View Full Version : Working in FTO soon, but never really taught beginners, any advice ?

27th Jun 2009, 19:59
Hello everyone,

ok, I'll be working in a FTO soon, after my FI rating, I worked in a flying club, but most of the student had got a few hours because they flew with another FI before I came.
I flew just only once with a youg student, she had never flown before, we did 4 hours but she had to leave to move in another region... so that's all...

So I have never taught a student from A to Z... maybe most of the time from L to Z.

In FTO I'll fly with integrated students so they had never touch a plane before I think... I guess the really hard part of the instruction is the beginning, ins't it ?

any advice please ?

thanks for your support.

Fly safe


27th Jun 2009, 21:56

Just the fact that you are seeking advice on this is a good sign that you have one of the most important ingredients to become a good FI: To have a want to be a good instructor.:ok:

Ok, to the core: Any new student needs confidence to be effectively able to assimilate new knowledge and build experience. Thus, your main task is to give them this confidence:

- confidence in you as an instructor, being honest, fair, giving them your best
- confidence in the FTO, serious, experienced, etc
- confidence in the A/C used, safe, good for training, etc
- confidence in the "system", the CAA, regulations, examiners etc.

.. but most important: confidence in themselves.. "Yes, you can do this!"

Remember the thin line between confidence and overconfidence! Be aware of any indications of this, and act on them.

And then there are the other thousand things to remember, but I am sure you will be ok. Well, actually, the important thing is that your students are ok.

My small contribution, I assume you will have more advice. But remember always, at the end of the day, it is you as a person who will instruct! So you will also need to be confident!
The best of luck, and many happy landings! :)


27th Jun 2009, 22:07
Thanks a lot Redbar, you helped a lot.
yes I have confidence, but to tell you the truth I would have wanted to teach "true" beginners. Of course if I had stayed a few more months in the flying club I would have teach beginners, but I did not stay a long time, because right away I had this this call by the FTO, so I said "yes of course". :)

27th Jun 2009, 23:02

I am glad if my small advice could contribute. Please see your PM :ok:


27th Jun 2009, 23:12
ok thanks!

28th Jun 2009, 09:06
Where I teach we get lots of people who have started their training elsewhere and are coming to complete their PPL.

The main problem that I see is that the previous instructors have rushed the first few lessons and see the circuit as the main aiming point.

As a result the students logbooks normally read Lesson 1 Ex 1-5, Lesson 2 Ex 6, Lesson 3 Ex 7-9 and Lesson 4 Ex 10 then into the circuit and a few pages on Ex 12/13 and I have seen worse.

It is mastering the basics that helps the student the most and rushing the early lessons and hoping the student will pick it up in the circuit is not the way to go.

I know this is not the most relevant for an FTO as they have a set lesson plan but I think it may be useful anyway to anyone reading.

Good luck with the new job!

28th Jun 2009, 22:22
I see is that the previous instructors have rushed the first few lessons and see the circuit as the main aiming point.

Yes, exactly, I've seen it quite a few times...
sometimes for the first lesson!

3rd Jul 2009, 06:18
When teaching at an FTO on Integrated Courses the FTO are required to provide all instructors with standardisation training, this may vary from doing almost the entire FI course again to one days training, either way they should ensure that you teach the same way as other instructors.

JAR-FCL alows a FI(Restricted) to teach only the basic (to PPL level) exercises at an approved FTO on Integrated courses, this has always been a questionable procedure as such an instructor has the least experience of teaching the most important exercises.

It is important in an Integrated FTO that students progress at a standard rate in accordance with the syllabus if the course is to run on schedule, and is therefore essential that those basic exercises are taught correctly. Hopefully you will receive adequate standardisation training.

5th Jul 2009, 04:34
Some general principles & guidelines that work(ed) for me (I rarely instruct now) or I would often see in inexperienced instructors (when I was the Chief & teaching to instruct... )

1. New students have **very** limited capacity. They can either fly the plane....or listen to you. Not both.

Don't try to 'teach & explain' too much in the air. Explain prior to flight, demonstrate in flight, give *short* instructions to direct their actions eg one or two words at a time. YOU fly while you talk a bit about the next thing to be done.

2. New instructors tend to talk too much. You know that 'Far Side' cartoon about 'What the dog owner says: <long list of various commands & conversation>' vs 'What the dog hears: Blah blah blah, Rover. Blah blah blah blah blah, Rover, blahblah? That's also a good analogy to students.

Remember they're operating near/at/over their maximum capacity. There isn't much left over to attend to your epithets.

Too much talking also can make the student feel pressured, distracted & annoyed. They don't always need a noise in their ear while they practice a manouvre.

3. Always have the controls within reach near/on the ground. Not applying pressure though. I keep my feet *just* touching the pedals so I can feel whether the student is using them correctly or at all, and my hands in my lap.

In general, there are common mistakes that most students make in particular lesson in the syllabus HOWEVER every student will make a mistake that is wholly unique...

4. Try watching your student. If they're having a problem you may find the solution in where's s/he is or is not looking.

5. Following on from earlier, unload the student. Part of your job is to relieve the student of extraneous workload so they can focus on the task at hand ie devote all their necessarily limited resources to it and not dilute them with other items.

As their skill & capacity improves through the lesson - and through their course - then hand more & more back to them.

6. Be creative. Try to isolate what particular aspect of an overall problem is causing them difficulty, eliminate other tasks while those one or two items are practiced eg x/wind landings: provided their normal landings are OK - ie landings aren't an underlying problem - then what could be stopping them from using a x/wind technique effectively? It's only an overlay on top of the more fundamental landing skill. Not enough skill at slipping? Go to the training area & practice a few then come back. Also do them in the circuit pattern. Not enough time (for the student) to establish an appropriate amount of x/wind correction in the flare? Start it earlier. Not getting the drift controlled? Fly level above the runway & have them follow through while you maintain the centreline --> slip upwind to the RWY edge --> reduce the correction to move back to the C/L --> move downwind to the other edge --> back to the C/L. Then get them to do it. If necessary you control power while they concentrate on the slipping task.

7. Think 'chaining' ie how to break up a manoeuvre into smaller chunks for initial learning, then join the chunks together to make the whole manoeuvre.

8. Don't fly if you don't feel you can handle the conditions OR teach the student effectively in those conditions. On the other hand you need to 'stretch' your abilities a tiny bit so you can improve. Just don't stretch them too much at any one time.

Whilst students can get disappointed if they don't fly if the weather isn't appropriate for that day's lesson, they'll be much happier in the long run after they've learnt you're not wasting their money for them.

They'll also carry the lesson that there are times when choosing to fly is NOT the correct decision.

9. Always, but always, demonstrate your own good standard of airmanship. DON'T talk about the rules & safety then ignore them. Monkey see, monkey do...

10. Enjoy your student's successes!!!! It's truly a wonderful feeling to see your student's happiness after their first solo, flight test etc. Especially knowing that your own skills were part of that success.

5th Jul 2009, 06:45
What a good post, you've hit the nail on the head!

5th Jul 2009, 09:44
thanks guys for your advices!
It's quite hard, because I need to know news procedures, and I did not know the aircraft very well.
yes, we need to follow the standard training, I have got a syllabus, and standard procedures. So it's quite hard at the beginning because I need to read a lot of things, if you do not read carefully, you do not know the procedure well...
I have got 4 students, so 4 flights one after one, it's a little bit tiring...