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All the attributes of a good flight instructor

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All the attributes of a good flight instructor

Old 22nd Sep 2020, 14:44
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C.M
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All the attributes of a good flight instructor

I would appreciate if some experienced instructors , especially ones in the airlines would list as many things they can think of that they consider makes a difference in being an effective flight instructor. Anything you can point out as tips and tricks , would be appreciated .
Thank you
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 16:22
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I'm not in the airlines, and probably not a very experienced instructor but.

- Good skill and knowledge of their corner of aviation
- Superb interpersonal skills
- Excellent CRM
- A really good sense of when to shut up and let other people get on with their bit without being talked at constantly.

And in that order, they are increasingly scarce. Most instructors can fly an aeroplane really well, most also don't know when to stop talking and let their student get on with something for a bit.

G
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 16:28
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Without going into any technicalities, I would put my number one characteristic is an attitude of mind which is, 'treat everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself' - remember how you felt when you first ventured into the air, how you wanted to be treated and helped. Flying instruction is not an ego trip, you need to have a nurturing, helpful attitude of mind.

Next, be quite clear about what you need to teach - AND - set about carefully bridging the gap between what the trainee knows and can do on the one hand and what, on the other, he or she is required to know and do. Too often we assume a level of knowledge, experience and expertise which the trainee may not possess. It is your job to define that.

Never bullshit, it is not possible to know everything. If the trainee asks a question and you do not know the answer, admit it and promise to find out for the next training session. That way you will learn something new, you will set an example of humility (something which, in my view, is a prerequisite for safe flying), and you will earn his/her respect.

Lastly, never frighten your trainee, instead, gently introduce things step by step, with clear briefings of what to expect and how to do it.

This appies to all teaching/training. I will leave it to others on this forum to go into the specifics.

Good luck - AND - never stop learning.

Last edited by Bergerie1; 22nd Sep 2020 at 16:47.
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 18:17
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Genghis, you beat me to it.

The greatest gift a flying instructor can give a student is silence.

TOO
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 18:59
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some experienced instructors , especially ones in the airlines
What a curious request. What type of instruction are you interested in? Ab-initio or airline training, do you actually know anything about training or what the differences might be?
Many years ago when I joined the RAF we were given a list; the Qualities of an Officer; a few days later we were given another list, the qualities of a Captain, both lists were the same which provoked the question, how can you have an NCO Captain if they don't have the qualities to be an Officer? Both list were really nonsense.

There is a saying, those who can, Do; those who can't , Teach and those who can't teach, Teach Teachers

In order to teach you need Knowledge; Patience; the ability to demonstrate what you want the candidate to do; more Patience and the ability to show the candidate another way. It is very different teaching ab-initio to adding to the skill of a qualified person, some instructors might be very good at one but not the other.
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 19:38
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Being able to judge when to best give feedback/comments certainly helps. A few words after a maneuver or before trying again can be more effective than 5 minutes talk much later when the trainee doesn't even remember what specific maneuver you're talking about. Silence at the right time certainly helps but especially in simulator training, where demonstrating something yourself is not really an option, talking a trainee through a maneuver may be required as well and requires careful judgement to avoid "overfilling and spillage".

The ability to remain calm and not take even rather stupid trainee actions personally certainly helps as well. How important that is depends mostly on the trainee. Even feedback delivered angrily can be to the point, there's just a higher risk it arouses so much emotion that the point doesn't come through.

My experience is mainly in airline training, everything else was long ago.

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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 07:02
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Knowing how far you can let a situation develop, hoping that Bloggs will see the problem and fix it, before taking over. This comes from experience - a junior instructor might leap in and fix it before Bloggs has recognised the problem, and he won't learn.
Demonstrate, direct, monitor.
Demonstrate your need for coffee - show some signs of agitation.
Direct Bloggs to go get coffee.
Monitor his progress to the coffee shop.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 08:11
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AC,

And even more important, monitor his return journey so he doesn't spill the coffee
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 08:31
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  1. Patience, patience, patience and more patience; nobody was born a pilot, we all need some time to get to the required level.
  2. Leave them to it; stay silent and don't touch the controls - let them get a feel for the aircraft and see how they do it, then add verbal instructions as required. Making control inputs, or ideally taking over, should be a last resort when teaching.
  3. Remain calm; regardless of how much they screw up - and they inevitably will - stay calm, sort out the situation, then debrief step by step in a calm matter. There are some instructors around who still believe students learn the best when they are being screamed to.
  4. Lead by example, especially in the airlines. If you don't follow the SOP and airmanship, you can't nor expect nor demand from your students to follow it.
  5. Patience.
  6. Leave your ego at home. You will have to give a lot of yourself in order for students to succeed, and there's no point of showing off.
  7. Even more patience.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 08:32
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C.M
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Originally Posted by Whopity View Post
What a curious request. What type of instruction are you interested in? Ab-initio or airline training, do you actually know anything about training or what the differences might be?
Im in the airlines and Iím interested in LTC and simulator training . I do not have prior training experience . Obviously I know and I can imagine a certain amount of things that are needed to be a good instructor but there are other things I may not realize hence the post , especially calling for experienced instructors to give their opinion . It has been some time since I was a trainee in anything flying-wise related , I have a different way of thinking of course and thatís the issue I guess with most ( junior ) instructors .....they canít get into the mind of a trainee .
Thank you everyone for all the answers.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 11:55
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Put yourself in the student's shoes, try to assess what they thinking and as others have said, be patient.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 13:18
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Enthusiasm!

Plus a lot of what is already said, above.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 18:23
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Anything else from a legislation point of view ? Specific regulations beyond the ones used in line flying ?
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 22:04
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Originally Posted by 70 Mustang View Post
I started training last year to be a flight instructor in the UK after a flying career that started in '85 as a flight instructor in the USA. It was going okay until we got to the lesson planning before an inflight session for instructing turns. I couldn't believe what i saw and heard! How the event was dissected like it was brain surgery or rocket science. The entry into the turn, the maintaining of the turn, the exit from the turn, with exchange of controls flip flopping between each section. What a load of .....! Put me right off of the entire idea of getting a UK flight instructor licence.
The ability to break the lesson down into its constituent parts and bring it back together so that the student understands it and flies it accurately 😉
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 02:27
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...shows ya how the US system of going instructing immediately after getting a licence, no experience necessary, leaves the instructor a little under-prepared to teach?
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 05:48
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70 M. You seem to have something of chip. Nevertheless, I would commend breaking the exercise down into the 3 components. Actually, most flight manoeuvres have an entrance, maintenance and exit set of components. For turning you need to show the effect of adverse aileron yaw and why the use of the rudder is important when the ailerons are deflected. Then demo all 3 components of the turn in both directions emphasising the importance of the picture and bank, balance and back pressure. Then again with the student following through. Then demo the entry and hand control for the student to practice the maint. Take back control and have the student follow through the exit. Discuss issues. Enter a turn again and have the student follow through. Hand over control and have the student practice the maint and the exit. Take back control discuss any issues. Hand back control and have the student practice all 3 elements of the turn. Take back control, discuss issues. Hand control back and student does entry and maint. Take back control and have the student follow through an exit onto a specific heading. Discuss issues and finally hand back control for the student to practice medium banked level turns rolling out onto specific headings in.both directions.

I would suggest you now have a student that doesn’t skid or deviate from altitude on entry, flies a level balanced turn, and is able to roll out on heading having neither lost nor gained altitude. And understands why. Don’t let your prejudice get in the way.

I’ve just read a book about ultra low level aerobics. I haven’t done any but I’m sure I should be good to go.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 07:57
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70 mustang

You forget that the brits invented flying, won two world wars single handed and abolished slavery; I won't mention their trade in the poppy.
I have been fortunate to have flown with instructors from four continents and at least a dozen nationalities; there are good, bad and a absolutely terrible ones amongst all of them. My first lot had no experience and were hour builders..one making an airline career and the second in the regulator as he wasn't even good enough for the former and continued to instruct.
There are many ways to skin a cat, students take in knowledge in different ways and in my humble opinion a good instructor does not need to be an above average pilot but does need integrity, the ability to listen, observe, think, be self deprecating and honest.
I remember a conversation with a GSA (RAF gliding) instructor with 1000s of hours who told me that the British Gliding Association would not accept his experience because it wasn't up to their standards!
One of the many Johnnie Foreigners I learnt from was a 21 year old, pot smoking Frenchman when I had 10,000 hours.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 09:35
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I remember a conversation with a GSA (RAF gliding) instructor with 1000s of hours who told me that the British Gliding Association would not accept his experience because it wasn't up to their standards!


I once took a painful 14 hours to convert an RAF motorglider instructor who claimed 1000+hrs, and had a PPL, onto a simple (fixed gear, fixed prop) SEP, signed him off rather against my best judgment, and 10hrs later he bent the aeroplane failing to show adequate judgment and was banned from flying it again. I apologised to the aircraft owners profusely afterwards as I should have listened to my inner voices and never signed him off at-all. Standards vary a lot, and sometimes have to be absolute.

G
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 11:36
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Agree wholeheartedly Genghis.
I would add that I disagreed with the BGA trail lesson (joy flight) requirement to demonstrate a stall on the first flight off a winch and managed to force winching techniques to be changed around 13 years ago by suggesting that if I appeared in court to a member of the executive then the Association would cease to exist.
The subsequent ten year stats showed a 50% reduction in fatalities.
In BEA we had the myth that ex military pilots do not make good airline pilots whereas the Swiss and their mix of nationalities convinced me otherwise.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 17:18
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My 02 cents after holding a valid Instructor rating for 36 years.

1) You have to like teaching. This I think is innate, I donít think you can learn to like instructing, you either have the instructor gene or not.

2) For ab initio instruction everything you do represents a data point for the student. At every point of the flight it is absolutely essential to demonstrate the highest levels of judgement and airmanship.

3) When evaluating a maneuver a student has just flown the most powerful thing you can do is ask the student what they perceived as the weak areas. This will tell you if the student understands what went wrong in which case you can give some coaching vs the student did not see or understand their error at all. This is fundamental because if they are NOT seeing or realizing the error than they are missing foundation skills or knowledge which must be addressed.

4) Good instructors demand high standards. Students will be as good as you demand of them.

5) Finally the most important training exercises in a pilots entire life time of receiving training will be Attitudes and Movements, Straight and Level, Turns, and Climbs and Descents. These foundation manoeuvres are the building blocks for everything going forward. Personally I think this is as a general statement the area that is the biggest failure in PPL flight training. Too many instructors rush through these maneuvers, depriving the student of the opportunity to understand and master the fundamental skills required to properly control an airplane

Last edited by Big Pistons Forever; 26th Sep 2020 at 00:36.
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