Need advice from CFI's on how to deal with a fearful student

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Salty, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. Hawker800

    Hawker800 Line Up and Wait

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    I'll even send him a free new copy.
     
  2. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Good luck!

    Just something about how you described him, I admire the guy for pushing so hard even with the fear. There is SOMETHING there with this person, I hope it works out. He really seems to want to do it. What is your take on him? Gut feeling? Is his desire for this going to make him accept that there IS turbulence and all of the other stuff?

    I like this story!
     
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  3. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    He has a strong desire, but being that I don't yet understand the basis for his fear, I can't really say more yet.

    Unfortunately for him, I think he's convinced himself that I'm a "safe" way for him to get over this. I think that he believes I won't push him too hard, where a real instructor might (look at what some instructors on this thread have said, for example, I think he'd have quit after one flight with some of them)

    That's where I plan on having a hard discussion with him. I'm ok with going slow with him, but I think it's better to figure out what's going on before we go further.
     
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  4. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    You know my limited experience, I'm just a student, but it seems to me you are putting in the time and the thought and you should trust your instincts. I do have experience as a student and I think you have insight into his mindset. We students I think have a tendency to make mountains out of moelehills and miss important points. He's just starting, or trying to start. I think you will figure out what he needs or else maybe he wasn't meant to fly. One or the other will be the outcome but you seem to me to be doing all you can to help.
     
  5. pepsi

    pepsi Filing Flight Plan

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    Ok, he has to be honest and ask to himself the good questions, does he want to be a pilot or does he love the idea to be a pilot ? I had a lot of student that was scared to death and only one get his cpl.
    I let you imagine what will happen when you have to teach him spin, or power on stall ... seriously you have to be honest with him too, flying it is not for him, period.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Salty: Something you might consider with him.... Early morning, pre-sunrise flight to somewhere close for breakfast. Takeoff just before first light, so the horizon is either not visible or is indistinct. Have him hands on, following all control movements, from takeoff to landing. Get a leisurely breakfast, then do the same technique on the the flight home.

    We did something very similar when people got rides in the SF-260 and wanted to try some acro, but were very scared of it. It was pretty cool to see the airplane roll back onto the ramp and the passengers have that sh** eatin grin on their face.
     
  7. 1600vw

    1600vw Pattern Altitude

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    When I started flying it scared the bageezsers out of me. I had my cfi tell me I could put my hands on my lap, he was worried I was messing with the throttle that was off to my side. I told him I had a death grip on the seat and was not letting go. On the way to training in the car, it was all I could do not to turn around and go home, I was that scared. After a few weeks training my cfi wanted to turn me loose to solo. I told him no I was not ready for I was still scared. It took a few more days of flying before I started to settle down. If you would have seen me in this time you would have said what you did above. Flying is not for this person. But I wanted to fly. My fear was not holding me back I was not letting it, but I still had this fear. Don't tell someone they can not fly because of fear. We all have fear. Explain to this person it is how you handle this fear or over come it. The deal breaker for a newbie pilot IMHO is lack of skill. That is hard to over come and some can not. They either have the skills to fly or they do not. Not everyone can be taught these skills. But fear can be managed.
     
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  8. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Salty, any new developments there? Has he soured on it, or still asking to go for more?
     
  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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  10. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    His vacation and my unplanned trip have delayed us. Will probably meet with him next weekend.
     
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  11. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    One of the advantages of Young Eagles, at least our chapter.
    1. only fly on calm or light winds
    2. evening before, all the kids and any interested parents, attend a 2hr ground school (we're unique AFAIK)
    3. Our Acro/CFII sits right seat and treats it like an intro flight, she talks the kid thru takeoff, the rest of the flight but she does the landing
    4. For the rest of us, we do TO but if they want, the kid does the rest of the flight. I talk them thru turns, climbs and descents. And make them help with the checklist.

    I've had one who freaked. We're rolling down the runway for takeoff and he decides he doesn't want to go. Pull power, slow down enough to get on the brakes, turn off midway down the runway. Unfortunately Dad was in back, and he wanted to go fly. Got him hushed up, and the kid & I just sat in the plane on the ramp chatting, about flying, cars, skiing. My preflight always emphasizes this is for you and should be fun, and if you're not having fun, tell me and we'll come home. After a bit (about 10-15 min) he decided he wants to try again.

    Non-stop grins.

    I think he got his glider cert last year.
     
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  12. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Weather and busy schedules means we haven’t gotten together but once since I started this thread. We had a long talk and flew the sim a bit. I showed him an engine out at 1000 feet, and again at 4000. We landed in a field on the first and on a runway on the second. I also showed hm a steep turn and explained that the airplane is capable of far more, and everyone that gets a license practices this maneuver many times. It’s perfectly safe.

    That seemed to help him a lot. And he wanted to borrow stick and rudder, so I lent it to him. He’s talking brave now wanting to try again and do more, so we’ll see how it goes.
     
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  13. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Sounds like you have a good plan. Time will tell. One thing also might be an idea, since you are using the simulator with him, when you show him a 30 or 45 degree bank, switch to outside view and show how little it really is. I grew up with a pilot father and flying with him, and 35 degree banks or so I think feel like a lot more like 90 until one gets used to it. I was surprised on first flight after so many years how much more it looks like from the cockpit, specially looking out the side window on the down side. If I already mentioned it here, repeating myself, just ignore.
     
  14. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    We flew for almost 3 hours yesterday in a light sport. He did ok considering it bounces around a lot more than the 172 I had taken him in previously. I stretched him a little on steeper banks, clouds kept us from going real high. We had 2 nice landings, but back home I was getting tired and was trying too hard to not stress him out and kept ending up on final too high and too fast, so it took 2 go arounds before I had an approach that was on the right slope and speed. Having things not go perfectly was a good experience for him. I explained why we didn't "force" a landing when things weren't right. I think it will help.

    But he's still too scared to even hold the controls and follow my actions....
     
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  15. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    kudos to you for keeping at it and helping a future aviator
     
  16. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    I think he’s gonna make it. Took him for a short flight today and he flew the entire cruise portion of the flight, even did a 360 turn and held altitude. And he was much much more calm.
     
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  17. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Oh, looks like I forgot to post that I convinced him to fly with a real instructor two weeks ago and she managed to get him to take the controls. He wasn’t calm, but then today he seemed to settle in.
     
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  18. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Also, I think forcing him to do one thing outside his comfort zone each flight has been working. Last time it was making him take the controls. This time, I did a 30 degree 360, which to him seemed insane when we were on the ground, but by 270 degrees he was relaxed. He wanted to have a “safe word” to abort, I said, ok, but were just going to do it and it’s no big deal. And we did. Then he flew us back home, did a 360 on the way at 10 degrees all by himself and was calmer than I’ve seen him yet.
     
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  19. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    That’s nice of you. And a milestone each time he breaks through another barrier.
     
  20. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    So the Xanax-vodka-mocha-lattes are working?
     
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  21. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    I have one before every flight. Lol
     
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  22. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    Well played, sir. Well played!
     
  23. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just verbally walk him through everything you're doing in the cockpit (as you do it). I've found that to be helpful. That said, some people will take flight experience in a small aircraft much differently than others. I remember my wife coming with me on her first flight. To my delight she was more calm and comfortable than I thought she would be. Either she really enjoyed flying or she was just way too excited to see a dream come true for me :)