View Full Version : Any instructor will do

Genghis the Engineer
4th Jul 2013, 07:27
A phenomenon I've started to notice whilst doing freelance instructing.

A student who holds a licence, but has bought / bought into something new they can't currently fly - so they need differences training, which may take multiple hours.

So, they need an instructor to get them through whatever differences it is. However, being naturally impatient, they actually find several. They then try to "self manage" this by every time they find themselves available they call around multiple instructors until they find somebody who'll fly with them.

These instructors, generally, are probably all perfectly competent - but don't know each other, aren't being told about each other - and so there is no opportunity to maintain any kind of student records or ensure training continuity.

I've reached the point now where I'm no longer prepared to play this silly game. Where a student starts showing these tendencies I'm going to simply say "all with me, or all with him, or put he and I in touch so that we can work as a team - but I'm not prepared to turn up and try and train somebody where I have no knowledge of where they are in their training". Or words to that effect.

Anybody else seen this? And do the older and bolder think I'm taking the right approach?


4th Jul 2013, 08:56
I'm surprised this issue exists for differences training. It surely can't be that hard to co-ordinate diaries for the typical 5-10hours, is it??

Genghis the Engineer
4th Jul 2013, 08:59
You'd have thought not, but it seems to.


4th Jul 2013, 09:01
In which case I agree your point, although I'd sell the package i.e. a 5 hour tail dragger, etc. Otherwise your more ballast in a passenger ride!

4th Jul 2013, 09:21
I do a bit of this, the only one I can think of where you would be looking at more than a couple of hours is the Taildragger conversion, personally I have found that most just stick with me. Occasionally you get a fairly experienced chap who needs to do a set number of hours with an instructor for the insurance, then he might do the "top up" hours with someone else once he has satisfied me, but even there i find most do not go off and fly with others.

Genghis the Engineer
4th Jul 2013, 11:22
Depending upon what somebody's going from and to, microlight differences training can take more hours than a tailwheel conversion. Somebody who, for example, has all their hours on PA28s who has bought a Thruster TST may take a little while to recalibrate. Taking somebody from flexwing to 3-axis microlights would probably take rather longer again, although I've not done one of those. Looking back into the distant past in my logbook, it took me about a dozen hours as an experienced 3-axis pilot to do the flexwing conversion.


gordon field
8th Jul 2013, 08:00
GtE. Could it be that the problem lies with the instructor and not with the pupil. Most pilots tend to stick with a compatible instructor rather than chop and change as this costs them money.

8th Jul 2013, 10:18

I have had a couple of people who have said: I will do one hour a week with you and one hour a week with another school.

Told them: Them or us. Don't care which. I am not interested in letting key parts of the training slip between two schools (and instructors) and my instructors don't have the time (and I suspect the other school's don't either) to chat for 20 minutes after each of your lessons to keep up-to-date. Student record sheets are all very well, but don't give the full picture.

We have also had quite a few who have gone overseas for some intensive training. No problem with that. They take all their stuff from here, then come back and we sit for half an hour and talk over what they have done before going flying again. A quick half hour in the air and we check the hands-on recollection too!

So for student and instructor there is a big gain with little pain.

But a little bit here and a little bit there: useless. They will learn nothing, and cause hassle.

At least a trial flying lesson is a trial flying lesson, so no pretence about that!

Genghis the Engineer
8th Jul 2013, 10:43
GtE. Could it be that the problem lies with the instructor and not with the pupil. Most pilots tend to stick with a compatible instructor rather than chop and change as this costs them money.

I'm quite happy to admit not being the world's finest instructor - but I don't think generally it is - it just seems to be a mindset in a few students I've come across, that thinks that, say, instructor X is only available twice a week and half will probably get cancelled for weather, instructor Y ditto - I want to fly twice a week, so I'll book both instructors.

I have come to the same opinion as xrayalpha above - all me, or all them, or big chunks with a clear handover.


gordon field
8th Jul 2013, 13:21
Continuity of instruction is important but so is frequency. Aren't some forgetting one key point that if there weren't any pupils then there would be no need for instructors and flight schools, GtE, during has seen this happen on a regular basis.

Learning to fly is VERY expensive and if the pupil is limited, by the instructor, to only 2 days a week then 50% of the next lesson will be catchup. Part of the enjoyment in learning to fly is being in a different environment and if instructors adopt the attitude ' you do it my way or go somewhere else' is counter productive for the industry as a whole.

Instructors who own their own flight school can make their own commercial decisions but employed instructors have an obligation to those who pay them. Those instructors who are part time should really consider that if they are attached to one school then they cannot or should not dictate to the pupil but work with other instructors who may be available on other days. You are selling the company and its services so don't drive the customer away.

Many schools have failed due to lack of customer awareness, customers do and should have a choice as to where they spend their money.

Genghis the Engineer
8th Jul 2013, 13:43
I'm sure what you say is true Gordon, but...

... I'm a part time instructor with a much better paying day-job. However, I do have the ability to teach on a lot of things that many "normal" instructors can't - vintage taildraggers, oddball microlights, and the like. So I tend to do differences training or things like NPPLs on people's own aeroplanes. As such, I do my best to fit in with the student, but am somewhat restricted and this perhaps leads to this issue and why I see it more than most.

My preference always is to just take a few days off my day-job and do a whole course in one hit. But, sometimes students aren't comfortable with that flying rate, and often just the weather messes that one up.


gordon field
8th Jul 2013, 19:14
GtE: Your experience in the aircraft you mention, dedication to flying training and in-depth knowledge of technical matters you posted here is much appreciated by many readers.

Genghis the Engineer
8th Jul 2013, 21:06
I try! Who knows, one day I may even succeed.

Thank you