Flying toddlers

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Flying toddlers

Postby pvs » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:35 pm

Hi - I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to fly my family to their vacation destination in our club Cherokee, but with a 16-month toddler that day seems quite far away. My 6-year old has flown with me once and seemed bored by the experience (which is a good thing I guess), so its the little one I am uncertain about.

Advice from anyone with some experience would be highly appreciated: ear protection, use of car seats, oxygen issues (I don't fly very high but one wonders if kids are affected differently).

Thanks in advance


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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby Cherokee_955 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:38 pm


We started our son at 7 weeks with homemade ear muffs. He now has a Sigtronics children's headset. He doesn't like to wear it a lot, but we do our best.

We have a Cherokee so I cannot speak to oxygen. But we put an approved child seat on the back bench seat behind the co-pilot and he can see out the window. He's even spotted traffic! (He's 3 now) We leave the child seat in the airplane except over the winter - easier on everyone.

We've gone as long as 3 hours and he did fine.

So my advice is let them come along on a short easy flight - bring a co-pilot to avoid distraction if the kid gets upset. Do what you can to protect the ears.

When my son began to take the headset off regularly, I cheated. Over the winter I used a portable intercom at home, and plugged in his headsat and mine so we could pretend to be astronauts. (He's crazy about space) A few times doing that and wearing it in the plane got easier. For a while... :D

Robbie near Chicago
"Everything Happens for a Reason"

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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby joemurffy » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:37 am

Over the past two years we've started doing more and more trips with our two kids in our non-club Six. We started our son at 6.5yrs and our daughter at 3yrs, and our daughter seems to have taken to it more easily, although both are fine.

About the headset issue, each of the kids has their own set, but I can't remember the model. I do admit that it is sometimes tough to convince them to keep them on. The best fix for this that we've found is to usually have a good movie going. We rigged up one of your basic travel DVD players for them and then routed the sound through the intercom system. It is nice to be able to split them out from my wife and me in the front row. We also carry some basic snacks so that they stay happy.

The longest that I've had them off the ground is about 3.5hrs, and we've done that a few times. My daughter has an iron bladder, but my son has learned to use the hand-held porta-potty.

Our first couple of family cross-countries were in a C172. Don't you just love the room of the Six!? In my opinion, a four-place plane is comfortable for two when travelling, and a six-place plane is comfortable for four. Maybe that is different with club seating? I'd like to find out someday.
Joe Murphy - KPMV

N4706E / N115CC "Circus, Circus"
'51 Aeronca Champ 7CCM / '79 Bellanca Super Viking
'Once you fly fabric, you won't settle for metal.'

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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby champguy » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:54 pm

I took my daughter flying at pre-teen and she started singing ninety-nine bottles of beer.
After that she had motion sickness issues.
If you want kids or spouses involved make them an essential part of the team. Planning, fuel management, enroute navigation, or get a single seater and do it all yourself.

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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby randyc » Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:30 pm

One thing to watch out for with kids in the front seat is what once happened to me. Coming home one night from Savannah, GA I kept drifting off course to the right and could not figure out why until I saw my 5 year olds hand on the yoke pulling it down so he could see out the window better. THAT finally explained the right turning tendency.

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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby Madmax » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:38 am

randyc wrote:I kept drifting off course to the right and could not figure out why until I saw my 5 year olds hand on the yoke pulling it down so he could see out the window better. .

We live a childfree existence, but fly with our dog quite often, (an 87# rotty).

My airplane has no alt hold on the Auto pilot, not a real big deal just trim the airplane and you are pretty much good, every 10 or so mins, a little tweak might be needed as you burn fuel but not so much in smooth air.

a few years back I am on VFR Flight Following, at 9500ft, headed to the mountains of NY, Dog is asleep in the back, I am reading something, and Albany Approach calls and asks if I am climbing, I look down and crap I am passing through 10,000ft. (that is the point where you would normally switch out to center) D'oh!! as it turns out the dog woke up and sat upright an that changes the CG just enough to start a 50 or so FPM climb. I never felt it.
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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby ebrendan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:59 pm

A few issues ago, either Flying magazine or AOPA Flight Training magazine had a feature on flying with kids-- Most of the tips in the article have been covered here. However, one other benefit of the car seat is toddler restraint in the cabin.

As a father of a 2-year-old, this piece from the AOPA ASF scared the living hell out of me: ... overboard/ Thankfully there were no injuries.

Other stories here...
Brendan Reynolds
Pilot, KFRG Farmingdale NY

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Re: Flying toddlers

Postby pvs » Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:04 pm

Finally, I found the AOPA link the previous post mentioned (thanks!). ... icle5.html

Also see this thread with many other suggestions -


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