You are responsible for your training

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by jonvcaples, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Ejection Handle Pulled

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    There are many questions about how to ensure the quality of your aviation training. Let's cut to the heart of things.

    1-You and only you are responsible for your training! Surprised? Why? Your relationship with an instructor is, or should be, like those with other professionals like doctors, lawyers, and other people you pay to provide services and knowledge. If you are not comfortable with your instructor replace them! An instructor's job is to teach YOU how to be a pilot. How to manipulate the controls is only a small part of being a pilot. To succeed you must develop decision making, information processing, and a box of tools plus the ability to use the right tool to solve the problem at hand.

    2-Finding a good instructor for you may take time. And, you may need to try several people to find the best for you. Sometimes you kiss a lot of frogs before finding your princess or prince. A partial list of criteria are: do you get along (smoker, poor hygiene, inadequate communication skills), do you brief and critique the lesson, are you given homework, and do you feel like you are treated as an individual.

    3-What reference material does your instructor use? Beware someone who does everything extemporaneous! You should be provided a list of items such as the FAR/AIM, appropriate aeronautical charts and supplies (plotter, computer, etc.), PTS or ACH, and aircraft information (weight and balance, POH, equipment list). Does your instructor use these materials? If not then you probably need a new one.

    Hope this helps!

    Jon
     
  2. mmaclauchlan

    mmaclauchlan Filing Flight Plan

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    I think part of the problem is that new students don't know what to look for. They may think a subpar instructor is doing a great job, not knowing any better.
     
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  3. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This is the issue. We don't know what we don't know. We can't assesses the instructor's level of knowledge that well but this does not prevent one from assessing whether the traits of the instructor means a good or bad fit. We know whether we like or dislike someone based on first impressions. That subjective assessment counts and is just as important as any other variable. Another one I like because it can be done at first meeting - whether CFI, doctor, lawyer, plumber, whatever - is how they respond to questions. Do they seem even slightly annoyed by them or are they open and give satisfying explanations?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  4. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The real problem is the system is set up such that the majority of instructors are low hours and zero experience.
     
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  5. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, I'd like to see the 1500 hour rule for CFI's also. The problem is, you are either a good teacher or you aren't. Experience is secondary in that regard.
     
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  6. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Agreed. My primary instructor was young, and was obviously trying to build time to get a commercial flying job. He had gone to one of those ATP schools. I ended up being his first student that he signed off for the private test. All the red flags. But he was a great teacher. He really cared about instructing, was patient, and really did know his stuff well. (He was very calm when I killed the engine doing stall recoveries.) Did he know everything that a very well seasoned pilot would? No, of course not. But I also took my own learning into my own hands and didn't just wait to be spoon fed everything. And I always try to keep learning.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I agree a low hours pilot can still be a good teacher, but when the Industry creates a situation where people with no interest in teaching are the most common teachers, well.....
     
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  8. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    STOP THE PRESSES. Ravioli agrees with @Salty

    My premise: Why would FOI (Fundamentals of Instruction) be a requirement for CFI, and be the least favorite part of the certification, if people who wanted to teach flying were interested in learning theory and being good at it? Nah, we don't need that, we can land in 62' and show you how.
     
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  9. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    As far as why it would be required, what method would you propose to replace it?
     
  10. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have seen the quality of CFIs going right down the toilet in the past 10 years. I get more shocked when I see some people actually pass the CFI checkride that have subpar knowledge.

    Also now with the airlines snatching pilot up like crazy, all these new CFIs just do what they can to get the hours as quick as possible. They don’t want to instruct, they are just going through the motions as quick as possible. They don’t take pride in teaching and having standards in thier teaching.
     
  11. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    did the rest of the sentence help? "...if people who wanted to teach flying were interested in learning theory and being good at it?"
     
  12. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, it's not needed if you already have a teaching cert.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    How would you determine that they were “good at it” in order to issue the certificate without any kind of standard?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  14. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    Most other professionals (lawyers, plumbers, etc.) perform a service or produce a product, while you do nothing but receive the product or service at the end.
    Teachers are also professionals, and yes, students deserve quality in their service... but the nature of the relationship is very different. It's more like having a personal trainer; they can't lose the weight for you.
    I deal with college students all the time who seem to have a "I paid for this course, it's your job to pass me" attitude about education generally, and it's very frustrating.

    The young airline-bound CFI's I've had were great. The worst I've had was an old guy who'd been teaching for decades. Judging teaching effectiveness is just plain HARD, anyone who claims there's a good objective measure for it, is wrong. Students are all different, and sometimes it's as much a matter of finding a good match as anything else.

    Flight students should be encouraged to "shop around" for CFI's, to find one that works on their wavelength, whether they're young or old or airline-bound or not.
     
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  15. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I disagree this is as big a problem as some claim. Flight experience has some relationship to teaching ability but I think it's overrated. I've known folks who were very good instructors from the very beginning. Often they have what I call the "teaching gene." They understand things quickly, have an almost natural ability to communicate what they do know effectively, and understand people so they can pick up on nonverbal cues to detect what is going on when they are having issues.

    As I recall, Rod Machado once said about new CFIs (paraphrasing) that they have already been through at least four checkrides - private, instrument, commercial, and CFI. If all they can do is teach you to fly as well as they do during your private training, you are way ahead of the game.
     
  16. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    We're going to have to disagree. I've worked personally with 2 instructors that have been through those check rides that have huge gaps in knowledge and skill that I can see, and I'm a low hours pilot that's only been through 2 check rides.
     
  17. ByrdmanFL

    ByrdmanFL Filing Flight Plan

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    IMO, to get good, career CFI's to stick around, the pay structure has to be close to the median wage for the area the CFI wants to live and teach or they are just there to do their time and move on.

    School Teacher's in my area start around $40-$42K, have summers, weekends and holidays off with decent benefits. Most work a lot of extra hours, but at least they can make a living teaching. How many CFI's can get this and QOL?
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Its people like the OP who continue the downward spiral of new pilots, and the eventual death knell of GA.
     
  19. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ..and I've worked with high-timers who were awful instructors.

    I also may have some kind of record for getting checked out since I have often taken lessons or wanted to rent on vacation. So I've been exposed to a lot of CFIs. Most have been of the young variety. I've learned something from the vast majority of those I've flown with.
     
  20. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Your point was that they can't be that bad if they've been through 4 check rides. I call BS on that assertion.
     
  21. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't think that was my point. I don't see everything in the world as all or nothing. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge. But yes, if someone has been through those 4 checkrides successfully and has the desire and ability to transfer all of his skill and knowledge to a student effectively, he is going to be a decent instructor.
     
  22. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    My point is that due to the way the system is set up, most in that position do not have the desire, the ability, and many in my experience don't even have the knowledge.
     
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  23. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    As a retired music public school music teacher and adjunct college professor for many years, and a once-and-now-again full time professional musician, I can unequivocally state that there are excellent music teachers who are not particularly good performers on any instrument, and that there are incredible musicians who are absolutely horrible teachers. My CFII is an absolutely incredible pilot... better than he is a teacher... but still a very good teacher. As my own piloting skills improve and I become increasingly aware of what I don't know, it's easier for me to pick his brain and better see and feel exactly what he is doing in the aircraft. There have been times when I wished he could better articulate to me what I needed to correct; often times, his answers were along the lines of, "you're overthinking it... just fly the airplane," or "you'll figure it out... just keep flying." Personally, I am EXTREMELY analytical and this kind of drives me crazy, BUT... he's probably right at times, and perhaps he IS an even better teacher than I'm aware, simply because I'm not a good enough pilot to comprehend the "next level" of his input. Who knows. When something clicks, it REALLY clicks, and I can see why he just says "give it time" on occasion.

    Teaching is a real art, and it's incredibly difficult to be the perfect teacher for every student. I've had thousands of students, and all false modesty aside, had a good track record and was one of those teachers that was frequently asked to mentor others, give clinics, blah blah. I still have memories of a couple students whom I couldn't reach or get through to. Teaching someone how to teach is MUCH harder than teaching virtually any other subject area, simply because there isn't a formula that works consistently for everyone.
     
  24. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    How so?
     
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  25. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How so? Not arguing, just wondering what op said that is wrong.

    That said, op spent a lot of verbiage to say not much.
     
  26. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    I contemplated twice making a career out of civil flight instruction, and once college teaching + flight instructing as a dual career. Both times I was left underwhelmed with the financial outlook. There was no money in it, compared to the military path I chose to pursue instead, especially with pension and lifetime medical retirement benefits, which were the clincher for me. Yeah I sweat like a pig for a living and always one a-hole Med Group pedestrian pilot-hater away from getting clipped, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

    I wouldn't be opposed to do civil instructing in retirement, but with the kind of turbine currency I'll exit the military with, I'm just simply better off pursuing part 121 et al in retirement. Min run the living snot out of that job, and still make high five figs, hell maybe low sixes. I despise the calvinism (nevermind misopedia) of the American workplace, so I figure "1/2 time pilot for 3/4 time money" is about as close to my vocational sweet spot as I can get, if I'm gonna do something I merely tolerate until I can arrive at my FU money position.

    I wouldn't be opposed to primary civil flight instruction full time, but again, I revisit my struggles 12 years ago. Meh, FUPM. :D
     
  27. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    At least you're happy... ;)
     
  28. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    I'm more curious why the OP wrote it? CFI? Student pilot? Airline pilot? Troubles?
     
  29. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    I was really fortunate to get a good instructor from the start and only started experiencing bad ones when I started working on my instrument rating.

    My initial primary instructor was a Harvard educated lawyer that worked for Delta and decided he was tired of looking at contracts all day and wanted to start flying airplanes. He was super down to earth and I did not even know about his background until someone mentioned it after I was about 20 hours in.

    At any rate he did a great job pointing me to the source when answering questions. He was good at trying different styles of teaching if one wasn’t working. He had me ride with another instructor at the school when I struggled with short field landings and it helped to have a different perspective.

    When I started working on my IR, he had moved on to the airlines and I probably flew with 5 different instructor. I had one that was really bad. Constantly made excuses to avoid going up in any actual. Mostly just sat there and was really a glorified safety pilot. Out of the 5, I ended up sticking with 2 of them that were pretty good.
     
  30. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    I agree with the original premise that one is personally responsible for the quality of their training. As a member of the higher educational community for 40+ years, I quibble a bit with the idea that an instructor can "teach" you to succeed. Ultimately, only the student can learn, and to learn one must be fully engaged and proactive, not a passive recipient of "teaching." As others have mentioned, the instructor is a guide and a mentor, not a vessel from which competence is poured from one individual to another. A really good instructor (any topic) knows alternative ways to guide students through challenges, and can diagnose common stumbling blocks and provide means for the student to navigate around them. But the student is ultimately responsible for his or her success. A highly motivated student will nearly always overcome barriers to success. Having a good personal relationship with your instructor is certainly important. But to be honest, I've had no bad experiences with any of my many instructors. All have had interesting talents and different perspectives. I try not to be high-maintenance, like some of my own rare but memorable students.

    My primary instructor was a crusty whiz at stick and rudder stuff. He knew a million ways of helping students past those difficult mileposts in learning how to fly, whether it was steep turns, stalls, landings, crosswinds, navigation (prior to following the magenta line). I appreciated his honesty about, and patience in fixing, skills that were substandard. As far as aeronautical knowledge and systems, he was a lot more lax with instruction. For that, with this instructor, you had to hit the books yourself and ask a lot of questions. But overall, I got great instruction that I appreciate to this day, as do many of those who trained with this instructor when I did. My instrument instructor was a fellow academic employee and was both a good flyer as well as a fountain of good, practical aeronautical knowledge. But you still had to hit the books hard to demonstrate adequate knowledge for the check ride and beyond.

    As I always told my students, you get out of your learning (coursework) what you put into it.
     
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  31. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Everybody thank you for responding! There is no simple, easy solution to this problem as is true of many issues. Hopefully those of who have questions or concerns now have a few more tools to help you.

    Best wishes to all and may your future be filled with success,

    Jon
     
  32. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    You joined the forum today to preach this safety message?

    Are you a bot?
     
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  33. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Does feel a little like a 'bot' . Google (or Amazon or the Russians)...does @schmookeeg win something :)
     
  34. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Ejection Handle Pulled

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    No way, no bot is as ugly and stupid is me o_O
     
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  35. islandboy

    islandboy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I looked you up. Welcome, Jon.

     
  36. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Yes, please take responsibility for your training. Don’t try to be a cheap ass and do self study for a ground school. Self study is not training. There is more to the knowledge required to be a good pilot than passing the FAA written with a high score. Find a quality ground school. Actually show up, study the materials assigned and ask questions. When the instructor says you can get more information in AC # xx, download it and read it.

    Have the money for your training. Don’t get 1/3 the way through and have to stop cause you are broke and restart again.

    Plan to train 3 days a week. Every weekend with some missed for weather or other stuff you want to do won’t get you done and cost you more in the end. Don’t stop training for life demand reasons then expect your CFI to drop the new student he just accepted because you left a hole in his schedule. If you own a business and your time is limited, find a CFI who will meet your scheduling demands and be prepared to pay for premium service. The regular CFI is not going to magically make time in their schedule because you discovered a noon you can fly at 3.

    Take time after every lesson to problem solve. Replay the lesson in your mind as to what you did right, wrong and what you can do better.


    Seriously consider a 141 school. All of them teach from a structured syllabus for both the ground and flight training and have a least a chief flight instructor to supervise the program and address issues you have with a CFI. 141 schools are the folks serious with training.

    Understand the ratio of the cost of instruction to the total cost of a training. It is less expensive to pay for through explanations pre and post than pay to have it explained with the meter running. Shopping the cheapest east aircraft rentals and the lowest rate instructors may leave you with what you are paying for.
     
  37. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You guys are such suckers. Jon is nothing more than another ScottD.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  38. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I hate this advice. Just do it. If it’s a priority you’ll find the money, if not, who cares if you stop.
     
  39. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    No one care if you stop. With demand for CFIs these days we just take one 15 on the waiting list. When you come back we will put your name on the list, again.
     
  40. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Burma Shave!

    Extra credit for those old enough to get the reference....
     
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