Taking Mom Flying


New Member
Well, for a long time, my mother was scared of the idea of me becoming a pilot. After being at it for a few years and almost completing my instrument rating, she's now thinking she might want to go up with me sometime soon. Personally, I think its a good idea, as it might make her worry less about me whenever I take to the skies since she'll be able to experience it all first hand.

When it happens, I think I'll want us to go up in a 172R, because I think she'll be more comfortable in a newer airplane that has a few more bells and whistles. I'm also going to try to avoid a day where the air is bumpy, because I'm not sure how she would react to turbulence. She's gone on several airline flights recently without getting airsick or anything like that, but as we know, light planes can't fly above all the turbulence like jetliners can.

Have any of you ever taken your scared mothers flying before? If so, how did it go? And do you have any suggestions?
I took my scared wife flying, and it didn't go too well. If it's smaller than a Winnebago, she's not getting on. The day I took her up it was bumpy, and we were headed across the state for lunch. We got about 10 miles out before she asked me to turn around.

On a positive note, I've taken about 10 people up who were scared that did just fine. Just explain everything you're doing and see if they have any questions. If you're worried about turbulence you can always go up at night when there aren't as many thermals and everything looks pretty to a passenger. If she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to go again. At least she's brave enough to try it once!

I have the same problem with my mother. She’s simply scared to death of flying, whether it’s on an airliner or a 172. Now that I’ve been flying for a year now, I think she’s ready to go up, but we haven’t exactly set a date yet. I also think I’ll use the newer airplane when I take her up. I think it will make her “feel” safer in the new one as apposed to an early eighties model 172.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
I took my scared dad up shortly after getting my license. The key is to give your passengers something to do or think about so they don't start wandering off thinking about what 'might' happen. A few examples include explaining some of the basic instruments, giving them something to read during your preflight (maybe some kind of info on the plane you're going to fly them in), explaining what the controllers are saying, etc. Another key is to keep the flight nice and short, just a quick jaunt around the pattern or in the practice area, and all the while ask how it is going and how they are feeling. Keep the banks shallow, smooth, and coordinated. The only other thing I can think of is to just downplay everything, i.e. during the preflight don't point to the elevator and say something like 'if this falls off they're gonna be scraping our brains off the sidewalks with shovels', just point to it and say this is how we control the plane.

Since that first short flight, my dad has gone with me on a *real* cross country (something like 2hrs) and we now have a Vegas overnighter planned (5 hrs round trip), though I'm sure the destination has something to do with that!

My Mom has flown with me once, but I'll get her back in the plane again this summer. She's not exactly fond of flying in small planes. I think when she was younger one of her cousins took her up and scared the sh*t out of her probably trying to impress her by doing something stupid. I thought I was pretty lucky to get her in the plane as my one of my first two passangers (my Dad came with us). She was a little nervous, but calmed down once she had something to do. We flew over our house and she thought that was neat and all. She freaked out a little when I took my hands off the yoke to do something after I had trimmed the plane out. She yelled over the intercom "FLY WITH BOTH HANDS! FLY WITH BOTH HANDS!" She didn't understand the idea of trim.

Make sure it's smooth (go up first or ask someone) and as people say; give them something to do or look at.


John Herreshoff
I took my parents out for an air tour of Phoenix last year. My mother was scared of flying before that. She had only been in an airplane once before they flew out to visit. She got over her fear of flying very quickly. On the flight to Phoenix, she clung tight to my Dad. On the flight back home, they couldn't sit near each other and my Mom was perfectly content without having my Dad within arm's reach.

I took them up in an arrow, since I was flying that plane at the time and felt most comfortable with it. I did a thorough preflight before they arrived and then did a quick walk around while they watched. Between the walk around and the runup, my Mom felt very safe knowing that we go through a series of checks before every flight to be sure the plane will be safe.

I made a beautiful, smooth takeoff and she didn't realize we had lifted off until we had climbed 100'. The air was perfectly calm that day and I flew over my house and a few sites that they had seen on the driving tour. Then, I flew them through the PHX transition, right over Sky Harbor airport as airliners were taking off and landing 2000' below us. I entered the pattern, as instructed, on a 4nm base leg and Mom was wondering how I was going to land on the runway when I wasn't flying toward it. When I turned final, she realized, "Oh, I guess my boy knows what he's doing!" I had 4nm on final to think about the pressure of making a perfect landing. I knew I couldn't screw the great flight with a horrible, hard landing. And I also knew that thinking about it would cause me to f up the landing. I made the smoothest landing that I have ever made. I was even impressed with myself

I had a professional demeanor throughtout the entire flight. Mom was very impressed with my ability to fly the airplane and to communicate with Phoenix approach with all the other traffic on the radio. She realized that there is nothing to be afraid of when she saw first-hand that the pilots in control of aircraft are very well trained and professional.

I offered the controls to Dad, who was sitting in the copilot seat, but he declined.
My mom said to me that she'll be flying with me once I make it to an Boeing cockpit... Oh well that's going to take a while. But I think that she more curious than before about trying out, so she might decide to go up with me sooner than planned.

I took my girlfriend flying, not once but twice, and she not particulary fond on flying. The first time went very well and she loved the view on final, she said landing was a blast! Or maybe she was just happy to be back on the ground?!
The only thing she didn't like was the turns from base to final.

The second time didn't went as well as the first. We took off and we encountered light turbulence at our altitude, after 5 minutes she asked me to turn back. I think that turbulence really scared her and now she pretty much doesn't want to go up with me anymore
She did an amazing job helping me to spot traffic though!

So when you take someone who doesn't like flying very much, be sure to make gentle turns, esp in the circuit and check the weather for signs of turbulence.
I guess I have a very "brave" mother. In fact, she always says that she wanted to be a pilot herself and that she's living vicariously through me and my flight training. She became a Doctor instead and I'm greatful to her for helping me out so much in paying for everything.

I've flown with her in 172's on three seperate occasions. I've flown with my dad only once in a 182RG and I have to say my mom was more comfortable in the air. My dad even admitted to me that after the flight he was feeling a little queasy. My mom, on the other hand, just busts out her sewing and does cross stitch for the whole flight
Haven't had a complaint out of her yet; she just comments on how great the views are from the air.
I've taken my Dad up, and he was a little nervous about some parts of the flight, but loved it! My Mom, on the other hand, won't get in a small plane... But, she said when I get a job with an airline she'll buy a round trip ticket on one of my first flights and fly with me then.
I had scheduled to take my dad on his first flight with me, back on 9/11/01. We had to cancel.

He won't schedule another flight with me, because he "doesn't want anything else to happen".

I think he's kidding.
You know what's funny is that my mother has never been in an airplane!

I've offered, but I think I'd sooner convince my cat to swim the Colorado river than have my mom step into an airplane.
I am about to make my first solo this week, and my mom doesn't even want me to remind her until it's already over with and I'm back on the ground.

So needless to say once I have my private license, it will be a while before she will feel ready to ride with me in an airplane I'm flying.

My dad's a little nervous also, but he says he'll like to fly with me as soon as I get my license.
My mum did not want to hear about my first solo, my dad on the other hand was there watching. My mom was my first passenger when I got my lincense, my dad did not go flying with me until about 5 months after I got my license.
I've had a few passengers that were very nervous. I think the best thing to explain to passengers that have never been in a small plane before is the stall horn. If you don't tell them about that before you take off, they will get really scared if they hear it during a landing.
LOL about that stall horn. I took my grandma up once and she almost had a stroke after it went off in the flare! She sure asked me a lot of questions about that thing after we got out of the airplane.