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Would you allow a passenger to 'have a go' on the controls?

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Would you allow a passenger to 'have a go' on the controls?

Old 4th Mar 2020, 11:17
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 59
Posts: 4,444
I remember that flying from Denham (many years ago) Tiger Moth and Magister sticks were removed before passengers were carried.
I'm guessing that the aircraft being referred to were not being flown by their owners, with the passengers. In which case, the owner does have the privilege of removing removable sticks if they wish, they don't need to justify their reasoning to rental pilots. And, both of those types being dual tandem cockpits, there is a very much higher risk that with dual controls, a non instructor pilot, and a non pilot passenger who is being offered the opportunity to fly, that no one might be flying the plane! This has been a problem in Cubs and Citabrias, where the "pilot" cannot see that the other person is, or is not actually flying. Passengers tend to let go at the strangest times.

And, when I know I'm going to carry a number of passengers, or a big one, in the planes I own, I do remove the right side controls, simply to prevent their interfering. This is also very common in helicopters. In my flying boat (stick, not control wheel), accidental passenger interference during a water takeoff or landing could go very wrong.
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Old 4th Mar 2020, 14:52
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: ZRH
Age: 57
Posts: 562
Originally Posted by Jim59 View Post
Have you ever allowed a passenger, qualified or otherwise, to handle the controls on an SEP whilst you are PIC? If so would you do it again?
In the past yes, long time ago. Today I would no longer do it for exactly the reasons you ask the question, unless that person is qualified ON THE PARTICULAR AIRPLANE, that is one of the pilots who operates it regularly within the group. We do not have specified people listed in our airplane (unspecified pilots) in the insurance, so that particular loophole could not have been used against us.

To let unqualified people fly under safe conditions was a nice thing to do in the past and certainly has brought many people into aviation. I have enjoyed this very much in the past, but given the current legal climate, in which everything will be used against you and upheld by the legal system, I would not do it anymore today. There also have been some prominent accidents where pilots were accused later on to have let their passengers at the controls, usually with very massive consequences for the operator.

In fact, I am quite reluctant to take passengers at all these days for the very same reasons, a) many halfways expect they can have a go and b) it may well be a legal nightmare if something happens.

What has to be addressed at some point will be that insurances have become a power under themselves often overriding regulatory efforts to simplify flying. Particularly in the US it appears that they regularly refuse people cover who are perfectly qualified to fly a particular airplane but insurers are increasingly unwilling to insure e.g. younger pilots who buy their first complex or similar unless they fly lots of hours with safety pilots or instructors. If someone is deemed qualified by the competent authority, then I don't think it is appropriate for insurers to demand additional qualifications. But that is another business.

The particular case you mention is a trap into which quite a few syndicates or owners who do not specify pilots by name can fall into. One reason why we decided to include "unspecified ppl or higher" rather than "5 named pilots". Yes it costs a bit more but it will cover you in the case you decide to share a flight with a competent and qualified pilot who is not listed.
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