Deciding between instructors

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by CoreyK, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi PoA,

    I'm just getting started on my journey towards a PPL. I've gone on a couple discovery rides in various craft and I think a Cessna 152 makes the most sense for primary training. There are a couple of schools near me that offer them at similar rates, but I'm having a hard time selecting between two good options.

    Option one is a Sparrowhawk at a school with two such planes (and a third undergoing the Sparrowhawk upgrade). $75/hr wet. Towered airport near me with a CFI available in the morning when the density altitude will be better for these little birds. The one I flew in had ADS-B built in and I've heard good things about the maintenance at the school. I liked the instructor, who seemed very rigorous at least in his application of checklists, which resonates with my goals for myself as a pilot. The only drawback is that he's on the typical CFI career-plan: build enough hours and go ATP. I completely respect his goal, but...

    Option two is an instructor with somewhere near 30,000 hours flown, who retired from the ANG and United, and has flown most everything. He's not going to hit his 1500 hours and bound off to SkyWest leaving me searching for a new CFI (I've heard the horror stories). Undoubtedly CFI 2 has forgotten more about flying than any 10 pre-ATP CFIs combined will ever learn. But... the school has only one 152, and it's not a Sparrowhawk. If it's unavailable for maintenance, I'm either flying something unfamiliar or nothing at all. The airport is non-towered and less convenient to home or work (but not unreasonably). And the CFI isn't available in the mornings, so density altitude is more of a factor when we'd be able to fly.

    I'm leaning toward option 1, as I'm raring to get flying, ideally 3-4 times a week. But I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to learn from someone like CFI 2. What do you all think?

    Also: is this a false dichotomy? What is the etiquette of flying with multiple instructors? Is a reasonable compromise to do the bulk of my flying with CFI 1 due to greater availability, but take an occasional lesson with CFI 2? I don't want to insult anyone, but I also consider myself fully responsible for my training and intend to get the best bang for my (many) bucks.

    Thank you all for your thoughts (and for the many hours I've spent lurking here since I decided I really didn't need any extra money).
     
  2. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    It can be advantageous to fly with a different instructor once or twice during your training, but trying to make it work with two in combination sounds like bad news to me. The instructor is far more important than the airplane, so I discount your comments about the 152. It all boils down to communication...which one "clicks" with you? My inclination is toward #1....his future plans should not affect his ability to train you to proficiency. If you hit a plateau when some maneuver or element is just not working for you, maybe the second instructor will pick up on something or phrase something differently and you will have an "aha" moment.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hold up, you want to fly with a greenhorn CFI with very little experience who's only CFIing just so he won't have to CFI anymore ? Uhhhhhhh


    Go with the 30,000hr guy, like everyday of the week and twice on Sunday's.
     
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  4. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    That's a big part of the problem: 30,000hr guy thinks we might be lucky to go twice a week. Factors: less powerful plane (108HP vs 125HP Sparrowhawk); he's only available in the evenings when it's hotter, pushing the density altitude well above 8,000 feet; weather around here tends to be unsettled in the evenings, so morning flying is more certain. If I want to go up every day of the week I'll have to do it with the pre-ATP CFI.
     
  5. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You’ll barely notice any difference between 108hp and 125hp in a 152. Go with either one and pick the CFI that fits your schedule. Don’t fly with someone just because they have millions of hours under their belt either, it’s irrelevant.
     
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  6. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    I agree, which is why I've spent some time meeting and flying with a few different CFIs. However, when it's 90F at 5000MSL the extra 15HP from the Sparrowhawk will help, right? But perhaps more importantly, having three of the same make and model means I'm less likely to be forced into an unfamiliar type due to maintenance.
     
  7. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    Try one flight with each, and see which one suits you better...like @bobmrg said, "Which one clicks".

    I've had good instructors, and bad...but the instructors' flight hours was not what made them good or bad.
     
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  8. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Negative, the difference is marginal if any. I have experience with both. You may get an extra knot or two out of it up at cruise if you fart hard enough, but that’s about it.
     
  9. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    I haven't flown a Sparrowhawk but the 10hp difference between a 150 and a 152 is pretty significant. I would have thought 15 would be noticeable.
     
  10. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    There is a 152 at the airport that had a Sparrowhawk conversion done in the 90s. Lo and behold, when it came time to replace the engine a few years ago, they put a regular one back in. Would have never known without examining the logbooks closely because they made no effort to undo the STC. So I guess I'm wondering if you're sure it's 125hp.
     
  11. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ours just got back from overhaul about 2 months ago, so yes I am sure. We have three 152’s (two 110hp and one 125hp Aerobat with the Sparrowhawk.)

    In the grand scheme of things, it just performs marginally better than the 110hp variants. Climb performance may be slightly better and you might get an extra knot or two in cruise, but that’s about it. Both flavors will be sufficient for his flight training. A 152 is a 152.

    It’s basically the same comparison as a 172M to a 172N. The extra 10hp doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.
     
  12. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    95% of the CFIs at my field are looking to build hours and move on. Go fly with the 30k instructor once in a while to see what you’re missing, if anything.

    Getting up often is a plus, so pick the one that’ll get you flying more.

    If you’re looking at flying 3-4 times a week, you should be able to go from start to finish with the same CFI.

    Strictly opinion.
     
  13. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you all for your thoughts. I've requested lessons with the junior CFI 3-5x a week, and I'll try to get up with the senior CFI on occasion. Perhaps then I'll have a chance to weigh in on whether that extra 15HP makes a difference ;)
     
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  14. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    First of all, I'm impressed that you're "just starting out", and yet already thinking about density altitude! That was quite some weeks into the PP curriculum for me, but then again, I trained at sea level. :)
    So no matter which horsepower you choose, you will learn a great deal about airplane performance. Figuring out what this (or that) plane can (or can't) do, and when. A skill applicable to any plane.

    Also, there's no harm in trying out a different kind of plane from time to time during training. It might cost a little more, but it can be valuable in itself to, say, try something else from the fleet with more power and "feel" the difference in performance.
    As long as you can do the checkride in a plane that's nice and familiar.

    So yeah... picking a CFI is a very subjective thing that can't really be decided by horsepower factors. Scheduling availability, maybe. But mostly just gut.
     
  15. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Pick the hot chick
     
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  16. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    I'll be flying out of KBJC at nearly 5700MSL. Density altitudes of 9000' aren't far fetched, and with a service ceiling of 14,500 on the 152, that doesn't leave a lot of room above the ground.

    I was able to go up in a co-worker's homebuilt RV6. I'm pretty sure I felt the difference :)
     
  17. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    Like I need another distraction when I'm struggling to remember whether to push or pull the throttle to add power.
     
  18. falconkidding

    falconkidding Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Usually I agree go with someone with more exp however in flight training honestly I'd not hesitate to pick the young new guy. Maybe I've lucked out and just work with some sharp young guys.
     
  19. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Experience is soooo overrated.



    When was a fresh CFI and still a greenhorn CPL I think I was a great CFI, I had a good pass rate and my students liked me, but knowing what I know now, I'd pick today James over greenhorn James all day
     
  20. Bulldog573

    Bulldog573 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree with @tawood. Sounds like you’ve made your decision, but I’m going to give my advice anyway.

    You’re about to spend a lot of high-priced time sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with somebody. I did my first lessons with the guy who was available. He turned out to be somebody I couldn’t spend that much time with.

    I literally interviewed after that, and ended up flying with pilots I truly liked and respected, even when they were busting my chops because they knew I wasn’t performing up to my capabilities on that particular day.

    That made for great training and good memories. I hope you enjoy your experience.
     
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  21. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    It's all appreciated. Thank you.
    The first CFI I went up with left something to be desired. He seemed like an adequate pilot and probably a capable instructor, but there was a bit too much "bro" about him. I'm grateful for that experience, but once was enough.
    Thank you! Enjoyment is my primary goal. Well, it's slightly secondary to the certificate itself, but since I'll be logging 60ish hours on the way I plan to have a good time. At 80 knots.
     
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  22. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    There’s a bunch of good instructors at BJC. You’ll be fine either way, but choose the one you think meets your schedule better, if schedule is tight. Consistent flying is important in the primary lessons.

    Be prepared to drop the 150/152 and go to something with better HP unless both of you are twigs, if you’re starting now as we head into the hottest part of summer. Two seaters are really marginal here.
     
  23. Arizona ATP/CFI

    Arizona ATP/CFI Filing Flight Plan

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    Short answer:
    Don't get caught up in the number of hours the CFI has. Fly with each one once and see who connects better with you. There are some great 'green' instructors and some horrible high time ones, and vice versa.

    Long answer:
    But you may want to consider the teaching experience of the instructor. Is the newer CFI just building time to move on to another gig or are they truly committed to the profession of flight instruction? Did the high time guy get his hours teaching or just flying planes from point A to B? A lot of guys who got 29K of their 30K hours flying the big iron from point to point can be pretty crappy instructors/small aircraft pilots. I have flown with a lot of them.

    I lean toward instructors that have accumulated their hours teaching for several reasons:

    1. Instructors don't make a ton of money. So the ones who have a lot of teaching hours USUALLY do so because thats what they truly enjoy. This more often that not also implies that they are pretty good at it.
    2. If they are productive experienced instructors, they have likely built a solid relationship with the local pilot examiner(s) and know their quirks, preferences and check ride procedures. Yes, the PTS (now ACS) outlines the check ride requirements however each examiner has their own style and preferences. Most examiners build positive relationships with the quality instructors in their area and will work between each other to set you up for success. The examiner wants to get continuing quality business from the instructor and the instructor wants to achieve a good pass rate and reputation with the examiner (all within the framework of training safe aviators, of course). During all of my years as a professional flight instructor I considered my reputation and relationships with my local examiners to be a by-product of the quality of my instruction and my biggest asset.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  24. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I learned at BJC....take the 172 if you are the least bit "hefty." There are days...
     
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  25. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, the push pull knob was a strange interface for me to get used to. I'd pull to add power for the first couple lessons. Out is closed and in is open. But carb heat out is on and in is off. Now I'm getting used to the overhead window roller for trim on a Cherokee, was it wax on or wax off for nose up....????
     
  26. maj75

    maj75 Filing Flight Plan

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    Won’t you still have 8800’ of airspace between the 5700’ altitude of the airport and the 14,000’ aircraft ceiling, no matter the density altitude?
     
  27. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    We got up today in the one awaiting the Sparrowhawk upgrade. It left the ground with some persuasion and managed 8000MSL with a little persistence. This was around noon and the DA was probably close to 9000'. Certainly marginal, but still got it done. My future lessons will happen much earlier in the day, so I think it will be fine (and less bumpy, to boot).
     
  28. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    The service ceiling is really the maximum density altitude of the aircraft. Performance is determined by the density of the air, not by elevation ASL. So if the DA is 9000', as it was today, that leaves 5000' for maneuvering - if you take the service ceiling literally. However, it's not like the aircraft is fine and dandy at 13900 and just hits a limit at 14000: I wouldn't be surprised if the maximum climb rate was below 100fpm above 12000 DA, and maybe you'll get 10fpm above 13500. Which, when it's 90F at KBJC and the field DA is 9000', works out to about 4500AGL . Subtract 1000' for FAA minimums (is this correct?) and you've got 3500, but the top 1500 of that is probably tough to get to. So you've got 2000' where the aircraft is reasonably performant and legal.

    But I'm a total newb and could be misunderstanding everything, so take that with a substantial grain of salt.
     
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  29. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Actually the service ceiling is the point at which the aircraft can no longer sustain a 100 fpm climb.
     
  30. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Correct. This is in contrast to the absolute ceiling.
     
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  31. CoreyK

    CoreyK Filing Flight Plan

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    A sensible definition. Thanks for clarifying and teaching me something.

    That's what I had in mind when I talked out of my ass. Thank you, also, for teaching me.
     
  32. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    As far as I know, (someone will surely correct me if I'm wrong), you don't have to add the legal minimum limits (1000 ft in congested area for example) to the recommended safe altitudes for practicing maneuvers. In other words, you can use that 1000ft as part of your safety margin.

    For my training, we did most of our maneuvering 3000AGL and below.
     
  33. Delta Echo

    Delta Echo Filing Flight Plan

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    there is no option of CFI nr 3? :D
     
  34. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    @CoreyK,

    The other perspective on the 108 vs. 125 hp choice that I didn't see mentioned...

    With less HP, you might learn better energy management and edge of envelope skills with less margin of error which will help make you a better pilot in the long run. If there truly is a performance difference, anyway. I can't speak to whether there is or not like others have. I've never flown a 150/2. I bought an old straight tail 172 and learned how to fly in it...at about 4000' lower than your field.

    That said, I really like your attitude and attention to detail. Have fun, regardless of who you use.
     
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  35. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    My suggestion is fly once with both. Select the one that spends the most time, on the ground, teaching you prior to the flight. If one seems more inclined to get quickly into the airplane and does little teaching on the ground, that's probably the one you don't want.

    Download the free ebook here:
    www.FreeFlyBook.com
     
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  36. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Better option - go out and buy a 152, go anytime you want for just the price of fuel and with the cfi you want. When you are rated, go fly some true cross countries to a place you want to go and get some true experience in the process. Then, sell the 152 for what you paid for it. You will come out a better pilot and it will have been accomplished at a lower cost.
     
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  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Congrats. Going to fly with the other CFI also or ...?

    DA is up over 8000 today and it’s relatively cool out at 72F. July/Aug are coming.

    Fly safe. :)
     
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  38. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    RV6 is usually a Lycoming 320 (160 hp) or 360 (180 hp) which is a HUGE difference here in Colorado in the summer, over the C-150.
     
  39. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    True - you can probably pick up a 150/152 for under $18K. Of course you need to factor in insurance as a student, maintenance, fuel. But on the positive side, keep it for your private and beginning instrument, then sell it for almost/more what you paid for it. Or find another student, and split the cost.
     
  40. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    3000 AGl around here, in the summer, is pushing 10K density altitude.

    Correction thanks for denverpilot...I read 3000 AGL as 3000 MSL. 3000 AGL around here is 8500 MSL, which means when it's really hot, density altitude is already pushing the limit of service ceiling of the 150.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018