Gaining familiarity with flight procedures and processes...


New Member
Is there a way to gain familiarity with the whole flight process (from startup to taxi, take off, flight, landing, shutdown, etc.) without paying for a lesson by yourself? For example, is it faux pas to ask to tag along with a lesson (say, with a PPL student that is well along the training path or other advanced lesson) in the backseat of a 172 just so you can watch, listen, and learn, in exchange for helping pay for the gas and oil?

If so, how much do you think is appropriate to pay per hour to sit in the backseat quietly? Do I just ask the CFI "do you know of a student that would mind if I tag along...?"

It seems like this could allow me to see the whole process put together (motions, words, etc.) at around $20 or $30 an hour for a few hours before I start doing it myself at $100. Would add value to the previsualization and chair flying stages prior to taking the monetary plunge.

What do you think? Especially you CFIs out there. Thank you.

Yeah, I'd say it would definintely help you.

Do I just ask the CFI "do you know of a student that would mind if I tag along...?"

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Yeah, that'd probably be the best way to go about it. Just a word of caution though, don't be suprised if some CFIs/students don't go for it. I won't allow my students to take anyone along on a normal lesson unless:

a.) I know they're not going to puke all over the back seat when we start doing maneuvers (most important).

b.) They are also a currently-flying student or licensed pilot.

c.) I know they're going to get something out of it (other than a free joyride).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with riding backseat on another students lesson. I use to do it all the time. I know that when I was at Pan Am they encouraged everybody to do it. It is an excellent way to learn without actually paying for it. Just ask your instructor if he/she minds and then make sure the other student is cool with it also.
In regards to your other post in this forum, you were talking about chair flying. Take it a step further and actually go sit in the airplane and go through all your maneuvers and procedures. Your flight school should have flows and checklists that they expect you to use for normal and abnormal situations. Dry flying in the plane is a great way to memorize flows and jsut get an overall feel for how things feel. Good luck!
Normally this is encouraged, as long as you are a student at that flight school. At FlightSafety we call it the "Gemini program" It's a great way to learn and should be free. I know of very few instructors (at least at FSI) who don't bend over backward to allow ride alongs on flights.
Dan, that's a great way to do it. You can offer to pay for some of it, but to tell you the truth most students will be more than happy to show off their skills to someone other than their CFI
For radio work, get a scanner and hang out at the airport and just watch and listen. Soon you'll see patterns in the process and you'll learn to anticipate certain things.
Just felt the need to chime in here to say thanks. This thread as well as the "chair flying practice" thread has some really good tips for the newbie's... things I never would of thought of or things I didn't know you could even do! Definately will be filing these suggestions for when I start later this year... Thanks guys!