Expand your passenger safety briefing: Go beyond ‘fasten your seatbelts'

One of the advantages of being in a flying club is the social aspect of aviation. And it’s quite likely many of you invite friends to go flying with you. As pilot in command you are responsible for your passengers’ safety. And one key safety item is a thorough passenger briefing.

 You already know the drill required by the FARs: Before moving the aircraft, you must ensure that all passengers are secured with safety belts (and shoulder harnesses, if installed) and instruct them on how to fasten and unfasten these. But don’t stop there!

A little more information can make a big difference in an emergency situation. You don’t want to scare your passengers, but it is wise to be prepared and take your PIC responsibility seriously. For example, you should demonstrate how to unlatch doors, work the com radio and enter the emergency frequency, and activate a handheld radio to alert ATC or rescue services in the event of an emergency.  

For flights over water, explain where the life vests are stowed and how to don one—and demonstrate this before leaving the ground. Take a moment to discuss what might happen in the unlikely event of an emergency and how your passengers can be of assistance. You’d want to be rescued quickly…and rescuers will need to know where to look. 

The above are just some simple, but effective suggestions. To help you create or improve your club members’ safety briefings, you might plan a safety meeting to watch the Air Safety Institute’s video, Critical Information: The Passenger Safety Briefing, which covers often-overlooked items that should be part of every preflight safety briefing.  

The video includes helpful tips from NTSB and CAP experts, and imparts important knowledge that increases everyone’s odds of survival and rescue. Once you’ve watched the video, download the customizable briefing card to carry in your club airplanes and share with your passengers. The card shows the location of emergency equipment onboard the airplane and how to get help and be rescued.

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