The Importance of Pre-Flight Briefings for Riders


For air show pilots who fly two seat aircraft, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the air show business is giving rides. Giving rides to the news media, event sponsors and — best of all – veterans who’ve recently returned from the Middle East adds a useful and fulfilling dimension to air show flying.  Unfortunately, there is risk associated with what we do and there is a reason we wear parachutes. 

After years of giving rides, many of us make light of the emergency briefing we give our passengers. A recent accident in Florida has served as a wakeup call for us all. 

The accident pilot made a point of giving a thorough briefing on in-flight emergency egress, bailing out. His briefing made the difference for his passenger who is alive today because of that preflight briefing. 

Give the briefing in a realistic chronology. Begin with opening or jettisoning the canopy, then releasing and clearing the lap belt and shoulder harness. Explain the terminology you plan on using (what you are going to say) and explain how to actually climb out and dive off the aircraft. Next, go through the motions of counting off two seconds to clear the airplane and then pulling the D ring or ripcord. 

Some passengers may be intimidated by this discussion. You can be serious without being frightening. Do your best to alleviate their apprehension, but the bottom line is that their lives may depend on how well you deliver this potentially vital information.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.