People who own their own aircrafts tend to be incredibly passionate about flying. But, it can be difficult to enjoy this hobby if no one in your family shares the same passion for aviation. It’s possible that your loved ones are scared of flying or just don’t understand why you find it so thrilling. You shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet—there may be a way to help your family members and friends appreciate flying just as much as you do. Here are some ideas to get your family involved:
Take a trip
Has your spouse wanted to go to a specific location for quite some time? Take her there by plane so she realizes how convenient it is to have a plane that you can travel anywhere with. Keep in mind that your spouse might feel nervous throughout the flight—especially if this is one of the only times that she’s flown with you. Help her forget about her uneasiness by pointing out landmarks as you fly over them and flying as smoothly as possible. This is not the time to show your spouse a new trick or skill that you’ve learned, or you may never be able to get her back inside your aircraft.
Be sure that you fly when the weather is clear so she can witness the incredible views from above as you approach the destination. This is a memory that she won’t ever forget—and it may be enough to get her to appreciate flying more.
Use a flight simulator
Someone in your family might have a fear of flying that stops them from taking interest in the aviation industry. If this is the case, it may help to let them use a flight simulator to face their fears while safely on the ground. This is especially helpful if it’s your kids who have the fear of flying. Kids love playing video games, and since a flight simulator uses computer generated images to simulate flying, they may think of it as another fun game. If you don’t have a flight simulator, research classes in your area that are designed to help people with a fear of flying conquer their fears using a flight simulator. If they allow kids, this is a great option when you don’t already own a flight simulator.
Taking on the role of pilot in a flight simulator will help kids get used to the sights and sounds that they may experience while up in the air with you. Because using a flight simulator will be fun for kids, this exercise will make them more comfortable with the idea of taking a trip in your aircraft.
Do fun activities at great heights
People who are scared of flying are often fearful of heights as well. If this phobia is preventing your loved ones from exploring the aviation industry, you might want to plan fun activities that you can do together at great heights. For example, visit amusement parks and go on the tallest rollercoasters or plan a trip to the beach where you can take your loved ones parasailing. The more that you can do to help your loved one face her fear of heights, the quicker she will learn to be comfortable when flying with you.
Tour the aircraft
If you have small children, it may be helpful to let them sit inside the aircraft as you explain what each level, knob, and switch does. Kids love playing make believe, so if they have the opportunity to sit inside your aircraft and pretend to be a pilot, they may start to develop an interest in the aviation industry. While you’re at the airport, point out other aircrafts that are taking off and landing. Tell your kids that you do that every time you take a trip in your aircraft. This helps them understand exactly what the aircraft is capable of doing so they take more of an interest in it.
Did you have a particularly exhilarating experience while in the air? As long as it’s not scary, share your story with your family so they understand why you find flying to be so much fun. But, don’t stop there. People often need to see something with their own eyes to thoroughly understand it. The next time you get to witness a beautiful sunset from thousands of feet in the air, take a photo. Take as many pictures as possible of your flying adventures and share them with your loved ones when you return home. Seeing how much fun you have—and the beautiful sights that you get to see—may convince them to give flying with you another shot.
Attend a fly-in
If you’re having trouble getting your family members to even come near your aircraft, take a trip (by car) to a local fly-in event. These events are filled with people who are just as passionate about the aviation industry as you are. Being in the same space as these individuals may help your family understand that there is more to flying than they think. Be sure that you research different fly-in events to find one that has fun activities that your whole family will enjoy. Uninterested kids and spouses will not want to sit through informational seminars and workshops that often take place at these events. Instead, look for events that will have air shows, beautiful vintage aircrafts on display, and of course, good food for the whole family to enjoy.
Follow these tips and your friends and family members will definitely take an interest in flying. Before you know it, you will have to start sharing your plane with another licensed pilot in the family.