Family Flyers: Getting your loved ones on board

Written by Brent Owens

Flying with your loved ones is one of the most satisfying ways to combine two of your passions: family time and flight time.

May 2015-

For some, flying and family have been synonymous since the beginning, but that's not everyone's reality. Many pilots have family members that only tacitly approve of their aeronautical endeavors and have no interest in breaking the surly bonds of earth.

The latter is my situation. My wife is afraid to fly, in spite of it being my vocation and avocation. My youngest daughter is the only one in the family that really enjoys it, and as she grows older I hope to fly with her more and more.

Attitudes about General Aviation flying seem to fall into four categories: Deathly Afraid, Just Not Interested, Cautiously Curious and Ready To Go. In fact, I have three of these four types in my family unit!

The only constant is change
My first piece of advice is to be flexible, because you'll need to tailor your approach to each person's frame of reference. Also, people's attitudes can change over time. Someone that was just Just Not Interested a few years ago might be Cautiously Curious today, or vice versa.
Also, don't forget that "family" includes people outside your immediate family. You can share your passion with those brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins in your family tree, too.

Grandkids can be an especially magical way to include your family in flying. Maybe there wasn't an airplane around when your own kids were young, but now that they have children, those precious grandkids might be eager to go up. Ask and see.

As you involve more people in your flying pursuit and those people talk about how amazing a flight in your airplane was for them, this can pique others' curiosity. Former naysayers in your family might just feel empowered (or competitive) enough to give it a try.

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