Flight Training - July 2012 - 50

INSTRUCTOR REPORT»

and qualify for a sport or private pilot certificate. Why is this important? Because a lot of people don’t think they can do it, which means: It may stop them from trying, thereby taking business away from flight schools; or, if they take lessons and suffer a setback, they may quit. What makes people think flying is so difficult? Ordinary people learn all sorts of tricky, esoteric skills ( just look up “pen spinning” on YouTube if you don’t believe me). In absolute terms, hitting a fastball is probably much more difficult than controlling an aircraft. But because baseball is a familiar part of life, we tend to discount its complexity. Flying has acquired a mystique—an illusion of difficulty because it’s not typically a part of everyday experience. This is why

discovery flights are so important. Getting people in the airplane and giving them a turn at the controls usually shows them it’s not as hard as they think. Or perhaps it’s enough fun to make them forget their concerns. Either way, get them in the air once and they’re probably coming back. Another common concern is facility with numbers. I’m often asked if you have to be good at math to be a pilot. My answer is a firm no, but I also make a distinction between mathematics and basic arithmetic. We don’t do much differential calculus in the airplane, but it’s useful if a student can add and subtract, understand what 45and 90-degree angles look like, and have heard the terms “parallel” and “perpendicular.” But even if they haven’t, I’ll teach them.

A poor sense of direction sometimes causes a lot of hand wringing. “I’m always getting lost in my car,” they tell me. “What if I get lost in the airplane?” I came to aviation with a terrible sense of direction. Learning to fly improved it immeasurably and made a nightand-day difference in how I locate myself in the world, in or out of an aircraft. All of this isn’t to say flying is easy, exactly. If pressed, I’ll say it’s challenging, but doable. Flying is a craft made up of several individual skills. Some are primarily cognitive, like communication and navigation. Some are psychomotor skills such as physical control of the aircraft, and some are affective, such as keeping calm when abnormalities arise. Speaking very generally, I see two kinds of flight students:

Don’t hobble students’ confidence
» By Rod Machado

DELAYING SOLO
AN INSTRUCTOR AT a major aviation center recently told me that he likes to delay his students’ solos until they’ve reached about 25 hours of dual flight time. When I asked him why he favored this idea, he said that it helps ensure that his students know more before they fly alone. Huh? Is it possible that we’ve lost an understanding of the meaning and purpose of the initial solo flight? I’m beginning to think so. Students solo for one very important reason: It builds their confidence. Solo helps them understand that they’re physically and mentally capable of flying on their own. It also conveys the idea that the one person who knows the most about their aviation selves—their instructor—trusts them enough to leave them alone with the airplane. Flying solo is how students gain the confidence that prepares them for the responsibility of becoming a private pilot. This same instructor told me that at the 25-hour mark, his students feel

they are learning so much that many of them lose interest in flying solo. What he didn’t recognize is that his students’ confidence levels had become dependent on his presence in the cockpit. They don’t want to fly alone because they’ve never learned to trust themselves. What a sad thing to do to a student pilot. Keep in mind that you don’t need to teach students everything about flying before their first solo flight. You only need to provide them with the required base of knowledge and skill, as well as ensure that they are capable of handling the specific conditions of the first solo flight.

If they’re ready to solo, they solo. What’s the payoff? Student pilots learn to trust themselves as well as learn how much you trust them. Delay their solo and you delay developing the essential qualities responsible for making them confident and capable private pilots.

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Flight Training - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2012

Flight Training - July 2012
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Best of Both Worlds
How It Works
Knowledge Test News
After the Checkride
News
Since You Asked
News
Final Exam
Products
ASI News
AOPA Action
Flying Carpet
ENJOY THE VIEW
V IS FOR VELOCITY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Year One
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Is Flying Hard?
Delaying Solo
Are You Positive?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Training - July 2012
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 1
Flight Training - July 2012 - 2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 3
Flight Training - July 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - July 2012 - 5
Flight Training - July 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - July 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - July 2012 - 8
Flight Training - July 2012 - 9
Flight Training - July 2012 - Best of Both Worlds
Flight Training - July 2012 - 11
Flight Training - July 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - July 2012 - Knowledge Test News
Flight Training - July 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - July 2012 - 17
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - 19
Flight Training - July 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - July 2012 - Products
Flight Training - July 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - July 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - July 2012 - 24
Flight Training - July 2012 - 25
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - July 2012 - 27
Flight Training - July 2012 - ENJOY THE VIEW
Flight Training - July 2012 - 29
Flight Training - July 2012 - 30
Flight Training - July 2012 - 31
Flight Training - July 2012 - 32
Flight Training - July 2012 - 33
Flight Training - July 2012 - V IS FOR VELOCITY
Flight Training - July 2012 - 35
Flight Training - July 2012 - 36
Flight Training - July 2012 - 37
Flight Training - July 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - July 2012 - 39
Flight Training - July 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - July 2012 - 41
Flight Training - July 2012 - 42
Flight Training - July 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - July 2012 - Year One
Flight Training - July 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - July 2012 - 47
Flight Training - July 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - July 2012 - Is Flying Hard?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Delaying Solo
Flight Training - July 2012 - Are You Positive?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - July 2012 - 53
Flight Training - July 2012 - 54
Flight Training - July 2012 - 55
Flight Training - July 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover4
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