Pinch Hitter / Flying Companion Program

It’s fun to fly with someone you know and trust at the controls. The time may come, though, when you want to do more than just wait in the lobby and then enjoy a bird’s-eye view. Sharpes Aero can help you be an active participant, both on the ground and in the sky.

For Starters …

Sharpes Aero highly recommend the free Pinch Hitter Course by the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). It will take you just a little over an hour to cover these topics:

  • How you can contribute even before engine start
  • The basics of aircraft flight
  • What the flight controls do
  • The instruments and gauges and what they tell you
  • How to communicate with air traffic controllers
  • An introduction to using navigation equipment

Most importantly, you’ll gain valuable insight into what you can do if the pilot becomes incapacitated.

If you do nothing else with Sharpes Aero, TAKE THIS COURSE! It’s free and the knowledge you’ll gain is invaluable, both in terms of personal satisfaction and flight safety.

(Note: you will be asked to create an account but you do NOT have to be an AOPA member to take this course. Your username is how AOPA maintains transcripts for all the classes you may take.)

Another source of valuable information is “Flying Companion,” a booklet offered by This useful manual describes over four dozen ways a non-pilot can be a helpful crew member.

Taking Your Knowledge Into The Sky

All this being said, Sharpes Aero offers ground and flight instruction to add depth to your knowledge and develop your flying skills. While our program can be tailored, it is guided by the syllabus developed by AOPA and the Air Safety Institute. Here are the topics of each ground and flight lesson:

Ground LessonsFlight Lessons
Introduction & Aircraft ControlAircraft Control
NavigationFundamentals of Flight
Electronic NavigationNavigation
Emergency Communications and Airport ArrivalGraduation Exercise
Each lesson, on the ground or in the sky, takes about an hour to complete.

Another Option

The Ninety-Nines also offer courses for flying non-pilots. They are an international organization of licensed women pilots. Sharpes Aero is a Friend of the Ninety-Nines and, once the COVID-19 crisis passes, we look forward to joining them in advancing your aviation enjoyment and safety.