Flying is a lifestyle, it’s a mindset. It’s not just your exciting hobby, it’s an exciting hobby that can be enjoyed together with a significant other and can be used to go to fun places.
So many years ago, my dad bought all of us kids a snowmobile… and true to his style, he didn’t tell mom. I was surprised at how calm she was; she simply informed him that the next thing he would buy would go in the living room, next to the TV, and it would be for people to sit on. Imagine her shock when she came home one day and there was a WaveRunner Jetski in the living room, next to the couch, with the three kids sitting on it. Needless to say, my mom did not appreciate the humor in this.
The moral of this story is that it often helps you enjoy your hobbies if you involve your spouse, or significant other, in them; that way, it’s not a fight, or a disagreement—or an argument about jetski scuff marks in the foyer—but something that is mutually enjoyed by the both of you. It doesn’t mean your significant other has to love your hobby, just that it is a decision and process that he or she feels involved in.
So, how do you incorporate your S.O. in aviation? Just like planning a cross-country flight, it requires forethought, planning and careful execution. It starts with you and how you approach aviation… remember that this person has ridden in a car with you, so ask yourself what they think you are like behind the controls of a plane. That might affect your technique in this area! Set the stage so that the experience will be as appealing as possible to your S.O. Do they like to golf or dive or ski? Are they a fan of a day at the spa? Do they like seeing national monuments? Whatever their interests are, incorporate them into the first flight you plan with them. Give them a
list of a few locations that have a personal attraction for this first time up—maybe no more than an hour away if possible—and have them choose where you’re going. Right off the bat, it’s something that they will enjoy, at least once they get there. So, next comes the journey.
Most of the activities mentioned above are daytime-specific, so in all likelihood, you’ll be flying there during daylight hours. This makes sense, as the ability to see outside the aircraft will make this initial flight most comfortable; planning for a return trip at night time might be a fun experience, as the evening light shows off the surrounding areas are pretty neat to look at. Again, it’s up to you and what you think your S. O. is going to appreciate, or what you think his or her limit is going to be. Back to planning, talk to them about everything you do when you’re choosing routes and altitudes; this is the time to show off and impress them with you knowledge and offset their “behind-the-wheel” experiences with you! Don’t try to be an astronaut! Lines of magnetic variation, compass, installation errors… don’t get too crazy. Keep your jargon simple to keep them involved and interested and definitely don’t scare them by talking about not flying through a military operations area where live firing exercises are commencing. Again, there has to be planning for this. The plan should be fun, easy and encourage a healthy sense of adventure. Make sure you continue all of these practices throughout the flight as well. While you’re not going to let them fly, your S.O. could work the radios, under your tutelage. They can follow along on maps or they can just look outside and say, “Oh my gosh, this is awesome!” Keep everything safe, keep everything fun and, most importantly, keep them involved.
Having someone enjoy your aviation hobby with you is going to make it even more enjoyable for you, which is true of anything, right? (Two’s a crowd, three’s a company, two heads are better than one, bring a friend, one is the loneliest number…what is the sound of one hand clapping? Pick the cliche!) Especially in aviation, where moments of beauty and peace awaits when cruising about it all at 5,000 feet. Just having someone with you to experience the sensation and beauty of flying makes it better. Not only does it enhance your aviation experience, but it enhances your relationship, as there is now just one more thing you and your S.O. can enjoy together. The more you do together, the happier you will be. Flying: it’s not just an education, not just an experience, it’s a relationship builder and fixer.