So you want to be a flying instructor

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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#51 Post by North Shore » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:52 pm

Sure, but no-one calls instructors 'Cessna Pigs', and I'll lay dollars to doughnuts that most little boys and girls don't dream about becoming rig pigs when they grow up...
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#52 Post by 1000 HP » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:00 pm

True :lol:
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#53 Post by pelmet » Mon May 27, 2013 10:16 pm

My experiences in the last couple of months with instructors has been poor to good but overall marginal. Keep in mind that I am an airline guy but have kept flying small airplanes at the same time.

I have been on a binge and done 5 separate checkouts all in aircraft that I was familiar with in past flying. What I am looking for is an instructor who is good at explaining things and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects and will on their own go over a bunch of subjects and items.

My first two were in a 150 and 172 at the same location which shall remain nameless. While the 150 guy showed me all the relevant details of stuff to do on the ground such as signing out and checking the logbook, there seemed to be feeling of I must already know everything because I am an airline guy and he wants to be an airline guy so I am cool and know it all. But, I would like someone to keep throwing in information such as what mistakes other pilots have been making that got them in trouble such as violating that restricted area over there or an emphasis on the importance of carb heat and lets talk about the airspace in the area and what pisses off ATC, etc. Admittedly, there was an explanation of what to do for the stall and forced approach but I would like more. Reinforcing what was taught many years ago is a good thing.

I found the 172 instructor to follow the same pattern as above combined with not being well spoken in explanations which is extremely important. As well, aircraft type knowledge was marginal. Instructors should have a good knowledge of their aircraft.

I then went and did a checkout at Chicago executive airport in a Katana. Once again, marginal knowledge of type with him not even being 100% sure what type of engine the aircraft had when I asked if it was the Rotax version or not. Minimal explanation of procedures. How about saying that these are some of the differences between your typical Cessna and the Katana although there was a brief mention of the castoring nosewheel. Local airspace knowledge and procedures for the area we went to(East to the shoreline and downtown seemed good). A couple of misses on the engine in a 5 minute period led to an early landing.

I checked out in a Cherokee 140 in Vancouver the other day. The instructor was decent with a good explanation of the circuit procedures and some questions asked about various subjects but more would have been better. Admittedly, I used to fly an Arrow so he knew that I was somewhat familiar with the Cherokee line. Lower clouds prevented a full checkout.

The fifth checkout was in a 172 for a BFR in Anchorage at Merrill Field. A very busy and airspace constrained airport(squeezed betweeintwo large airports) with a large number of very complex arrival and departure procedures for VFR aircraft. This guy was the best of the group with an excellent knowledge of the FAR's and good explanation of the procedures that we followed. Of course it is a BFR and that requires a 1 hour ground briefing prior to the flight. I learned a lot and wrote down a lot of notes for my next flight there to complete the checkout.

So in closing, an instructor should have a decent knowledge of their aircraft and if they don't please review. Lets talk about the airspace around the airport and what you need to do and not do to keep yourself from getting in trouble. Don't assume that just because someone has lots of experience in planes that they know it all. Reinforcing important issues is a good thing along with the occasional tidbits of interesting information. An instructor should be reasonably well-spoken in explaining/reviewing the subject at hand. And when they can't answer a reasonable question, find out the answer for next time.

I was never an instructor and generally tried to avoid that but I do checkouts on three small aircraft types. I always try to put emphasis on certain aspects of the aircraft that cause difficulties for pilots. Reasons for accidents and mistakes that can be learned the easy way by word of mouth from me instead of learning it the hard way.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#54 Post by Shiny Side Up » Tue May 28, 2013 1:14 pm

I must already know everything because I am an airline guy and he wants to be an airline guy so I am cool and know it all.
Out of curiousity, did you make sure these guys knew you were an airline guy? How you present yourself often governs how people react to you. I hear what you're saying about them needing to be more knowlegeable, but how much they'll assume you know is often tough for them to guage. "Airline guys" often show outright contempt for flight instructors, regardless of their quality or experience, not even sure if many are aware they are presenting themselves this way. I don't envy any newbie instructor having to show them anything, much less actually maybe educate them in any way.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#55 Post by pelmet » Thu May 30, 2013 6:02 pm

They asked my background and I said that I fly commercially and privately. Then more detailed questions got asked such as what and where and I answered. Even if a person is knowledgeable, it is good to review stuff and reinforce.

I am continuing my checkouts over the short term anyways. Had a talk but no flying with a 172RG guy today who seems to know his stuff and the local airspace and why people get violated around here. Also quite familiar with the systems. That is nice. Have a Grumman Cheetah checkout coming up in Dallas next. Will report if anything interesting comes up.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#56 Post by digits_ » Fri May 31, 2013 2:42 am

Hi pelmet,

I think you need to make a difference between:
1) a check-out on an airplane type (especially a basic one on which you already have experience)
2) a revision/extra training flight because you are feeling uncertain/a bit rusty

From the first part of your post, I got the feeling you asked for 1), but you actually wanted 2). When I got checked out on another airplane type, I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. It was time in the air flying where the instructor wanted to go, not where I wanted to go. If I could safely fly the aircraft, I was happy. The other stuff (airspace etc), I knew how to look it up myself.


pelmet wrote: I have been on a binge and done 5 separate checkouts all in aircraft that I was familiar with in past flying. What I am looking for is an instructor who is good at explaining things and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects and will on their own go over a bunch of subjects and items.
Fair enough.
pelmet wrote: My first two were in a 150 and 172 at the same location which shall remain nameless. While the 150 guy showed me all the relevant details of stuff to do on the ground such as signing out and checking the logbook, there seemed to be feeling of I must already know everything because I am an airline guy and he wants to be an airline guy so I am cool and know it all. But, I would like someone to keep throwing in information such as what mistakes other pilots have been making that got them in trouble such as violating that restricted area over there
Why is this necessary ? Restricted areas are -as far as I know- always indicated on a map. So this information can easily be gathered by preparing the flight and reading the maps. Is it really wrong of that instructor to assume you would be able to do this by yourself ? Not because you are an airline pilot, but every ppl should be able to do such a basic task.
pelmet wrote:
or an emphasis on the importance of carb heat and lets talk about the airspace in the area and what pisses off ATC, etc.
Same as a bove, no ?
pelmet wrote: Admittedly, there was an explanation of what to do for the stall and forced approach but I would like more. Reinforcing what was taught many years ago is a good thing.
So you asekd for 1) and expected 2)
And more importantly: did you ask him for more information during the flight ? I find it hard to believe he would refuse to give you more information once you asked.
pelmet wrote: I found the 172 instructor to follow the same pattern as above combined with not being well spoken in explanations which is extremely important. As well, aircraft type knowledge was marginal. Instructors should have a good knowledge of their aircraft.

I then went and did a checkout at Chicago executive airport in a Katana. Once again, marginal knowledge of type with him not even being 100% sure what type of engine the aircraft had when I asked if it was the Rotax version or not.
You might consider me a bad instructor then, but honestly, I don't know the engine type of the airplanes I instruct on (well, I do now, but not before reading your message). Why is that important ? If he knows what fuel you need to use, in which way the propeller turns and what its quirks are, then why would he need to know the type ? If you really want to know, read the airplane manual. Again something a PPL should be able to do.

(and if you're renting, make sure the engine in the airplane is actually the same type as described in the paper work, especially if you plan to fly it somewhere high and hot and heavy :rolleyes: )
pelmet wrote:Minimal explanation of procedures. How about saying that these are some of the differences between your typical Cessna and the Katana although there was a brief mention of the castoring nosewheel.
You might have a point here
pelmet wrote: Don't assume that just because someone has lots of experience in planes that they know it all. Reinforcing important issues is a good thing along with the occasional tidbits of interesting information. An instructor should be reasonably well-spoken in explaining/reviewing the subject at hand. And when they can't answer a reasonable question, find out the answer for next time.
Agreed, but you have to assume some things, otherwise every checkout would be like an exam flight, without any room for explanation and practice.

I didn't mean to sound too harsh, just wanted to defend my fellow flight instructors a bit.

Regards,
Digits
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#57 Post by pelmet » Fri May 31, 2013 11:00 pm

Maybe the Colonel can chip in here and let us know what an instructor should give as information for a checkout. I am not a rated instructor. But I am paying money for instruction. I don't want to get it over as quick as possible(just in a reasonable amount of time) but learn as much as possible. I know some people don't like to have information given to them and don't care much what the instructor has to say but that is an attitude problem. Just because something is obvious, does not mean it shouldn't be explained again if it is important.

My Grumman instructor here in Dallas did not have to tell me anything about the Dallas airspace but we went over it anyways. And he did mention a well hidden airspace restriction where Bush lives. Good to have pointed out even if it is on the chart. He was pretty good. And he knew the type of engine on the aircraft and the oil that goes in it as well.

As for the Cheetah...what a nice airplane, almost as nice as a Chipmunk.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#58 Post by FL-510 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:15 pm

Or maybe we can change the name of the website to avamerica now....
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#59 Post by LousyFisherman » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:26 am

digits_ wrote: Snip.....
You might consider me a bad instructor then, but honestly, I don't know the engine type of the airplanes I instruct on (well, I do now, but not before reading your message). Why is that important ? If he knows what fuel you need to use, in which way the propeller turns and what its quirks are, then why would he need to know the type ? If you really want to know, read the airplane manual. Again something a PPL should be able to do.
Snip......
Because if he/she doesn't know the type, he/she does not know all the quirks. All the quirks are not in the POH. Starting many fuel-injected engines when they are hot is a perfect example.

As a 200 hour amateur I expect my instructors to know the plane they are using intimately.

IMHO
LF
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#60 Post by Colonel Sanders » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:41 am

Maybe the Colonel can chip in here and let us know what an instructor should give as information for a checkout
Sorry about the delay - I don't read the sticky thread.

You need to know what can kill you.

It's nice to know what results in registered letters.

You might consider me a bad instructor then, but honestly, I don't know the engine type of the airplanes I instruct on
Sigh. Aim higher. It won't cause permanent
damage to you, to learn more about your aircraft
systems. You might even be able to answer
people's questions, and offer better instruction,
if you do.

www.pittspecials.com/articles/Magnetos.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/cs_props.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/CarbHeat.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/Mixture.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/CrankBreather.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/PistonEngine.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/Oil.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/Cleaning.htm

a well hidden airspace restriction where Bush lives
Was that Crawford? Flew by that. North of Austin?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#61 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:13 am

IMO required knowledge for instructors re the engine.

1) Type, displacement, model designation, horse power

2) The min and maximum static RPM (fixed pitched props)

3) Any limitation not indicated by a redline/yellowline on an instrument. (eg: min oil quantity, max time to indicate oil pressure on start up, any restrictions on max continuous horse power, RPM/MP vs altitude limits, For constant speed props;the min RPM that you can still apply full throttle, restrictions on leaning)

4) Know and understand how to correctly lean the engine

5) The type of oil being used and any related restrictions (eg min and max OAT if running single grade oil, is the engine restricted to mineral oil only, is cam guard required)

6) The maintenance schedule in use and any AD's that apply to the engine

7) Know the POH procedures for hot weather and cold weather starting and operation
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#62 Post by Colonel Sanders » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:02 am

Indeed. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you have a
Lycoming. In Canada, this is worth reading:

cold start

Many pilots in Canada should learn that Lycoming says:
Do not exceed idle RPM until oil pressure is stabilized above the minimum idling range

Or for a Continental engine: http://www.tcmlink.com/pdf2/SIL03-1.pdf

Is a flight instructor's time so valuable that he can't
spare a few minutes to read them? He might learn
from TCM, for example:
Do not operate the engine at speeds above 1700 RPM unless oil temperature is 75°
Fahrenheit or higher and oil pressure is within specified limits of 30-60 PSI.
or
Do not close the cowl flaps to facilitate engine warm-up
Every pilot needs to make the choice: am I going to be a
knowledgeable professional, or just a trained monkey in a
white shirt?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#63 Post by pelmet » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:38 am

Colonel Sanders wrote:
a well hidden airspace restriction where Bush lives
Was that Crawford? Flew by that. North of Austin?
W. is retired and living in the city of Dallas and there is a 1500' TFR of relatively small radius over his house which is not too far away from Love Field. In other words, not too much of a problem for the average flight in the whole Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with its multitude of airports but you still want to know about it. Probably senior, Jimmy and slick willy have the same thing.

I seem to remember the Crawford name in the news all the time when W. was the prez. His ranch I believe, but I suspect that this may no longer exist as a TFR or be much smaller now. I don't think a TFR moves with an ex-president the way it moves with the president or VP. Watch out for the sporting events TFR's as well that pop up. They can include university stuff which sometimes have huge numbers of fans.

I flew again there recently and met the owner of the place who really knows his stuff and has detailed accurate information on a wide variety of subjects answered in a friendly manner. I love meeting people like this whether at work or instructors. These are the instructors to seek out.

Not sure of the reason for making this a sticky thread. It wasn't originally and I don't know what the decision making process is for that. I guess if a moderator feels it is important concerning the overall subject of the forum.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#64 Post by pelmet » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:54 am

Colonel Sanders wrote:Indeed. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you have a
Lycoming. In Canada, this is worth reading:

cold start

Many pilots in Canada should learn that Lycoming says:
Do not exceed idle RPM until oil pressure is stabilized above the minimum idling range

Or for a Continental engine: http://www.tcmlink.com/pdf2/SIL03-1.pdf

Is a flight instructor's time so valuable that he can't
spare a few minutes to read them? He might learn
from TCM, for example:
Do not operate the engine at speeds above 1700 RPM unless oil temperature is 75°
Fahrenheit or higher and oil pressure is within specified limits of 30-60 PSI.
or
Do not close the cowl flaps to facilitate engine warm-up
I find it bizarre that an instructor would think that it is perfectly normal to be unaware of the engine type installed in the aircraft he/she is instructing on and would personally try to avoid such an instructor.

Concerning the maintain the engine at idle until the oil is at minimum idle oil pressure range, I guess that really does mean that you shouldn't let the engine rev up to some high rpm immediately after start like we hear on the ramp sometimes.

Concerning cowl flap use on the ground to warm up the engine, I read this recently about the subject....

"I’ve discussed this with a test pilot/engineer who is familiar with the workings of a major aircraft
manufacturer’s test facility. He tells me that their testing disclosed that partially closing the cowl flaps
on the ground resulted in temperature hot spots within the nacelle. Without the use of some rather
sophisticated test equipment these areas were impossible to detect, or locate. But baking of the
ignition harness and other problems are endemic"
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#65 Post by Colonel Sanders » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:21 am

you shouldn't let the engine rev up to some high rpm immediately after start
I see it all the time. Plenty of metal on metal. You
can do that, but at what cost?
cowl flap use on the ground to warm up the engine
Again, you wouldn't believe the number of pilots
I see, closing the cowl flaps on the ground to try
to warm the engine up faster. I guess it does,
but at what cost?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#66 Post by trey kule » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:55 pm


Again, you wouldn't believe the number of pilots
I see, closing the cowl flaps on the ground to try
to warm the engine up faster. I guess it does,
but at what cost?
Yes, I would. But lets take a look at the problem and solutions.

First of all, exactly how much ground school pertains to the care and feeding of engines? I dont recall much. And who is teaching it?
In the US commercial students must get 10 hours in a complex aircraft. I dont think that was, or is a requirement in Canada.
So an instructor can actually get to that position without ever having been personally exposed to cowl flaps and then teaching about them..
Is the solution that difficult to see?

The other issue is many pilots today will never fly a piston aircraft will cowl flaps, or even at all. I fly with pilots with thousands of hours who went direct to turbines immediately after flight school. They dont even know what cowl flaps are for, and quite frankly, they do not need to.

The other thing is that the typical POH does not really discuss the issue of ground cowl use ..a bit, but not usually much.

Do AME,s know more? I have almost got into a fist fight with AMEs who insist on running a piston engine with all the cowlings off.."for just a minute". To adjust something. People like RAM actually have a little clip on set of cowling covers...because, as they explained to me, you start to damage the engine after about 30 secs.

Of course it does not show up for many more hours so AMEs will tell you they have been doing it for years.....and then there is the old radials....which are different.

If someone is going to teach about piston engines then they need first to actually learn about them..not Saskatchewan good ol' farm boy experience. Airplane engines are different.
Then pilots need to be taught properly. I think that would go far to resolve the problem,
I am not sure how many navajos are running around these days but watching a future airline pilot taxiing in with the cowl flaps closed, warming up with them closed...was very common .
Just poor training for the most part
My rant for the day
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#67 Post by Shiny Side Up » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:04 am

You'd be lucky if you got kids with some "Saskatchewan good ol' boy" experience these days. A little bit of greasy hands experience is a lot better than starting from scratch. Any sort of engine knowledge is rapidly disappearing from the population these days. Give me some farm kids any day over the usual crop of lotus eating facebook jockeys.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#68 Post by trey kule » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:14 am

I agree with you 100%. It was not a good choice to use as an example. My intent was that a bit of knowledge can be worse than none at all.
Face book jockey..good one. But you know most of these kids reslly dont get it. It is normal to them , and I suppose one day when us old dinosaurs get out of the way, it will be the norm to have a link from what will pass as a brain to facebook...can post every thought then
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#69 Post by Shiny Side Up » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:12 am

I would only say that only if the knowledge is incorrect is it worse than none at all, but in most cases it's not so much as knowledge, but a mode of thinking. Problem solving is disappearing. Independent thought is disappearing. I won't say hard work or initiative are, because I still see that (bless them) but the world has become too easy of a place where help is always available and the Internet is ready for consultation. Everyone has a phone, no one takes notes - if they can even write or spell.

One should note that the general "I can always get help" attitude leaves most in the position of "you can always get it when you need it" and "we'll just fix it when it happens" trains of thought. So why care for anything mechanical? Needless to say, this attitude which, I hate to say it, works well enough for the rest of the world is a pitfall for aviators, and especially instructors. They aren't imaginative enough to think: "what if I had to take care of this on my own?"
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#70 Post by lock15 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:15 am

Hedley wrote:I might mention that this is really easy, and I don't know how people flunk it.

Do a rate one turn. It will take one minute to turn the 180 degrees which will take one minute during which you will descend around 700 fpm, aircraft type depending.

Learn the lateral distance from the runway for your aircraft for zero wind.

Compensate for the wind.

If the above is too difficult, perhaps a commercial pilot licence is not in your future.


We're talking about light aircraft where the glide distance is greatly affected by winds. Not to mention it is to a spot landing with the limits being -0/+400 feet. It's very easy to screw it up because they vary so much with conditions.
Pretty bold statement Hedley.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#71 Post by Shiny Side Up » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:03 pm

Hedley's not here man.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#72 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:20 pm

The test requires you touch down on a given point on the runway and you must contact the runway within 400 feet of that point?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#73 Post by Rookie50 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:25 pm

Cat Driver wrote:The test requires you touch down on a given point on the runway and you must contact the runway within 400 feet of that point?
Cat, it's a a power off landing, power off at or before abeam the threshold on downwind, touching down within 400 feet of a given identified point. (for the cpl).

Gee, that's what flying is. Adapting to changing winds with precision, hopefully.
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#74 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:03 pm

So it is kind of like being able to touch down on a big foot ball field from 1000 above it without using power?
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Re: So you want to be a flying instructor

#75 Post by Rookie50 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:20 pm

Cat Driver wrote:So it is kind of like being able to touch down on a big foot ball field from 1000 above it without using power?
Tell the players to move first....and braking on turf might be slippery....
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