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Feature Article: Teaching The FAA Way
I have never seen the 60-14 textbook. I assume it is the revised
Flight Instructor Handbook. I once made a complete summary of
the old edition and became more and more frustrated in its pedantic
presentations and terminology. As may be implied, the FAA preaches
all the developmental theories and resorts to catechization and
I must tell a 'war' story to explain how I got into teaching.
I was taking aircraft radio at Truax Field, Madison Wisconsin
during mid 1943. The better your grades the longer you got to
stay in tech schools. The alternative was to become a B-17 machine
gunner. Your 60-14 would call it motivation. I was fresh out
of high school but found that I had acquired ability to regurgitate
material back to my fellow students when we returned to the barracks.
"He who teaches, learns twice." I took a good-sized
group with me to Boca Raton, Florida for Radar training because
of our collective good grades. I did the same teaching at Boca
Raton and took nearly every course they had while continuing
to help/teach my buddies.
Fifty radarmen were sent to India to join the newly activated
58th (B-29) Bomb Wing. When Saipan and Tinian were captured,
we all went by plane or ship to the Pacific. I was almost immediately
assigned to the Wing Training School to teach LORAN. Two months
later I was given the job of assembling and operating the training
program for the Supersonic Trainer. This was a bombing simulator
that made it possible to see on a radar scope a very realistic
radar picture as it would actually appear when in combat over
Japan. In setting up target flights for the simulator I had to
learn how to use the E-6-B and plotter. Twenty-five years later
this experience gave me a leg-up in learning to fly. I have never
liked to use the 'formal' lesson plan. Never used them when teaching
children. I always prepared myself with the subject matter along
with an ample supply of peripheral/related information, stories,
and life applications.
Spent two hours with Lisa today doing ground school. We both
had a great time. Lesson consisted of covering topics from the
POH such as systems, weight and balance, emergencies, and aircraft
performance. Using her own life experiences I was able to give
her unforgettable examples of how Va works, how wings lift, how
fuel gets out of the carburetor and some others I forget. We
found that the POH was really deficient in giving a practical
engine fire checklist. We found that it is useless to plan precise
times and routes when winds are never as forecast. I showed her
how best to learn to diagram the systems of the aircraft. She
left enthused and even considering a flying career. As good as
You are going to learn the teaching of flying by making many
mistakes. You are going to give students both good and bad habits,
techniques, lessons and memories. An educational critic of my
lesson with Lisa could, rightfully, say it was unorganized and
disjointed. It was. Still before the material in the POH could
be properly covered, I had to make sure that she had the required
background. 60-14 would agree but you would choke on the vocabulary
needed to make the point. It's called readiness.
I was told early on in teaching that it would take seven years
to acquire teaching competence. If teaching had two years in
a row as bad as the first year, there would be no teachers. Shortly
after my 'college revolt' about wasting my time they began to
put student teachers into the classrooms from the very beginning.
That and the elimination of school administrators from the California
Teachers Association are my two life-time achievements. Unintended
consequences make these a dubious claim to fame.
If you read of my IFR logging experience where I sat in back
while a CFI candidate gave instruction to a pilot, you are likely
to find that such a procedure is very unusual. CFI preparation
has no 'plan' for doing as I did. The candidate had no idea,
by admission, of where to begin teaching the lesson. Candidate
chose to watch as I demonstrated how I take a student through
the entire flight on the ground along with headings, altitudes,
radio frequencies, what to say/when to say it, and a run-through
using the actual radios. Once on the flight, candidate did well.
There is very little in the CFI program that will actually provide
the very much needed practical teaching experience by the candidate.
The problem lies in the process and entrenched administration
of the FAA not the potential instructors.
An honest to goodness FAA CFI program to produce would require
an admission that the programs of the past have been wrong and
misdirected. If the precepts of 60-14 are to be a part of the
program, then book learning alone will not suffice. I question
that there is any innate teaching ability, teaching sensitivity
can be taught, acquired, and passed on. A 60-14 program could
provide a 3-person curriculum such as I practiced on the above
flight. As many of you know I have always taught with tape recorders
on during preflight ground school and flight. Maybe, all instruction
should be video taped. An instructor should not be required to
learn 'the hard way' as to how far into a problem situation to
go before taking over.
Last Modified December 4, ©2020 TAGE.COM