Flying Instructors & Examiners A place for instructors to communicate with one another because some of them get a bit tired of the attitude that instructing is the lowest form of aviation, as seems to prevail on some of the other forums!

Your Opinions Please

Old 26th Mar 2009, 10:01
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Your Opinions Please

Hi,

Just a quick question to gauge your opinions

I had my first PPL flight on Wednesday. Prior to this, I have had numerous flying experience of which my instructor knew about. He was ayoung chap, only been doing FI for a few months now but this is fine. We all have to start somewhere - no complaint there.

However, as per the first flight, he showed me effects of roll, yaw blah blah and asked me to repeat this. All went well and I probably had 5 minutes at the controls altogether. Flight lasted around 30 mins.

I came away feeling that his lack of experience meant he wanted to go by the book rather than using some discretion and ploughing straight into some advanced flying. I'm not talking about landing or recovering from a stall! But with my experience, do you think we should have laboured what happens if you pitch up?

What do you guys think. Would you have used a little common sense and perhaps realised that if I can roll right smoothly without putting us into a spin, could you assume that I could also turn left!

Like I said, this is not me slating the guy. I'm just wondering that if you were a little more experience, would you have given me a little more hands on and perhaps fly for at least 10 minutes in straight and level flight - to and from the airfield?
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 10:10
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Rush, rush, rush....

From strong foundations come strong structures. Be patient and understand and focus on the basic bits and get them nailed down.

To be honest, just because you can 'roll' the aeroplane one way, doesn't automatically mean that you can understand and do it the other way. There are other factors at play! This will become more evident later when he teaches you turning.

If I was to comment on the guys 'sortie management' it would be that you only got 5 minutes 'pole' time but without knowing the who/what/where/why it is very difficult to comment.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 10:37
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Thanks,

I know that it doesn't matter whether I go solo in 1 hour, I still have to complete 45 hours.

I'm just thinking that with my flying experience, would it have been better to say "ok we are at 2000, fly straight and level for me, make a right so we are pointing west". If I muck that up, then its safe to say we should go from the begining.

Like I said, if you were an experienced instructor, surely this would be a better use of time. Would you have used alittle discretion rather than keeping to the book? I found that first flight a little bit of an anti-climax.

Also you mentioned focus on the basics and get them nailed down. Well I only had once chance to repeat the action. Then it was a turn to the other side. Then pitch up once, pitch down once.

Because that was the first lesson and it was completed, we headed back after a 30 minute flight. To get the "basics" right as you said (even though I can do them) surely we should have completed a full one hour. Let me hold a turn for 90 degrees then level. Then another 90. Then turn the other way 90. Making sure I maintained a 30 degree bank angle then begining to level off 15 degrees before the assigned heading?

was there any need to be so rigid?
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 11:22
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Hello!

... I'm just wondering that if you were a little more experience, would you have given me a little more hands on and perhaps fly for at least 10 minutes in straight and level flight ...
I have always been an advocate of 100% hands-on-time for the student. Right from his first minute of training. So was my FI-examiner (about 20 years ago) who told me that "the students are paying for flying, so let them do the flying".

One can perfectly follow the training syllabus without having to touch the controls a lot as an instructor. There are very few maneouvers that really need to be demonstrated by the instructor - most of the time you can talk the student though it (after thorough pre-flight and in-flight briefings of course). Flying is something that can only be learnt by doing, not by listening or watching.

Greetings, Max
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 11:46
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THANK YOU!!!!!!

My sentiments exactly. Surely once the climb has finished, the instructor should have given me control (regardless of experience) and told me to keep straight and level - no turns. Just straight and level. Let me "feel the aircraft".

I completely agree with you "What next". You are in stutgart however and I fear that britain as usual is a little different.

anymore people out there care to give some input?

This is somethign I feel really passionate about and if this continues into further lessons, then I will be on here again asking FI's how I should approach my instructor in order to tell him that he needs to give me the a/c more.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 12:07
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Welcome to the forum Bsmuppet. Firstly I fully endorse the comments from "Duchess Driver" and "what next". It is vital to have the right foundations from the start, absolutely vital. Even when I check out PPL's some do not even know how to turn an aircraft properly, they simply just use ailerons, not realising that rudder input prevents adverse yaw. It seems like your instructor is trying to build the foundations that you need, however you do need more time flying the aircraft, there is no substitute for experience.

When I teach students, even right from the start, they are flying the aircraft most of the time. I encourage a relaxed atmosphere (note not lax) and always have three objectives, safe, informative and fun. I have been flying for 25 years and have been instructing for 13 of them, and over the years my style of instruction has been modified with experience, from my viewpoint a good instructor has to understand the learning style of the student. A newly qualified instructor will tend to go by the book, and that is no bad thing as the subject matter will be taught in a structured manner. The only thing I would question in your case is the amount of hands on experience you are receiving.

Good luck with your flying

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Old 26th Mar 2009, 12:09
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....with my flying experience...
Which is what, precisely?

100% hands-on? Certainly NOT - what a crazy idea. The student must be introduced to the 'I have control', 'you have control', 'follow me through', 'relax' discipline right from the start. Also that he must LISTEN when the FI is instructing, do what he is told to WHEN he is told to - and to ask questions when invited to do so. However, later on (e.g. on the way home after a stalling exercise), the student should be able to descend, level off, turn and fly virtually all the way back to the aerodrome - so if the conditions are suitable, by all means let him. In fact insist on it!

Just because the student has paid, he does NOT dictate how he should be taught.

Someone with lots of glider time - great, you can get through many of the early exercises quite rapidly. Someone with 'air experience' flying (such as with the Air Cadets) might be comfortably at home in the air, but may not have been actually taught anything.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 12:21
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BS,

In my interpretation of the PPL sylabus, usually the first flight includes

Understanding the 'Normal Attitude'
Teach effect of Elevator
Student practice.
Teach effect of Aileron
Student practice. (Both ways)
Teach effect of Rudder
Student practice. (Both ways)
Demonstrate further effect of Aileron
Demonstrate further effect of Rudder
Teach co-oridnation of Aileron and Rudder
Student Practice.
Demonstrate 'Out-of-trim' condition
Teach trimming
Student Practice.


4(b) - usually my second flight - continues on with the effect of airspeed, power, slipstream, flaps, carb heat and mixture.

There is no set structure dfeined by law that these elements must be taught in this flight, but after years of evolution some bright spark has found that these building blocks go near the start.

Remember, each of these needs to (should) be ground-briefed so that Joe Student knows what to expect and what to do when the instructor starts to patter.

Sometimes you can 'air-brief' an exercise - but not always, and this is not recommended practice. There are so many times in the past where I have assumed competance in a skill only for it to be a case of bravado and talk. After much heartache, I've learned that I doesn't matter how much experience a person claims to have, if there is any doubt in my mind then we start with the basics and work up from there. That way, I know what has or hasn't been discussed, demonstrated, taught and practiced.

Now, without knowing the specifics of your flight it is difficult to say that your time with the instructor wasn't best utilised. There are so many factors that may have influenced things - all of which, admitedly, should have been explained to you if they were limiting. It could well have been that your instructor had only briefed what you flew and didn't feel you were ready/capable of the next stage without being board-briefed.

It may have been that your instructor picked up on the fact that you knew when you pushed forward on the column that the houses or sheep got bigger and that when you pulled back the opposite happened. Or he felt that your level of performance in these practices was to the required standard and didn't want to waste your money flying practices that were not necessary. He may well have thought that you were good at this but would have struggled with the next stage.

Let's just take your 90 turns left and right. Do you understand the difference between roll and bank? Do you understand why we apply back pressure to the control column when we (level) turn. Do I increase power in the turn? Should I be trimming in the turn? By what factor should I be anticipating my heading to start the roll out? At what rate do we roll-out? What's the difference between rate of turn and radius of turn?

I can teach somebody to turn an aeroplane in 2 minutes. The process of understanding why each element of it is important takes slightly more time.
There is much, much more to being a pilot that moving the stick!

Bottom line.....too many factors to give a 'yes-or-no' answer.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 12:35
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Hello!

100% hands-on? Certainly NOT - what a crazy idea.
It has worked nicely for me, when I started flying 30 years ago, and it has worked nicely for dozens of my (and my collegues) students during the past 20 years (95% of which fly airliners now). Can't be too crazy then.

Of course I keep my hands close to the controls in critical phases and of course the students are briefed and re-briefed to loosen their grip when the instructor calls "I have control", otherwise I would long be dead. But really, flying a C152 is not rocket science. All students now come with thousands of PC-flightsim hours on their back. They know what the elevator and the ailerons are for better than some of their instuctors.

Greetings, Max
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 13:15
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Thank you everyone for your informed points of view and I take them all on board.

Duchess thank you for your detailed post. You are right in what you mentioned regarding turning.

However is there a general consensus that perhaps a 1st timer coud be given the yoke and asked to keep the plane straight and level? Sure the flight may be like a mexican wave but the trainee is learning and getting a feel for the controls.

Anyway, too early to say. Who knows maybe the next flight, I may get to fly the majority of the time.

Duchess you are right I think with regards to once I could turn etc then why spend a whole hour wasting my money when that extra half hour could be put towards somethign more difficult.

I'll let you know how things how - I have a flight tomorrow morning.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 13:45
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BSmuppet,

It sounds to me like you had an admirable instructor. "Hands on" flying from day one whilst enjoyable has it's pitfalls in that the student will not be able to follow through on experienced hands which is immeasurable in terms of student progress. This from an instructor who at one point would let the trial lesson student do the take-off and landings.

Don't wish to sound condescending here but for a 30 minute trial flight you really cannot expect much in terms of detail. Exercise 4 is at the discretion of the instructor so thank yourself lucky you got that at least because "by the book" your aim from this lesson was to complete Ex.3 (Air Experience), something which is often overlooked by ambitious instructors and students.

VFE.
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 17:19
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Half an hour ? Damn took me nearly fifty minutes to be perfect , must be getting old .
BS if you can hold a height and a heading after half an hour then get yourself to cranwell .
Next time maybe you should tell your instructor that you know what your doing and you can hold your height and heading whilst navigating around using the radio doing fredas etc etc.
Learning to fly is a slow methodical process and is built on the same techniques used over years of training .
Remember if your instructor is new he has probably just spent 18 months in flying training he will have a cpl and an Ir (probably although not necessarily)
he is already a skilled pilot and thats before he does his instructor course .
Trust his knowledge and techniques over what you may or may not perceive to be the correct way.
There will be several instrictors on here who can testify to almost having to punch students in order to stop them from killing themselves and the instructor . Indeed there have been several accidents attributed to panicking students .
This instructor had only just met you , had no idea of how you would react in the air and had half an hour to deduce this , how would you have trated another in similar circumstances , would you effectively trust a stranger with your life on first meeting or would you play slowly slowly catchy monkey .
Be patient you have plenty of time to be ace of the base .
Enjoy your training dont rush it
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Old 26th Mar 2009, 19:59
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If one manages.

And this is if.

The first task would be to teach how to maintain a DATUM.
Then what happens if you roll and so on.


If you can do a safe job of holding height and heading, great. You can keep control. If he has to demo something then okay he needs to take control to demo.


In a half hour flight it's very tricky to let you have hands on time.

Bit easier if it's an hour.

On my scale, the hands on is something like 3/4 of the hour but it's all weather dependant and horizon dependant.

If it's a half hour I can say perhaps 15 minutes of hands on but again all depending.

1/60
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Old 27th Mar 2009, 22:27
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IMHO, during the first few lessons, there is nothing wrong with the instructor allowing the student to do most of the flying. The last bit is likely to be done by the instructor, whose sense of self preservation is normally quite acute.

If a potential student has had a modicum of experience on the controls, as long as he/she communicates this to the instructor, more 'hands on' should be made available to the student than with a complete novice.
A good instructor will be continually assessing the actual ability of the individual, and comparing this with any claimed ability.

The old tenets of 'tell, show, do' work well with instructing, and the fastest way of teaching is achieved by allowing the student to try the manoeuvre him/herself, repeatedly if necessary, until competence is attained.

If, during a lesson, you the student think you're not getting enough of a chance to try out your ability or prowess, say so! along the lines of 'Please can I try this - by all means take control if I make a serious mistake!' A competent instructor should be prepared to then correct any mistakes and then allow the student to try again.

And certainly, even on the first lessons, a potential student should be allowed to fly straight and level back to the airfield afterwards if he/she feels they would like to. There is plenty of time at 2000' for even the least experienced instructor to intervene if any large errors develop.

Not knowing the specifics, there would seem to be no problems here which couldn't be solved by a little more communication!

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Old 27th Mar 2009, 23:12
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The point of the demo flight is to cause the student to be so enthused with flying they sign up for the whole PPL course. When I was a full time instructor I was 8 for 8 on demo flights. All of the folks I flew demo flights with eventually got their PPL's. I was not interested in actually teaching them anything but rather showing them just how amazing flying was. Therefore I chose an especially scenic route and if possible flew over their house. The hands on part was designed to show them that you do not have to be a superman to fly but flying well required care and attention.
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 07:55
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Hi. I'm a newly qualified instructor and it was interesting reading this thread.
I have not yet taught any students, but should start in a few weeks. I have learned more during my rating than I could ever have imagined, both in terms of theory and flying.
In terms of flying, the most important component was watching the demo carefully. Throughout the course, my instructor kept stressing the importance of an accurate demonstration.
The very first few lessons are critical. It is important for the student to get as much hands on flying as possible every time, but equally important for him/her to carefully observe demos.

The way I was taught to instruct the first lesson is as follows:

1. demo primary and secondary effects of pitch
2. Let the student try it
3.demo primary and secondary effects of roll
4. let the student have a go
5.demo primary and secondary effects of yaw
6. let the student have a go
7. demo effect of power/slipstream
8. let the student have a go
9.Talk student through varying power/attitude and experiencing the effect of airspeed.
10. Ask student to extend/retract flaps and see the effects
11. Ask student to hold an attitude while I place the aeroplane in an out of trim condition. Ask student to have a crack at re-trimming.
12. Get student to see the effect of carby heat.
13. mention mixture
The above demonstrations in total take no more than 6-8 minutes. If the student seems keen and confident during the pre-flight brief , then I would let him/her attempt the take off and departure to the training area. That will give me some more info on what the student already knows about the effects of the flight controls, and help me in structuring the lesson once in the training area.

My instructor stressed the importance of:
1.demo
2.direct
3.monitor

It is important as an instructor to find a balance with the above method. He also mentioned how important it is to make the student a part of the lesson by taking him/her from the known to the unknown. Herein the student would spend as much time as possible participating, instead of simply observing.

I think accurate demonstration are essential. If a student is shown how to do something correctly the first time, then he/she will mimic it.

As for the flight sim aficionados ( I am one of them), I think it can be counter-productive. It is best when you have a clean slate to start with. Flight simmers tend to spend most of their attention on the numbers, when really the most valuable information is outside. Learning early about relying on the natural horizon for attitude information is critical. I wasted valuable hours looking inside the cockpit, only learning far later about flying attitudes.

I am sure my views will change with experience.

I was fortunate to have instructors who were able to make me a participant in each lesson.
BSMuppet, I would recommend you to slow down and learn as much from your instructor. If after a couple of lessons you still feel like an observer, have a chat with your instructor. Talking to your instructor would be much more valuable than posting on pprune! Good luck.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 14:50
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However, as per the first flight, he showed me effects of roll, yaw blah blah and asked me to repeat this.
With respect, are you sure you are familiar with the syllabus, there is no requirement in any syllabus I have ever seen to allow the student to handle the controls or to be taught 'the effects', (which is the next lesson) on the first air session. What you had was an air experience lesson by the sound of it.

If you had presented yourself to our school and I could have determined that you had some useful recent experience in a light aircraft I would have combined the air experience flight with Ex 4 and 5, which as previously mentioned is generally the second air detail. Teaching you and allowing you a brief period of S & L at the end of the lesson would be your introduction to the next exercise, Ex 6.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 15:03
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The very first few lessons are critical. It is important for the student to get as much hands on flying as possible every time, but equally important for him/her to carefully observe demos.
I do not quite agree with all of that, the most important thing on each lesson is for the student to understand what the aim of the exercise is and to receive adequate demonstration and practice to achieve that aim. (It does help if the instructor understands the aim also)

In your list of points to be taught you have missed out quite a few before the exercise starts, re-visit the aim of the exercise!


100% hands-on? Certainly NOT - what a crazy idea. It has worked nicely for me, when I started flying 30 years ago,
Beagle is correct, that is a little silly and not the standard required, all though I think you mean that the student should do most of the handling, which is a fair point but you need to qualify that, no two students are the same, you instruct to the student not to the book!. Some students need a lot more demonstration than others and some instructors are better at demonstration than others! Letting a student do all the flying can make you a popular instructor but it wont make you a good instructor.

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Old 4th Apr 2009, 15:10
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wiki, a busy first lesson I would offer. Just a small point, I was taught to only demonstrate the secondary effects, not to let the student have a go at these. Similarly with flap application; don't let them actually see the effects without countering using elevator, teach them to use elevator from the outset The theory being that you don't want the student to actually do anything that isn't good piloting.

I'm not saying my way is right, it is just the way I was taught on my FIC. I would welcome thoughts from other instructors.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 15:36
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wiki, a busy first lesson I would offer. Just a small point, I was taught to only demonstrate the secondary effects, not to let the student have a go at these. Similarly with flap application; don't let them actually see the effects without countering using elevator, teach them to use elevator from the outset The theory being that you don't want the student to actually do anything that isn't good piloting.
Many different ways of teaching Ex 4, in fact many different ways of teaching the PPL I worked with an instructor once who taught everyone to fly in the circuit--they started in the circuit and didnt leave it till they went first solo! He produced some good students too he said it was the way he was taught during the war!

Teaching the secondary effects and allowing the student to participate, most certainly, the recovery to straight and level flight is important student practice and improves confidence and understanding of aircraft attitude


The point of the demo flight is to cause the student to be so enthused with flying they sign up for the whole PPL course.
Not really, the point of air experience is:

AIM
To introduce the student to the sensation and experience of flying in a light aircraft.
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