Taking passengers up in a light aircraft is an incredible experience, but sometimes passengers are a little apprehensive. Here are some tips to help them step out of the airplane with a smile on their face:
1) As you plan your flight, show passengers how you check the weather or file a flight plan. Show them the route you plan on flying and what things there are to see en-route.
2) Take them out to pre-flight the airplane with you. Make sure to have them ask questions and explain what you're doing along the way.
3) Let passengers know when it's ok to start having a conversation with you. It's challenging in a busy terminal environment to have distractions while you're focused on talking on the radios or watching for other traffic.
4) Consider isolating your passengers from ATC on your intercom when you're operating out of a busy airport.
5) As a private pilot, you're allowed to let your passengers try a little flying for themselves. But remember, you're always the PIC. If your passenger is interested, have them try some shallow turns with you during cruise so they can get a feel for how stable the plane is.
6) If you're flying at night, tune to a nearby airport frequency and show passengers how to click the mike to turn on the runway lights.
7) Bring extra water and snacks with you...and always remember to have everyone use the restroom before hopping into the plane. There aren't any pit stops in the air...
8) If you can, plug in some music to listen to.
9) Emotions spread quickly in a small cabin. If you stay visibly calm and collected, even in the face of difficult situations, it will pass onto your passengers.
10) Finally, just remember to put yourself in their shoes. As an experienced pilot, what once were foreign feelings and sounds are completely normal to you. Even that shallow bank can scare a passenger who's only used to flying onboard airliners.
What do you do to make passengers feel comfortable? Tell us in the comments below.