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A couple of years ago, I had a strong fear of flying. Now, I really enjoy it. In fact, it is a dream of mine to sit in the jumpseat of an A320 during takeoff. I've had a handful of flying lessons.

If I took my logbook and explained my interest to the captain, is there any chance this could happen? If not, how could I make it happen?

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    $\begingroup$ See: Can a passenger request to visit the cockpit during a flight? $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Dec 5 '19 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 Not the same. I usually get a visit to the cockpit post-landing with every flight. I want to see a takeoff. $\endgroup$ – Cloud Dec 5 '19 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ If I thought it was a dupe I'd have voted :) Links in comments to related topics are good comments, because then on both posts the Linked section will be populated with relevant posts, which helps those browsing the topic. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Dec 5 '19 at 11:51
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    $\begingroup$ Probably not, unless you're Sam Chui, who has done this many times with many different airlines. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Dec 5 '19 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ Very much not an A320, but some seaplane operators allow you to sit in the co-pilot's seat on commercial flights; Harbour Air in Canada for instance allows you sit there with the pilot's permission; you just have to ask as you board. These are very small aircraft though, around a dozen or so passengers... $\endgroup$ – Muzer Dec 6 '19 at 10:47
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It's hugely unlikely. Almost vanishingly unlikely, with few exceptions perhaps for something a little smaller than a passenger-carrying A380 (like a private jet on a repositioning flight where you know the captain well)

You used to be able to go up and see the captain on the flight deck - I did it a few times as a kid. Even then asking to sit in the jump seat was usually met with a smirk.

And then 9-11 happened.

With effect from 1 November 2003, ICAO Annex 6 was amended so that under Chapter 13.2.2 “all passenger-carrying aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass in excess of 45 500 kg or with a passenger seating capacity greater than 60 shall be equipped with an approved flight crew compartment door that is designed to resist penetration by small arms fire and grenade shrapnel, and to resist forcible intrusions by unauthorised persons. This door shall be capable of being locked and unlocked from either pilot’s station”.

And with that came locking of the cockpit door, and no more visits to the cockpit during flight (incidentally, if you ask nicely, the captain will often let kids take a peek when they're deplaning the passengers)

And then germanwings happened, and they had a rethink. But still no visits to the cockpit during flight at all for the average Joe.

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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61 ok, if your dad is an A330 pilot, you might get lucky. Mere mortals: no chance. Answer updated. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Dec 5 '19 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61 I would be literally amazed if any carrier allows this these days, even for close friends, even for family members. As I alluded to in my answer, I have stood just behind the Captain and FO in the doorway on a private jet re-positioning, but that same Captain now works for a tiny regional airline and there is no way I could do the same now. YMMV. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Dec 5 '19 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61 Can you name the carrier please? $\endgroup$ – Cloud Dec 5 '19 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Cloud I'm sincerely sorry, but no. This is a sensitive issue to some clientele for feeling of safety, hence (and propably many and other reasons) not even the official carrier spokespersons are likely to discuss this in public. Even if I told you, it would not benefit you in any way, as you'd still have to have a strong connection to a pilot. If you have some, ask them. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Dec 5 '19 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ There was also Aeroflot flight 593, in which the pilot allowed his son to sit at the controls, and the worst possible outcome happened. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Dec 6 '19 at 4:30
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As a non-professional pilot, to get a ride in the cockpit jumpseat, you'd have to meet at least three conditions:

  • company policy must allow passenger in jumpseat
  • PIC must allow passenger in jumpseat
  • you'd have to be well known and trusted person to either SIC or PIC (preferrably PIC)

If you fail to meet any of those, no jumpseat ride for you. So, very slim chances, but not impossible.

The aforementioned is based on personal experience, multiple occasions, and applies to a major intercontinental airline which I will not name.

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    $\begingroup$ My dad, a complete stranger to the pilots, got a jumpseat ride on a 737 around two years ago. A passenger fainted during taxi and he (general practitioner) helped sort things out. During cruise FA's came up to him and asked if he would like some token gifts as a thank-you. He jokingly said he'd prefer a visit to the cockpit. A while later he was very discreetly ushered into the cockpit, where he had to stay, cockpit door locked, until all other passengers had deplaned. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Dec 5 '19 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ I got a cockpit ride on an Air France domestic flight a few years ago (pre-Germanwings) with a school buddy. We asked nicely, said we were students at the aerospace engineering school that neighbors the major French airline pilot school, said it was a lifelong dream, the pilots happened to be from that pilot school and indulged us. My buddy did the first half of the flight (takeoff just behind a landing A380 test flight) and I did the second half, a beautiful nightly cloudy approach into LIL. $\endgroup$ – foucdeg Dec 6 '19 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden - So, flight school or med school I guess. Your choice... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Dec 6 '19 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ It's not necessarily what you know, It's also who you know. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Dec 6 '19 at 19:09
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I regrettably inform you that your chances are very slim, outside of actually completing the training required to fly the aircraft.

In this world where aircraft terrorism is always a concern, you would have to have a very good reason to convince the captain why he has to put a complete stranger in the cockpit. To the captain, the stranger is simply someone claiming to have flight experience. To the stranger, it may be an experience; to the captain, it is a routine, daily job, with schedules, policies and regulations to follow.

In my airline, this would be strictly against policy. Even if we were to jumpseat a flight attendant, there has to a necessity to do so (e.g. no rooms in the cabin / broken seat etc.)

There are companies that provide simulator rides to the general public. There are none that provide a jump seat ride as far as I've heard.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the linked company.

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  • $\begingroup$ what do you fly? Can I personally arrange this with you instead? $\endgroup$ – Cloud Dec 5 '19 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ "Kevin, meet @Cloud. Cloud, meet Kevin." There, now you're not complete strangers! I don't think that's going to make someone you've "met" on the internet consider you not a safety risk. If you've been next-door neighbors for the last 10 years, you go to church together, your kids are on the same soccer team and you're regularly invited over for a BBQ, you're probably well known enough for a PIC to put his neck on the line for you. But, you never know... $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Dec 5 '19 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan ... and then there are neighbors of whom we say in retrospect "but they have always been so calm and nice" ;-) $\endgroup$ – PerlDuck Dec 6 '19 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ yeah, @PerlDuck, the neighbors always say, "He seemed so nice and quiet. He always kept to himself..." I figure that between the BBQ attendance and the spouse/kids-in-soccer requirement, though, that should eliminate most of the Uni-bomber types. ;) $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Dec 6 '19 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan Yes, of course. I was more or less kidding. You just can't get into another person's head. $\endgroup$ – PerlDuck Dec 6 '19 at 12:46
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I would suggest to purchase a training session for A320 in a certified flight simulator like this one, for instance. I understand this is not a real flight, but these simulators feature full scale cockpits with all controls, and the realistic algorithms to simulate the flight itself.

A after the instructor giving you an introduction, you will be able to take the controls yourself during take off. This may work pretty well as a counter-measure against the fear of flying.

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This is not really direct answer to the question 'as-is'. It's more answer to 'how can a Non-Pilot' fly regularly in the jumpseat.

Just become Flight Dispatcher. In many airlines that gives you 'Known Crew' badge. And with it and PIC permission you can fly in the cockpit as much as you wish. Dispatchers even trump flight attendands in that regard. Regular jumpsitting is part of the work actually. Some FDs just use it as a meaning of commute - in the US per ALPAs rules AFAIK.

The catch - in the EU the training is 2000 EUR, the course requires you to pass 14 exams - the very same as for ATPL :D

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