Passengers are something that I don’t often talk about, because I almost avoid taking them up in the airplane whatsoever. If it isn’t whining about how their schedule does not line up for a ride, then its nagging about how long pre-flight and other activities will take, how small this airplane is, how cold it is while up in the air, how badly they have to go to the bathroom, and how scared they are of turbulence. Lets never, ever, ever talk about a passenger offering to cover their true share of aviation expenses, much less the gas to drive them to the airport.
When I was young, my grandfather kept an airplane very similar to mine about 500 feet from our house, in a green hangar, and he would go flying whenever he wanted. If I wanted to go, I had to see the door open or hear the plane start, and it was my job to get myself over there to hop in. I must have spent an entire decade peering out the window on the hour to see what he was up to on good weather days. That taught me a few things: a) knowledge of when the weather was good and b) personal responsibility for a ride. As I got older, it wasn’t a matter of simply hopping in before starting the engine; I would chase him down the taxi strip, running alongside the wing, until he saw me and let me in, not always happy about the interruption, not that I cared anyway, I was going flying! A few times, he powered up for takeoff, and I ran out into the runway waving so he’d abort, which he would, and at that point, he simply respected my determination. While I was bold, there was plenty of room for him to stop.
I took my third passenger up in a year, and I decided to revisit the northern OBX flight that went sour in December (camera settings weren’t right, oops). This particular person owns a few houses up where we are living, so it made sense to show her something she wanted to see, as well as getting photos that I wanted.
This lady knows how to go for a plane ride. I told her how long the whole affair would take, how cold it was, how bumpy it would be, and issued orders that I don’t want whining, bathroom stops, puking, or other annoying behavior. She came with a ski jacket, freshly purchased GoPro, water, and a rare approach to flying. No matter what I did that usually unnerves passengers (it’s a small plane, so they are not used to a lot of normal routines), it was a pleasant ride with enjoyable conversation on the intercom, and no neurotic panic attacks or other senseless fears. Afterward, I realized that I gave a ride to one of the few people in life that I know that have the same view I had as a kid: if a plane ride is desired, then make it difficult for the pilot not to give you one.
Southern Shores, NC
Pine Island – Duck/Corolla, NC Line
Currituck Sound Marshes
Whalehead Club – Corolla, NC
Corolla 4×4 Beach
Horses (If that is not already evident…)
Surf – False Cape, VA
Horses – Corolla, NC
Ocean Currents – Corolla, NC
Whalehead Club – Corolla, NC
Currituck Sound, Corolla on right
Currituck Sound Marshes, Duck/Corolla line, Atlantic Ocean
Jockey’s Ridge State Park