Continuation of the series Pilot Training |Flying Schools | Instructors | Training Intensity and Onboard Comfort
Most pilot students learn to fly best and most effectively when they are adequately mentally but also physically loaded.
At the outset, there is an exception that proves the rule. Some adepts, but they are few, about one in fifty, are able to perform correctly only in case of stress and certain danger - otherwise they routinely lax, do not do the procedures and are generally below average, maybe they do not enjoy it so much. Detecting such a student is not exactly easy, and you can usually see it during emergency landings, which they are somehow far suspiciously better at than everything else. This one specific student had a far greater potential load - load factor than others his age and training. I increased the load and intensity of his training, when he was already having to fully concentrate every single minute and was under the pressure of slight perceived danger. His progression and learning process then increased significantly and he finally enjoyed the training! (Boss of the company 50+, who managed about fifty employees).
The pilot "mathematician" is the other example from the opposite end.
A young glider pilot 25 plus, several years after basic training, retrained on a TECNAM P 2002 Sierra aircraft. We flew from an airfield about a mile long. After familiarizing ourselves with the airplane, take-offs and landings, and a few emergencies from the fourth and third turns of the right circuit, we changed to the left circuit. While the right circuit was over fields and meadows, the left was over a large old forest. Therefore, he was flying the left circuit and not adapting it to the nearby extensive woodland, and I repeatedly warned the retrained pilot of this.
I planned to shut him egnine down in the downwind position at circuit altitude and later in the next left circuit in the second turn. The pilot flew every single circuit with the first turn low and too close over the forest. Each time I had explained to him that if his engine failed, he probably wouldn't make it to any area - especially glide to the airport. I repeatedly advised him on each circuit to climb in a straight line after takeoff and only when he had enough altitude to glide to any other surfaces or the airport, then he could make the first turn over the forest. He has always confirmed that he understands this!
When I told him after the third time he was turning again at low altitude over the forest instead of continuing straight and climb. I felt like turning off his magneto. I knew that there were plenty of well maintained areas to the land and make right real emergency landing. I expected that if I shut off his engine he would pull stick, maintain airspeed for the glide, and go for the open areas as he had been trained so far. So I turned off the magneto!
The engine was stoped.
The pilot responded in a flash. But in a completely different way!
He pulled the stick sharply to his stomach and gave a full left leg. It wasn't be training for spinrecover under 100m over ground!
I was ready to deal with the emergency, but I thought the pilot would react more continuously, as he always had before. By the time I had fully taken over control, which was within a second, the aircraft was in a very bad position, I wouldn't have like to see it from the ground...
It's a good thing he let go of the controls immediately. Hitting it on the nose with my elbow would have been kind of difficult in that position, I was glad to be in full control of the plane and there wasn't much time.
I pushed fully until he flew out of the seat. I then straightened my legs at speed, then later at even more speed when the nose and ailerons began to solidify, and headed over the corner of the forest edge and into the airport's forefield in a coordinated turn. In the process, I started the engine again and, partly perhaps somewhat stutteringly, reported an emergency and a return landing.
It was a very intense experience that had never happened to me before, and I had not expected such behavior from a glider pilot when retraining for a powered aircraft.
The pilot commented on the emergency landing with words I still remember: He cited his last name and added a minus one. I think that was mathematically quite accurate!
Then I asked him what was going through his mind at that moment and he said it was some kind of short circuit. I overloaded him! Then we flew his "rages" together until he was ready to rent a P 2002 Sierra Tecnam for 80 000 EUR.
The above examples demonstrate that:
In addition to being a good teacher, a flight instructor should be sensitive to the needs and capabilities of the pilot in training and should know him well.
If this is not the fact - many complications and misunderstandings arise, including the fact that the pilot in training (student, cadet, pupil, client - in different pilot schools they call them differently), finishes the training during the basic training and does not want to fly anymore. Often this is incomprehensible to the instructor. For the flight school owner, this is an obvious detriment, consisting in the impossibility to finish the training with the pilot cadet at the stage when he generates the highest profit for the school. The school owner thus loses a significant amount of earnings by the flight instructor's approach!
The point is that at the beginning of the pilot training, apart from a few dozen minutes of familiarization flight, you fly mainly in modes where the direction and altitude of the flight and engine power change frequently until you get to the main part of the training, when it is just various forms of practicing takeoffs and landings and approaches. In this phase of circuit flying, the aircraft consumes the most fuel, the most significant wear on the engine, the in-flight adjustable propeller, landing gear and their parts including brakes and rods,breaking struts, etc. The number of take-offs and landings shall be recorded. The number of take-offs and landings may vary considerably with the maintenance of a particular aeroplane, especially one equipped with retractable landing gear, when operation is most expensive!
However, about halfway through the training, the student is flying alone. The aircraft is therefore lighter on instructor and some fuel, although the student pilot is still flying turns, circuits, slips and practicing take-offs and landings. The aircraft then has lower fuel consumption. Training is a little cheaper, about a tenth to a fifth.
In two thirds of the training course, PPL students are already flying navigation flights, which is the most economical phase of the training and where the operator - the owner of the school - has the biggest profit!
For ultralight pilot licenses, not many navigation flights are prescribed in the syllabus and therefore the ultralight school operator cannot generate as much profit per flight school student as a GA flight school operator flying basic PPL private pilot training. Sometimes both UL and PPL school operators, through instructors at both ultralight and GA schools, do not do the right thing if they unnecessarily prolong the navigation flight training, which helps the operators in the final financial balance. This needs to be watched out for!
In the end, both operators in both the ultralight and GA realms want all students to fly their training to completion!
Unless some flight instructor is throwing a pitchfork at them with their poor attitude,
or by overly high demands on the student, or by the intolerance and nervousness produced by him on board, or by flights - which are not related to the training and are for the personal benefit of the instructor, (who picks up a personal package at another airport instead of flying the student at the appointed hour for emergency landings) then it may understandably happen that such an instructor will be relieved of his position.
Perhaps the most important goal we are slowly working towards is a certain comfort on board the aircraft that can allow the novice pilot to adapt to the flying conditions.
To do this we need:
- A relaxed instructor who is free from the normal concerns of family and life and fully committed to training and to the student pilot's improvement of his or her skills. He is aware that the flight lesson starts with a short analysis of what will happen afterwards and a warning of any possible mistakes, making sure the student has an idea of what to do, a flight lesson and a after flight analisis.
-An instructor who is able to communicate respectfully with the student even if he is currently awkward or, from his point of view, "totally incompetent".
- An instructor who doesn't humiliate the cadet with various learned wannabe funny expressions and proverbs like "Any trained monkey can fly." or, "Did you mean to kill us, colleague?" and so on. The Flight Instructor must be able to empathize with the situation that he himself also did not know anything and also had to learn everything he knows. Sometimes such thinking is not very good for retired bards, especially if they came out of the Army, and worked in the military, where they were the "best of the best". Young instructors tend to have a better attitude. It's a sad truth that the newer generations of pilots don't have the earlier routines that the previous ones had, there's not much we can do about that unless the students come in downright late and extremely unprepared.
An instructor who doesn't want unnecessary things. For example, he shouldn't ask the cadet to draw maps on blank paper asking for towns, rivers, corridors, elevation profiles and boundaries. We'll save that for the army. We're not going to impress today's students, they're just going to think something of the digging instructor. Today's flying students rarely understand why they have to navigate by the current ICAO 1:500,000 aeronautical chart for which they have made manual corrections in advance, drawn routes and time segments, highlighted hills and towers and masts, when they have a fixed GPS navigation on board along with an autopilot and have another alternate navigation running on their cell phone, not to mention a smart watch with GPS and compass...
They haven't encountered a GNSS (global navigation satellite system) failure. That the power to the receiver could go out seems unlikely to them. That allies, friends or enemies, second or third parties, can interrupt the GNSS signal does not occur to them. That the signal may be deliberately manipulated and they may suddenly find themselves hundreds of kilometres out of position (on the navigation screen, of course) strikes them as science fiction anyway, or a very desperate conspiracy theory... Star Wars and destroying or interrupting navigation satellites whether GPS, BeiDou, Glonass or Galileo will be the first thing an opponent does to secure an advantage before a "civilian" knows anything is wrong. GNSS malfunctions of any type can be anticipated before a conflict breaks out. A solar corona eruption can damage satellites too...
The instructor must find out what is the adequate brain capacity of the pilot and not overload him/her unnecessarily, especially at the beginning of the training. They should not burden the student pilot with many other exercises in a flight lesson when only one exercise is to be practiced according to the syllabus! If the cadet-pilot is doing a landing task, it is therefore a matter of a timely landing flare, floating and great landing keep landing course is well.
Adding budgets and slips on big flaps and in the esses is a bit torturous, especially when the student pilot can't even land yet. A flight instructor must be able to reliably estimate what he can still load his student pilot with, so as not to overload him, but at the same time not to bore him unnecessarily.
Ensure that the instructor is not devious and unnecessarily prescribes more navigation flights to his students because they are convenient for him and produce the highest profit for the school, and he is paid on a share of the profit. Navigation flights should stop when the flight school client is able to find himself, work the chart, guide the aircraft along the route and maintain the established levels including correspondence and landing at two airports. The pilot instructor should consider whether the student can pass the pilot's test and primarily prepare him for it, and if he sees that the client wears goggles will also allow him to navigate from a more detailed chart than the " not transparent" ICAO 1:500 000. Of course, if the student is heading into a restricted area, or out of bounds, or gets lost and starts to panic each time, they have to intervene and the flight is repeated with even more thorough pre-flight briefing and more emphasis on the student being able to locate themselves in the air, i.e. determine where they are.
At the very beginning of pilot training, fly early in the morning or before dark and use "oil" (calm dense air) so that the novice pilot is more comfortable with how to fly the aircraft and does not have to be controlled or corrected too unnecessarily by a flight instructor. It is very important to gradually, consistently and thoughtfully accustom the novice pilot to higher winds, gusts, wind shears and turbulence so that his stomach and inner ear can handle it and at the same time so that he does not leave the pilot training unnecessarily early. A basic training student pilot throwing vomit around the board probably isn't the best representation of a flight instructor, which is why a flight instructor needs to monitor the student's symptoms to see if he or she is not feeling well. Ultimately, it's the flight instructor who will have to clean up the vomit. I don't know of any flight school that has cleaners for that.
Don't fly all basic training in good weather. This is sheer stupidity that will deprive the flight school client of additional skills and is a critical action for the aircraft owner who then loans the aircraft to such "untrained" pilots. The weather can sometimes change unpredictably especially around the mountains and in the highlands.
Tardiness on both sides of the instructor and the student.In a commercial flight school you are booked in the best case for your designated lesson. If there are more clients then for the lesson that is closest to it if possible. If you call early, the flight school operator will always try to do the best to accommodate you, especially if they know your piloting abilities and skills. If you arrive late, you are destroying the schedule of scheduled flights, or the scheduled time of your pilot training lesson must logically be shortened. Here you are not having a "friendly" chat with another client waiting for his flight lesson if you are disrupting his schedule by your tardiness.
Relaxed instructor. Less instructor workload, or better distribution of work in one flight day, can achieve this. If an instructor flies 6-8 hours a day, his capacity will not allow him to perform well in the last hours of the flight, his ability to tolerate and forgive and react correctly will be reduced, especially if he flies safety and emergency landings as mentioned in the beginning of the article, or flies at larger airports, controlled airports, where there is more traffic and there are more flight schools. For an instructor-owner who has to fly 6 or more hours on a given day the following scenario can be assumed:
He will schedule three to four hours in a row from sunrise, then lunch, a sleep break, and and the next three to four hours of flying are scheduled either immediately afterwards or consecutively in the evening before sunset..
The instructor-owner of the flight school is aware that he has to give 100% performance, thus increasing the skills of the clients in the shortest possible time, and at the same time, by keeping the clients happy he creates more potential clients. The best advertising is that communicated, from pilots in training and their friends who already know and have experienced - from experience.
Proper distribution of the training exercises into the flight day, if possible. Ideally, begin practicing emergency and safety landings as well as circuits with students in the morning. Overflights and navigation flights are better done in the afternoon, this does not exhaust the instructor as much and many areas are no longer active.
An instructor-employee may have set hours of work. Count on the fact that he could not relax and rather book - book earlier hours so that he is no longer tired or grumpy. Flying emergency landings always requires a rested fresh instructor, not what's left of him after 6 or more hours of flight training... Some student pilots have already snagged their instructor. An instructor should know his or her limit of fatigue and wear and tear, at which point he or she will tell the employer, and maybe the pilot, straight up that he or she is not feeling it today.It is better not to fly, or to fly something else, than to produce some kind of trouble.
Having a good attitude on board helps both the flying student and the flight instructor.
Filip Zejda - flight instructor
V roce 2014 jsme se umístili na skvělém druhém místě v anketě "Letecká škola roku" ve kategorii škol věnujících se výcviku pilotů ultralehkých letadel.
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