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Judgment of Limitations; …About Students; …Self-Doubt is Normal; ….Who's in Charge?; …Instructional Constants; …What My Instruction Is Not; …Effective Criticism Requires; …Procedure and Technique; …Anticipation ; …Holding Headings; …Flying With Your Senses; …The Nature of Certainty; …The Student as a Problem; …Smoothness; …Failed Teaching; …A Need to Communicate; …Teaching Memory; …Reaction and Anticipation; …Instructional Sequence Chart, ...Teaching EfficiencyCommand Authority; …Instruction; …The Instructor; ...Introduction to the Radio ; ...Knowledge Gaps; Never Turn Your Back to a Student:  

Judgment of Limitations
The ability of a student to plan a safe flight or flying activity is determined by his judgment of his limitations. It is important that the student know what he knows how to do well, what needs practice for improvement, and what is of uncertain or unknown nature. The first two regions are his to explore. The uncertain and unknown should be openly discussed with the instructor and then incorporated into flight instruction. The student must not be one who fools himself into getting in positions where luck is needed for a safe outcome. Judgment is defined as the ability to see and choose between alternatives. Good judgment is determined by making the best choice. Instruction shows how to avoid an accident. The trainee determines whether it happens.

Good instruction enables a student to have the required judgment to see, avoid, or plan around potentially harmful situations. Judgment cannot be taught as a separate item. It is acquired through practice of safe behavior. A student can learn to perceive and evaluate a situation and choose the option required for a safe outcome. A safe flight is determined by selecting safe options. This is the subjective area on a flight test that is part of the test.

The well-trained pilot has reason to be confident but no pilot can be fooled by training into believe he cannot become overloaded. The student must believe that the instruction he has received is both safe and comprehensive. Being solo requires that a student trust the instructor's judgment. The combined positive judgment of the student and instructor should give the student a right to feel confident in the ability to perform safely and proficiently. As an instructor, I do not teach to the minimum level of safety and proficiency. I try to teach to a level where the minimums are exceeded and a reserve is available to the student sufficient to handle any unanticipated situation. Beyond that, I expect a student to exercise good judgment and make the safe decision. Judgment can be taught.

Communications between instructor and student has nuances of sense and meanings that are subtler than just words. Concepts, thoughts, and ideas are difficult to teach using just words. Words can have different meanings to different people. Words can have several meanings, words of the same sound have different meanings, different words having the same sound mean different things. Use and context may not give correct meanings. Context can change the connotations of a word and affect interpretation. These conditions apply to other languages as well. Explained in this context dual-language students are made more aware of the potential confusions possible in English.

The instructor who uses the same explanation at ever-increasing volume is unlikely to improve communications. What a person says, the words used, and the body movements used in concert can be in complete contradiction. Facial expressions are most significant. The hands and arm body language can increase resistance of a student's acceptance of what you say.

An instructor who resorts to an authoritarian style of instruction is one who lacks confidence in his ability to release the student from control. The student is less likely to be allowed to venture ideas or opinions. My style is built around what I have learned about the student. I need a close harmonious agreement on objectives and methods. I plan and build my instruction so that the student grows confidence and assurance. I want my student to be confident in my ability as a teacher to guide him over obstacles as they occur. I adjust my program to reduce problems and will back and fill basic skills as the need occurs.

The student and instructor of today are in a period of information overload since the advent of the internet. There are so very many conflicting and contradictory opinions available with 'authoritative' bases of fact that even the lawyers avoid opinions. Many of the conflicts are because of the varied background and training of those involved. Most pilots are unfamiliar with the vastly different procedures that are still 'right' because of aircraft design and capability. There are so many different forms of 'right' that even those who should know can't be certain.

About Students
1. A student won't learn from those they distrust
2. A student won't improve unless told what is wrong.
3. Overconfidence is a means of concealing insecurity.
4. High achievers are never satisfied with their performance.
5. Low achievers need to succeed with small steps.
6. A student who thinks events control his life, never makes mistakes.
7. A student is best taught by positive suggestion.
8. Most students get frustrated at one or more points.
9. Emotional maturity is a required quality of a pilot.

Self-Doubt is Normal
Every so often the instructor finds a student who is going through a phase of flying that is very disturbing to the student. A student may be making an excuse not to fly. Pilots making excuses not to fly start thinking about the happenings, 'might have's', and dangers seemingly associated with flying. The discomfort of flying is greater than the pleasure. If a student quits for a few weeks thinking about flying may produce discomfort. Flying and driving are risky. Things can happen and do go wrong. In driving what occurs is much more likely to be by another driver. A pilot is in complete control of the risk of flying. Flying is one of the most self-deterministic activities you can undertake. The pilot decides what is going to happen.

The discomfort associated with not wanting to fly comes from self-doubt. The student questions whether learning to fly is worth the money, time, effort, and stress. A concern for safety causes doubt as to one's ability to fly safely. The self-reflective and introspective pilot is seeking answers to questions for which there are no answers. Getting back into flying means that we recognize that part of being human is to question, have doubts, and to seek the high pleasure that goes with taking risks. Flying is a pleasure too important to be monopolized by the young.

The anxiety of flying can only become the relaxation of flying if the pilot is mentally prepared for it. When the pilot is insecure with a particular flight operation, be it radio, cross winds, airport arrivals, or some other aspect, he tends to avoid that situation. This is normal but dangerous. We cannot predict what flight operation will become essential to safety. As a pilot you must make constant evaluations of the what and why you make certain flying choices.

The solution to a student's sense of failure as a problem interfering with learning is related to a training/learning program that will reduce the intellectual/emotional load. A student's overcoming of difficulties depends on the teacher's ability to detect cause, effect, and provide solutions.

As the student becomes aware of his abilities and limitations, he must also be aware of those which are fixed and incapable of change as well as those which can be changed. The pilot has a fixed physical ability to fly, see, and hear. Certain artificial devices can improve on seeing and hearing but only structured training in performance and attitudes can increase the reserve capacity in ability.

The student must, also, consider his own capability and experience. Is this a first time experience or related to previous background such as going to another airport or even a revisit. The student needs to base his preparation on his individual needs and weaknesses and his expectations. This includes his ability to make the aircraft perform in line with its published capability, his knowledge of the area, his radio proficiency, and his safety planning.

Every phase of flight has requirements in knowledge, aircraft management, communications, or pilot ability. All to frequently, the greatest demands on our piloting skill occur just when the required ability to meet those demands have reached its lowest point. The pilot in a given phase of flight has a level of capacity in knowledge, flying skill, communications, and capability reserve. The analogy I have often used prior to solo is that I expect the student to be able to fly, navigate, and communicate in the airport pattern. At the same time he should talk to me about a completely unrelated matter. This last item is 'reserve capacity'. We drive cars all the time doing this. I do not want my soloed student to become overloaded and without the reserve capacity to handle the unexpected. I train my students in every area to have ample reserve capacity.

When something happens that you have not anticipated, your attention focuses. In flying, this often means that flying the airplane ceases to maintain its priority. Your training must cope this by teaching you to be aware of what exists in the present flight situation and using that information to heighten awareness of what can be expected to happen. How you react to the unexpected can be trained. Simulators are great for this with the big airplanes. Small aircraft 'unexpecteds' are only available in the POH and are not practical or safe to simulate.

Who's in Charge?
Low time instructors have most of the 'Who's in Charge?' kind of difficulty. This is because they have not had the opportunity for making the decisions. There are several kinds of situations that require this kind of experience and knowledge. Any exchange of control should be predicated on the assumption that the exchange will improve and not exacerbate a situation.

Low time instructors tend to delay taking over the controls when dealing with an advanced student. No instructor should make assumptions about the capabilities of a student that will delay assumption of control when safety parameters are exceeded. These safety conditions are most likely to occur during the approach and landing phases. Every instructor should precede the flight with a comprehensive review of what will be covered specifically directed toward situations conducive toward distraction.

VERY specific control transfer is required when...
1) A problem exists relative to safety.
This can be so simple as not clearing, yoke position while taxiing, cross-control turns, procedure errors, airspeed, trim, etc.

2) Related to a transfer of control.
The CFI should make prior arrangement with anyone having access to the cockpit controls as to what he will say in taking over control of the aircraft. The exchange of control authority should be explicit and positive.

3) Conflict of control exists
Where prior arrangements of control authority have not been made and no positive exchange is made, both pilots may be working at cross-purposes. Control manipulations become exaggerated due to the mix of control forces. An accident usually results.

4) Nobody is in control
This occurs when the pilot in control 'gives up' and expects the other pilot (CFI) to take over and salvage a situation. The CFI may refuse or fail to recognize the control transfer. You will only get away with 'nobody' in control if the aircraft is trimmed for its flight situation.

5) Failure to Communicate in the cockpit
Confusion in the transfer of control any one of the above situations can arise if prior arrangements are not made. "I got it" is ambiguous. "I have the controls" is less ambiguous. This statement requires that the other pilot respond with, "You have the controls" Using the word airplane in these phrases is ambiguous in that the reference could be to traffic.

6) The competent pilot does not need to prove anything.
Being competitive and a winner are not traits that apply to the flying of light planes. Aerobatics and the military are reserved spaces for these traits. Soloing is not the goal or end-all of flying. Competence and safety are what we are after on every flight. Our life ambition is to become an old pilot. (What, again!) All you prove is stupidity if you fly in a manner or situation to prove something. Competence is shown most often by not flying, than by flying.

Instructional Constants
A number of constants have been recommended. Constants, while not the only way to fly, simplify the complexities of maneuvering an aircraft.

Throttle constant is use of palm, index finger, and feel at Full power, 2450 rpm, 1500 rpm and at 800 rpm. Set by sound check on tachometer.

Yoke constant is use of index finger, thumb, light touch, and anticipation.

Engine constants are the sound at taxi 800, run-up 1700, takeoff/climb full power, cruise 2450, slow flight 2000 and 1500 descent.

The climb constant of the C-150 is full throttle at Vy, one full trim down from neutral, 65 kts when solo and 68 kts flying dual. Set by attitude and trim check by airspeed. Hands off.

The cruise constant of the C-150 is 2450 rpm at 85 kts, and neutral trim. Set by attitude and trim, check hands off.

The power reduction constant is carb heat, 1500 rpm, hold heading and altitude. (Trim except for stalls-changed in 1991) Set by sound and feel, check by attitude and hands off.

The turn constants are 30 degree banks and 90 degree turns because they ingrain pattern turns. Hood turns are always constant rate turns.

The descent constant is carb heat, 1500 rpm, and three down trim.

The trim constant is by full turns by the button and not the pinch.

The stall constant is clearing turns before making speed reduction holding altitude and heading until application of power.

The bank/turn constant is 30 degrees bank for 90 degrees of turn.

The slow flight constant is 60 kts, three down trim and 2000 and reduce to 1500 for descent.

Minimum controllable constant is at whatever speed/power keeps the stall warner whimpering at 10 knots above stall.

What My Instruction Is Not
Flying is not the same as it was in WWI or WWII. What worked then is unsafe now. Accountability of the instructor rests entirely on the teaching of the safest possible procedures. The Safety or relative safety of other procedures should be routinely included. Teach the best and safest current technique. Demonstrate the relative safety of any others. It is only when the student has his license or flies with others that he is able to discern the quality of his instruction. Airplanes are able to fly well, the pilot must learn to fly just as well. Your skills in other areas do not transfer to flying except in relatively small and specific areas such as navigation, engine operation, or communications.

The instructor who perpetuates antiquated operational techniques is condoning criminal activity in today's flight environment. This perpetuation is most commonly accomplished by teaching down to the student rather than up to proficiency standards. A student will achieve to a teacher's expectations. When the teacher accepts and expects less of a student, the student performs accordingly. Any lowering teaching standards is not in the best interests of the flying student nor of aviation. A few, well-chosen words, will often do more than a running commentary.

It costs nearly as much to operate an airplane on the ground as it the air. Efficiency in copying the ATIS with the engine running will lead to greater time saving in the air. The ability to pre-set several engine speeds by sound and finger position both on the ground and in the air will improve efficiency and safety. I have found that the most inefficient use of student pilot time is the way they use and hold the checklist. The student should be trained from the beginning to make any departure or arrival request that will reduce the expense of flying. It is up to the instructor to advise the student if his flight program is either uneconomical or inefficient. Maximum use should be made of departure and return times from practice sessions. Failure of the instructor to include the recognition of checkpoints and departure/arrival routes is a disservice and contributes to inefficiency. In some cases it may be best to delay beginning instruction until a more practical time. The inefficiently trained pilot is the one most likely to have future difficulty due to air contamination of the fuel tanks, radio procedures, or checkpoint awareness.

Learning to fly is not a race. There are several 'short-cuts' to an early solo. These short cuts are not right for the kind a flying to follow. The 'right' way is harder to master and less enjoyable in the immediate situation.
The actual flying of the airplane is relatively easy, like riding a bike or roller-skating. The precision and planning needed to make flying safe is more difficult and subject to stronger critiques. The setting of standards is never complete, every flight is best if raised to a higher level. A mistake is a learning experience. Exposure to mistake opportunities is needed to reveal flawed or unlearned techniques. The way you learn is just as important as what you learn and perhaps more so. The importance of what you learn is a variable of many small steps upward. Taking a few steps backwards to re-think a step is part of the process.

The highest level or satisfaction that I achieve in instruction is when I see or hear a student of mine use my words to explain or teach others. My demise will not bee the end of my teaching. This is especially rewarding when a student who has given up on himself, heeds my advice not to quit. On continuing, he crosses the 'hump' and goes on and on and on. The good student exceeds his teacher. The readiness of a pilot for a flight is in a large part made up of his intellectual awareness of aircraft and his own capabilities. This concept of being ready means the pilot is knowledgeable of the risks inherent in a given flight condition? Why is it more desirable to initially climb at best rate rather than cruise? When should a pilot choose to fly close to rising terrain? Why make thirty degree banks? To what extent should a pilot trust a tower or radar controller. What options does the new pilot have? What changes in flight procedures are desirable under SVFR or at night? The pilot's knowledge and awareness of the real risks set the threshold of tension onset and thereby the decision making process.

Unless every student maneuver has airspeed and heading parameters designed to grow and meet the requirements for the flight examination, the time and money are wasted. This does not mean that every maneuver and student need be perfect. It does mean that the student must know what the tolerances of acceptability are. If, for whatever reason, his solo performance is outside these limits he must so advise his instructor and plan for a corrective lesson. Criticism is a nine-letter dirty word. No one likes criticism. When you hire a teacher (flight instructor) you are hiring a critic; one whose job is to criticize. The instructor must be able to make criticism constructive. Any instructor can point out errors; teachers tell why.

Instructional decisions are a component part of every flight and ground lesson. The decisions are made to increase the probability of learning and retention by the student. The instructor is creating situations that allow the student to learn and demonstrate that he has learned. While the instructor may be an active participant in the initial lessons, it is important that proficiency be demonstrated with a minimum of instructor input.

Every instructor must make multiple decisions as to what to teach, how to teach it, how to evaluate learning, how to confirm proficiency, and how often to review. Some students have a style of learning that may not adapt to your method of teaching. The sooner this lack of conformity is noted the sooner the student can be referred elsewhere.

I recently flew with a student where my criticism was rampant. I was faced with a training situation where the student was not flying frequently enough to retain previous acquired skills. The student started out tense and my criticism about his tension and tight (frozen) control use just made matters worse. I wanted him to be a better and safer pilot. He was faced with a conflict in time constraint between flying and his occupation. We went home.

Effective Criticism Requires
1. Student/instructor awareness of what is being done wrong
2. Instructor analysis of why
3. Instructor suggests a corrective program
4. Student acceptance of the finding

Critical differences
--How you teach is unique to you. You will always modify the way you use another’s teaching
--Each of us will learn ‘something’ from the teachings of another
--Flying requires technical skills and each student will be different in the use of hand.
--Judgment is an asset to be used wisely.
--What you read on my site is to be adapted to your unique presentation.

It was easy to determine the previous student's problem by observing his tension on the yoke. This was not a problem arising from knowledge or lack of it. The problem was in the training program itself. The student just needed to fly more frequently. I demonstrated a complete landing circuit with emphasis on the lightness of my yoke touch. The next student approach was still a very tense process. The best advice is wasted if not understood or accepted. An emotional problem is not well or easily resolved by intellectual solutions.

Criticism should not be directed toward embarrassment, anxiety and fear. These are typical emotions at various stages of flight training. They do and are expected to interfere with learning, safety and enjoyment. Expectations of success, driven by ego, overlie the situation and the ability to exercise good judgment deteriorates.

The active cockpit with the student in control is not the time nor place to give instruction. However, since I always use a tape recorder, I will be making running comments during most flight. It is my expectation that the student will play the tapes back and be able to associate what was happening with my comments. Ideally an over the shoulder video would be far better. I do not expect a student response.

There is good reason not to make more than four consecutive landings in the same configuration and pattern. I have found it important to vary from right to left patterns, the use of flaps, power, and radio work. I make a practice of always requesting the option while in the pattern. Traffic permitting this means we can do a touch and go, stop and go, landing and taxi back, or go-around.

For, as yet undetermined reasons, people learn differently. While most learning is visually, there are those who learn by hearing proportionately much better than do others. Learning by doing is still another preferred method by others. Learning to fly requires a judicious mix of all three. The good instructor uses videos, tapes and flying in combination adjusted to the needs of the student. Reading is the most economical teaching/learning method but some do not adapt to self-instruction well.

Regardless of the student's learning preference, you should get the student to get the information transformed into their own words as soon as possible. Often several revisions are needed as with checklists. I like to have students walk patterns and maneuvers on the ground prior to flying. Some people have more difficulty doing this than others. You never know until you try.

I insist that all of my students take a few hours of aerobatics and a couple of sailplane flights so that they can realize the options that exist when control or engine power becomes a problem.

Procedure and Technique
Every phase of flying requires a series of procedures from pre-flight to shut down. With every procedure for what needs to be done, there is a technique for how it is done. The procedures of starting, radio, taxiing, runup, takeoff, climb, turning, leveling, speed changes, flaps, descents, arrivals and landings are different only in the application of techniques.

I teach techniques that maximize safety, economy of time and movement both for the pilot and the aircraft. Many aspects of pre-flight technique are not mentioned in the POH (Pilots Operating Handbook). Numerous techniques such as unchaining the left wing, opening the passenger door, having a paper towel, make it possible to minimize the number of steps really required for a preflight. Technique is using your own checklist to do the procedure better, faster, and safer. Technique is the selection of how to perform a given procedure.

There are as many techniques to the performance of a given operation as there are pilots. The essential of good instruction is that the highest level of technique be selected and taught. There is no one way to perform most aviation maneuvers. Some ways are more efficient and safer than others. This does not make the other ways wrong, just less cost effective. The Aeronautical Information Manual gives 'recommended' procedures for flying. Not using a 'recommended' procedure becomes a problem only when something happens and you get caught in the FAA net. A scenario happened to me when a student came to me after having four lessons elsewhere. In four flights he had never been shown to clear before making a turn. At uncontrolled airports there are as many opinions of pattern-entry procedures as there are pilots. The uncertainty exists because of the conflict between the FAA desire to control all flying and their inability to do so. Technique is essential. There is more to making a turn than just turning. There is more to safety than just rules. Enough, said.

The ability to anticipate changes in control pressures required for a particular maneuver must be developed. Failure to anticipate rudder movement required to move the nose as airspeed decreases is a most common flight error. The behavior of instruments such as the airspeed indicator and vertical speed indicator that lag in relation to sound and attitude changes must be expected and understood. Chasing the airspeed indicator is a common student fault. Even worse is not recognizing that the VSI (vertical speed indicator) takes about 12 seconds before giving accurate indications unless the control movements are exceptionally smooth. Starting the trim from a known position and keeping track of its movements in various flight configurations makes possible rapid/correct trim pressure corrections.

Holding Headings
A pilot (not a student) is expected to hold a heading. The PTS allows a + 10 degree or 20 degree range. It is a mistake to be accepting of this range. Successful flying is most dependent upon acquiring and holding a heading, not a range of headings. Success in holding a heading is dependent upon a pilot's ability to 'hold' the yoke in one position while attention and movement is directed elsewhere. It doesn't come easily or cheaply but it is there to be achieved. Rudder alone will do the best job.

Turning to a heading is another much sought skill. The variables in a turn far exceed those in level flight headings. The turn has the angle of the bank, anticipation of yoke pressures, and airspeed as factors. The quality of the turn is measured by the pilot's ability to determine when to begin rolling the wings level, when to stop at level, and most of all how to keep it there during the transition. For every degree of bank and airspeed we must learn what to do and when to do it.

Other opinions to the contrary, the thirty-degree bank is the safest and most controllable bank. The turn can be cleared and completed in a minimal time. The established bank is quite stable in comparison with others. Making a standard bank procedure develops a sense of turn time and direction that is easily adapted to airport patterns. This stability can be demonstrated by entering a 30-degree bank, putting in about 1/2 turn of trim to hold the nose and then holding the bank with light rudder. It will hold both bank and altitude better than in any other banked condition.

The preferred method of recovering from a bank to a selected heading is to begin recover at half the number of degrees in the bank. A thirty-degree bank's recovery will begin at 15 degrees before the desired heading. These markings are easily observed on the heading indicator. With some adjustment in the recovery rate this method will work for all banks. In the real instrument (IFR) world the standard-rate turn (3-degrees per second) recovery can be done quite quickly without regard to any rule.

Flying with Your Senses
One of the reasons I teach flying with a very limited selection of power settings, airspeed, configurations, and attitudes is because I want the student to develop a 'sense' of what makes given flight conditions. Even the carburetion of the engine is designed for relatively constant rpm. Every flight situation has a distinctive sound, visual perspective, and feel. You have a subconscious sense of what these conditions are. I want to raise these to the conscious level of recognition. All the senses are in support one to the other. What you hear in a given situation has an associated feel. What you feel has an associated sight picture, etc. Initially your learning will be 3/4 developing a sight picture. Sight dominates the initial learning process. What you hear must be associated and used as a supplement.

What you hear will often give you advance notice of something happening. Hearing is on of the best senses you have in anticipating what you need to do before sight notices anything happening. Your touch is more a 'butt' feeling. It occurs during the maneuver or during recovery. Smell is an emergency sense. Learn as quickly as you can how an airplane operating normally smells. Any difference in smell is a prelude to an emergency. Oddly enough, smell is one of your most powerful memory senses. You can identify smells and associate them with specific situations as well as with sight or sound. The Swiss Air accident is a classic example.

Speed can be part of every sensory perception. Speed is visually sensed best close to the ground. However, there are visual illusions associated with visual changes even at a constant speed. This is especially true on the landing approach where the ground seems to balloon into our visual field at a logarithmic rate.

You can feel the aircraft speed through the sensitivity of control with your fingertips and the vibrations in your bottom. This is a developed sense in flying. You acquire it gradually through exposure. This sense of feel can be developed by covering the airspeed indicator while making the changes are then checking the accuracy by peeking. You can learn to land without the airspeed indicator, it is wise to practice it while learning. Someday you may really need it. Your whole body feels acceleration only while it is occurring When acceleration stops your body sense ceases and must change to sense of vibration. Vibration senses record both frequency and amplitude. Changes in vibration should never be ignored. The feelings of an airplane are specific to that airplane. A change in rigging or a new engine will require a re-education of our sense of feel.

Sound comes to the pilot from the engine, propeller, and wind. The worst situation is when all there is, is wind noise. Speed changes are best indicated by wind noise, changes engine sound comes in second. Small changes in rpm are hard to detect but important, as in the onset of carburetor ice.

The Nature of Certainty
In my careers as a school teacher and flight instructor I have developed student classifications that appear universal. There are students who make things happen; there are students who watch things happen; and, there are students who wonder what happened.

Flying is not a good place for the last category student. To the extent that a student is not self-prepared or tutored into a maneuver the maneuver will cause a constant state of wonderment. It is a fortunate student who has sufficient awareness to recognize his state of wonderment as a requirement for a series of questions. The wondering student needs to study learn and question his way out of that wondering state. Having comprehensive study materials and a question/answer forum such as recreation.aviation.student on the internet can best do this. Just studying for the test is NOT the way to go.

In some flight situation there is value in watching, but only if you are knowing what to watch. In making turns, you are watching the horizon and the nose relationship. In fact, most maneuvers require that you watch what is happening to the nose in relation to the horizon. The sooner these relationships are imprinted in your visual perception, the better. Keeping it there is the next step of the watching process. The ingrained desire to 'see' below the nose must be overcome if the 'watching' student expects to benefit when he moves into the 'makes things happen' phase.

The best phase of learning and instruction in flying is the process of making things happen. This 'making' includes mistakes. The opportunity to make your own mistakes is of major importance. The opportunity to do something correctly is nice but the making of a mistake is a learning experience of unequaled value. Recognition of a mistake is part of the learning experience. A spiral descent is an example as is a wing drop during a stall. The process of making things happen either correctly or incorrectly is not left totally up to the student. The instructor creates situations as learning experiences. Distractions, for example. The instructor who allows a student to perpetuate an unsafe procedure is incompetent at least in that area.

There are teachers (instructors) who from even limited experience seem to be all knowing about all things. There is considerably more to instructing than just being able to fly the plane through a particular maneuver. The 'watching' student will partially benefit but the instructions must include where to look and for what. If this, 'where to look and for what', was not included in the pre-lesson overview then it occurs in the cockpit. The cockpit is a relatively poor place to provide instruction. The poorest examples of such instruction I have noted over the years is when the instructor accepts and perpetuates a student's perception of safety when it is less than the optimum. An example, is when a recent private pilot flew me four miles from takeoff before reaching 1000' AGL. She wanted to see where she was going. All turns were at 15-degree banks or less so she could see under the wing better. (C-150) We only made one flight. She went with an instructor who accepted her way of doing things. Not the first time for me nor the last.

Poor instruction is perpetuated but so is good instruction. The normal tendency is for the instructor to teach the way he was taught. I once knew a flight instructor who perpetuated three 'generations' of flight instructors whose students consistently failed to flare to keep the nose wheel from making initial contact. Numerous collapsed nose struts and propeller strikes were the result of this one 'old-timer'. The students loved these instructors because they could always see the runway on landing. The maintenance shops always recommended these instructors. The more the teacher (instructor) knows the less certain he is that there is only one 'correct' (profitable) solution for any performance.

Advice can be right, wrong, conditional, dangerous, incomplete, misleading, universal, or limited in scope and application. Giving dangerous advice, even with a disclaimer is quite hazardous when the recipient has no way to discriminate or associate the advice in a meaningful context. Giving wrong advice can lead to fatal results when associated with flying. If in the giving of advice, you must include a disclaimer of any sort, it is better to refrain or at least to pose it as a question.

The Student as a Problem
Of great concern to the responsible instructor is the prospective pilot who is heavily occupied with concerns unrelated to flying. Many students who are highly successful in a given field expect that level of success to carry directly into flying. Such will not be the case. It is important that the student be apprised of this and the instructional program adapted to the conditions. We are working toward a personality change.

The pilot, who drives to the airport after a hard day, presents a unique flying problem. Flying requires a completely different mind-set. The combinations of mental and physical skills of flying are so different from most occupations that failure to make the change over is a common cause of flight difficulties. Getting into the air will not get you away from it all -- unless you throw the mental switches. Few occupations require the use of CHECKLISTS the way flying does. The forward planning for such things as frequencies, altitudes, communications, speeds, directions, and cockpit settings must be part of the pilot's mind set.

Not every learning experiment is going to be successful. A student who expects immediate and continual success is being self deceptive. It doesn't work that way. Unrealistic expectations of progress and success may tempt a student to quit. Don't let it happen. Embarrassment, anxiety and fear are typically experienced in flight training. We all have instinctive fears of falling and loud unexpected noises. Fear is an intelligent reaction to a perceived threat--failing to acknowledge the presence of a threat and its companion, fear, is indicative of a lack of perception and/or intelligence. We will practice falling (stalls) and the creation of noises to customize the student's reaction to these instincts progressively and gently. A successful student takes the long view, has patience, is willing to recognize and admit mistakes, and remembers both successful and unsuccessful operations. The more learning mistakes you make the sooner you will develop a confidence level needed to succeed.

More often than not the student pilot with a problem has something similar to what is medically known as agnosia. He is oblivious to the obvious. He doesn't know what he doesn't know. Have you failed to recognize the missed or ignored items of the preflight? Were checks omitted during run up? Was the radio used to give incomplete or inaccurate radio information? Was a required control input needed to achieve coordinated flight not applied? Did flight into airspace occur without clearance? The forgiving nature of the aircraft, weather, Air Traffic Control, and the instructor will only last so long and will cover only a certain number of situations. The worst possible event is to 'get away' with a mental omission. Next time you might not 'get away' with it. I have had occasion to fly with pilots whose primary instructors allowed rather than corrected fundamental safety errors. This permissiveness is poor instruction and a disservice to the pilot and aviation. What is worse, these pilots are the most resentful of being shown the error of their ways.

There is an agnosia like deficiency, being oblivious to the obvious, not knowing what you don't know, that can lead to unexpected and undesirable instructional excitement. The agnosia look-alike causes complacency, a factor responsible for many more accidents than one would think. An insidious aspect of this complacency is that it tends to affect those who have the greatest feeling of competence and experience. The opposite of this is the kind of student who realizes that the more you know about a given aspect of flying, the less certain you will become of how well you really understand what you think you know. It reminds one of the advanced student who learned more and more about less and less until he knew absolutely everything about nothing. The standard check for knowledge would be the ability to explain, in our own words, a complex operation to a child.

As our flight skills grow, they are outgrown most of all by our perception of those skills. As flight time accumulates our perception of skill leaves actual skill far behind. We think we are better than we are. We may be tempted to push our safety limits since nothing bad will happen--until it happens. How you live within your capabilities is what determines good judgment and longevity. Be twice as careful when you think you can fly. Every landing is a challenge. Landings should become more accurate, softer, and controlled. Become more aware of the options that allow us to correct deviations safely.

As a teacher, I was not given to meaningless praise or reward. A student wants to hear instructor feedback as to how he is doing. It is important that false praise not be given at any point. Such contrived praise is easily detected and felt by the student.

As a flight instructor, I judge the lesson by knowledge applied, improvement observed, and satisfaction achieved. The achievement of normal expectations is viewed as acceptable but not deserving of profuse adulation. Only when my retarded students did beyond the usual were they praised. Praise, thus achieved value by not being a throw-away for everyone. My gifted students were always faced with ever higher expectations. My standards were once compared with an ever extending extension ladder. One of my many weaknesses as a flight instructor is an unwillingness to accept from a pilot or a student less than their highest level of performance. Close is accepted only when accompanied by significant improvement. It is a poor student that does not exceed his teacher.

The instructor helps you teach yourself to fly. The instructor tries to get inside your head. He wants to recognize your fears and concerns. The instructor is trying to use what you know and don't know to shorten the time and lower the cost of your learning to fly. Good instructors like to teach. They will keep you from getting hurt you as you wander through all the mistakes that every student pilot should make.

Once read, that every advance by mankind has been achieved by laziness. I hate to see students preflighting inefficiently. I believe that flying correctly is the easiest way to fly. Every maneuver can be either easy or hard depending on how 'lazy' the pilot has been in knowing how to make it 'easy'. I cringe when a pilot works too hard at flying. Flying is easy only when it is efficient and I don't mean using an autopilot.

Piloting skill is usually poorly defined unless the smoothness factor is included.It is only by the smallest increments of control pressures that a skilled pilot is able to make controlled flight appear to be without obvious input. Speed and position seem to just happen.

You can do it as well. If you don't want the plane over there, then don't let it go there. You can get there smoothly just by keeping your control input gentle and light of touch. No jerks, gentle as possible but firm when required. By making very small adjustments you can make your mistakes less obvious.

In many respects turning a plane is a series of small smooth elements just as you would use in getting into a tight parking space in one try. Only by making your control movements in the smallest of increments can you detect your small mistakes and prevent them getting worse. The major distinction between a smooth pilot and the rest is to smallness of their control and power application. Even the larger applications of the smooth pilot are reduced by half before they have a chance to take effect.

I recently flew with a very competent pilot who was in the process of making a series of small heading changes for the purpose of intercepting a VOR radial. The pilot made all the required turns using the ailerons. The plane was rocking along without a change in the VOR needle. Problem was without a smidgen or rudder no turns were being made. In a similar vein, I was flying with my daughter-in-law in the front seat. She is a classic non-pilot. As I flew along without my hands on the yoke, she remarked something to the effect that we must be on autopilot. The ultimate 'smoothness' complement.

Failed Teaching
The most dangerous aspect of flying and flight instruction is that the FAA Part 91 system lets incompetents fly and get sweetheart proficiency checks just by careful selection of instructors. The degree of incompetence will vary from session to session and landing to landing. Proficiency problems require more than one flight to uncover. The failure of an instructor or an examiner to uncover deficiencies will eventually cost lives and money. Under stress the flight weaknesses of pilots will arise to the surface and be apparent. A skill deficit need only appear once to cause a fatal accident. Fact is, an instructor can do little to prevent a pilot from practicing dangerous flight and ground procedures. The maintenance records of many an FBO and flying club are living records of substandard piloting.

Many club pilots are low-time or at least low time in type. A club checkout is more likely to provide currency rather than proficiency. Initial currency for a pilot with low hours in type is not enough. The best option is to require additional time in type until an instructor can confirm proficiency to the private pilot level. The pilot who will not limit his flying to the skills he has proficiency in performing.

Age has a subtle reduction of information processing ability. Flight instructors and designated examiners are the gatekeepers of aviation safety. Being a 'good-guy' is not being an ethical gatekeeper. The safety of an airplane and its non-pilot passengers rest in the ethical standards of the examiners overseeing flight operations. Pilots who haven't flown for several months or even years should get recurrent training in proportion to their lack of currency.

Habits are a large part of learning to fly. As in life, flying habits can be good bad and everything in between. The habits you want are characterized as good and safe. Essential good-safe habit is the use of checklists. A major bad habit of checklists is the acceptance of distractions in the use of the checklist. A good habit is the efficiency with which the checklist sequence is completed. Even, better a way to make sure nothing was skipped or otherwise missed. Beyond the checklist we have radio procedure habits, flight control positions during taxi, weather/wind awareness and regional knowledge. Do not let your awareness of the area be limited by official publications. Finally, always know the next two things you are going to do. Otherwise you will be behind the airplane.

The first distraction from a pilot's checklist or flying routine is the first step in the accident chain. A distraction is anything that happens with weather, ATC, aircraft, or person that causes fixation. On fixation you stop thinking beyond the one element to the exclusion of all else. A primary distraction, such as engine failure, sets the stage and process for what comes next. A secondary distraction is usually one of a system. Vacuum failure becomes primary only in IMC conditions. Radio system failure is not a VFR emergency and should considered a nuisance rather than a distraction. The GPS is certain to reduce the 'lost' distraction.

Flying a complex unfamiliar aircraft is the ultimate distraction. Familiarity with an aircraft gives intuitive reactions. It only takes one unfamiliar instrument in an aircraft to create distraction. A pilot must not allow any unexpected situation take mind and eye time away from flying the aircraft. When a distraction stops thinking the stopping of the airplane is not far behind.

A Need to Communicate
What is the only question an instructor can never answer? It is the unasked question. Many concerns are unspoken. The unspoken fear of every student is what do I do if something happens to the instructor. An instructor who fails to warn the student of changes in sound, thumps and bumps before they happen is creating needless tension. Warn students that crosswind landings are done on one wheel. Flight operations where the ground and speed of the plane are apparent bother some far more than does flight at higher altitudes. Flights in or near clouds give similar effects. The sensations that create pleasure in the instructor can worry the student.

Misleading the instructor as to your concerns, fears, preparation or available time is not part of the process. Concerns and fears are normal; expressing them gives you an opportunity to face them down with help from the instructor. Pleasing the instructor is not part of the process. Ask the hard questions for they show a brain at work. A well-directed student question is progress. Being inquisitive and skeptical is desirable

The student is encouraged to ask questions. Willingness to ask is more important than the question itself, since it shows the quest for knowledge. Often, the student does not have the background needed to express the question. Give an instructor one key word and he will expound for at least 10 minutes. When the student is expected to pay both for the time to ask the question and for the instructor's time to answer, a powerful dissuasive factor is in force. (For this reason I do not charge for ground time but make up for it with what I charge for flight time.) It is up to the instructor to fill in the voids between the asked and unasked. As often as not, the student cannot remember the question. For this reason, I suggest that the student always carry a question card as a memory aid. The unasked and unanswered question is a tension producer and interferes with learning.

The student is not expected to know all the possible causes and effects of what they do. Some things about flying can be learned from books but much of it is experimental to the individual. You try. You try and you try again. You sleep on it. Talk with the instructor about your concerns. Sometimes you go back to review a basic skill that is showing weakness. Then you go and try again. Talent is not a requisite for flying any more than for driving. It takes tenacity to face the frustrations sure to occur as you learn to fly. The pleasures of flying are worth it.

The instructor's ability to anticipate problems by discussing them prior to a flight helps the student accept as normal his own difficulties. The unexpected difficulty creates student tension and affects ability to learn. Student concerns that may exist due to the presence of high terrain, bodies of water, or thermal air currents, or lack of preparation should be approached gradually. Several flights may be required to familiarize the student with the fact that mountains can't jump. Water can be overflown at safe gliding altitudes. Turbulence can be gradually introduced by selecting the time of day and where to make flights. Much 'turbulence' is pilot induced by a tight grip and spontaneous reaction.

The misconceptions possible in flying never cease to amaze me. The instructor must recognize and train or retrain accordingly. It is far better to be taught correctly in the first place. The repair of instructional damage is both difficult and dangerous because of the potential for reversion. This means that, in an emergency, the student may instinctively revert back to the first instructional procedure no matter how wrong. Misconceptions can be varied as psychological, intellectually misunderstood, educationally missing, or agnosic (oblivious to the obvious). Much of learning to fly is to overcome misconceptions.

Early on, I mentioned something about my opinions in regard to flight instruction. Synonymy is the study of degrees of meaning, the fine distinctions between words of similar meanings. Your views of flying and any of its parts may be shaded differently than your opinions. The pilot is always trying to make judgments about the truth of occurrences while flying.

My perception and word selection will often be different from yours. What you may see as poorly or well done, I will see as normal. I may require a student to repeat additional maneuvers to make safety related changes or to build habit constants. Ground time may be required to discuss cause and effect or to correct erroneous conceptions. It is important that you, as the student, feel free to discuss with the instructor your understanding of a given situation using your own words. It is not uncommon for a student to be unable to explain a given situation. In this latter case a follow-up phone call may be useful.

After giving the same information for several years, instructors tend to become complacent and assume that this present student has the same comprehension as the last student. This assumption may be far from the truth. Failure to lay the ground work, based on a student's background, will reap a terrible harvest. A student should not enter the plane until he knows what he is about to do and why it is required. The why of a given activity includes how much, how far, and why not. A good instructor tries to give the reasons for any instruction. The understanding of the student is confirmed when the student can give the essentials in their own words. Teaching flying is unique in that there are forces acting on the student of which both the student and instructor may be unaware. The inherent fears of man, the pre-conceptions from past exposures, the economic pressures, and social factors all lie in wait to make the teaching/learning process more difficult.

Teaching Memory
The way an instructor presents material has a great influence on student retention of what is being taught. Trauma is proven to be the absolute best way to fix memory. You will never forget where you were during a tornado or an earthquake. This storage is subject to overload when too much material is fed into the memory bank without the shock of an associated trauma. Some presentations of stalls are made memorable. However, the recovery lesson loses something in the memory bank. Over powered by the trauma of the stall the instructional input of the recovery dissipates and is erased even from the short term memory.

Only significant information gets admitted into the short-term memory. The retention is only brief as significance is weighed, discarded, or entered into long term memory. Only the important is processed again and again into the long term memory until it is 'learned' forever.

An instructor must tailor both the material and the presentation to the student. The first presentation will only be in short term memory unless the instructor can tie to the material a tag of sorts. I use a story or event to relate what is being taught. The story will act as a memory trigger for the student just as it does for me. The story aids the teacher's memory in making reuse of the original material and aids the student in his recall.

The difficulty of this is that stories, especially mine, take time. It is necessary that material be re-presented in a new situation and in a different manner to provide additional associative tags for the student memory bank. Only through repetition can the ability to recall information function on demand. The more meaningful the material to the needs of the student, the more likely it is to be tagged in some way by the student's memory. All memory needs a trigger, a word, a sound, a smell or a view. The more a student participates in the learning situation the more senses are called into play as memory tags.

Reaction and Anticipation
In searching for an appropriate place for this material I was surprised at how often the terms appeared, the variety of context, and application to both plane and pilot. In many situations you must be decisive, selective and accurate. You must know what to do, do it, and do it correctly. Most often the word reaction occurs in my writing in conjunction with anticipation. There are times when all anticipation occurred long before the event requiring reaction, as in a cataclysmic engine failure.

Reaction time is based upon how your senses work together. Hearing and smell may provide advance warning but most often we are not as sensitive to these as to the tactile sense. Vision evokes the quickest reactions but this quickness may be instinctive and counter productive. Where you look, makes a difference in how a maneuver is performed. Watching over the nose will enable you to counter visual illusion and associated instinctive reactions. How the maneuver feels and sounds will augment vision once the proper parameters are practiced and imprinted. The sensitivity of your visual perception to what occurs over the nose is the most critical flying sense you have. This developed visual perception will make reactions appear as anticipation to those not visually attuned.

We need to practice reactions in flying situations so that they can be anticipated, decisive, selective, and accurate. Landings, takeoffs, steep turns, stalls, minimum controllable, and unusual attitudes are areas where we can organize our senses to get our performance and the required reaction under control. Along with correct performance of the maneuvers, we should expose ourselves to incorrect (read instinctive) reaction situations. The sudden inadvertent event is the one most likely to be met with instinctive reaction.

Recognition of the need and correctness in reaction is, to me, more important than the speed. With age I have replaced my reaction time with anticipation. For example, I laugh before the punch line of jokes. I feel that the shift from reaction to anticipation is one of the large personality changes that distinguish pilots from the less fortunate. It is certainly one of the things I look for when I solo a student.

Knowing what to expect from yourself, the plane, ATC, and the weather will greatly reduce the need for reaction and increase the presence of anticipation. The practice element that I would concentrate on would be;
1) Awareness of how deceptive our senses can be, -- 2) How anticipation can affect selection, speed, and accuracy of any reaction--,3) Situations where reaction is all you have available. It all comes down to judgment.

The best pilot complement is 'smooth'. Being smooth means that there is no wasted motion, no hesitation, and no doubt of what comes next. Every motion is anticipated. The pilot is ahead of the aircraft. Decisions and movements are unhurried and evenly paced. Smo o o th.

Instructional Sequence Chart
Refer to the Old edition of the Flight Instructor's Handbook to see the lessons that make up this sequence. Page 85 ...EXPOSURE TRAINING PRACTICE COMPETENCE---PREFLIGHT ---GROUND OPERATIONS---SYSTEMS: OPERATIONS & MALFUNCTION

This concludes the air work phase of flight instruction. The four basics of level flight, climbs, descents, and turns have been covered in a variety of configurations. If any break in instruction occurs a review flight of all skills will be necessary regardless of prior competence. The climb, turning, leveling, speed changes, flaps, descents, arrivals and landings are different only in the application of techniques.

Teaching Efficiency
I teach techniques that maximize safety, economy of time and movement both for the pilot and the aircraft. Many aspects of pre-flight technique are not mentioned in the POH (Pilots Operating Handbook). Numerous techniques such as unchaining the left wing, opening the passenger door, having a paper towel, make it possible to minimize the number of steps really required for a preflight. Technique is using your own checklist to do the procedure better, faster, and safer. Technique is the selection of how to perform a given procedure.

There are as many techniques to the performance of a given operation as there are pilots. The essential of good instruction is that the highest level of technique be selected and taught. There is no one way to perform most aviation maneuvers. Some ways are more efficient and safer than others. This does not make the other ways wrong, just less cost effective. The Aeronautical Information Manual gives 'recommended' procedures for flying. Not using a 'recommended' procedure becomes a problem only when something happens and you get caught in the FAA net. A scenario happened to me when a student came to me after having four lessons elsewhere. In four flights he had never been shown to clear before making a turn. At uncontrolled airports there are as many opinions of pattern-entry procedures as there are pilots. The uncertainty exists because of the conflict between the FAA desire to control all flying and their inability to do so. Technique is essential. There is more to making a turn than just turning. There is more to safety than just rules. Enough, said.

Command Authority
FAR 91.3: "The pilot-in-command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft...." In an emergency you can break any rule to the extent required to meet that emergency. However, the FAA reserves the right to second guess anything a pilot does. As a pilot you should not allow anyone or anything to determine what you consider necessary for safe flight operations. ATC runs the system for its convenience. As a PIC you must learn to use the system and abide by it operational procedures until they affect the safety of your aircraft. Until you declare an emergency you must obey ATC.

Command authority carries with it liability. Liability as a flight instructor comes from both the FAA and civil authority. The FAA looks at FAR violations as the PIC the instructor is responsible for the aircraft. The civil aspect relates to negligence. A flight instructor need not be giving instruction, just being on the aircraft and contributing to carelessness. A flight instructor is held to a higher level or care and a higher level of liability. Circumstances and common sense control each situation. Flight instructor liability exists in and out of the aircraft before, during, and even after instruction has been given.. The instructor is in charge of student flights. Flight instructor liability insurance is available through the AOPA Insurance Agency at (800)622-2672

CFI does not require a medical if he does not function as required crew member or P:IC. Time can be logged as PIC and any payment is legal.

Initially, the ground instruction begins with basic background and theory. The flight lesson is predicated by the use of preflight and Post-flight briefings. Elements of the lesson that contain required knowledge preparation are covered and emphasized. There is considerable advantage in having the instructor do both the ground and flight training since this assures adequate coverage of material. Even so, the student must supplement with a planned comprehensive academic program. All questions should be completion type. Flying is not made up of multiple choices.

A student must be made clearly aware of why a specific lesson or drill exercise is required. The preliminaries of slow flight at altitude must be seen as a prelude to takeoff and landing. The stall has an additional value in familiarizing the student with the idea that it is normal for things to disappear below the nose. If possible the short and soft procedures should be taught under actual short and soft field conditions. This is too valuable a lesson to be taught otherwise.

It takes a blend of student and instructor planning and initiative to get the best mix of academic study and flight training. It is counter productive to let flying get too much of a lead over the studying. Greater frequency in flying is only an advantage if the academic aspects keep up.

Confidence is not based on hope. It is the result of advanced planning and preparation. The pilot has made an analysis of the flight and accepted the challenges exposed in the process. The confident pilot has done the flight preparation required to make certain the safest possible flight. The preflight, aircraft condition, flight route, and alternatives are all known values. By flying as precisely as you can when just flying for fun makes it much easier when you must. Two pilots in the cockpit make it all the more important ant the non-flying pilot act as a performance monitor for the pilot-flying.

A teacher is a role model. Even the poorest teacher has a value to the student by serving as a bad example of what should be. I have spent the greatest portion of my two careers in striving to correct the problems created by poor teaching. The flight decisions made by an instructor should not be made without revealing to the student as many of the large and small nuances that influenced a given decision. These revelations will occur in part in the planning stage, then expanded during the flight, and further reinforced in a post flight review.

In the planning stage the choices made are over a wide range of risk. A straight line is both relatively easy to draw and fly. The options for flying other than a straight line must be planned, flown and analyzed for relative risk. Only one person is responsible for how well a given flight is safe and follows the FARs. The PIC is the final authority in what is allowed to happen. However, the FAA gets to second-guess your every decision.

In the past thirty years I have flown the Sierras about five or six times each year. In those years I have had two memorable weather flights. I have had perhaps two weather flights that I have chosen not to make each year. Since most of my Sierra flights are shared expense flights with students I have tried to present a role model by demonstrating that even the experienced have no-go standards of risk. I best serve my students by demonstrations of judgment. Last year we drove back from Nevada rather than face uncertain conditions. A lesson gains in importance when the exercise of judgment dominates the other aspects. My most recent flight met unforecast clouds at 9000' just past Sacramento. Rancho FSS called ahead to Truckee AWOS and found that it was reporting scattered conditions. We continued and landed without a problem. To have gone ahead without knowing could have been both expensive and dangerous. Know when and how to ask for help.

There are three different ways a pilot may use his competence and experience. The full VFR flight over an oft flown route is first and perhaps most common. Second, would be a flight in marginal conditions that might require a SVFR departure or arrival. Third, would be one in which either a departure or an arrival would not be possible.

A pilot must know his limitations. He must know just how complete his knowledge is of the area and obstacle locations. Aircraft capability and personal competency all these come together in making aeronautical decisions. Even not making a decision is making a decision.

The flight responsibility of a flight instructor extends beyond the immediate flight. A student is being given criteria for why some decision choices are made as well as why others are rejected. It is vital that the reasons for the choice of decisions are selected. Decisions are not so much choosing between right and wrong as it is in between good, better, and best. Their is no flying skill involved in making decisions but rather a matter of judgment of risk and consequences. You can never go wrong making the safe decision.

If an instructor is limited to teaching by only one method then he is only certain of reaching a limited number of students. Instruction requires that you adapt your method of teaching to the manner in which a student learns. A student learns best by doing. Great improvement of this doing can be accomplished by having the student talking his way through the lesson. Ability to talk through a given procedure requires considerable anticipation.

There is much to know about flying. There is much to know at varied levels about the same topic. When writing I 'shotgun' what I say hoping to cover levels from beginning to end as much as possible. When teaching an individual student I 'rifle' my material by aiming at my perception of what the student knows now and can absorb as new material. I always try to ad a pearl that will come of value later.

Flying consists of a multiple sequence of complex situations. Often the actual performance is the simplest thing to do but the most likely where something will go wrong. With performance at the 100% level we find that 95% of what happens is mental and only 5% manipulation. If you should begin to manipulate more quickly than your mental capability can control bad things happen. You are entering a sphere of reaction instead of anticipation.

When your are mentally prepared to do what you are supposed to do, you have entered the sphere of anticipation. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to watch a competition aerobatics pilot go through the entire timed routine in the middle of a small room. The aerobatic pilot is exercising the mental 95% of the performance knowing that the remaining 5% will be in place.

What does or can the average pilot do? Every flight should be a planned lesson with a sequence of simple parameters. How can you make what you do in the cockpit more orderly? How can the complex sequence be ordered into a simple flow pattern? How can your pencils, charts, and frequencies be ordered by sequence and discarded when no longer needed? You cannot properly order your cockpit and materials without doing the 95% of mental performance prior to a flight.

When I teach a lesson, we--the student and I--go through as many aspects before the flight as I deem necessary. This means we walk/talk through the routes, radio procedures, maneuvers, responsibility sharing, and the standards of performance sought. Every flight has some potential hazards that need to be opened to the student. Avoidance is always an option but not always. Some hazards must be faced since student exposure is in itself a valuable lesson. For example, flights over water, marginal conditions, higher terrain or through Alert Areas. After the lesson the entire flight is reviewed as to areas of excellence, satisfactory, and needs improvement in performance.

Getting behind the aircraft requires that the pilot do the important things first. This means that he sort out the degrees of importance of things to do. With many possible options you must be able to simplify both your thinking and performance in coping with complex situations. Only by being fully prepared for the worst thing that can happen do you have some assurance that it never will. I approach flight instruction as the most complex kind of flying that I do.

The Instructor
I can teach you to fly in about five minutes but it will take the rest of your life to get it right. It is not just ability to exercise reasonable control of the airplane that makes the pilot. The complete pilot, even the student, needs to be aware of the total pie that constitutes flying. To do this in the restraints of the training regime is the initial problem.

Instructors don't know what they don't know and students don't know what they don't know. (Basic precept...likely to appear again...and again...and again...) As an instructor, I try to make a distinction between telling a student what to do and teaching the what, why, and how of doing something. Knowing the reason is as important, if not more important, than the actual performance.

Over two-thirds of flight training takes place on the ground. The homework assignment, preflight discussion and post-flight analysis are as essential as the flight itself. The failure of a lesson begins when the teacher has failed to provide the motivation the student needs to prepare for the flight. The teacher must determine before the lesson that the student is prepared. If a prepared student fails to succeed then there is some unknown factor in the instruction making a difference. This factor needs to be found by the instructor. I have generally found many of the difficulties to lie in the student selecting the incorrect priority either in the aircraft, on the radio or, outside the aircraft. You are not expected to know and learn everything all at once.

Introduction to the Radio
I introduce the ATIS frequency, 124.7, the alphabetical sequencing, order of information during the day, and how to use this information. Most important I show how the data may be written for maximum usefulness by entering the data in the four quadrants of a + chart. I give the phone number to use for home use and practice 685-4567. To avoid mixing one ATIS with another it is best to use Post It Stickers with one to every ATIS

I then take the student through what to say to Ground Control and to the Tower. If no headset: I always make the student initially practice what to say while holding the microphone to his lips with his left hand. Held too far from the mouth, the microphone admits engine and propeller noise. It is surprising how difficult some find it to talk into a microphone with their left hand. All ground radio operations with the microphone should be taught and done with the left hand. For flight operations the right hand should be used. It only takes a one time experience with ATC and having the mike in the wrong hand to make this way of training relevant. A yoke switch and headset eliminates the problem but the training technique and skill is still worthwhile. Learn to keep the mike in your hand if only by the cord. Don't start the engine until you have practiced the radio work.

Before you enter the plane you should have noted the active runway, the wind, and the direction you will be departing. By guessing at wind direction and velocity the student can gain ability to second guess the ATIS and interpret windsocks at airports. The preflight consists of a complete tape-recorded walk around from which the student will make a scratch checklist. The 'why' of each item will be discussed with cautionary notes. It usually takes at least five revisions of the checklist before an acceptable one is achieved. Every pilot should develop his personal checklist for each aircraft.

I have made it a practice to make each departure from the airport in a different direction using differing departure procedures. The most complex of these departures is the 270-degree overhead. This 270 departure will allow many cross country trips to be initiated on the course line. Likewise, arrivals are planned to give a variety of checkpoints and pattern entries. This departure/arrival study is followed by a complete oral radio review of what will be said with anticipated response from ATC. The student must be taught how anticipation allows him to PLAN where to say what. Always practice communicating the correct words without pause. The student uses the radio from the very beginning. You must learn to talk airplane.

After you have received the ATIS, you want to position the aircraft so as to be over a well-known geographic point commonly used as a reporting point but at an uncommon altitude. The selection of this point should be far enough away so as to allow you to plan your arrival and prepare what to say on the radio. These points usually allow you to select the best one of the several five-mile points for entry into the airport. The knowledge of these five mile points and their associated two mile points helps you, the pilot, plan what to say on the radio. This can be studied but will still require actual performance to develop skill. You have done the callup correctly when the tower says, "Approved as requested". You will never stop learning how to make arrivals.

After a couple of flights the student should begin to see how a given two-mile point may serve both as a two-mile final reporting point and as a 45 entry for another runway. Concord, due to its parallel runways, has a relatively complex arrival/departure system. One reporting point may serve as a two-mile base reporting point for different runways. It will take many flights and much instruction to master its multiple options.

I follow the same discussion and analysis for our arrival and departure at neighboring airports. Fortunately, these airports are in different quadrants and vary from having a Class C airspace underlying a Class B airspace to uncontrolled. For years I have made a practice of using these airports for pre-solo landing instruction and practice. This has meant that the student gets the practical experience of departures and arrivals. He develops familiarity with procedures, airports, and landmarks in a 25 mile radius surrounding his home field. I can only guess the comfort such knowledge provides the student on solo cross-country flights.

Aircraft radios are usually divided into two separate parts: Communications and Navigation. For now we will deal only with the COM side. The on/off switch works for both sides. As with most radios, the on/off switch is also the volume control. There is a 'squelch' control that is adjusted to just below the level of hearing a hiss or buzz. Where reception is poor, the squelch would need to be full right. More Initially you will need to know only four frequencies.
Memorize them.
ATIS on 124.7,
Concord Ground on 121.9
Concord Tower on 119.7
Emergency 121.5

At this point I show how the frequency range and selection is controlled by the knobs. I suggest that the sequence of frequencies at our home field can be very quickly and efficiently selected by counting the clicks. I explain the used of the squelch control and how a volume selected for taxi may not be sufficient for takeoff.

There are two COM frequency control knobs. The large knob controls the numbers to the left of the decimal point and the small one those to the right. The large knob can be turned completely through the numbers right or left from 118 to 135. Turn right to get larger numbers; left for smaller.

How the numbers appear when turning the small knob will vary but, it is usually from .0 through .95. An additional switch can allow an additional place value that gives up to 720 radio frequencies. The numerical values can be changed continuously in either direction. I would suggest that you practice turning in sequence

from 124.7 to 121.9;
from 121.9 to 119.7
from 124.7 to 119.7
from 119.7 to 121.9
from 121.9 to 121.5

These changes are those used for normal leaving and ending at CCR (Concord) Practice in counting the clicks as you go left or right from one frequency to another. You should do this so that you can reduce the amount of attention (distraction) needed for changing frequencies. Try it; you'll like it. Where an aircraft has dual radios, the operation and understanding of the control panel will be explained.

You should note that the frequencies for both sides Com and Nav, of the radio go from 108.0 to 117.95 on the Nav side and from 118.0 to 135.95 on the Com side. These are the aircraft VHF FM, (Very High Frequency, Frequency Modulation) frequencies, limited to line of sight reception and transmission.

An ADF can be used for reception only on four AM (Amplitude Modulation) radio bands and is not restricted to line of sight. The frequencies are shown in magenta. One of the four bands is the standard commercial broadcast band. The ADF needle will point to the selected station only on the ADF setting. On REC the best reception of music is possible. Military radios use UHF (Ultra High Frequency).

Knowledge Gaps
--Most accidents, if not all are the result of poor decisions made by the pilot.
--A distraction can be negated by prior planning.
--Know what you are going to do ahead of time.
--Prior planning begins with checklist use.
--Instructional use of distractions is an important part of teaching students to ignore the insignificant.
--Teach students about critical flight conditions and value of a sterile cockpit during such times.
--Teach cockpit efficiency in making flight and configuration transitions.
--Use checklists to verify every transitior both forward and backward.
--If you are not prepared two-steps ahead you will be behind the aircraft shortly.
--Major difficulty is getting ATIS first time ahead of time.
--Safe flying is a mater of keeping your priorities in order of their importance.
--The use of the correct terminology is the primary element of good communications.
--Learn to seek-out and interpret weather and wind signs
--Teach students how to use ATIS, AWOS, Flight Watch, FSS and tower for weather info.
--There is no better flying skill than the ability to observe and evaluate the weather.
--Rote performance of a maneuver does not mean mastery of its complexity.
--The instructional goal is longevity of the student and perpetuation of your knowledge.

Never Turn Your Back to a Student 
Recently observed an instructor-student combination pushing and steering an aircraft back into its tie-down space. The student was controlling the tow bar while the instructor pushed on the wing strut. What caught my eye was the student initially touched the spinner for leverage in use of the tow bar. On the initial touching he immediately let go and moved his hand to the painted area of the propeller tip. 

While steering with the tow-bar the student kept making 5-6 inches of movement with the propeller tip to make moving the tow-bar easier. Meanwhile back on the wing strut the instructor never once looked back to see how the student was doing. Like Brer Fox I watched and said nothing. That is until after the parking was completed.

 Then I called the instructor aside and told him what had occurred. Cure: Never turn your back on a student. Whole occasion was further justification for my usual stance against helping students park aircraft. Besides, everything worth while was created by the lazy. 

Looking forward, it appears that new guys will have glass cockpits to do their thinking and the old guys will fly the back-ups.

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