Waypoint 5: How to behave when you get invited for a private flight – Page 2

Air-tiquette for guests aboard a private flight in a small plane

The weather's fine so who are you going to invite to fly with you?

With so many friends and so few seats, a Pilot/Owner has an enviable task of deciding who he would like to fly with, and more importantly, fly with again.


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Diary of an aircraft owner
By Paul Jansen
Waypoint 5

Continued from Page 1

Anthony Cheong Kam Thong

Anthony Cheong and his wife Brenda are regular invitees and are very helpful in preparing my Piper PA28-161 for take-off and stowing and always ready to pay for ground transportation when we land. Great cooks both, they are also famous for holding lip-smacking chicken rice parties for fellow fliers at their home.

Roger Lee Kok Keong

Roger Lee Kok Keong is always willing to share his knowledge and time. And that includes his encyclopedic insights into the best places to eat.

Lee Chee Yong

Lee Chee Yong has exceptional EQ and is generous to a fault, paying for meals not just for those on board, but for other crews as well.

Shane Lim Wei Xiang

Shane Lim is endearing in his eagerness to help you, not just during the flight, but also away from the airport and aviation.

“Paul’s Pax Protocol”

8. Know your body. There are no toilets on small planes. If you get stomach aches easily or find it difficult to hold liquids, do not eat food which will upset your stomach or drink too much.

Before departing on a long leg from Surat Thani to Pattaya, one of the passengers on board 9M-PRJ cooled himself by downing juice from a big coconut and heaps of tea at lunch. As we droned on over the Gulf of Thailand, he started squirming in the back. Finally, he announced that he could not hold his pee any longer and needed immediate relief.

Fortunately, 1) there was no woman on board, and, 2) there was a big plastic bottle at hand. My new leather seats (and his modesty) were saved.

9. Follow instructions. A Pilot has gone through intensive training to be Captain of the flying machine you are about to board. Even if you have mastered Microsoft Flight Simulator, pay attention to his pre-flight briefing and in-flight directions. A plane is a sturdy machine but some of its parts (like the Flaps which bear large “Do Not Step” signs) need to be approached with care.

The same attitude should be exhibited in the air. I once allowed a heavy-set passenger in the co-pilot’s seat to “lightly follow me-through” by placing his hands gently on the control column as I flew. He either did not hear me use the word “lightly” or did not understand what I meant. I had to keep repeating to him to release the controls as his muscular hands pushed the plane down when I was trying to ascend. I have since decided to offer this experience only to those without gym memberships.

10. Reward your Pilot/Owner. A joy ride may seem like a simple thing to you. Just drive to the airport, jump in the plane, buzz around a bit and then land and return home. It is not.

The Pilot/Owner has to check the weather; whether any special restrictions have been imposed on the route he plans on taking or the destination; file a flight plan; check and refuel the plane; and move it to a position convenient for your departure. These on top of ensuring the paperwork for himself (his licence and medical are current) and his plane (is the Certificate of Airworthiness, Radio licence, insurance, etc, up to date) are all in order. And then when you land, he has to push the plane to its lot, tie it down and cover it up.

He cannot charge you for the flight and can only ask you to share the cost, which if done, has to be divided equally among all on board including the Pilot/Owner. If he is like me, he will not do the latter either. If you have enjoyed the flight experience, an offer to pay for the ground transportation and accommodation if you stay overnight somewhere, or the meals, will be appreciated, even if not accepted. And that is my last tip.

Follow this Air-tiquette and you are quite likely to get a reputation as The Ideal Pax and a stream of new invites.

Pushing the plane

Here’s one way to endear yourself to your Owner friend. A helping hand in preparing or packing the plane is always appreciated.

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Copyright: Paul Jansen 2014. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Waypoint 5: How to behave when you get invited for a private flight – Page 2

  1. Anthony Cheong says:

    Thanks Capt. for putting up my photo

  2. Shane Lim says:

    Thanks for the write up Paul!

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