Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Flying with a high-hour "pilot passenger"

Many private pilots get thoroughly confused when they have a passenger who is a pilot and has say 10x more hours.

It affects one’s decisionmaking. It’s a bad thing because “you” subconsciously feel that the “passenger” will warn you if you screw up (flying, or weather assessment), but in reality the passenger may not be doing that at all, because he/she is behaving very correctly and just sitting there quietly, or perhaps because he is an airline pilot with 20k hrs but zero GA time and has not filed a flight plan in 30 years.

Personally, I suffer from this, but not so much with another pilot. What really gets me is flying with an instructor – on an instruction flight. Then I screw up lots of things. Maybe that’s a different thing?

I wonder what is the best way to address this issue?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Compartmentalize, similar to being the administrative boss of a far more experienced person: He/she is extremely good so it’s worth listening (compartment 1), but I’m responsible and I’m the boss (compartment 2). Better with a passenger/employee who understands the ‘rules’, so pick passengers wisely.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 07 Jun 15:44

Whenever I fly with somebody more experienced than me I tell them right away that I want to be critisized and learn as much as possible. Real pros like the retired 747 captain I flew with or my A340 Captain friend (who flies a lot of GA too) will always be polite and only give me an advice when I ask for it. it’s never these professionals who will be a pain – it’s more the “normal” flight instructor type who knows everything better and be a PITA

Whenever I fly (as PIC) with someone I give them a briefing before we start up. Nothing too detailed, but things like how to adjust the seat, how to open the door (important as there is only one of them!) the fact that I want them to shut up when taking off or landing and whenever ATC is talking (important for non-pilots).

With another pilot, it will be abbreviated….things like shutting up when ATC is talking shouldn’t need to be said to another pilot. However other things need to be added about them speaking up if they aren’t comfortable with something that I’m doing.

If it’s someone that I fly with regularly, then only the variables on this flight will be discussed (eg what I might want them to do for me in the event of an engine failure over water or over land).

If I was flying with a more experienced pilot (or an instructor with me as PIC), then I’d still do the briefing just like any other pilot. If nothing else, it sets the tone and they know where they stand and what is and isn’t expected of them. This when written here, might sound hard and formal, but actually it’s really informal. Just a brief chat before calling for start up, and leaves everyone knowing where they stand and everyone enjoys the flight more as a result. It also means that I have just reinforced to myself that I am in command here, and that I can’t expect on any help from the other pilot unless I ask for it. So no reassurance comes from having them there, unless I ask for help with something.

EIWT Weston, Ireland

I do this the other way – sit in the RHS with guys with less experience IFR. It gets me free GA flying and a chance to play with some of the nice new toys.

We always agree over a coffee before departure exactly what I will and won’t do. I’m not and never have been an instructor, so I won’t touch the controls under any circumstances. I’m only there for company and advice if they ask for it. It’s not a multi crew flight and I won’t speak up unless I think they’re about to kill me (hasn’t happened yet.) Normally, discussion and suggestions tend to happen over lunch on the continent somewhere or looking at the plates on the ground rather than in flight at a crucial moment.

London area

Whenever I fly with somebody more experienced than me I tell them right away that I want to be critisized and learn as much as possible.

The obvious danger here is that immediately you are establishing an authority gradient in the cockpit, with the associated behaviours of deference and resignation. You are the PIC and the authority gradient should be the other way.

But the fact that you are open to learning is really good.

I don’t fly with people with whom that could happen. And beeing over 50 now, I don’t give a sxxx what others think of my flying. I do what I think is right. You stop beeing scared of other people after a certain age … I remember when I was 20 and a Munich taxi driver. The first days a passenger would make e nervous :-) But that’s a long time ago …

Last Edited by Flyer59 at 08 Jun 12:18

I don’t give a sxxx what others think of my flying.

Me neither … Although I like to be praised for good skills, it does not bother me if someone has some objection. Far too old and far too many years in aviation (I’m 48 and over 30 years from the begining of flying career) so not much can stress me. And in my aircraft I’m usually far more competent than any of these “pilot-passangers”.
LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Peter – come and fly with me sometime, you will see how easy it is for us all to get screwed up when you think your passenger knows mare than you!!!!

UK, United Kingdom

I remember someone once saying “two flight instructors in an aircraft is worth half a student pilot”.

Andreas IOM
13 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top