First Passenger As A Private Pilot (Or Lack Thereof)

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by kimberlyanne546, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    So . . .

    Let me start by saying "I knew this would happen."

    I am NOT taking this personally - well I'm trying not to - because I understand the issue at hand.

    Here is what is going on:

    I had two friends and also my Dad - so three people - all "ready to go" on an awesome sight seeing flight around the Alcatraz / Golden Gate Bridge area, weather permitting. My plane seats only myself and one passenger, so I planned to do one of these flights each month for three months - something I could hopefully afford by taking on a second job working at my Mom's office on the weekends for some side money.

    Then came the checkride, on Sunday, and I passed.

    Logically, I contacted the first person with a date / time for the flight - after I get back from the POA fly-in at 6Y9 for Labor Day. I texted this person (who had solo'd years ago but never continued training due to cost) on Sunday - asking them to be my very first passenger.

    The texts were very wishy washy and finally said "Let me think about it and get back to you" - which eventually turned into "you should ask your Dad to be your first passenger."

    So: failure number one.

    I contacted my Dad, who seemed very excited to go, and confirmed with the flight school that I could have the plane. This was looking great! Then today, I called him again to firm up the time and - wouldn't you know it - he said that his wife was not comfortable (he re-married). He told me he could not be my first passenger, but maybe if I did this exact same flight a few times she "might" change her mind down the road.

    So: failure number two.

    In the meantime, I had been texting the OTHER friend who is not a pilot. I have not heard back from that friend AT ALL and that is very "unlike" this person.

    Conclusion: they were all "being nice" during my training but now they are very nervous to go up.


    Result: I am keeping the plane, keeping the reservation, and either doing the flight by myself (if weather allows) - or finding another passenger. I have a few other people I could ask who are on my Facebook friends list, but . . . there are reasons I may or may not want to see them (it is complicated).


    Have any of you experienced this? I do not want to "force" the issue on people and am happy to fly alone. I just thought it would be cool to share my flying - something I've worked on for a long time - with the people I care about.
     
  2. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i've had plenty of people tell me they wanted to go flying but when the time came backed out one way or the other. i wouldn't take it personally. bummer about your dad. your step-mom must really have him by the balls. my dad was one of my first passengers and my step-mom was afraid of flying (with me or anyone else). Although that wasn't a big deal as i knew all along that she was that way. She did eventually go flying with me though after a while. I think I had my commercial at least and probably CFI by then.
     
  3. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Update: just called a FOURTH person (husband of my best friend) and he says he is in a very busy work season - including weekend work.

    He said "thanks for thinking of me" but pretty much hinted that he won't be free for a long time to come.

    Failure number four.

    EDIT: didn't call her (the best friend), because - like ALL my female friends - small planes are about the last place on earth she wants to be.
     
  4. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Yes. Lots of times.

    I think people may be genuinely interested in the "cool factor" of getting to go up in a small plane. Or believe in a general "yeah, someday I'll go up with my friend when they ask." But, when it comes time to actually get in, well, that's when they bail.

    Don't sweat it. They may come around when they're ready. Heck, I even finally got my mom to go with me once!
     
  5. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    My Mom long ago went up in a "million dollar jet" of one of her banking clients. This was in the 80s and she told me they called her a white knuckle flyer. She is scared to death of small planes and will not go up with me.
     
  6. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was lucky - a cousin volunteered to be my first passenger, and we went up the day after the checkride. I was surprised and grateful for the vote of confidence.

    I'd volunteer to be your first passenger, but I really AM a blimp, and if it's a two-seater, you'd probably only be able to carry fifteen minutes of fuel!
     
  7. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Thanks but I should have said this at the beginning: this thread is not a request for passengers! I was hoping to take up people (non pilots) that I cared about; people who have not ever seen GA; people who I could share the "thrill of flying" with. I am not saying I won't EVER take a pilot up, but it would be different with one. I would think they'd be mentally assessing my flying skills.
     
  8. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Sorry to hear this! I can't believe your dad won't go. It will eventually get better but alot of people are afraid to go with a "new" pilot. I've had a few do the exact same thing, including one of my friends who I am sure was held back by his overly protective and paranoid girlfriend.

    However I did find that once I took a few of my friends up they really did enjoy it and once they start talking to each other about how much fun and "not scary" it was, you'll notice that its much easier to find volunteers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  9. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That IS hard to avoid, I admit!
     
  10. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One thing I never do is try to talk someone into flying with me. I figure the ones who are interested in flying in small planes are interested, and the ones who aren't, arent. I sometimes invite people, but I don't arm-twist.
     
  11. Pa28-140

    Pa28-140 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If it makes you feel any better, my friend has his PPL and 100+ hours of flight time and his wife won't fly with him.....but she will fly with me. I've flown with him and he does a good job. Go figure.
     
  12. MarkL

    MarkL Pre-Flight

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    I didn't have my first passenger until 6 years after I got my private
     
  13. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I did at first. My first passenger ended up being my mom who I never thought of as being that interested or adventurous but I've gotta give her credit. I was a lot younger than you too, only 20. Eventually people came around.
     
  14. jandersen

    jandersen Filing Flight Plan

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    I wouldn't judge... Bet it ends up being a beautiful flight. I make people work to go flying with me... Basically they have to ask... Often twice. ;-)
     
  15. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    I 100% agree with you here.

    When I get back from the POA meeting, I am going to email the people (with the exception of my dad). I will say in my email to each person that the invitation to go flying with me is there but that I will not be asking them again . . . . in other words the ball is in their court to contact me when they are ready to go up.

    I am not going to FORCE these people to go and I don't want to make them uncomfortable thinking every time I see them I'm going to be asking "why" or whatever.

    My Dad, on the other hand, I'll probably ask every now and then.

    And of course, no matter what, I'll fly - alone.
     
  16. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Update: left a message for a FIFTH person. I don't know them as well as the others, but we were friends for several months a while back and it was a fun time. We'll see if they come through. We exchanged emails a while back and I asked if they would be a willing passenger and they said "yes".

    Fingers crossed.
     
  17. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    it's the POA jinx ... happens to every single pilot who passes a checkride and then fails to post the write up of the flight here ...

    good luck!
     
  18. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I always tell people if you're gonna fly, 90% of the time you'll be solo unless you're dragging your kid along....
     
  19. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    To echo some other sentiments... a lot of talk, no action. People think it might be cool, until really faced with the prospect of putting their butt on the line. (Fortunately, I have no friends - so this hasn't really been an issue for me. Parents were my first passengers. My mother LOVES to fly and is, consequently, my favorite pax. Dad is chicken, but brave enough to try occasionally.)

    I doubt that any of these folks actually question YOUR competence (and from what I've seen they shouldn't). It's just that a lot of folks are scaredy cats (myself included).
     
  20. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I was lucky - I got home from the checkride, and that red-hot babe I married asked, "where we goin'?" - she and Tomster and I flew to Possum Kingdom Lake the very next day.

    Don't fret - you'll have people who want to go asking you in no time - especially after the first of them tells how cool it was!
     
  21. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Thanks, but not really - I don't have many friends and the ones I asked I see perhaps once every few years. Day to day, I live alone and lack a social life due to the fact that all my friends are getting married and having kids and can't relate to the single girl thing.
     
  22. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Geez. I just wanted to do a good job and knew it would be hard to "condense" my checkride story into a small post. I will try to write it up before I leave for 6Y9..... while the memory is still fresh.

    Kimberly
     
  23. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I had a ferret a dog and a cat that used to like flying with me... First time I took the cat for a ride I didn't know he was there till he came over my shoulder...
     
  24. poadeleted21

    poadeleted21 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You could point out that you just passed a checkride, something Im not sure 99% of PPL only holders could do today!
     
  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I know of one family that has a rule of never having both parents aloft in an aircraft at the same time, for fear of leaving the children parentless. It's goofy, but it's their rule.

    Of course, they all pile into the family mini-van and do 75 MPH on the freeways all the time together... but that's "different". ;)

    Don't take the "no passengers jumping up and running to go flying with you thing" personally, Kim. I put out a FB/Twitter post almost every time I'm headed for the airport to go flying. Flying since 1992, I can still count the number of passengers on all fingers and maybe a couple of toes.

    Family came around after I had a few hours under the belt. Well, if you don't count my wife who was my girlfriend at the time. Best friend in High School was first, within a week of my ticket, and he still likes going up when we see each other, which is rare since he moved a long way off. My now-wife, one of her high-school/lifelong friends, the best friend's girlfriend, another friend had his own Skyhawk in college so we bounced from his airplane to my rentals and back, his sister, eventually family... little sister and grandma, "middle" sister, etc.

    Usually it goes like this... they say they want to, but never go. Then one day you fly into their town or they're at your house and they say something, "You been doing any flying lately?"

    "Yeah, want to go?"

    "You mean right now?"

    [Looking out the window...] "Well, it looks nice out, shouldn't be bumpy and the airplane's 5 miles away in the hangar and here's the keys... (jingle, jingle)"

    "You can just go flying, just like that?!"

    "Sure. Grab a water bottle, it's hot out. Let's go. Better than sitting around here watching a movie."

    Unless you're standing in front of them with keys in hand saying, "Let's go!", People SAY they're interested, but they always have other things to do.

    The most common flights I've done with more than one passenger were guys and gals who were dating. They seem to be more adventurous. So far, Nate Airlines has a perfect track record... no couple who's flown in my airplanes has broken up yet! (GRIN!)

    One couple, the girl, was even my first in-flight hurler... she didn't tell me that she can't even ride in a car without feeling ill. I felt bad, and it changed my pre-flight "questions" significantly from that day onward. She piled in because she wanted to do something her then boyfriend, now over-a-decdade husband wanted to do. She also amazingly caught all of it in a sweatshirt she had on over a t-shirt... I was impressed... not a bit of it in the airplane, and I had bags on board, but she didn't know that I did or where they were (should'a briefed that too, but I've heard that telling folks they're there can also lead to mentally-induced hurling).

    The other couple is um... co-habitating and seems to be doing fine. :)

    Oh, and me and my wife of course. I scared her enough that she just falls asleep in the passenger seat these days. She'll play "autopilot" for a few minutes while I reach for something, but doesn't really like it. Says she's interested in a Pinch Hitter course, but never has time... she's busier than I am.

    For the love-birds and maybe others, it probably helps that we have bottles of wine from the Chandelle Winery with a Red and White Cessna 182 on the bottle that have a custom label "From the Pilots of 79M, LLC." that we give to first-time passengers... after the flight. That seems to go over well with the love-birds. :)

    In the last year or so I've given some of my first "total stranger" types of rides. Someone contacted me and said they'd talked to one of the local radio station personalities about the 100 Years in Women's Aviation event, and had "volunteered" me to take Jackie from KOSI radio up.

    http://blogs.kosi101.com/jackie/

    Jackie and her boyfriend came out, and we did a safety briefing and I tried to make a 1975 Cessna as "appealing" as possible... dated interior and at the time, cracking instrument panel plastic and all.. (we've since replaced the panels).

    Also have done a bunch of flights for kids of friends this year... "My son/daughter has always wanted to go flying"... the parents are always surprised when I say they're more than welcome to come along... they act like they're going to stand in the terminal building and wait for their kid to have the adventure by themselves. LOL... it's weird. When you tell 'em you can land at a nearby airport and the kids can swap seats so everyone gets a turn in the front, they really look at you funny. People are getting so used to the awful cattle car service from airlines, they have no idea what it's like to look down at an airport and say, "Hey that place looks interesting and I've never been there. Let's land and get a Coke if they have a vending machine that's not empty." :) :) :)

    My average so far is abysmal... about 20 people in 20 years of flying. Definitely don't take it personally! You have to make it fun or part of some other event, or folks don't go.

    Around here, a flight to Sydney, NE and Cabela's will sucker in just about any hunter or fisherman/woman. But even then, I have two great life-long friends who fly fish all the time who WANT to go, but never get their butts in the airplane, for whatever reasons!!! (GRIN!)
     
  26. kontiki

    kontiki Line Up and Wait

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    I've had girlfriend of pilot friend (also with us) and daughter of pilot friend (also with us) as a passengers before.

    Thats in over 3 years.

    No dating women to speak of ever go, same with the pistol range too. I even bought a nice date gun, that was a waste.

    Thursday evening I'm taking up one of the Co-ops from work for his first ride in a small airplane. This is my first I'm time taking someone up for a first ride, without a more experienced pilot they already knew.

    I've resigned myself to the fact that flying is going to be another solitary or mostly guy thing adventure.
     
  27. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    I wonder if I ever start actively "dating" again - should I first tell the guys I'm a pilot? I wasn't going to but at the same time it would be sad if they refused to be my passenger.
     
  28. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've never had a problem-but then again I don't make friends with fun haters.
     
  29. EppyGA

    EppyGA Final Approach

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    I feel lucky that I have a pretty good list of folks that will fly or have flown with me. Tops on the list is my wife, she always wants to fly. :D I've taken my pastor, his son and their exchange student. Church youth director, his wife and their two year old daughter. I also have some local pilot friends that will go with me if I need someone. No real reason to ever have to go by myself.
     
  30. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    OMG! ROFLMAO!!!!!! That's completely awesome just how cool and wrong that is at the same time.
     
  31. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Well, maybe that would be a sign that they aren't the greatest match...
     
  32. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Does anyone read this space anymore?
    So that's why your LBD now has 4-stripe pilot epaulets sewn on it!

    Personally, and especially with you being in the San Franciso area, I'd think it be a fun introduction to say, "I've planned a picnic and got the basket all packed. I'll pick you up at 10:00 and I'll provide the transpo!"

    And then only only after approaching the gate at the airport say, "Oh, did I forget to tell you the picnic spot is 80-miles away and next to this really gorgeous grass strip with lots of cool scenery all around!"

    Sure... tell the guy up front, explain it that you have this big adventure streak you need to feed.

    If he balks, then perhaps he's not the one. If he asks, "Really? you too?" then you got a good one!!! :yes:
     
  33. skidoo

    skidoo Line Up and Wait

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    I wouldn't. Always be honest. But, if they don't ask, don't tell. Keep it for a later surprise. You would not want that to influence your initial relationship. If you do tell right away, you may find that they are dating you ONLY to get into your airplane!:D
     
  34. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Does anyone read this space anymore?
    versus...... what? /naive_look :D

    And young man... it's a C152... no getting any MHC ideas!
     
  35. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    I actually had that "picnic" / surprise I'm a pilot idea. But it might be strange if they said "no" when I got to the airport and they refused to get in the plane. My flight school doesn't have a cancellation policy - so I would be OK - but some flight schools do.
     
  36. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    This is my issue. On the one hand, I agree with you - don't ask, don't tell. Don't let it be an influence. Keep it for a later meeting. Hmmmm.... tough call.
     
  37. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Does anyone read this space anymore?
    At least you're not compounding the problem by handing him a parachute (though that might be part of the funny joke for your own benefit to to see his expression)
     
  38. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Instant grounds for a break-up, and then you could go flying in peace. Why cancel? ;)

    Plus, you'd have two desserts in the basket as a consolation prize!! Mmmm... chocolate...
     
  39. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I bet its in the way you're asking. "Wanna go up in a small plane with me?" vs. "Hey, lets go see the coast, we haven't hung out in a while!"

    As pilots, we focus on the flying part. As non pilots they focus on the destination or the sights part.

    Even more disappointing is the look they have sometimes when they realize that flying isn't all that exciting if you're not into flying. You say "Did you have a good time?" and they look at you like you're stupid before saying "mmmhmm!"

    If it helps - I've never had my father, my mother, my sister, or anyone in my family except a cousin in an airplane with me. My wife loves to fly, but I strongly suspect its only because I love flying, and she knows it makes me happy.
     
  40. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Thanks. I *may* have a passenger or two now - but one is texting me "let me check my calendar" which I think means "let me get home and ask my live-in girlfriend if she will let me go alone with you."

    The other one isn't free - for even one day - until October. (Sigh) He also knows very little about planes and texted "don't kill us okay?"

    Yikes.