Soon, you will be welcomed aboard a private airplane, for what I hope will be a rewarding trip. You will find that it is very different from flying as a passenger on an ordinary commercial airplane. I hope that you discover, in our brief, the joy of flying that I have found in my flying experienced.
Before we depart, however, I want to provide you with some critical information to help you understand what flying in a private plane involved. I also want to make sure we both understand the rules for our flight and the conditions under which I am agreeing to take you with me. For that reason, I am giving you this Passenger Briefing to review.
This Passenger Briefing talks about what you can expect when flying with me, items I want to tell you for our safety and comfort, and the flight rules I expect you to follow when you are in the plane with me. It also mentions some of the risks you may face. It also includes some facts about the aircraft and references to available information resources.
I ask you to read this briefing carefully so that you are informed about the experience of flying on a private airplane with me. I hope this material demonstrates my commitment to safety, comfort, and fairness. I believe you ultimately will feel more comfortable flying with me after you are informed fully about what it involves. And I truly look forward to our time in the skies together.
If you have any questions or concerns leading up to our scheduled departure, please do not hesitate to reach out.
To ensure your in-flight comfort and safety, please carefully review the entirety of this briefing. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification on anything that is unclear. We will be going over this document prior to departure, as well as any unique risks of the intended flight.
Safety is my primary concern! Nevertheless, you should be aware that accidents can occur and result in personal injury (mental or physical), property damage, or death.
If you are unwilling to assume the risk of flying in a private plane, please don’t!
Insurance: I maintain an aviation liability insurance policy for a maximum of one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) per incident (for death or injury to passengers and others). There is no guarantee that recovery will be possible for the insurance policy. If you find this coverage inadequate or the uncertainty of recovery unacceptable, you must obtain a separate insurance policy or decline to fly.
Before you Arrive at the Airport
- Weight and Balance – Please be prepared to provide me your fully clothed weight and the package weight of each piece of luggage you desire to bring. Keep luggage weight and size to a minimum. Soft bags (such as a duffel bags) are preferred for flexible loading.
- Clothing – Bring clothing appropriate for the route. Also, weather may vary considerably following departure. Wear light shoes or sneakers (pack hiking boots and weather gear if a mountain flight). Sunglasses and hat/visor are advisable. Avoid polyester clothing for fire safety.
- Liquids – Restrict consumption of diuretics prior to and during the flight. There is no toilet on the plane! I will try to accommodate requests to land for your personal comfort but the timeliness of stops cannot be guaranteed.
- Alcohol - If you have any alcohol within 8 hours of our departure, you are required under federal law to advise me. Additionally, bringing alcohol on board is also not forbidden under federal law.
- Medications – Bring essential personal medications (if any) and essential toiletries in the event that we must unexpectedly remain overnight at an unplanned destination.
- Cosmetics and Oily Substances – Use sparingly to prevent flash burns should we consume pure oxygen.
Expectations Regarding the Flight
Please understand that there are neither guarantees that we will reach the intended destination nor that we will return to the departure airport. Weather, mechanical considerations, instructions from air traffic controllers, and my exclusive independent judgement, among other factors, will control flight operations. Please set your expectations accordingly.
When You Arrive at the Airport
Exercise great caution when near airplanes. Stay away from propellers. Engines and propellers may start unexpectedly, there may be more than one plane within the immediate area, and taxiing airplanes may not become visible until it is too late! Stay close to me and very alert as you cross the tarmac. Do not touch any airplanes or other vehicles.
Entering the Plane
Never stand on the flaps or wings, except as directed. Always hold available handgrips. Enter the plane slowly and attentively.
Before passengers are allowed to be carried in an aircraft, a passenger briefing must be performed. This is the law.
Seat Belts and Shoulder Straps
All passengers must wear seat belts and shoulder straps during taxiing, take-off, and landing. For your safety, please keep them securely and tightly fastened at all times in case of unexpected turbulence. The seatbelts are standard 3 point style seatbelts similar to those in your car. To unlock the belt: lift up on the buckle and pull the belt out. I will demonstrate the proper usage of seatbelts during boarding.
Older children must occupy a seat and use seat belts and shoulder straps (no seat sharing); younger children/infants require n approved child restraint system (it should say, “THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT”). Please bring one for your younger child to the airport. Also, infants generally experience discomfort upon rapid changes in altitude. Nonetheless, quick changes in altitude may be unavoidable.
Exiting the Plane
There are three possible escape routes from the aircraft. Please use the following order when trying to exit:
- Door - To open, pull the metal handle up and across its pivot until the latch releases and the door opens.
- Door Window - To open, turn the lock 90 degrees counter-clockwise and push outwards.
- Baggage Compartment - Located behind the rear seats on the pilot side of the aircraft. To open, give it a firm kick or pull the latch and push outwards.
When evacuating the aircraft, walk along the tail to the rear and as far away from the plane as possible.
No Smoking or Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages
These activities are prohibited at all times, including in the vicinity of the plane.
Do not board flammable substances or aerosols, such as lighters, lighter fluid, propane, or flammable gasses, strike-anywhere matches, mace, tear gas, hair spray, or dry ice.
Medications, Drugs, and Medical Conditions
If you are taking medications that may impair your judgement or affect normal health, if you have any medical or related conditions/predispositions (including, e.g. anemia, acrophobia, claustrophobia, epilepsy, or nervous disorders), or if you wear a hearing air, please notify me before the flight.
The use or transportation of illicit substances is strictly prohibited.
If you become ill or feel any discomfort for any reason, please inform me immediately. Subject to safety requirements and the instructions given to us by air traffic controllers, we will terminate the flight upon your request.
Air Sickness and Ear Comfort
Airsickness bags are located in your seat pocket. Locate them when you board, and please have one ready! Separately, for your comfort, clear your ears when descending (by swallowing or chewing) – the airplane is not pressurized.
Hypoxia (state of oxygen deficiency)
Considered the most lethal of all physiological factors, with symptoms that include dizziness, headache, visual impairment, euphoria, drowsiness, and numbness, hypoxia is preventable by the aircraft’s oxygen system (if available), or flight at lower altitude. Please notify me immediately if you experience or even think you may have any such symptoms.
Other Physiological Effects
There are many physiological effects of flight that you may experience, including: disorientation (when banking or due to G forces), illusions (particularly when in the clouds), “red out” when looking through the propeller into the sun, manifestations range from seeing everything in the color red, to (in extreme cases) seizures.
If the weather deteriorates or other safety considerations require it, we may need to scrub or terminate the flight prematurely. Don’t be too disappointed – You’ll get a rain check!
Please restrict consideration during taxiing, take-off, and landing. It is good practice for to keep a “sterile cockpit” (passenger silence) during these critical flight operations. I need to listen for instructions from airport control towers, control facilities, and must remain particularly alert. One exception: because passengers are an important safety resource, please point out (visually) all nearby airborne aircraft when you see them.
If you sit in the co-pilot’s seat (right front seat), please do not touch or obstruct the full extension of the yoke (the steering wheel), and other controls. I will demonstrate the full-extension of the yoke so you can become comfortable with the needed clearance.
Lights and Noises
There are many flashing lights, aural alarms, and the like that are part of normal flight operations, particularly during departure and arrival. Please anticipate them and do not be startled.
The plane is not air conditioned but is heated. There are airflow controls that can be opened at request.
Headsets and Intercom
You will be given a headset upon boarding to protect your hearing from engine noise and to provide an intercom between the plane’s occupants. The knobs on your headset control the volume. Keep the microphone very close to your mouth when speaking (otherwise it won’t work). If you like, in some aircraft I am able to segregate passengers from aviation communications to permit you to talk privately (Not operable during taxi, take-off, and landing).
Portable Electronic Devices
Please turn off all portable electronic devices unless you’ve received prior permission or instructions to use them.
Similar to airline practices, preparation for emergency procedures in general aviation is essential for flight safety. Prior to flight, I will explain various equipment and procedures used in an emergency, including the location of emergency (first aid and survival) equipment, and forced landing procedures. If the unlikely event of an emergency, please comply with my instructions. Should the need for an off-airport landing arise, please assume the brace position (place your hands on the seatback in front of you and head below the seat back. If you are in the co-pilot position place your hands on the panel and keep your head down.
In the EXTREMELY unlikely event of pilot incapacitation, the passenger sitting in the co-pilot seat can take the following steps:
- STAY CALM – this will allow you to concentrate on solving the problem
- FLY THE AIRPLANE – at no point should you get concerned with instruments or attending to other issues that you lose track of where the aircraft is heading
- TRANSMIT A MAYDAY CALL – on the distress frequency of 121.5
Tune the radio to this frequency and make sure the radio is selected. Remember to press the transmit button (located on the right side of the yoke) to talk to the outside world. Remember to let go of the button when you are done speaking. Speak slowly and clearly and don’t panic. There are professionals at the other end who can help you. Start your transmissions with the word “MAYDAY” and the aircraft identification if you know it (it is usually indicated on a small placard somewhere on the “dashboard”).
- If you are familiar with the TRANSPONDER, tune it to the distress setting of 7700 and make sure it is in the ALT position. This action alone will trigger alarms at appropriate facilities that can help you.
- If the aircraft is on the ground – cut off the fuel mixture and turn off the battery/alternator to prevent fire and to stop the engine. Both of these items are colored in red.
Please do not hesitate to ask!
Facts about the Aircraft and More...
We will be flying in either a Cessna 172 Skyhawk or a Cessna 182 Skylane. With manufacturing first starting in 1955 (and 1956 respectively), there have been over 44,000 Cessna 172s built and over 23,000 Cessna 182s built, making them the most build aircraft in the world and both of which remain in production today.
Both aircraft are equipped with advanced navigation, traffic, terrain, engine, and weather avionics. All FAA mandatory and factory-recommended inspections and maintenance are completed in addition to frequent informal additional inspections (including one prior to each flight).
Flight safety and risk information is available at:
Since weather is a major flight safety factor and may impact our travel plans, you can stay apprised of weather conditions using any of the following resources:
Airports and Destinations
Airport information is available at:
Want to Learn to Fly?
If so, the following resources are among the best to get you started – and may be enriching to review prior to our planned flight:
If you want to follow along with a high-performance global map, detailed flight information, automatic route updates, and more – download ForeFlight Passenger from the App Store before our flight and we’ll get it connected to my Electronic Flight Bag prior to boarding.