Pilot Filter
June 3, 2011 7:42 PM   Subscribe

How long will it take to fly from southwestern Michigan to Rochester, Minnesota in a Cessna Skylane (piston-single)? As a passenger should I observe the same security measures I do when flying commercial airlines? (Cosmetics in a single bag, no pen knife, etc.)
posted by Mertonian to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Best answer: As a passenger should I observe the same security measures I do when flying commercial airlines? (Cosmetics in a single bag, no pen knife, etc.)

On a private plane? Oh good lord, no. Not unless you're simultaneously a terrorist and someone trying to look like they're thwarting terrorism.
posted by phunniemee at 7:48 PM on June 3, 2011

Best answer: Whoever is doing the flying should give you a briefing, but you will be boarding through a general aviation terminal, so the regular TSA requirements won't apply. The pilot may need to know your weight and weigh the bags if he or she's really packing the airplane (although a Skylane will carry a fair amount). The amount of time in air will really depend on what you run into for headwinds and how far around the Chicago area your pilot decides to take the route. A brief look makes me think around 3-4 hours depending on start and end points.
posted by meinvt at 7:54 PM on June 3, 2011

Best answer: I should add, have fun, and don't be afraid to ask the pilot about anything that you are curious about. Most are delighted to show of their knowledge to anyone interested enough to ask!
posted by meinvt at 7:58 PM on June 3, 2011

Response by poster: Wonderful, thanks everyone! I'm going to Mayo Clinic from Kalamazoo.The flight is a generous gift from a pilot from Angel Flights. It's nice to get a sense of how long we'll be in the air.
posted by Mertonian at 8:12 PM on June 3, 2011

Best answer: Hey that's great news. I've flown in a lot of teeny planes and the things you may not be prepared for is that

1. they're small
2. they're very loud
3. you can see the ground, which you really can't in a commercial liner, not like right below you

Small planes are fun but if you're a nervous flyer you may want to let the pilot know. When I was a kid growing up near a small airfield, the pilots liked to show off and tip the plane a lot or say "Hey you fly" and give you the stick. I thought it was great as a kid but I might not like it so much as an adult if I wasn't expecting it. I presume your pilot will be all business, but as others say ask if you have questions and let them know how you're doing. Usually the whole situation is much more relaxed. I hope it goes well for you.
posted by jessamyn at 8:20 PM on June 3, 2011

Best answer: 4. you'll experience turbulence. If you get motion sick you might want to take some Dramamine or what-have-you beforehand.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2011

I assume it is a round trip travel, but if it is not and you are flying commercial back, you should prepare the bottle sizes and sharp items as if you are traveling commercial so that you don't end up having to ditch a lot of good stuff on the way back.

I second the taking of Dramamine if you get motion sick at all. As noted you will likely hit turbulence at some point, but even if you don't, small planes to tend to sway back and forth a little and are easily moved around by winds. The motion sickness can sneak up on you (especially if you just at a sleeve of double stuffed oreos as my brother did just before we took off). And, as Jessamyn pointed out, they are small so if you travel mates do get motion sick, they will likely do it on you.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:40 AM on June 4, 2011

Yeah, you'll feel turbulence much more strongly in a plane that small. If you like roller coasters and things (as I do!), you'll find it fun; if you get motion sick, as advised above, definitely take some Dramamine.
posted by bassjump at 9:45 AM on June 4, 2011

I do get motion sick, even on big planes, so I'll have my Dramamine ready and avoid the Double-Stuffs for sure!
posted by tangram1 at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2011

If you do experience an onset of motion sickness, try to sit straight/comfortably, breath deeper/normally and keep your eyes up at the horizon. Also, you can ask for more fresh air, which is easy for the pilot to accommodate). Still, eyes on the horizon is the most important thing.
posted by meinvt at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2011

My rule of thumb when I'm flying anywhere is that it will probably take about half as long to fly as to drive. This assumes relatively straight-line distance (driving from the LP to the UP, for example, would take significantly longer, since the plane can cross water) and doesn't include the travel to and from the airport.

As others have said, security is non-existent for general aviation. Just follow the pilot's instructions. Again, a good rule of thumb is to be within eye- and ear-shot of the pilot while you're on the ramp or within any security fencing. Random people wandering around tend to spook security-minded folks. The one regulation that I can think of that holds true whether you're on an airliner or a small airplane is the electronics - make sure to turn your cell phone off before you get in.

Enjoy the trip, Angel Flight is a great organization. I'm more than happy to answer any other questions you have pre-flight if you have them.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:48 PM on June 4, 2011

Actually, I want to mention one more thing. Small airplanes can be tricky to get into and out of if you're even slightly mobility impaired, and the Skylane doesn't have a wing you can step on to get you to the door. It's like half-mounting a horse - you need to put one foot on the wheel strut and sort of half-throw yourself into the open door. If this is a concern, you might want to see if the pilot has a small stepladder for you.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:13 PM on June 4, 2011

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