First Flight Tips and Tricks

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I was on a lengthy phone call with another JCer talking about techniques, tips and tricks for conducting Discovery/Adventure flights for a while last night. It was a good conversation and I thought it was worthy of a thread.

What have you found works (or worked when you were instructing) when you were taking interested newbies up for the first time?

For example - I like to take a few minutes in the beginning to find out what brought them in and maybe what they do for a living? That tells me a lot about their (potential) mindset, background, interests, and gives me a better chance to set the right vocabulary for communicating on the flight. I want them to fly as much as they want to (maybe a little more.)

If they seem a bit nervous I like to use a little humor to lighten them up - "Now, pilots are the dumbest smart people you'll ever meet, which is why we have a checklist for EVERYTHING..."

What kinds of things do you guys do?
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
If they seem a bit nervous I like to use a little humor to lighten them up - "Now, pilots are the dumbest smart people you'll ever meet, which is why we have a checklist for EVERYTHING..."
Usually have someone else ask the customer if it is their first time. When they say yes, point at me and say "It's his too, this ought to be good!"
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Usually have someone else ask the customer if it is their first time. When they say yes, point at me and say "It's his too, this ought to be good!"
See, I thought about something like that, but it's too easy to misconstrue - leaves a little undercurrent of, "wait, is he serious?" I sort of wanted, desperately, for a customer to ask "Is this safe?" so I could say, "I don't know, I'm not a very good pilot."

/rimshot

But the checklist joke works because it shows a safety practice with a little tongue-in-cheek. :)
 

Old Pete

curmudgeon
After completing an Intro/Discovery flight I would always ask them when they are available for their second lesson.
They would say second lesson?
You just had your first lesson and you did great.

Reschedule if the weather is bad ie. turbulent.

Keep it short. Always want them coming back for more.

Take a pic of them flying with their phone and have them post it to social media.
 

Whatusername

Drive hard and NEVER lift.
So here's what I've been doing for my intro flights.

1. I'll usually try to get a little bit of background on the person. What led them to get an intro flight? Was it because they won a gift certificate? Because their significant other thought it would be fun? Are they just curious? Or do they just want to go sightseeing?

2. While I'm on the subject on background I'll try to see if they have any aviation experience. Were did they have a family member that used to fly? Did they take lessons at some point? This gives my an idea of how to build the intro flight.

3. From here it's the pre-flight briefing. If they have little to no flight experience I'll tell them that I'm not going to do any "Top Gun stuff" (read stalls, power off 180s, etc.). I'll also tell them to let me know if they get air sick at any part of the flight (learned the hard way about this in April/May). I'll also do the usual safety briefing (exchange of controls, who will be working the radios).

4. For the actual flight I'll run them through pre-flight and once I get clear of the ramp I'll let them try taxiing to the runway. From there it's just letting them fly out west towards the Platte River, do a few climbs, turns and descents and then have them fly my back to the airport. For the flight back I'll have them follow a local road or pick out a land mark that gets us back to the airport. If they are really confident in their abilities I'll talk them through most of the landing (I'll have my hands near the controls just in case I need to step in).

5. From there de-brief and have them show up for their next lesson.
 
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