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Horrible instructor!

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Horrible instructor!

Old 21st Sep 2020, 14:39
  #1 (permalink)  
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Horrible instructor!

I flew with 3 different instructors as I worked towards my PPL. I occasionally grumbled a bit, but now I realize how good they were!


I recently wanted to hire a 172 to get some hours in a new area. Of course the school from whom I hired it wanted to check me out, and I also wanted to initially fly with someone familiar with local procedures. But the-check out instructor was a truly horrible experience. There were many examples of annoying/bad behaviour - during a touch and go, I looked down and find he has put 10deg flap in after I raised them, he fiddles with the transponder between alt-stby and switches lights without telling me, several times he reached over and prodded/pulled the throttle while I was landing. When I stopped clear of the rwy to do after landing checks he yells at me to move onto the apron.

I am no sky god, and my flying may not be perfect, but somehow no instructor evert found it necessary at any time in my PPL training to interfere with the controls like this to prevent a disaster, but this joker was fiddling every 5 minutes.

Altogether a nasty experience.

I am not sure why I am posting this, I guess the advice would be to tell him to **** off which I did not do. The trouble is there is nowhere else to go to hire a 172.

Last edited by double_barrel; 21st Sep 2020 at 14:59.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:29
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The reason you're posting this is so that we can confirm that it is not you who's causing the problem. Sometimes you find these fine examples of how not to instruct.

The upside seems to be that you can now move forward and hire their C172.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:37
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
I flew with 3 different instructors as I worked towards my PPL. I occasionally grumbled a bit, but now I realize how good they were!


I recently wanted to hire a 172 to get some hours in a new area. Of course the school from whom I hired it wanted to check me out, and I also wanted to initially fly with someone familiar with local procedures. But the-check out instructor was a truly horrible experience. There were many examples of annoying/bad behaviour - during a touch and go, I looked down and find he has put 10deg flap in after I raised them, he fiddles with the transponder between alt-stby and switches lights without telling me, several times he reached over and prodded/pulled the throttle while I was landing. When I stopped clear of the rwy to do after landing checks he yells at me to move onto the apron.

I am no sky god, and my flying may not be perfect, but somehow no instructor evert found it necessary at any time in my PPL training to interfere with the controls like this to prevent a disaster, but this joker was fiddling every 5 minutes.

Altogether a nasty experience.

I am not sure why I am posting this, I guess the advice would be to tell him to **** off which I did not do. The trouble is there is nowhere else to go to hire a 172.
No one should ever touch the controls without telling you. Doesn’t matter if it’s a day one student, all you have to do is say it have control’. It’s just dangerous, if he’s put flaps out without telling you that is asking for an over speed!

Sounds like a miserable bloke with a bag of chips on his shoulder, ignore him and enjoy their aeroplanes.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:44
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I suggest that if, during a checkout, the instructor touches any control, that he/she has done so as understood by both of you in a briefing prior to the flight. If you are flying the plane, you should be flying as though you are carrying a non pilot passenger - why would you let them touch anything? As long as there is no life threatening error, the instructor should not touch a thing.

Yes, I've had a few check rides with instructors who obviously did not know the plane as well as I did. Indeed, there had been a few times I have been asked by the check pilot how I did something I'd just done! I've had check pilots who did not know the systems which were less common, and whose handling techniques did not demonstrate care for the plane.

I advise that any "co" flight, where you are flying in the company of another pilot who might think they want to fly at some point along the way requires a preflight briefing. If the pilot not flying wants to help/tweak/adjust, they should ask you permission first. If they want to take control they have control, and you may as well go home then, the checkout is over.

Many times I've had to flight test a plane, and a "company pilot" has accompanied me. After a few imperfect events, I learned the vital need for understanding who would do what, and what could trigger a change in that. My preflight briefing would include: "I will continue to fly the plane no matter what, so you will not need to ever take control. If you wish to take control, say so, and I will transfer control to you fully. But, if you take control, the reason for the test flight has failed, and we're going home.". Which the check pilot should interpret to mean that I would not sign the flight out as having been accomplished, and it would have to be redone. Once, a company pilot complained about how I was flying the plane for the flight test. The boss politely sent him home, I was added to the insurance, and finished the flying myself. Since I have given good briefings, I have never had a cockpit conflict of misunderstanding.

If you're renting, you're proposing to be PIC, so, practice early! You'd tell a passenger not to touch things, so tell the instructor! Doing it preflight sets a professional tone for the flight.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:49
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Just get over it. You got signed off, that's the important thing. You'll see many examples of people who might be awesome pilots themselves but they can't teach others what they know. You'll also see some examples of people who are instructing not because that's what they genuinely want to do or because they need the hours, but simply because they have the wrong personality type which consistently prevents them from passing the assessment for any decent operator. And the latter can be frustrating AF - and this frustration is often vented upon the students. There was nothing personal against you in the fact that some random bloke was obviously in the wrong place. So, forget about that one flight and enjoy all the coming ones (and I'm sure that you will, the good old C172 is awesome for sightseeing trips).
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 17:04
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As you go through your flying career, you will likely decide to fire (as in never fly with again) the odd instructor.

Much of it will be due to personality mismatch and/or poor communication.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 17:42
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Book it under experience for your airmanship. On a C172 on final and climb out you have one hand on the throttle all the time anyway. At least you will now have an idea to cope with unruly passengers.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 17:55
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I remember leaving a flying school during my initial PPL training as I was no longer prepared to pay good money to be sworn at and abused. I thought it must have been my incompetence but managed to gain my PPL followed by a CPL and eventually an ATPL which lapsed this year after I reached the ripe old age of 65. I spent many years as a TRE/ IRE with a regional airline. In my experience, with very few exceptions, the best airmen are the nicest to fly with as they have nothing to prove and the nasty ones are actually quite insecure and make themselves feel a bit better by bullying their students. Incidentally, the guy who gave me all the grief couldn't progress beyond piston twins and gave up flying whereas I ended my career on 737s, which made me chuckle!
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 18:01
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I've had many horrible instructors. I think your were not particularly unlucky with that flight, you probably have been quite lucky to have good instructors in the first place.

As long as you fly for pleasure, change school if it's about learning new skills, and let the clown make his show if it's a checkout flight.

When you make it your trade to fly, an horrible instructor is another story.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 19:09
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There is no excuse or reason, for an instructor to be horrible to their students.

Nor should they operate controls when they - the instructor - is supposed to be Pilot Monitoring or Instructor Testing - unless there is an emergency, in which case they should state "I have control".

I flew 2 crew airline operations with an ex Jaguar pilot, (single seat fast jet), and he was a bit like your guy.

After he had fiddled with my settings and selections a few times during one flight, I called him on it. "why are you doing that? I thought I was pilot flying". He immediately apologised and told me to call him out if he ever did it again. It was largely habit from his previous flying.

You don't have to be cross or shout or argue. Just say "I am confused that you are making selections without me asking, because I thought I was the pilot flying". Depending on his answer, you can either carry on, or say "you have control, and I am terminating this check ride".

You are effectively paying their wages, so you don't have to put up with their bad behaviour.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 20:12
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If you do not give me a good passenger briefing before the flight . I will not let you start the engine For a club checkout.
if you omit to tell me not to touch anything in the briefing I will make you cry before the check out is complete , I might even threaten to light a large Cuban cigar that has been in my flight bag for that gag since 1989 , if you forget to tell me not to smoke . Nothing says I cannot have fun while teaching
I can also play dumb FO to captains getting upgraded that do not treat FOs as part of the crew .

Make sure your Passenger briefing is thorough , in an emergency they will look to you for help and not panic because you will have demonstrated your knowledge of the aircraft and they will trust the person who takes the time to tell before the flight everything they need to know to enjoy the flight.
Companies have SOPs for briefings . A private pilot can make it fun ,if the pax know they can trust you because you care enough to make sure they know how to use the seat belts , stow bags , no smoking ,how to unlock the doors and get out in an emergency, where the emergency equipment is Located ELT, survival kit , first aid kit ,, phones on airplane mode to save your phone battery , do not touch any controls or switches unless I ask you to , and very important if you see anything you think I should know about please speak up . Weather is forecast to be good for the whole flight , and we have enough fuel . Any questions ? And do not use the ejector seats as the parachutes have been sent out for re-packing

Take the time to look after your passengers , if anything bad was to happen, your future self will thank you .
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 20:53
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I always dreamt of becoming an airline pilot. And went to the BEA/BOAC training school at Hamble. After initial ground school, I was assigned a horrible instructor. He shouted, he scared me (I was 18), and I gave up after 8 months. My dream never died. After a good first career and a marriage/divorce to a horrible woman (I chose her, and was not assigned), I re-started flight training at age 41. Bingo!
I scored a horrible instructor at Oxford for my CPL/IR. He shouted, yelled and screamed. This time, after many hours on the PA-28 and PA-34, I finally elected to change instructor, with some trepidation. Eurekah! I ended up with a quiet and clever chap, (ex-fast jets btw), and went on to pass, and then make a good living as a professional pilot, flying until 65 on Sheds, F-27's, A320/321's and A330's. I rarely encountered any such horrible people in the subsequent aviation world, perhaps one or two oldies at bmi though. I learnt not to accept a raised voice from a Captain, nor accept over-displayed frustration from any IRE/TRE's.
I remained polite, but firm. And enquired as to what was the problem. Flying is not an easy profession, far from it. And teaching flying is a skill that needs patience and ability. Shouters have no place in flight training. (Should a trainee/colleague be about to endanger yourself/themself/others, a quick and positive "I have control" is what is required from the instructor, with a full de-brief after recovery action and completion of the flight).
Just be reasonable with your instructor, and advise them if they are inhibiting you. And then just try to do your best.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 22:04
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I've generally been very lucky with my instructors - mostly high time and therefore confident in their ability to save anything the student does wrong. One of them, who used to run his school/FBO, said that if a potential instructor touched anything on a checkout flight when they weren't supposed to, it was an instant non-hire.

Where I have had a problem is with low time helicopter instructors, who I find are constantly interfering with the controls. I just put up with it, since I only fly them occasionally to stay more-or-less current. And I understand it, because you would never catch ME being a CFI-H! Too easy for your students to kill you.

With the guy you describe, I would have said something along the lines PilotDAR describes. Also, if you keep your own hand on the throttle (good idea during takeoff/landing anyway) it would make it harder for him.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 22:18
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We’re obviously hearing only one side of the story here.
As a (former) instructor that has probably done a couple of hundred rental checkouts I can tell you there’s more here.
This sounds mostly like a breakdown in communication.
The airplane doesn’t belong to you and neither does it belong to me.
The replacement value of a new C172SP is about $275,000.
Forget about insurance for a moment, that is more then a house for most people.
An older model will go for about what you can buy a used Bentley for.
We have no obligation to rent to you.
We do have the obligation to make sure you are safe to rent.
Maybe he felt you needed 10 degr of flap because of the runway remaining or lack thereof or obstacles in the climb out path.
Maybe he felt like being helpful in turning your landing or taxi lights on as you were entering the runway and you forgot.
Maybe he turned off the nav lights that you mistakenly turned on.
No offenses, if you needed as much “interference” as you said occurred maybe you should not have been signed off for rental.
You soloed a year ago by your own admission a couple of posts back.
We have no idea how much you’ve flown recently (30-60-90-180 days?)
Getting your private pilot license doesn’t mean you’re to stop learning.
You made the right decision in flying with an instructor to familiarize yourself with a new area. Be humble and don’t expect perfection.
Did you bother asking him why he “interfered” so much?
Lot of places make the mistake of letting inexperienced instructors do rental checkouts. Big mistake, the most experienced should do that.
So maybe he was inexperienced and jumping the gun a little.
Maybe he was horrible.
Doubtful.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 22:42
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You've had this experience.

Learn what you can from it and then let it go.

The other person is currently in a bar drinking beer not thinking about it or you.

The person thinking about it and stressing about it is you - not them.

So... learn the lessons, stop stressing and move on.

it's difficult but like the other poster said - you've learned a valuable lesson about human factors and CRM.

Bank it and get on with the rest of your life!

Happy flying and safe landings
OH

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Old 21st Sep 2020, 23:04
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Meanwhile in the instructor office:

"I just did a checkout flight with this right muppet I probably shouldn't have signed off. He hadn't bothered to flick through the checklist to see how we do things, I prompted him 3 times and he still was going to take off with the transponder on STBY. He left the landing light on for 45 minutes even after I gently asked if he completed all his after take off checks. I asked for a short field takeoff and he forgot the flaps. He stopped dead on an intersection blocking a 737 taxying out to do his after landing checks...................."

The truth will be somewhere between. I've done plenty of checkouts where the guy/girl has flown like a complete pillock and then been totally offended when I didn't sign the logbook and throw them the keys. I'm sure I've been the "Horrible Instructor" a few times.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 23:53
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The previous couple of posts bring up the issue of clear standards - or lack thereof. If any interference with the controls or anything else happened because the student didn't meet the standards (i.e. acted downright unsafe or potentially unsafe), that should have never been kept quiet about by the instructor. That's what an instructor is for - ensuring that the process of training is not just some formality but a path towards achieving consistently safe performance well within any existing margins and tolerances. If the student is underachieving somewhere, that's never best dealt with by quietly fighting him on the controls and not giving any feedback and guidelines for rectification of the problem.

If anyone has the mindset of "OK, I'll just push this guy through until he's not my problem any longer", they simply shouldn't be instructing. Teaching is one of the greatest responsibilities you can take towards an individual and the society in general - and you shouldn't do it unless you feel a moral responsibility for the end result. Especially whenever an unsatisfactory end result may lead to loss of life.
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 03:14
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If any interference with the controls or anything else happened because the student didn't meet the standards (i.e. acted downright unsafe or potentially unsafe), that should have never been kept quiet about by the instructor. That's what an instructor is for - ensuring that the process of training is not just some formality but a path towards achieving consistently safe performance well within any existing margins and tolerances. If the student is underachieving somewhere, that's never best dealt with by quietly fighting him on the controls and not giving any feedback and guidelines for rectification of the problem.
This.

Maybe he felt you needed 10 degr of flap because of the runway remaining or lack thereof or obstacles in the climb out path.
Maybe he felt like being helpful in turning your landing or taxi lights on as you were entering the runway and you forgot.
Maybe he turned off the nav lights that you mistakenly turned on.
Though I generally agree with B2N2, I don't agree on these points. None of those three examples are make or break for a safe flight. Yes, perhaps the alternate selection would have been preferable, and a discussion is warranted. But in the mean time, the candidate pilot is either adequately safe or not. If they are adequately safe, and some counseling will make them safer, excellent, counsel in a useful way, without needless task saturation or cockpit confusion.

If an instructor has let things quietly get to the point where an error is now a safety issue, the instructor was not proactive. An example is: When I train amphibian pilots, I will prebrief very specific memory action items to do with landing gear position selection and verbal acknowledgement of the check. I will inform the candidate that I will give them one courtesy verbal reminder - I will not touch the landing gear selector at all. My verbal reminder will not be to select the landing gear, but rather than they failed to observe and state the position, and landing surface. I still will not touch the landing gear selector. When they forget this a second time, as briefed, I still will not select the gear for them, that's teaching them to forget to do and check for themselves, I will call an overshoot at a suitably late stage in the final approach, as I have briefed that I would do. I will select a point on final where an overshoot is safe, and in the case of an engine failure, a safe landing could still be made. but the point is that it's memorable for them - that's how pilot's learn. Muscle memory is built up because the candidate's muscles did it.

If an instructor starts doing things in the cockpit, particularly un noticed, there is no learning for the candidate, but rather confusion. Either they learn that they can forget, 'cause someone else will notice and correct things, or, they will be slow to absorb the seriousness, and develop their own rhythm of do and check.

Sure, we all forget things from time to time. Task saturation does not help. The key is to build a foundation in a candidate so they are less task saturated, to the point that they have the entire plane handled. If a candidate is too task saturated, or otherwise inadequate, then correct, don't sign them off for the rental. If they are adequate with exercise repeat or post flight briefing, then do that. If you, the instructor would like to help, brief that in advance, as an offer to reduce the candidate's task saturation, so they can focus on the primary task. Example: "This looks like a really gusty crosswind landing, Would you like me to select the flaps and xxx as you call them out?".

Hopefully, the instructor is ahead of his/her game well enough to anticipate, and allow for variability of candidate pilot behaviour, to maintain safety, yet prevent even more task saturation and cockpit confusion.

I've had a few pilots who I would not sign out. That always came after multiple briefings, and my offer of assistance in the cockpit to help them focus. They just could not manage the handling or complexity of the airplane. For the few times in my career I've had to take something over (always flying the plane on the whole) I always felt badly, as I realized that I had left things too late to be able to brief the next action so the candidate could learn from what was about to happen. I took over and they stopped learning... they are there, paying to safely learn....
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 03:17
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Instructing is one thing. Some 'patter' or prompting and occasional instructor intervention is to be expected.
A competence check is an entirely different thing. Prior to any check there must be a thorough briefing, so that the pilot being checked knows exactly what is expected. Questions from both parties are in order, and need to be completed before flying.
A good check pilot will say very little during flight and do even less. Filtering out which mistakes are acceptable and which are not is the check pilot's responsibility, and normally covered in a thorough de-brief. If the check pilot takes control (other than perhaps to avoid something like an imminent collision) it would be normal to terminate the flight, go home and start again another day after some remedial training.
Being that this was a check merely to assess your competence and acceptability to hire their precious aeroplane, it seems that this instructor was either a bit scared of the machine, or you. If it was you, he should not have signed you out. If it was the aeroplane, under-confident instructors sometimes make unnecessary control inputs, or become 'screaming skulls'. Or he simply had no concept of CRM.

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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 03:42
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The few times I've flown with children, they sit in the back seat.

No reason in the world for someone to fiddle with the controls unless they say why when your attention should be outside the window, unless this was some sort of IFR training where you're supposed to adapt to changing circumstances.

Fiddling with the transponder?? Were they trying to annoy the local air traffic controllers?
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