Flying private is meant to be easy—relaxing even—offering flexibility and cutting out the lines, waits, and hassle associated with commercial travel. However, that doesn’t mean you should just tune out as soon as you arrive at the airstrip. In fact, a little simple vigilance could help you avoid an in-air mishap.
John Graybill knows a thing or two about piloting. He has been an aviator for more than 50 years and has logged about 4,000 hours of flight time. He holds a commercial pilot certificate and single- and multi-engine ratings. He is a certified flight instructor, has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a master pilot, and has flown private airplanes all over the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
He can now add author to his extensive résumé. His recently published Private-Airplane Passenger Safety: What You Need to Know is a guide that alerts passengers to dozens of pilot actions, behaviors, and attitudes that could lead to dangerous problems. Graybill labels each with a red flag if it’s a blatantly bad practice or a yellow flag if it’s a generally bad practice. If you observe one red-flag issue or three or more yellow-flag problems, he says, you would be wise not to proceed with the flight. Continue on to see a selection of seven of these warning signs and what Graybill has to say about each.