Your instructor is one essential leg to the flight-training
program. An interview and perhaps demonstration flight can be
very deceptive. I do believe that flying with the first person
to say hello has a relatively high element of chance. I would
first select the airport from which to fly. You are more likely
to fly more often if the field is convenient. What kind of airport
and how busy is not a major consideration. Perhaps the field selection
may be a choice between several airports. If a simulator is involved,
it will be only as good as the instructor.
You might want to interview your instructor selections in a
non-flying situation over coffee. Find out where they trained
and from whom. Ask what are they planning with their flying career
and just how their teaching you fits into the picture. If the
instructor is building hours for another occupation you might
look elsewhere. All instructors are different and changing instructors
is always an option you should hold open. Better to make the changes,
once considered, sooner than later. Ask why is the instructor
an instructor. Is the instructor working for you or for himself
or is another skimming some of his pay? Is the planned program
designed to give you economy and achievement? If the instructor
charges for telling 'war stories', the talking can become expensive.
What you are looking for is communication skills, experience,
dedication and professionalism. You want an instructor who is
willing to fly you into weather. You are looking beyond theory
for practical knowledge and applications not always available
in textbooks. Basically, you are looking for a communicator with
knowledge, creativity, discipline, patience with the ability to
determine weaknesses and strengths.
The last major consideration is time. An instructor who is
not available is like not having one at all. As a student, you
must not begin flying unless you have both the money and time
required for learning efficiently. You should demand that the
instructor have both time and available aircraft. Reliability
is essential. Be on time and give the instructor only two shots
at being late. Let him know this during the interview. Waiting
is what makes old age.
50% of students who get medical certificates do not get their
licenses Why are we using the least experienced of our instructional
prospects as the majority of our teachers? Teachers, regardless
of what they teach are on the lowest rung of the career ladder.
A teacher is good who has enthusiasm for his material and is eager
to share it. Look for such a teacher.
Where to go;
what to do
You can find whom to interview by talking to people around
the airport. Pretty soon certain names will keep coming up. Those
are the people you want to see. Compare at least three and then
ask to talk to some of their present and past students. Contact
the local designated examiner and ask for recommendations. You
are far more likely to make a good choice using the opinions of
relatively experienced pilots and students. If you plan to fly
at a controlled airport, go to the tower on different shifts and
get ATC opinion. The question to ask is, "Who would you select
as your flight instructor?" "Why?"
Use your eyes, ears and nose during your meetings. I have flown
with instructors with various physical handicaps and have found
that the instructor who overcomes problems has much to offer any
student. Appearance makes a difference. Consider whether you want
to work out inclusion of some selected ground instruction. Having
the same person teach you to fly and guide you through self-study
of ground school has inherent coordination advantages to the student.
Your flying will supplement your ground instruction and vice versa.
Taking a ground school is not very efficient.
Don't take your demonstration ride right away. Make an arrangement
that will allow the instructor an opportunity to assign home study
and a preflight review of what will be flown. Confusion has a
negative effect on learning. Most instructors are above average
pilots. Being able to fly is not nearly as important as being
able to teach flying. The best teaching will occur before and
after the flight. The airplane is a very poor classroom.
Money spent on a demonstration lesson can be informative. Try
to take the same lesson from all instructors so you can relate
comparisons. Have a set of identical questions to ask each instructor.
Grade the explanations for each question. Questions should vary
from highly technical to stupid. Listen for a change in voice
tone and body language as the questions vary. A good instructor
is not averse to admitting ignorance. Knowing where to find information
is just as important as knowing. Good flight instructors learned
on the job.
The type of aircraft is mostly a matter of personal preference.
The instructor is often limited in his selection by what is available.
You are not so limited. Some aircraft are somewhat too easy to
fly. Others like taildraggers offer difficulties. Ask as many
pilots as you can about their training preferences and then use
your own judgment. Having a plane you feel comfortable with will
improve your learning.
NAFI (National Association of Flight Instructors) has a wide
range of information, including NAFI flight instructor names,
hometowns and contact telephone numbers. www.nafinet.org
Last Modified November 16, ©2018 TAGE.COM