View Full Version : Advice for new instructor

Guy J
8th Jun 2009, 17:51
Hi I passed my FI(a) at the begining of the year and have a oppertunity to instruct at a flying club so I just wanted to get some advice for the first few students I take up. Obviously I have done all the training but just wanted some real world tips so it all goes nicely.


8th Jun 2009, 18:26
Generally have fun and enjoy the flying. You will learn lots and lots in the first 100 hours. The students teach you far more than you teach them . Be prepared for the ones who are qualified, read Stumpy O'tool's post. All you need to know.

9th Jun 2009, 21:14
Instructing at PPL level is all about your personality.


9th Jun 2009, 22:06
Be honest and professional and then you can enjoy the time! As a fresh FI, you must be prepared to say "I don't know, but I will find out for your next lesson" - or risk getting caught in a lie! Be honest and give it your best efforts, and all will work out fine!

Best of luck, and cheers,

10th Jun 2009, 16:13
Don't conduct a flying exercise without effective pre- and post-flight briefings.

Of course you will already be planning this, but your ideals can take a bashing in day to day operations when managers hustle you to keep airplanes flying. Resist at all costs.

"Effective" means, among many other desiderata, that the flying has been planned, and mutually understood, to meet the student's present learning needs, not merely to tick off a syllabus item. That means you must know as much as you can about them, the progress they have made to date, and what exact issues, goals or obstacles are germane to them specifically.

Steer the student's skills and knowledge from the known to the unknown. Otherwise they will reach neither destination.

Let them make mistakes. Essentially, they are teaching themselves, with you along for safety, and the very occasional intervention.

Be on time.

Brush your teeth and carry some mints in your pocket. The cockpit is a small place.

Force them to make decisions. They need as much practice in that vital piloting skill as possible. Bite your lip and say nothing as they head for a wall of cloud. One or two close shaves and they will get the idea.

Above all, keep your hands and feet away from the controls as much as possible. They will learn to fly mainly by flying, not by marvelling at your own skills all day. When you do fly 'hands on' though, be sure your flying is impeccable. Learning by example has far more impact than learning by being told things.

Your job is to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The latter is no less important than the others.

Don't fly for more than 45 minutes or so without giving them a break. Take the controls, tell them to rest. Point out the beauty of the clouds and the landscapes. Don't be afraid to use words like 'joy' and 'wonderful' and to remind them why we all were attracted to the practice of flight. Encourage those feelings, it will get them through difficult times later.

Make sure the front window is clean.

The very fact that you have posted here looking for input shows that you already have an excellent attitude. Frankly, you're way ahead of the pack. Keep it up.

There are many delights to be had in instructing. Savor them. Good luck.

10th Jun 2009, 17:19
Make sure the front window is clean.

I get the student to do that one! It may make the other instructors laugh but I don't know why - it's basic flight safety! :}


S92 driver
28th Jun 2009, 11:08

1st Jul 2009, 08:09
Wish I had justanotherflyer as an instructor. Maybe I did!

1st Jul 2009, 22:01
just another flyer

Best post I've seen on pprune for a long time, you've summed instructing up in a few paragraph's..


1st Jul 2009, 22:57
Let them fly as much as possible.

Dont show off how good you are Let them fly

Have some good jokes handy to help relax them Let them fly

Let them make mistakes, you will learn to recover things from deeper and deeper poo as you get more experience. Let them fly

Dont let them get away with not having to do difficult tasks, for example landing near to something or somewhere a little tight if they can always land in an open field (Talking Helicopters here) Make them fly

Break down the lesson into achievable tasks, they will feel they hav achieved more if in small chunks rather than one long task. oh yes..Let them fly

Ask other instructors for advice on problem students and exercises. Dont let them fly!

Good luck in your new career.


Mickey Kaye
2nd Jul 2009, 08:22
Get a job at somewhere that is busy. I feel an FI rating is a licence for you to learn as much as anything else and for that to happen you need repetition.

The first place I ever worked I logged 24 hours in 8 months of employment it simply wasnít enough and I always felt rusty.

You also want a work environment where you can ask the other instructors questions and donít get ridiculed for lack of knowledge.

Unfortunately in todayís environment you canít really pick and choose so well done for getting a job.

9th Jul 2009, 14:49
Don't get complacent or too comfortable, ever. Even if the pilot is a retired airline pilot doing a flight review, don't assume he is a good pilot in a 172/152/whatever.

19th Jul 2009, 22:17
First off, Congratulations!

You set the tone so be professional, and that ain't easy when you're making peanuts.
Demonstrate the preflight and make student eyeball the gas tank.
ALWAYS USE THE PAPER CHECKLIST, this can't be stressed enough, your students will thank you, even if others use GUMP and that other crap.
Teach precise and correct radio procedures. I've flown on heavy jets with guys who sound like they were in grade school.
Mark your speeds for rotation, landing, etc. I know this probably sounds crazy for small a/c but someday you and the people you teach want the job I just retired from.
Realize that flying is constantly making small changes in flt path, speed, trim, power, config, so no BIG changes are needed.
Bore the sh@t out of your students by making him fly slow flight everyday, then spice it up with sf and 500 fpm climbs and descents and timed standard rate turns. (they must be further along for this but challenge them)
Never yell or show frustration, trust me after 3/4 years it'll come by itself!
Flying is hand eye coordination skill so if you get a choice between teaching a doctor or a backhoe driver, take the bh driver.
You will push yourself beyond your limits someday and it will scare you, so learn from those days and respect your limits. Stay safe

20th Jul 2009, 03:04
ALWAYS USE THE PAPER CHECKLIST, this can't be stressed enough, your students will thank you, even if others use GUMP and that other crap.

Sorry, cannot agree here - yes, any checks on the ground should be done from the paper checklist, but in the air they should be done from memory - head down doing downwind checks from a paper checklist with 5 in the circuit has got to be wrong!:uhoh:

20th Jul 2009, 21:13
Sorry foxmouth, but on this you are dead wrong. Memory does not cut it on any airplane. Remember, some of these students have dreams of airline flying and there all things are done with checklist. All manufacturers make their checklists in order, and not many items to be covered depending on sophistication. Bottom line is to start with good habit patterns early in training.

20th Jul 2009, 21:44
Sorry foxmouth, but on this you are dead wrong. Memory does not cut it on any airplane. Remember, some of these students have dreams of airline flying and there all things are done with checklist. All manufacturers make their checklists in order, and not many items to be covered depending on sophistication. Bottom line is to start with good habit patterns early in training.

Single pilot - Checks on the ground done from a checklist - checks in the air done from memory - You can't be doing checks from a piece of paper when you should be looking outside the aircraft.

Airliner flying - There are two of you - Pilot flying and Pilot not flying. PNF reads the checklist and the PF responds or the PNF just reads and does which on some checklists is merely a confirmation that everything has been done.

Checklists are not 'to do lists' they are checklists - i.e. checking everything has been done.

Certainly in areas of high density traffic at busy GA fields, the last place your head should be is trying to pick the checklist up of the floor. So IMHO and the way I was taught and the way I teach is on the ground by checklist in the air from memory.

21st Jul 2009, 06:07
I teach checklist on the ground as read-and-do, in the air do-and-verify.. when, and only when, traffic and altitude permits. Certain flights, like the traffic circuit, their is no time to grab the checklist from the floor. Why does it always end up on the floor btw???

21st Jul 2009, 08:05
I started flying relatively recently so can remember it fairly well!

We are all different (thankfully) so different students can need slightly different teaching styles. Of the several instructors who had major input into my flying, the best for me always found something positive about each and every flight. I was never left feeling deflated and that I had gone backwards and since for me at least flying is very much a confidence game that was really important. One of them often gave positive feedback during the flight - it meant I had no doubt what I had just done really well, and giving it helped him to remember it I think for the debriefing!

The best instructors for me also helped me to relax in the cockpit and enjoy myself, and were prepared to think laterally when I was having real problems learning to land.

But, what relaxes one student might wind another up! Especially jokes - senses of humour are very individual. Tread carefully at first.

Student's needs from their instructors can change. If you think one of your students is getting stuck don't hesitate to suggest they try a few flights with a different instructor.

Try to remember your own ab initio experiences. I have felt that some instructors (especially the real naturals and/or who had learnt in their 'teens or 20s) either never knew what it was like to find anything difficult about flying, or had forgotten. Obviously making out that something is really difficult to do (or do well) won't help, neither does not listening to the student explaining what their difficulties are. Sometimes explaining why one can't do something leads to an 'ah ha' moment where the light goes on - and that applies to all learning, not just flying.

Finally, maybe most importantly, remember you are both there because you want to be, and to have fun. Especially your student should have fun!

21st Jul 2009, 20:54
Sorry foxmouth, but on this you are dead wrong. Memory does not cut it on any airplane. Remember, some of these students have dreams of airline flying and there all things are done with checklist.

Well you are obviously an aspiring Airline pilot (certainly not a proper light aviation pilot if you cannot get FoxMOTH - ahh, deHavilland - correct!)- I am one already, and even flying with an incapacitated pilot you are not recommended to read the checklist as PF - you get a CC member to do it, so some of these students have dreams of airline flying is certainly not an excuse for this.

23rd Jul 2009, 20:39
I love to joke around but in cockpit when student is flying is not the time.

In a good case they dont have capacity to understand at all, in a bad case they understand something completely different than meant.

If you want to do it, keep it very basic and easy to understand.

Or maybe im just dry :8

ex desert dweller
28th Jul 2009, 19:39
One asset of a good instructor is HUMILITY. The humility to remember what it was like for you when you first started.

3rd Aug 2009, 10:14
I am hoping for some advice as I'm a new instructor and I have a student who I'm starting to struggle with. His a older gentleman but seems to be very easily distracted, during the briefing he seems very uninterested and looks out the window and in the aircraft is to busy looking at the sights and has no idea that his lost 400 feet, cant taxy straight as his to busy looking at whats going on with other planes or people but when he focuses on taxying he does a great job. My concern is that its taking longer for him to grasp things and I'm thinking of getting him to do a flight with the CFI but I'm new to this and am very keen to hear any advice.


3rd Aug 2009, 10:38
Here are a few tips that I learned through 1500hrs of instructing:

1) Shut your yap!
If you need to be constantly talking in the airplane, you didn't brief properly. If you need to explain every little detail and every big picture on the ground, you're not giving enough homework. If you're the one talking through the whole debriefing, you're not facilitating participation. If you're simply yelling, find another job.

2) Learning takes place in the classroom, not the airplane.
Meaning, don't kick the tyres and light the fires without a clear aim and objective for the flight. If you have to do active teaching in the airplane, rather than sit and watch and come with pointers and tips when required, you're not doing enough ground.

3) The book is always right.
And you are not. If the books (POH, jepps etc) says it's one way, than that is the way to go. Students need to be able to relate to the bookwork that we preach, but don't always practice. And even if you do know other ways, better ways, your ways... they aren't always called for.

4) You are not paid to become friends with the student.
Now there's nothing wrong with becoming friends, and you should of course be friend-ly. But you need to set the standards, you need to put your foot down when it is called for. By all means be socially clever, but you need to be professional.

I found flight instructing very rewarding -- to some exent flyingwise, more so when it came to descision making, but immensely when it came to dealing with people. Good luck :)

3rd Aug 2009, 19:00
Aren't you making him responsible at all?

What do you tell him when he's not scanning height/attitude?

Have you explained to him that he shall be wasting his time if he doesn't start scanning. Has he not had a proper briefing and has he not done his homework before the briefing? (that's probably the case, ask them in a pre brief how do hold height etc, if they can't answer well enough then they haven't done it)

If I had an elderly gentleman (of which I have 4) which displays that sort of attention then I'd debrief about their bad points and good points of which there does seem to be one.
You don't have to make him look horrible in order to get the point across.

Example: John isn't scanning, loses 400 feet. Don't mention it to him until it's dangerous. If nearly hitting something doesn't help....
"We lost of lot of height there, any idea why?"
"I was looking at the house on the side blah blah"
"Did you look at the altimeter during your scan out the window?"
L.A.I. or you die.

Before you chuck him to the CFI I would have a talk with the CFI and hear what he thinks.
Another option would be to let someone else take him on.

Please be reminded that each individual needs a very different approach in order to teach at all.


3rd Aug 2009, 19:39
well heres one for advice , what do you guys with experience do when you have Mr 500hrs I'm Perfect sat next to you , a chap who talks down to you because he THINKS his high hours are worth more than your high hours and all other accoutrements and when being checked out flys like a sack of shxt , isnt what you would call dangerous but cant hold height/heading/speed whatsoever and continually flys out of balance .
Its easy to be sarcastic but at the end of the day the pilloch is still a customer ??????

3rd Aug 2009, 21:21

The question here is, why are you flying with this guy? If it is a bi-annual flight with an instructor then there is only one question - is he safe? If not then I would refuse to sign his log book. If he is learning something new then I would have a quiet word explaining how he needs to change attitude or it will take longer and cost him more to get where he wants.

4th Aug 2009, 13:45
Took that advice , but he nbeeded slapping down a peg or two he now knows the bobby moore ta !

7th Aug 2009, 05:25
I can't agree more! Recently had situation with a student whereby one or more jokes were taken in the wrong light. So far so that i had to cut the lesson short! by all means lighten the mood WHEN YOUR FLYING, but be careful all the same..:ok:

17th Aug 2009, 23:56

My first ever flight as a FI was with just such a gentleman. He was in for a checkout and had stormed out the day prior when he found out he couldn't just pay and go off with an airplane. Older guy, experienced GA pilot, me the kid supposed to determine that he was safe. They gave him to me as a test I'm sure.....

Be 100% respectful and perhaps try to present it in a slightly different light, such as emphasise it as an area and airport familiarisation flight as much as an insurance checkout, so as to help 'em feel that they're not being 'examined'.

The toughest thing I found wasn't attitude problems, with established pilots it was trying to decide, as a new FI, where the lines were drawn on standards. This guy was outside standards a little on the manoeuvres but was safe and a good stick, procedures were a little different. Trying to drive me across the active runway without clearance was a problem :eek: He was also unable to start the 172SP after haughtily dismissing my suggestion that we sit with the POH for a few minutes and familiarise ourselves with the vagaries of our particular aircraft. He'd not flown a fuel injected engine before and my point was well made (but not patronising) when he finally relented.

Debrief was toughest but you have to stick to your guns if there's something you need to talk about. By then hopefully they've warmed to you a little and understand the necessity, with this guy I simply had to insist on some ground ops to cover the near runway incursion. You'll hear a lot of excuses. Don't dismiss them, use them to suggest an alternative course of action.

In the end don't sign 'em off unless you're happy.

Oh, and clean the window!

30th Sep 2009, 07:06
Thanks very much for the tips. It has helped me too as i am shortly going to undergo training in Instructing.:)

30th Sep 2009, 07:12
Hi, can anybody advise me some top schools in canada to do the instructor rating . thanks.

Charlie Mopic
4th Oct 2009, 16:08
Never take your feet off the rudder. Remember it's the good guy that gets you!

5th Oct 2009, 10:52
Yes. All the advice above was quite inspiring. I'm considering becoming a Flight Instructor.

18th Oct 2009, 12:55
I remember in the old days when instructing that most students had second jobs along with schools and some had 2 jobs just to make their dream come true. Instructors should keep in mind that the students are paying for the lesson and they should give them the best.

19th Oct 2009, 08:42
Never take your feet off the rudder.

Totally wrong.

You have control means just that - the student has control.

Don't give control to students in situations where they or you are not prepared.

To ride any of the controls while the student thinks that they are the only one influencing the controls causes all sorts of problems.

If it is critical eg simulated engine failure in a twin then

a) don't do it at such a low height that will cause serious problems should they get it wrong the first few times they try it i.e. push the wrong pedal; and

b) always Place your foot (note the singular) in such a position so as to not be on the pedal but to prevent it moving in the wrong direction. This also put's your foot in the ideal position to take over with minimal delay should no rudder be applied.

That is the great thing about the rudder pedals, if the student must apply right rudder and must not apply left rudder, putting your foot just in front of the right pedal both prevents left rudder application and gives minimal delay should the student not apply the rudder at all.

Same thing can be applied to spin entry and kicking off the drift angle in a crosswind landing.

So never ever ride the controls - any of them!!

21st Oct 2009, 07:56
Smile, Enjoy it!

You are getting too much technical advice here!