CFI's thoughts after one of thier studets has an accident?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by A1Topgun, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. A1Topgun

    A1Topgun Line Up and Wait

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    After many years and many CFI hours it happened, a student practicing TO & LNDs hit a snow bank on roll out which caused an accident. No injuries, but airplane damage. I know "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing." , but it is different when you are personally involved.
    Are there others out there who have had this experience? What are / were your thoughts?
     
  2. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Student accidents are not common. You might want to review if allowing student T&Gs are worth the risk.
     
  3. A1Topgun

    A1Topgun Line Up and Wait

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    I do not teach t&Gs. Go around or full stop.
     
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  4. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    The solution to this is easy - move somewhere it doesn't snow.

    Saying that, it snowed here yesterday - I spent the afternoon shoveling in front of the hangar so it wouldn't freeze overnight and so I could fly with my student today!
     
  5. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oh man... oh ya!! So I’m a military competency CFI, totally legal, but qualified? Eh, who knows?

    a guy walks into my hangar, long story short needs an instructor as he’s having a hard time keeping a CFI. Spoiler alert, THIS IS A SIGN!

    At this point I’ve taught my son to fly, and flown a little with friends’ kids... and that’s about it in the light civil arena.

    He’s got a 152, I eyeball it pretty good, all seems fine. I go fly with the guy, pretty sharp, he catches on to EVERYTHING quick. Flaring high is only problem in pattern. Third lesson I solo him... no sweat.

    I tell him he’s gotta get a real instructor to prep him for checkride, he does, he gets PPL.

    NOW the fun begins... he finds a Baron no one I know will touch with a 40’ pole, wants me to ferry it for him. Nope, I have a ATP but ONLY light civil twin I’ve EVER flown was my ATP check ride, I know better. And this guy is WEIRD. Three phones, acquires SEVERAL more planes, doesn’t seem to have a job... All this goes down in MONTHS.

    Now he’s asking me about flying twins... I flatly tell him it’s NO different than a single, as long as he reaches over and KILLS the second engine if he ever loses one! At that point he’s as qualified as he ever was... but (think Schultz from Hogan’s hero’s) I KNOW NOTHING!!! By now I’m distancing myself. I do make it CLEAR he shouldn’t fly ANY twin, period.

    A year goes by... I see him flying that twin now and then, no clue if he’s ever got instruction...

    And then the day comes, all over the news, Oshkosh based pilot flees the police in his twin engine airplane nearly hitting squad cars while taking off without clearance blah blah blah. He fly’s it around until he’s out of gas and crashes in a bean field, banged up pretty bad, goes straight to jail, does not collect $200.

    I FULLY expected a phone call (“has anyone seen Flick? Ralphie, have you seen Flick? ...”). Never came. Never really sure what his gig was though I got a couple ideas.

    Bottom line, you’re pretty much on the hook for paperwork being in order, and rules being followed to the extent you have control over them. Your students are their own people, and generally responsible for themselves. If your conscience is clear, and you’re diligent, nothing to fear, and things do happen.
     
  6. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    You can't babysit forever, and yes, if you teach long enough it will happen. Had a guy that I flew with, but was NOT my primary student, I helped with some supplemental training in an area he was deficient in. Another CFI had already signed them off for a checkride and in my personal opinion should not have. Predictably failed that checkride (in another state) on the items I expected but eventually passed later. Not too long later the airplane was destroyed and both pilots on board killed. I knew the plane from the pics, and the seat I used was destroyed... it's difficult to deal with even if you know you weren't at fault.

    I've had a few other things happen with students, but that was worse. It still makes me sad to think of it.
     
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  7. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    I knew a student who ran out of gas on a cross country. His instructor had him top off the tanks before he departed..........except he didn't. The student said the fuel truck was going to be 15 minutes, so he took off without refueling. He said he "thought" he had enough, and almost did. He crashed 1/2 mile from BFI in a parking lot. The instructor got in trouble for not staying for the truck.
     
  8. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Early on in my instructing days, I had a signed off for solo student pilot run the wingtip of his personal plane into the corner of a hangar, while I was out flying with another student. Felt bad about it for a while, but not sure what more I could have done as an instructor to make him pay attention while taxiing. He learned his lesson though.
     
  9. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Yeah. I had one student total a 152 on landing. He lost directional control and hit a pile of snow. No injuries. That one turned into a mess. When the insurance company went after the guy he sued everyone. Fortunately he was flying without authorization and we could document it well. Eventually I was off the hook but it was stressful.

    Had another primary student kill himself buzzing a house years later after he finished instrument rating with a different instructor.

    I can’t make decisions for other people. All I can do is educate to the best of my ability so they make informed decisions. They still do dumb **** sometimes.
     
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  10. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    "Got in trouble" with...? The flight school? The FAA?
     
  11. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    One year warning from FAA
     
  12. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    I called my client up when his aircraft appeared on the ASIAS report.

    Before I could start asking questions he said that he had done three things I had told him not to do and explained exactly what had happened and why.

    I was pleased that he remembered what I had taught him and frustrated that he had done these things anyway.

    I continue to modify my instruction as I learn and I learn from every client.

    I try to teach aviation decision making and sometimes I fail.
     
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  13. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I feel your pain. It happens. The FAA will want all the paperwork to look over. Since there were no injuries, (except sleepless nights) thats probably about it. However, someone will have to be responsible for the airplane, financially. Out come the lawyers to make a buck. The insurance company,(if there was hull insurance) will want to recoup their losses if they can. Who is insured? The owner is, possibly no one else. Rental operations often only cover themselves. So who is financially responsible? I'm lucky, i have never had a student bend metal. Had a couple of pilots ding planes I had worked on. I have done a few professional witness gig's. those are real eye openers.
     
  14. RonP

    RonP Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not directly on topic but a lot of instructors replied so.......thank you for what you do! I have unintentionally accidentally almost killed my instructors learning how to land. You guys should have been western gun slingers on how fast you can say “my plane” and grab the controls and save us and the airplane. It is a great burden of responsibility to cut one loose on their first solo which requires a lot of confidence and nerves of steel watching that first solo landing. Thank to all the instructors that get us fledglings into the air safely and with confidence.
     
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  15. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I always say I learned more ways to kill myself, or more wrong ways to do something in an airplane since becoming an instructor. My students are truly creative! I'd like to think it's made me a better pilot.
     
  16. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I believe this. I'm not an instructor yet, but I have been flying with a very good friend that wants to get her pilots license. I'm practicing instructing (making me a better pilot) and she's learning a lot too. I like to say we're teaching each other.
     
  17. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    "I like to say we're teaching each other."

    Popcorn anyone? :D
     
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  18. brien23

    brien23 Cleared for Takeoff

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    You can always tell the new CFI's they stand out close to the runway for their first student solo fingers crossed and in a sweat. The old ones might watch the take off go in have a cup of coffee listen to the radio for a call turning final. Go out watch the landing go back in the warm hangar finish their coffee and after the student gets back tell him what a great job they did. Cut his shirt tail, do a little art work and again tell the student what a great job he did, while charging him for all the time spent on the couch .
     
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  19. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    i had a student go off the side of the runway on his first solo cross county. we had flown the same flight dual a couple of days earlier with no problems. this student came to me as a "hard case". I met him at the airport, went over the paperwork and weather and watched him take off. later i got a call that he had crashed. he was ok, but needed a ride home. I hopped in my twin and went and picked him up. we talked about what went wrong, and what he should have done different. same as others have said, he told me he did a couple of things I told him not to do, and that it was his screw up. I got a call from the FAA a few days later that they wanted to see me, I elected to not do the lawyer up thing and just meet them. the inspector was a good guy, he put the students log book on the table and a copy of the far aim and pointed to the FAR on requirements for solo cross country flight. he said, "show me everything on that list in his log book" I went down the list, pointing things out in the logbook. I got to one requirement and said, "that was here in this flight". he said, "thats the only point I have for you, I dont care how many lines in the logbook it takes, fill it out exactly as the FAR states. I know you did it, but its not exactly written here." he said that the student made a mistake that his experience could not cover, and those things happen, no fault of the instruction he received. we talked about a few other things, he said, thats all I wanted to point out to you. case closed.
     
  20. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    The worst one I saw was a new instructor that the 1st person he sent solo was his wife. I think I watched him smoke a full pack of cigarettes while she was soloing.
    After 22 years of instructing I tend to fall into the latter category. But Usually pull my phone out and take a video of the 1st landing to give to them afterwards.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL