Advice in switching CFI's

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by eloise317, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. eloise317

    eloise317 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi,

    I am new to flying and as exciting as it is, I'm a little overwhelmed and still trying to navigate this whole new world.

    I am currently in ground school and have only 4 hours of flight time. I am aware that this may be too early to change CFI's, however I don't feel as if I have improved my skills or gained any confidence in the 4 hours I have had. My instructor was assigned to me by the school and is very nice. He's smart, obviously knows what he's doing, and I like him. However, I am feeling like there is a disconnect when I am flying with him, I don't know what it is and it could very well be me. I just feel like I would benefit from flying with another instructor to see if I maybe respond better to someone else's style. Being so new to flying I really don't know what to do. Should I wait it out and fly more hours with my current CFI? And if not, should I have a conversation with him about it and ask who he recommends I fly with? He is nice and I am sure he would be professional about it, but I don't want it to be awkward or hurt his feelings.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you!!
     
  2. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It's never too early or too late. You have to be comfortable with the CFI, because you'll be in close quarters with each other for awhile. When I first started out I rotated between 3 different CFI's and ruled out one of them. Ended up with the best 2 primary CFI's anybody could ask for.

    In the end, it's your decision. If you don't feel like you're receiving adequate instruction, than it's time to make a change.
     
  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're only at 4 hours. I'd give it some time. Flying is difficult and it's a steep learning curve, especially in the beginning.
     
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  4. classicrock

    classicrock Pre-Flight

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    its your money so when a school has several instructors to choose from, go up with all of them and choose the one you like flying with and makes the most progress with. I have several instructors when i first took lessons, and few of them had really good interpersonal/coaching skills in the cockpit. I eventually left the school went to another one and not only found a better CFI, I also made more progress in 3 months then I did in 6 mos at the first school.
     
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  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Switch and see. "Blame" it on scheduling if you don't want to seem to be criticizing the instructor.
     
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  6. eloise317

    eloise317 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks! Would you recommend I say something to him about it? Send him a text to let him know? Talk to him in person?
     
  7. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I would say try another CFI, see if you like another one better or not.

    Full Disclosure I am a CFI, I would appreciate you telling me you would like to fly with someone else, but would not be offended if you didn't.
    I would even give you some recommendations on who to try.

    Brian
     
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  8. eloise317

    eloise317 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Brian! That's really helpful, talking to him about it was definitely what I was leaning towards, just trying to get some perspective!
     
  9. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    When you learned to drive a car you had the advantage of being an observer for about 12 years before you ever attempted to drive. You knew the rules of the road, how the controls worked, and how to operate the radio. Now that you are learning to fly, you have zero experience as an observer. So your expectations of your performance to date are probably too high. Learning to fly is like learning to walk. It starts with crawling, standing, the first step ect. And really no one taught you, you kinda learned on your own and someone kept you from falling down the stairs.

    Learning to fly is kinda like that, but the CFI is there to teach you proper procedures, speed your learning, and keep you from falling out of the sky.
     
  10. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If the "disconnect" you feel is that you think you are not progressing quickly enough, your expectations may be too high. If your "disconnect" is based on a teaching style/personality issue preventing you from "getting it," switching might be the answer. Only you can tell, but 4 hours in an incredibly short period of time for a sample.

    Me, I'd discuss it with my CFI and, as a CFI, I'd appreciate a student raising any training issue with me. Good CFIs give their students interests a priority. Making arrangements to have another CFI fly with a student who is having some difficulty is not at all uncommon. I've done it even without being asked.
     
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  11. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith En-Route

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    The first few hours in flight training is like drinking from a firehouse, it can be overwhelming. Like someone said earlier, you have no experience/skills/muscle memory etc. to fall back on. First thing I would do is talk candidly with my current instructor, ask his/her opinion, then I would consider other options if I didn't like how it went. My gut says you are expecting too much, but I ate too much last night so my gut could just be complaining.
     
  12. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Now is really the best time to switch or seek out greener pastures, before you get too financially invested and start losing money to having an instructor you simply don't sync with.

    I went through two CFIs before striking gold with my third (don't tell him I equated meeting him to striking gold though... his ego is big enough). One thing he told me straight off the bat, "If you ever feel like this isn't working, try another instructor. It's your money." Any good CFI understands that and will not be offended.

    I'd first have an honest conversation with him/her and see what their thoughts are. Maybe they can shift something in their teaching style to try to sync better to your learning style. Or maybe they'll give you some good suggestions on other CFIs who might work better for you based on the needs you tell them.
     
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Learning to fly isn't easy, if you feel the instructor isn't working for you then change away. BUT keep in mind, in the end it's up to you to learn this stuff. Pilots are a cocky bunch, heck by 4 hours I had completed my first solo cross country!! (not anywhere near true, but you'll hear something like that from someone.) Learning to fly can be frustrating, you need to believe what the instructor tells you, and you need to work to do what the instructor tells you. Notice, I said you a lot, don't get frustrated, but it is up to you to learn it. If you realize that it takes time and lots of practice to become proficient at flying and work at it, you'll do well. If the instructor is an issue, dump him.
     
  14. Ronbonjovi

    Ronbonjovi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I really didn't feel comfortable until around 15 hours and then soloed at 20. It really was like a switch went off in my brain and I started becoming a pilot instead of someone just sitting in the plane with an instructor.
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Please describe the "Disconnect" in more detail. There are many CFI's on here as well as students. Perhaps hearing more about this disconnect will help us understand whether it is a personality thing, a training style thing, or something else.

    My instructor is pretty to the point....most of the time. But then here and there he throws in something challenging or interesting or fun. If he didn't, I think it would be too dry. Also, we're both okay with small talk here and there and I swear he uses it to also purposely distract or task overload me from time to time. I learned early on he has his set of specifics (or perhaps some might say quirks). But I've learned to live with them, mostly related to the order of things. I often feel as we should be doing "that" while waiting for "this". But then I find out just a bit later that the "that" sinks in a lot better if done after the "this".

    Going from your name, your are a woman. When two guys get in a plane and we think a Citation X is bad ass, we just say it. If we think the controller sounds "hot" we just say it. I was a sailor, lots of curse words working on landings...he was totally good with that. Perhaps you would prefer an older one or younger one or one that talks more or less or maybe a female. You gotta go with your gut on this one as it's personal, its your $$$$ and you are in this to finish!

    And now the not so fun part, if the instructor is a guy he's gonna feel rejected no matter what at some level. Yeah, sucks to be a guy :) A good one however will be happy that you said something early, hopefully ask right away if he did something wrong and I bet he'll go out of his way to help you find a better match since he's also gotten to know you for several hours.
     
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    And there are students that encourage a instructor to say "If you ever feel like this isn't working, try another instructor". The it's your money part is trying to be polite.
     
  17. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    He said it because I told him what had happened with my first two CFIs. The first guy did something dumb on my second lesson that blew the windshield in front of my face while we were up. Switched schools after that. The second guy - who I only flew with once - hardly spoke, never let go of the controls, and didn't do much in the way of actual instructing.

    You are right that he was trying to be polite, though. I said I "struck gold" partly because one of the things that was so great about him was that he never once milked my time - or that of any of his students - for money. He teaches because he enjoys teaching... any money made he says he just puts into a retirement account.
     
  18. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    I realize there are flight schools with poor instructors, but going thru 3 instructors is not normal. So either your flight schools were really bad or s.omething else was going on.
     
  19. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    :rolleyes:
     
  20. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't mean to derail the thread, but what's the story behind that? Or is there another thread where you discussed it?
     
  21. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I would say 4 hours is a little early to be able to judge the quality of your CFI unless they're a total a**hole or they're on the controls more than 10% of the time or something.
     
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  22. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Funny enough I was actually going to make a "what NOT to do as an instructor" post on it later this week, just need to get the full video uploaded of the incident.

    Cliffnotes - balloons + cessna = shattered windshield.

    He was a young kid, but I had actually liked him as an instructor. He was good at teaching. But when he took the controls and did that, especially with a student in the plane, it made me seriously question whether he was safe to fly with. To compound the incident, he then lied to the school manager about what happened and did so right in front of me, putting me in an awkward spot when the manager asked me what I knew. That ****ed me off.

    As I said, I switched schools after that.

    Picture attached. I'll try to get the video uploaded tonight.
     

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  23. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wow I can't believe that shattered the windshield. I came within 100 feet of hitting a cluster of balloons about 5 years ago.
     
  24. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    He was intentionally manuevering to strike them.
     
  25. MassPilot

    MassPilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    What a moron. I'm sure he never imagined that it would shatter the windshield, but it could easily have clogged up the primary air intake.
     
  26. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

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    I went through almost a dozen instructors between my private pilot, instrument and commercial. Not everyone is lucky enough to find a good instructor on the first try that also:
    • Fits into their schedule
    • Fits their method of learning
    • Actually knows their stuff and can effectively communicate
    And..when you do find that person, they don't always stick around. Airlines, regionals, corporate flying, etc...all have their appeals.

    I'd rather go through more instructors and learn a variety of ways to do things until I find one I like, then just "stick it out" with one person because I don't want to hurt their feelings.
     
  27. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If it doesn't feel right it doesn't feel right, just tell the manager that you would like to try a diffrent CFI, just a matter of meshing teaching and learning styles. A great CFI for you might not be a great CFI for me, nothing wrong with any of that.
     
  28. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    I bet there was a weight on them that was sized for one balloon.

    clip.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  29. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    That was my initial thought as well, and some others I've told have speculated the same. But when you watch the video and pause it at the time of the shatter - or just before - it really looks like it's one of the red balloons. Plus he had to pick out a piece after landing. It's just crazy that a balloon could do something like that.

    I'll PM you the video I sent MassPilot.