Do you remember the first passenger you took in the car with you after you passed your driving test? If you’re anything like me, you probably felt a huge sense of responsibility having someone’s life in your care. Now imagine that feeling but taking someone up in a plane, where you routinely experience loads more variables than when driving a car, and you’ll get a sense of why it’s taken me so long to pluck up the courage to take a passenger flying with me. Not only that, but I’ve been getting used to flying the Robin, which isn’t the model or even category of aircraft I learned to fly in. But I’ve happily now crossed the important first passenger milestone, having got my licence early last year. I felt ready to take someone up following the success of our recent formation flight, after which I felt I’d really started to feel at home in the Robin.
Lots of people had kindly volunteered to be my first passenger, but as circumstance would have it the person to whom that honour ultimately fell was my mother-in-law, who’s about to leave for a prolonged stay in France. She’s been flying a few times with Lee in gliders/motorgliders and knows what to expect, so she was a nice calm first passenger! Lee was there to supply the photos and in the first two I’m running through my pre-flight checks.
The next sequence is quite cool – take-off from the grass strip. You’ll have to believe me that my passenger is indeed in there; my seat was a bit further forward to reach the rudder pedals, so you can see me more easily!
Here’s the proof that I did have really have a passenger with me!
We just did a short flight over Stratford-upon-Avon and back, and then it was back into the circuit to land. There are no photos of my landing, but I’m pleased to say it all went without a hitch! Here we are safely back on the ground and you can see how happy I am to have completed another ‘first’ in my flying career!
Next step: keep taking passengers!