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Genghis the Engineer
21st Mar 2022, 16:15
General question, as I've had one such recently.

How do you collected wise heads of the instructing community deal with the problem of students who despite regular reminders and encouragement don't turn up adequately prepared. Usual things I ask for : W&CG, route plan / PLOG, having read through and understood the right bits of manuals and checklists. Inevitably it gives them much less value from lessons, and makes much poorer use of both my time and theirs.

Obviously the need is to get that across so the student recognises the importance of preparing so as to get maximum value out of lessons, but in my case simple motivational talks doesn't really seem to have been all that effective.

What's everybody else do when you have a student like that?

G

hobbit1983
21st Mar 2022, 17:24
Gently insinuating that I might have to switch them to another instructor, as I'm fed up of losing money (not prepared for the lesson at the start of their slot = time taken away from flying = poorer FI).

On a serious note, I might consider pointing out that such an attitude & lack of preparation is unlikely to go down well with the examiner during skills test. If they don't get into the habit of preparing properly now, they either won't be deemed ready to test (more cost for them) or the examiner will fail them (same result, due to retesting).

Or pointing out (if said student is going to hire in the club environment after PPL issue) that turning out without proper plans, plogs, notam checks etc will mean they won't get signed out by the duty instructor for said club.

Failing that, a remedial flight and gentle bollocking from the CFI might help.

Genghis the Engineer
21st Mar 2022, 17:35
Thanks Hobbit, this particularly I think can work for me...

On a serious note, I might consider pointing out that such an attitude & lack of preparation is unlikely to go down well with the examiner during skills test. If they don't get into the habit of preparing properly now, they either won't be deemed ready to test (more cost for them) or the examiner will fail them (same result, due to retesting).

G

Big Pistons Forever
21st Mar 2022, 18:18
When I was a full time instructor if a student showed up unprepared I made them do all their prep with me as charged dual ground instruction. We went flying when he/she (although it was almost always he) was done. This invariably resulted in a short flight to get the airplane back in time for the next slot Pretty soon most students figured out that they spent less and got more flying training if they showed up prepared. Either way I got paid the same

After I transitioned to part time instruction I just fired students who did not take flying training seriously. Students who cannot be bothered to prepare for their lesson are almost always poor candidates for a pilot license and there are enough crappy pilots already out there with out me contributing to the problem

A320 Glider
21st Mar 2022, 19:57
When I was a full time instructor if a student showed up unprepared I made them do all their prep with me as charged dual ground instruction. We went flying when he/she (although it was almost always he) was done. This invariably resulted in a short flight to get the airplane back in time for the next slot Pretty soon most students figured out that they spent less and got more flying training if they showed up prepared. Either way I got paid the same

After I transitioned to part time instruction I just fired students who did not take flying training seriously. Students who cannot be bothered to prepare for their lesson are almost always poor candidates for a pilot license and there are enough crappy pilots already out there with out me contributing to the problem

Good on you sir!

I have considered the FI gig many times but I don't think I will be ready for those type of students. I am far happier teaching in the sim as mistakes in there do not lead to my death!

MrAverage
22nd Mar 2022, 09:26
"Very sorry Bloggs, but we won't be flying today."

rudestuff
22nd Mar 2022, 10:13
Imagine if everyone turned up having prepared and studied... We wouldn't have this perpetual myth that you can't get a PPL in 45 hours.

Fl1ingfrog
22nd Mar 2022, 17:35
So many people lead such very busy and pressured lives these days, particularly in the UK. This takes me back to a memory of one student who would arrive into the car park driving with one hand with his phone in the other. With seconds to go he would finish his call, grab his flight bag and arrive at the flight desk bang on time. At the end of his lesson within seconds he was back in his car, driving out of the car park one handed, and once again his phone in the other. That was his life.

I'm certain that he wouldn't value a patronising lecture from me. The answer is as suggested add a payed for pre-briefing of say 15 minutes and a post flight brief of 45 minutes. Take-off on time and fly the full duration. There can be no justification for a loss of instructing income. Such a person will fully appreciate this because its how they no doubt earn their living.

hobbit1983
22nd Mar 2022, 18:45
I'm certain that he wouldn't value a patronising lecture from me..

There is, I feel, a certain amount of irony here...

If said busy person is too busy to spend half an hour doing necessary preflight planning (how do you expect to plan any nav trip in 15 min, for example) how do you expect them to pass any ground exams? Or check notams? Or do a mass and balance?

It's not unreasonable to expect a student to arrive having done some preparation.

fitliker
22nd Mar 2022, 19:35
Proper Prior Planning Prevent Poor Performance

Fl1ingfrog
22nd Mar 2022, 20:27
Prior to a navigation lesson then a full hour ground lesson, as a minimum, prior to the flying slot/s. Set the pre-flight requirement as necessary for the individual.

hobbit1983
23rd Mar 2022, 10:12
Prior to a navigation lesson then a full hour ground lesson, as a minimum, prior to the flying slot/s. Set the pre-flight requirement as necessary for the individual.

For the first one or three, sure. After that, the student should be competent to plan their navex prior to the lesson.​​​​The brief at this stage should be merely checking what they've done, which doesn't take a whole slot.

If they want to pay me an extra hour or two of groundschool time to watch them prep on their own (like, y'know, they'll have to do after they pass) fine. Otherwise, don't waste my time (and income!) by turning up unprepared and expecting to rush through it at my expense and their learning. This helps no one.

Whopity
23rd Mar 2022, 22:53
What you have to realise with PPL flying is that it is recreational and many of the participants have different ideas of what recreation is all about. The busy businessman wants to be able to fly, possibly because he thinks it might be another tool in his business inventory. He may not want to go back to school, he may not have time to do lots of prep and above all he may have grandious ideas about his ability. At the other end of the spectrum you will find students who almost over prep by reading so far ahead they confuse more advanced material with what they are supposed to be doing.

Its important that the instructor tells the student what they should do before their next exercise and that they will be expected to start the day on time with the right preparation done. If they don't then you should emphasise why things may not be going accordng to plan and make them aware that its due to their lack of preparation. Sadly, there is not much you can do to improve matters if they do not have the inclination to prepare.
One of the joys of PPL training is that it is not a sausage machine, you get a broad range of interesting people with a wide range of abilities or lack of them. It is a challenge for the instructor to find the best way to provide these customers with a way of fulfilling their requirements as well as teaching them to fly, whilst making allowance for their particular issues, even if that involves pointing out their deficiencies.

Fl1ingfrog
24th Mar 2022, 02:37
For the first one or three, sure. After that, the student should be competent to plan their navex prior to the lesson.​​​​The brief at this stage should be merely checking what they've done, which doesn't take a whole slot.

Every dual lesson should include something new and be challenging. The four hours or so of minimum dual navigation training, provided within the ICAO syllabus, hardly allows: "For the first one or three, sure. After that, the student should be competent to plan their navex prior to the lesson".

If they want to pay me an extra hour or two of groundschool time to watch them prep on their own (like, y'know, they'll have to do after they pass) fine. Otherwise, don't waste my time (and income!) by turning up unprepared and expecting to rush through it at my expense and their learning.

We are not superior people as instructors. I have taught senior judges, professors, surgeons, knighted business executives and millionaires in the mix who can't read and write. All of whom have been extremely busy and time pressured people. What they have all needed from me is guidance, resources, support and of course encouragement. This will also be true of a range of PPL students whatever their background, education and personal abilities. Anyone who wants to fly is special and a bonus to me and I'm happy to share my time and knowledge with them.

hobbit1983
24th Mar 2022, 10:47
Every dual lesson should include something new and be challenging. The four hours or so of minimum dual navigation training, provided within the ICAO syllabus, hardly allows: "For the first one or three, sure. After that, the student should be competent to plan their navex prior to the lesson".

As in, the basic principles of how navigation works, how to prep a plog, notams, etc etc. That's a groundschool session. After that, the new and challenging bits (zone transits, D&D, etc) generally don't require that.


We are not superior people as instructors. I have taught senior judges, professors, surgeons, knighted business executives and millionaires in the mix who can't read and write. All of whom have been extremely busy and time pressured people. What they have all needed from me is guidance, resources, support and of course encouragement. This will also be true of a range of PPL students whatever their background, education and personal abilities. Anyone who wants to fly is special and a bonus to me and I'm happy to share my time and knowledge with them.

Excellent, glad to hear it.

what next
24th Mar 2022, 15:24
So many people lead such very busy and pressured lives these days, particularly in the UK. This takes me back to a memory of one student who would arrive into the car park driving with one hand with his phone in the other. With seconds to go he would finish his call, grab his flight bag and arrive at the flight desk bang on time. At the end of his lesson within seconds he was back in his car, driving out of the car park one handed, and once again his phone in the other. That was his life.

I once had a surgeon as a flying student. I remember him taking a call on his cellphone while we were doing traffic circuits "can you take over for a moment, I have to answer this!". I overheard him say: "Is she bleeding very strongly?" ... "OK then, give her thisandthat medication, I see that I'm back within the hour to look after her myself." We did two more landings and off he went in his Porsche. Of course he never came to his lessons with any kind of preparation. So we kept doing the same exercise over and over again: Fly 15 minutes to our training airfield, perform five to ten traffic patterns, fly back home, make an appointment for the next lesson (half of which would get cancelled again) and rush off to his clinic. After half a year and no progress at all I could persuade him to take two weeks off work and do nothing else but fly during that time. It worked that way and he got his PPL, but never flew again thereafter. Obviously just a box ticked off his bucket list. Someone told be that he began racing historic cars soon thereafter.

Now I rarely instruct PPL students, mostly ATPL integrated instead. They know what's at stake and usually come well prepared. In the rare cases when not, there is not much that one can do. The planes are on a busy schedule, we usually get them for three hours at a time, which includes checks and fueling, so extending the typical half hour briefing will cut the flying time short.
Which is something I am not willing to do because 1) we get paid by flying minutes and all my briefing and debriefing time is already not paid, therefore I am not going to extend this any more whilst reducing the paid time (sounds selfish maybe, but I am not doing this for fun) and 2) because cutting the training missions short upsets the training syllabus quite a bit. So we just go and fly and I hope the student gets himself into trouble so he learns that it pays off to invest an hour before turning up at the airport.

ASRAAMTOO
25th Mar 2022, 16:41
I cut my teeth instructing in a military environment where the answer was simple. No flying until the appropriate study has been completed, it was after all the Queen's money that would be wasted. The PPL environment is completely different as the student is in effect your customer and as well as teaching them to fly you need to make them feel happy and that flying is an enjoyable experience.

I would probably point out the cost of getting a PPL with appropriate self study compared to the cost of having to revise everything at the begining of every lesson and give them a "back of a fag packet "estimate on how much extra you think they will need to spend. Maybe 5 hours?

Ascend Charlie
28th Mar 2022, 05:07
Back in the late 80s I had a PPL student who was a high-powered businessman, he would arrive in the carpark but sit there for 20 minutes on the phone. And car phones were a bit rare even then.

He walked into my office and said "What are we doing today?"
My reply was "What did you prepare for?"
"Nothing."
"Well then, nothing is what we will do. Come back when you are ready to commit to learning."

He took 70 hours to go solo, then tossed me the keys and said "I will never make it as a pilot, but thank you for getting me this far."