Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Student Of My Own

Flew with a student today. My student. Russ and I talked last week, and he is really swamped these days. Asked if I would help out, and of course I would. He told me to call Dustin, and if he agreed, then I'd be his main instructor. So I did, and Dustin did, and so I have a student that is not just someone I will fly with once. I will fly with him every time. Its my job to plan lessons, make sure he understands the information and procedures, and can safely pilot an airplane. Oh, did I mention that another part of the goal is to accomplish all this in the shortest amount of time and money possible?

So anyway, we met at the airport around 3:00 this afternoon. I actually got there a little bit early and checked the fuel and oil, then locked the plane again. I wanted to see him do the preflight inspection and make a decision about the airworthiness of the plane. Well, after Dustin arrived, I called flight service and got a standard briefing while he got the plane ready to go. After a quick discussion about the day's weather (fair-weather cumulus, warm, possible light turbulence) We briefed the takeoff, flew it, and headed out to the practice area at 3,500'. The first exercise was slow flight. I asked for various airspeed and flap configurations, all the while asking questions about what control does what, etc. After a little bit of that, we transitioned into a power-off stall: the most benign variety. After two of those, we headed over to Tri-State Airport. Nice long runway, no trees, and a little wider than home base. The purpose was two-fold. First, I wanted to get Dustin some practice at dealing with a control tower. I also wanted to see how he would do trying to land. We talked about how the exact same skills we had just practiced were the same skills used in landing. I talked him through the arrival and landing in the same terms. On the first flare, we ended up a bit high and started to balloon, but it was something I nudged the yolk subconsciously and then subsequently forgot about. I should have brought that up in the post-flight debrief. Next time for sure. I think he, at least subconsciously, figured out what was wrong with that first flare though, the next two were great. After two really nice stop and goes at Tri-State we headed back home for one final landing. Dustin did a fantastic job on each one, and overall it was a very successful day.

I can't wait for the next time, and I'll be hard at work putting together a lesson plan for this coming Sunday when we fly again. I'm going to have to give it a lot of though. Its up to me to progress with his training in a logical and productive way, and I want to be sure to do it right. Its easy to show up to pinch hit, and just practice what a person did with their CFI last time. Its also easy to start from scratch with someone that doesn't know anything about flying. Its a lot tougher to start somewhere in the middle.

That said, my first inclination is to go for some ground reference manoeuvres and start throwing in some emergency procedures (or at least starting to talk about them). He has spent a lot of time doing high air work. Its also time to start adding partial power-on stalls and banked stalls. Unfortunately, he seems to get motion sick kind of easily, so we are hoping that as he gets used to the sensations of flight more, we can do more aggressive procedures.

Anyway, I'll be thinking about it for several days. Its a good thing we are flying in the morning. Maybe if the air is very smooth we can do some new things. Thats always good.

One final note: tomorrow will be 3 years to the day that I took my first flight in a general aviation aircraft. What a long way to have come.

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