It is kind of fitting that my brother was my first passenger. When he learnt to drive I was the first passenger in his souped up Talbot Sunbeam*. That car was fun, I recall it being quite “sporty”, we’ll come back to that phrase in a moment.
My brother was quite fascinated with the amount of preparation that went in before the flight, even then he didn’t see all of it because I got up about 3 hours before we needed to leave in order to do the last minute course stuff, plugging in the current winds and so on.
A few days before I sat at our table plugging numbers into the weight and balance sheet. Technically I have a spreadsheet I can use for this, but like anything at the moment, I’m getting as much practice as I can doing everything by hand. I showed him the various weights and the fact that they act at different parts of the plane, so you need to check if the centre of gravity is within limits.
I’d never carried passengers or stuff in the back before so I needed to carefully figure out just how much fuel we could take. I’d already realised that we were going to need one of the S models, with their extra 100 pound or so capacity.
Numbers crunched, I worked out that at ¾ tanks we would be good from a weight limit and a take off COG limit too.
“So, all good then?” My brother enquired.
“Not exactly, I’ve calculated that we are fine to take off, Now I’ve got to figure some fuel burn and see if we are ok to land!”
We both agreed that landing at some point would be nice!
On the day, we trundled down to the airport, picnic bag in hand. My brother clutching the spare headset I the manner of someone who really doesn’t know what he’s meant to do with it.
I’d already had a brief chat with him about how he could talk to me, and no ATC wouldn’t be able to hear him, but when someone was talking on the radio, I needed him to be quiet. I also explained that there would probably be times where I wouldn’t be able to talk to him, like on takeoff and landing.
There are a few things that I would have liked to have done differently from a passenger perspective. I would have liked to explain the walkround a little more but the plane was outside, it was minus twenty odd, so the walkround became a little brisk, pace wise. I think my brother was still getting over the fact that we just pushed open a door and wandered onto the apron.
I honestly don’t know what he thought of the amount of checks and stuff we have to do on the ground before we takeoff, and I don’t think I really spent a lot of time beforehand explaining it all to him. It’s a lot for a non pilot to take in to be honest but before we knew it, I was lined up on my favourite runway, had the crosswind corrections in and we were airborne.
The rest is for another post.
*I think I've got the make right, I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong!