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Companion Copilot

The Companion Copilot video series provides frequent companion passengers—who are not pilots—an opportunity to learn more about how they can pinch hit and help their pilot and enjoy being an active participant in the flight.

The series covers preflight tasks, simple aerodynamics concepts, navigation and communication considerations, checklist use, and emergency procedures. Non-pilot passengers will learn how they can help with the preflight, route planning, navigation, and radio communications, including how to work with ATC.

They’ll come away with a greater understanding of how airplanes fly and be better prepared to enjoy the flight, knowing they can be of help using fundamental concepts reviewed in the videos.

Note, the video series is intended to give viewers an overview of basic flying concepts. To learn more, see the resources below and talk to your pilot or a certificated flight instructor.


AOPA Foundation donor Libby Maus introduces viewers to the video series aimed at providing frequent companion passengers a positive flight experience as participating passengers. Learn about flight planning, route and weather considerations, go/no-go decisions, and the role you as a non-pilot can play in making it a safe and enjoyable flight.


This video explains basic aerodynamic concepts, how the flight controls work, and that the airplane can glide to a safe landing if an engine were to quit. Get a broad overview of glass and conventional avionics, including how to use and monitor those systems.


Review aeronautical charts used for flight route planning and navigation, including a discussion of GPS functions, how to locate airports, pinpointing the destination, and using ATC to obtain taxi instructions.


Learn about communication radio functions, how to tune and activate frequencies, and transponder use. Also, get tips on how to speak on the radio and how to work with ATC.


This video explains what to do in case of an emergency, such as an engine or other system failure. Emergency discusses how to pinch hit and help your pilot using the emergency checklist, ATC, and the knowledge you’ve gained from the previous videos.

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