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Preflight Safety Briefing

The Federal Aviation Administration requires all passengers be briefed before flying. I'll remind you of some of the key points before we fly, but please read this before we head off into the wild blue yonder. Thanks.

Abbreviated Passenger Safety Briefing

You'll need to keep your seatbelt fastened snugly at all times when you're in the plane. This shouldn't be a problem, as you can't exactly get up and stroll to the rest rooms (there are none), or anyplace else for that matter. The seat belt is especially important since it's possible for the door or window to pop open (if this does happen, don't panic, it's no big deal -- we can fly around with the doors and windows open if we want -- we can either close it in flight, or find a place to land and take care of it there).

I'll show you how to open/close, lock/unlock the door on the passenger side of the plane. This is an old airplane that has a lot of miles on it, and the passenger door can be a little funky (and I like to treat the airplane very gently and ask you to do so, too -- so please don't slam the door). I'll show you how the doors and windows work, and if you have any questions, let me know. You just need to know how to get out of the airplane in an emergency (while on the ground; we will not be exiting the airplane in flight).

On the ground, please stay away from the propeller on our airplane and all others we see. It's extremely unlikely that a prop will start suddenly, but it can happen, and people shred very quickly and make a big mess. Always treat an airplane propeller as if it's a sharp knife about to slice you into sushi.

Please don't touch the controls in the plane unless and until I specifically tell you it's OK to do so. We'll have plenty of time to let you try your hand at flying if you want, but it should only be when I specifically and clearly say so. At other times, please keep hands off the controls and try to keep from getting in the way in case I have to move the controls suddenly (this also goes for the rudder pedals on the floor). This is rarely an issue (unless you are a very large person), just be aware of it when we're taking off and landing, which are the times the controls tend to move a lot. I'll point out the controls before we get in so you'll know what to watch out for.

There are a couple of important knobs that if inadvertently bumped/pulled, can cut off the fuel supply to the engine, causing it to stop, which is usually a bad thing unless you're ready to park the plane. I'll point these items out to you, just be extra careful not to give them a tug.

We will each be wearing a headset with microphone (I have an extra headset for you to use). This saves your ears, making the flight a lot less stressful, and makes communication a lot easier. You and I will be able to converse via the headset/intercom. You just speak and listen naturally - don't worry, other planes and the control tower won't hear our conversation. I will also be talking to the control tower at Boeing Field, and broadcasting to other airplanes at times. When I want to do this, I press a button on the control wheel to transmit. At those times when I need to listen/talk with others, we should minimize our internal conversations. If we're yakking away and I raise my hand to shush you, it means please keep quiet for a few moments as I listen to the radio.

No matter what happens, don't panic. I promise to tell you right away (if something were to go terribly wrong) when it's time to panic, so unless I tell you to freak out, please keep calm. There are really very few things that can go so wrong that we're in great danger, and even if one of those things happens, I'm prepared to deal with them. Statistically, the most dangerous part of our day will be the drive to/from the airport.

Don't worry if the air feels "bumpy." That's normal. It's a very small plane (and it weighs a lot less than even a small car) so you tend to really feel things. If you're not used to flying in a very small plane, you will probably find some of the sensations in the flight somewhat intense (or shocking, exciting, frightening, exhilarating, pick your favorite term). You really need not worry.

Don't be alarmed when you hear the engine get quiet (when we descend to land, for example). That's normal: to descend, we reduce the engine's power setting.

If at any point you feel sick.... or nauseous, hot, cold, afraid, thirsty, dizzy, weird, funky, or in any other way uncomfortable, please let me know and we can take care of it one way or another. We will have an ample supply of air sickness bags handy if needed. If you think you might be in danger of getting airsick, please let me know right away (so I can try and fly a bit more gently and so I can reach for the barf bags). There's really no reason to be embarrassed, some people just get sick sometimes (it happens to astronauts, too). If you find that you simply have had enough or need a break, we can always come back or find a nearby place to land. This is supposed to be fun, so if it's not you shouldn't suffer needlessly.

I suggest you take a bathroom break before leaving for the airport. You might also want to drink some water before the flight (we'll bring some along). At the airport (Boeing Field) there's a portable toilet ("honey bucket") but that's it for facilities. At other airports we might land at, there are usually some sort of similar basic facilities. Some are fancier than others but don't expect a lot of luxury.

If you have questions about anything, by all means feel free to ask. If I'm busy listening on the radio or need to concentrate on flying, I'll let you know.

You can and should help me watch for other airplanes. If it's a beautiful day, a lot of people will probably be out flying, so it's important that we keep an eye out for other airplanes. We are not "controlled" by anyone (except for the few minutes we're going in/out of Boeing Field), and even when we are, it's really our own responsibility to avoid collisions with other airplanes, a goal which I'm sure you share. It's not difficult, but we need to be vigilant, so your help in spotting other airplanes (especially those that seem to be on a collision course with us) is most appreciated; you can just point them out to me and say "traffic." When we're approaching/departing Seattle, that's where most of the airplanes are so we need to watch most carefully then. When we're away from the Seattle area, we can relax a bit but do always need to keep an eye out.

That's enough for now. That should satisfy the feds, and if that hasn't scared the crap out of you, we'll go flying, and have some fun. Thanks for reading this.