Flight Training - March 2011 - 48
HAVING THAT EASY-TO-REMEMBER FRAME OF REFERENCE AVAILABLE MADE MY RADIO CALLS SHORTER, MORE CONCISE, AND HIGHLY SPECIFIC.
I base this lesson on my own early training flights, when the cockpit was still a swirling mass of spinning needles, flashing lights, and buzzing stall-warning horns. I was flying out of Sanford, Florida, in a Cessna 172, on an instrument training flight. I was cleared to go, so I advanced the throttle and I went. My flight instructor, Todd, was doing his job like a true professional, which meant that he was sitting there doing nothing. At least it looked to me as if he was doing nothing—sometimes a good instructor lets the student experience the sublime reality of being overwhelmed by the situation. As we accelerated down the runway, my mental environment was cluttered—I was conscious of a thousand tiny details as I rotated and felt the wheels get light. Suddenly, I was airborne, and my headset came alive, “Cessna Six-Five-Seven-Eight-Nine, contact Orlando Approach, 119.775.” I went from being mentally maxed out to fully overloaded. “I need help,” was all I could say. Coolly, Todd said, “I’ve got the radio.” His calm response did just enough to lower my workload that I regained the ability to function. The rest of the flight went well, and I improved over time to be able to handle the workload required. Todd even made sure I could handle that exact situation, even with the addition of a system failure on takeoff. By the time I finished my training, the situation that had originally overloaded me didn’t feel particularly stressful at all. It’s amazing what we can adapt to given the proper instruction, a drive to succeed, and sufficient practice. Sometime after that flight, Todd shared with me a perspective on radio work that I have carried with me ever since: “Think of using the radio as if you’re ordering pizza,” was Todd’s simple advice. “Announce who you are, where you are, and what you want—then let go of the button.” Flight instruction doesn’t get easier, or more accurate, than that. Whether I was trying to squeeze in a call to a busy New York Center controller, or self-announcing on a common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) in the middle of nowhere, that simple approach to communication taught me to think and act differently. Rather than mentally running through a list of information in a frantic effort to identify what I had to report, all I had to do was think of ordering a pizza. I’d call out who I was, where I was, and what I wanted—then I’d let go of the button. Having that easy-to-remember frame of reference available made my radio calls shorter, more concise, and highly specific. CFIs can use pizza in the cockpit. It’s a great reference for simplifying a basic procedure, as well as a powerful tool for lowering a student's anxiety levels when he performs at least one important task.
Jamie Beckett is a writer and flight instructor in Winter Haven, Florida.
» By Rod Machado
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR BURNOUT
HAVE YOU HEARD about flight instruc-
tors who have lost their enthusiasm for teaching? Perhaps you’ve known a few who once enjoyed teaching, but now wish they were doing something other than sitting in an airplane giving a flight lesson. If so, then you’ve most likely witnessed the results of flight instructor burnout. The fact is that instructors can lose their enthusiasm for teaching. The good news is that the effects of CFI burnout can be prevented, or at least minimized, by using a simple, but highly effective strategy. The primary cause of CFI burnout is repetition. For some instructors, the rou-
tine of training the same type of students, going to the same practice area, and flying the same airplanes can begin to wear on their nerves. When an instructor finds his or her experience becoming repetitive and monotonous, he should do what most people do on the weekend—take a little time off. Burnout can be prevented by taking at least two consecutive days a week off from flight training (any days, not necessarily weekend days). Of all the professional, career flight instructors I know, every single one takes at least one day off a week (most take two) to prevent the effects of burnout.
And they’re adamant about their time off, too. If a student absolutely needs to fly on one of these days, the instructor simply arranges for a fellow CFI to assist that student. These instructors have learned to maintain their enthusiasm for teaching by taking a short hiatus from teaching every week. It’s important to keep in mind that burnout can immobilize any instructor if he or she neglects the basic principles of good mental health. As with all human beings, that means varying their work experience sufficiently to prevent it from becoming routine and monotonous.
Flight Training - March 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011
Air Safety Institute
Since You Asked
Legal Q & A
The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Where Do You Stand?
Is This Flightopia?
The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Who Will Fly?
Career Pilot News
Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Instructor Burnout
By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2011 - 2
Flight Training - March 2011 - 3
Flight Training - March 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2011 - 5
Flight Training - March 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2011 - 7
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - March 2011 - 9
Flight Training - March 2011 - Going Places?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 11
Flight Training - March 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - March 2011 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - March 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - March 2011 - Air Safety Institute
Flight Training - March 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2011 - 17
Flight Training - March 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2011 - Legal Q & A
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2011 - 21
Flight Training - March 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - March 2011 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2011 - The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Flight Training - March 2011 - 25
Flight Training - March 2011 - 26
Flight Training - March 2011 - 27
Flight Training - March 2011 - 28
Flight Training - March 2011 - 29
Flight Training - March 2011 - Where Do You Stand?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 31
Flight Training - March 2011 - Is This Flightopia?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 33
Flight Training - March 2011 - 34
Flight Training - March 2011 - 35
Flight Training - March 2011 - The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Flight Training - March 2011 - 37
Flight Training - March 2011 - 38
Flight Training - March 2011 - 39
Flight Training - March 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2011 - 41
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2011 - Who Will Fly?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2011 - 45
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - March 2011 - Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Instructor Burnout
Flight Training - March 2011 - By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - 50
Flight Training - March 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2011 - 52
Flight Training - March 2011 - 53
Flight Training - March 2011 - 54
Flight Training - March 2011 - 55
Flight Training - March 2011 - 56
Flight Training - March 2011 - 57
Flight Training - March 2011 - 58
Flight Training - March 2011 - 59
Flight Training - March 2011 - 60
Flight Training - March 2011 - 61
Flight Training - March 2011 - 62
Flight Training - March 2011 - 63
Flight Training - March 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover4