My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

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rcigliano
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My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby rcigliano » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:43 am

I took my 14 year old son, Joey up on Friday for a short flight. This was his first time in a GA airplane and my first passenger since getting my PPL. We took off from KHWV from runway 6 and headed south to the south shore of Long Island. I decided to fly west towards Robert Moses since it is familiar to him and I figured he would get a kick out of seeing the monument and the bridges that we take to Captree and Robert Moses State Park, I also wanted it to be a short flight, one that I could turn around and get back quickly if he was feeling any discomfort. I wanted to make this a memorable and enjoyable experience for him so that he would fly with me again.

I felt it was important to include him in the whole experience so I kept explaining to him everything that I was doing. This way he would be part of the experience and not just a bystander, hoping that this would keep him relaxed and more interested in the flight. So as I did my preflight, I explained to him everything that I was doing and why. Once in the air, I asked him to watch for other planes, telling him that it was our responsibility to see and avoid other aircraft. He actually spotted a couple and seemed to enjoy looking for them. I handed him the chart and had him turn it track up and as we passed landmarks I pointed them out to him so he could follow along. Once I knew that he was comfortable, I let him fly for a few minutes. He did a great job holding altitude and keeping the plane on course and even mentioned to me later that he realized that it didn't take large movements on the stick to control the plane. He seemed to be taking it in.

On the way back to HWV, he spotted some more planes and commented on all the green pools and baseball fields that he saw. He really seemed to be enjoying the flight.

I had to do a go-around because the approach was not to my liking and he just took it in-stride. I came around and did one of the best landings I ever did. Taxiing back, I handed him the taxi diagram and had him guide me back to the FBO.

On the drive home, he asked me how old a kid was that he saw talking to an instructor. I said he was probably 16 or 17. He thought a bit and then he asked me how old do you have to be to start taking lessons. I said he could start now and that he can solo a glider at 14, a plane at 16 and get his license at 17. He then said that he wanted to take lessons. :D I guess the flight impressed him. I told that I would definitely support him in this and that he should fly with me more often and if he is really interested in taking lessons, we would look into BOCES (a high school program for students to get a PPL) and that he can go to local colleges such as Farmindale University or Dowling College (which is at KHWV) or away ro ERAU for example. I was grinning from ear to ear all the way home.

Being 14, I figured Joey was just excited for the day and his desire to take lessons would fade. At least I found a flying partner. But each day since then he has talked about how he really wants to take lessons. Today we went to Citi Field to see the Mets play and from our seats we could see LGA and one of its runways. When I pointed this out to Joey he thought it was cool. Later in the game he said he was really excited about taking lessons. So I made a deal with him. If he comes flying with me, I would teach him about flying. I would also let him talk on the radio, help with navigation and fly the plane. And if in a year he still wants to take lessons, we would talk to his guidance councilor in school and sign him up at BOCES. I figured that if I keep him involved and not push him, he would learn to love to fly and would want to continue.

Overall my flight with Joey was better than expected. I had hoped the flight would be enjoyable enough so that Joey would fly with me occasionally. I never expected that it would spark something in him and he would be interested in taking lessons. He know says he wants to be a pilot.

On a personal note, I am reinvigorated. After I received my PPL, I was wondering how I would use it. Also, I was not really sure if I would be comfortable taking my family or anyone up as passengers. It is such a big responsibility. Now I know that I can and a weight seems to have been lifted from my shoulders. Joey and I are now planning our next flight, At least I have one family member who will go up with me. Now I need to work on his brother, sister and mother.

BTW, my wife is 100% behind Joey taking lessons.
Last edited by rcigliano on Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PilotBillFromTexas
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Re: My Son's First FLight and My First Passenger

Postby PilotBillFromTexas » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:37 am

That is truly awesome. I think that he'll follow through. Congratulations.

Dave Higdon
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Re: My Son's First FLight and My First Passenger

Postby Dave Higdon » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:58 am

Just outstanding, Rob...way to go! Congrats!

Dave

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champguy
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby champguy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:20 pm

Way cool story, good job.
One thing people overlook when "selling" the idea of teaching a teen age male to fly, is that with a flying education and PPL he is much more likely to be a safe driver on the road. That is an issue that should get traction with his mom, and all of us who share the road with him.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.
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PilotBillFromTexas
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby PilotBillFromTexas » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:10 pm

hmmm... I beg to differ on that point. Some pilots I've know are safety freaks in the air but complete terrors on the road. If the TSA really wanted to be effective at stopping terrorism then they'd follow pilots out to the highway where they really do engage in bona fide terrorism on innocent pedestrians and fellow motorists.

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champguy
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby champguy » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:01 pm

Wow, turn the TSA loose on the American Driving Public where the real carnage occurs year after year. What a concept. And this in a country with a free for all on the highway, and a gun in every glove box who needs State Security. We are killing ourselves off faster than any external enemy can even on its best days.
In my happy little world, teaching a teenager to fly is still about the best way instill some safety conciousness in the otherwise unregulated passion of the young male experiencing the freedom of getting a drivers license and rushing out into the world.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.
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jackhodgson
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby jackhodgson » Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:53 am

That is just a WONDERFUL story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Good luck to you as you continue your flying career, and to your son as he begins his.

-- Jack

Dave Higdon
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby Dave Higdon » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:23 pm

PilotBillFromTexas wrote:hmmm... I beg to differ on that point. Some pilots I've know are safety freaks in the air but complete terrors on the road. If the TSA really wanted to be effective at stopping terrorism then they'd follow pilots out to the highway where they really do engage in bona fide terrorism on innocent pedestrians and fellow motorists.


:o :lol: :!: :lol: :!: :lol: :!:

Bill, man...just love it...but think of all the extra work that'd be for the poor li'l TSA...pilots are such a small percentage of the population -- scary driving ones an even lesser percentage...then think at the huge population that drives and the larger-percentage share of crazywhackoinsane drivers among the whole...

.... :shock: now...am....afraid...to...drive...to...airport... :(

:D :D

Dave

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Soccer-Jock
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby Soccer-Jock » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:39 am

Awesome story!

Charley2
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Re: My Son's First Flight and My First Passenger

Postby Charley2 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:02 pm

I remember after getting my ppl in 1979 I took my 4 year old son for his first flight (From KHTS) ...he couldn't grasp how we were able to cross the Ohio River without going over a bridge. He didn't like it much and I turned around for a quick landing. He is 34 now and still not too enamored with flying.


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