly gentle on the maneuvers for the comfort of the paxs & the paxs remember. I once flew for a scheduled island hopper that had flights out every 1/2 hour with a rotation of pilots. Frequent nervous fliers would skip flights and wait until they knew I was the next pilot. The best form of flattery is when the paxs want to fly with you again. If you don't like the paxs, then give them a rough flight and you won't have to fly them again.;)
     
  15. smv

    smv Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    394
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    smv
    On a related note... Something my Dad taught me 30+ years ago: When taking passengers on a 'fun flight', always bring them back before they are ready. If you wait until they say "I have had enough" to turn for home, it is too late and it is a lot less likely they will go with you again.
     
    nrpetersen and flyingcheesehead like this.
  16. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,891
    Location:
    Detroit
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JoeSelch
    Yes. And I drive this way too.

    Another flight-with-pax thing - no slips.
    [blah, blah, depends on the pax and the operational requirements, blah, blah]
     
    GeorgeC likes this.
  17. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    I was mainly wondering, and got some good answers, about things like attitude in climb out, turns, as specific strategy to make it less scary. Mainly because pilots get used to the pitch on climb out, maybe forget how it looks and feels to a first timer. And what we think of as not very steep turns.

    But your good advice reminded me, I’ve mentioned it before here but... had read a story by an experienced pilot in his first ride in a fighter as passenger. The pilot asked him before they took off “on a scale of one to ten, how are you feeling right now?” And he thought it kind of strange but replied like 9 or whatever.
    Pilot asked a few more times during flight maneuvers, and he actually realized he was getting a little green and uncomfortable when he was down to like 4 or something, pilot took him back.
    So even this experienced pilot found out it was a much better strategy than just asking “you ok?” because many folks just reply as if asked “how’s it going?” And want to be positive. Rating it 1-10 made them realize better how they actually were doing. So he started doing it with passengers if he hadn’t flown with them before.

    seemed like a pretty smart way to do it. I’ve had a few flights, in the beginning, where I noticed I was starting to feel a little green around the gills even though I was flying. The first time, he took over which of course made it worse. After that it happened a few more times, but when he’d ask I would want to keep flying, I did. Also figured a pilot can have it happen when alone and you have to be able to work through it. Even though we weren’t far from the airport, that can seem like a long ride, when you get it.
     
    flyingcheesehead likes this.
  18. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    Exactly Bob!

    In a 172, which is what I flew friends and family in, back in the day... There really weren't rocket ship climb outs.

    And I didn't demonstrate turns about a point, or anything unnerving. I picked smooth days or nights. I did explain all I was doing.

    Never had anyone ask to turn back for landing on the initial pattern.

    But I did turn back to the airport with a buddy I really wanted to take up... But the clouds were too numerous for me to feel really at ease...

    And if your pilot ain't relaxed, and you're right next to him... That might make you a bit nervous, too.

    We love flying... I want to pass that love on... Not scare people.
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  19. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2017
    Messages:
    1,240
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Stan Cooper
    During my private check ride on September 11, 1964, after landing, taxiing to parking, and shutting down, the examiner said I passed and congratulated me. Then he laid into me about my jerky, abrupt control inputs.

    "I want you to practice smoother control inputs for as long as you pilot airplanes. Pretend you're driving Queen Elizabeth in her Rolls-Royce limousine; don't brake or accelerate suddenly, enter and exit turns with smooth steering wheel inputs, and stay centered in your lane."

    I still strive to fly that way whether I'm flying solo or carrying passengers.
     
  20. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,461
    Location:
    Brenham Tx
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    pigpen
    I usually get the nervous ones in the biplane and turn it upside down. LOL!
    Everyone knows I am crazy so they know what to expect if they get in a airplane with me :D
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    4,270
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DaleB
    I regularly fly Young Eagles, so yes. Some are very nervous, and I've learned through feedback after the fact to take it very easy on maneuvers.

    On the flip side, when I took my 20-something niece up, she was begging for aerobatics. I declined (neither I nor the plane are qualified, etc.) but I did feel free to explore the corners of the flight envelope that I was more or less comfortable with.
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  22. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    2,630
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoCal RV Flyer
    I start out as smooth as possible, but then try to gauge if they're comfortable with a steep descent or more aggressive bank angle.

    If they're game, we'll go over to the practice area and I'll do a steep turn or two. After that, if they're really game, I'll hand over the controls and have them do it!
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    23,125
    Location:
    UQACY, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iMooniac
    No. I *always* fly as smoothly as possible, and then when I have nervous/inexperienced pax on board, I don't have to waste any brain bandwidth thinking about doing something "smoother" than normal. Especially inexperienced pax are going to be a distraction as it is, no need to add workload.
     
    Shoomp and kep5niner like this.
  24. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    99
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pete
    No greater than 20 degree banks with PAX onboard. Even throughout my career of flying helicopters in the Army with crunchies in the back, “treat them all like paying passengers.”
     
  25. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ateamer
    First-timers always ask what happens if the engine quits. When we’re in a 172, I’ll take us up to 3,000, and after flying around a bit, point out something interesting on the ground and start orbiting. As this is happening, I’m slowly pulling power to idle, continue to orbit and keep chatting.

    As we descend through 1,500, I explain that this is a simulated engine-out, and note how the plane stays under control and how we descended fairly slowly. Every passwnger who’s seen that demo said it helped a lot, and they all came back for more flights.
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  26. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    Also, just so I’m clear, pretend faking heart attacks, blackout is probably not the best idea then?
     
  27. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    I’m thinking you had to explain that even though the prop is spinning, it really is spinning in the same way it would if engine stopped. Otherwise they don’t think it REALLY is like engine out.
     
  28. Domenick

    Domenick Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Messages:
    133
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Domenick
    No. I won't take a passenger who is "very nervous."

    I once did take a passenger who was nervous. Despite having had a father who was a pilot in Alaska, she had never been in a small plane.
    She asked for a flight.
    I said, "Yes."
    She and her husband own a small farm in the Cascade foothills and she wanted to see it from the air. Over her farm, without thinking, I rolled my low-wing Warrior into a rather steep right bank, so she could see her place below.
    The right wing dropped away, and her every limb shot straight out and she squeaked! He throat was too tight to shriek. I leveled off, apologized, and put some distance between us and her place. From there I could use a gentler bank to get her a view.
    She recovered well, and the rest of the flight I was careful to keep it within her comfort envelope.
     
    Stan Cooper likes this.