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Will My Family Fly With Me? - Three Ways To Make Sure Your Significant Others Want To Go
By Kyle Garrett
Almost every person that has considered learning to fly has worried whether their significant other or family will want to fly with them. The ideas start flowing almost immediately: "We could take the weekend and go to the beach or see our cousins out west. Ooh, the Grand Canyon would be neat." To be brutally honest, it isn't always that simple. The freedom is there, but sometimes other people, even those we are close to, don't feel the same way about flying that pilots do. So, how do you keep your significant others willing to go? Avoid pressuring them, start small, and fly safe are the easiest ways to get your family and friends to want to go along.
Don't pressure them
Fear of flying isn't uncommon, even in huge airliners there are usually a few people who don't cope with flying well. Furthermore, as planes get smaller, this number tends to increase. The quickest way to sour someone on flying with you in a small plane is to pressure them. It is important to remember that this doesn't have to be negative pressure, either. Persistently begging someone to come along ("Oh, you'll love it, I just know it. Please come.") can turn a positive experience, like a short sightseeing flight, into a negative one. By all means ask, but be careful not to cross the line.
It is important to start small. While you may be able to make it to the coast in a couple of hours, don't plan to do it on the first trip. Start with something more local--a short sightseeing flight around the area or maybe a short hamburger run to a nearby field. Starting small helps allows your significant others to gain confidence in you and the aircraft and allows you to see how they cope with flying. An hour in to a three hour flight is not the place to learn that your wife has severe airsickness. Conversely, with no agenda turning back to the field is no big deal.
Perhaps the most important of the three, always flying safe is the quickest and easiest way to keep your family flying with you. Nothing puts a damper on flying like a crash. So, always make the best decisions and avoid any risky flying. Keep in mind, things that don't seem risky to you could seem risky to your companions. Don't do anything that makes them uncomfortable. For example, it would probably be a bad idea to head off on a hamburger run on a marginal weather day and stop by the practice area for some spins. Even without the spins it would probably be better to stay on the ground on any marginal weather day.
While these three tips only scratch the surface of flying with other people, they can go a long way toward helping others see the same freedom and excitement flying holds for you. In fact, if you remember only one thing, never do anything that will make your companions uneasy. That alone can mean the difference between a line of people waiting to ride along and another long, lonely trip.