Flight Training - August 2014 - 55

INSTRUCTOR REPORT

High-priced flight instruction
You really do get what you pay for

I'M A BIG-BIG!-FAN of flight
instructors being paid what they're
worth. Some are paid quite handsomely, earning $100 an hour as
independent contractors. Given
that students might pay top dollar
for high-caliber flight instructors,
what is it that they get for their
money? Having talked with and
observed many of these unique
instructors over the years, there are
several answers to this question.
Please be clear that I'm discussing full-time independent
instructors whose fees are
determined directly by an open
marketplace. I fully realize that
an instructor charging a lower
hourly fee can still provide highquality instruction. As a general
rule, however, the marketplace
allows highly capable independent
instructors to charge more for their
time in return for a higher caliber
of instruction.
One of the most valuable things
students get for their money when
pairing up with highly capable
instructors is efficient flight training. This typically translates into
spending less time with the instructor and less money on learning to
fly. Yep, you heard that right.
It's entirely possible (and quite
common) for a skilled instructor
charging $100 per instructional
hour to teach a student to land an
airplane in four hours. A lesscapable instructor might take eight
hours (or more) to accomplish
the same objective with the same
student. If the airplane rents for
$150 per hour, then students with
skilled instructors might pay a
total of $1,000 to learn how to land.
Students training with a less-skilled
instructor charging $50 per hour
pay $1,600 to accomplish the same
thing. That's an extra $600 and eas-

ily twice the investment of personal
time. In the hands of a high-caliber
instructor, students typically spend
less time and money for flight
training. (Once again, lower-priced
instructors can still provide highcaliber instruction.)
Highly capable instructors teach
more efficiently because of their
skill at cockpit communication.
They are very good at communicating a message to their students
while not interfering with the student's reception of that message. In
other words, instructors say what
they have to say, then stop talking.
Over the years, I've observed
many exceptional flight instructors teach. Without exception,
they were not overly chatty in the
cockpit. They knew that they had
to provide knowledge and direction
to their students. They also knew
they had to give these students time
to apply these instructions.
Lesser-skilled instructors,
however, teach as if they have been
vaccinated with a phonograph
needle. While they might provide
the student with the necessary
information, they often fail to be
silent long enough for the student
to concentrate on applying it. There
are very few things that interfere
with a student's ability to learn
than an instructor who doesn't
know when to be silent.
Highly capable instructors
use the cockpit to actually teach
flying skills instead of ground
school lessons. One of the newer
trends in aviation education is the
recommendation to teach physical
flying skills while simultaneously
teaching decision making and
hazard assessment skills. While
I'm all for teaching the latter,
I'm not a big fan of anything that
diminishes the primary purpose

of flight training, which is to teach
someone how to fly. Aviation decision making, hazard assessment,
and situational awareness are
considered to be cognitive skills.
Once the student has acquired
some basic flight experience, he
or she can absorb these cognitive
skills quite effectively via ground
school lessons, books, videos, and
audio programs. It's not necessary
to spend hundreds of dollars per
hour learning these lessons in the
cockpit of an airplane when they
can be effectively taught or learned
on the ground.
Highly effective instructors direct
their students to the books, videos,
and audio programs necessary to
learn these psychological lessons.
Sure, not all these psychological/
safety lessons can be learned on the
ground, but upwards of 90 percent
can. In today's aviation market,
there's no shortage of good products
that teach us how to think and
behave properly in an airplane.
Highly effective instructors
enjoy teaching. It's nearly impossible to be an effective teacher if
your heart isn't in your work. I have
never known an effective flight
instructor who disliked teaching
students. Most students have the
natural ability to sniff out a teacher
who doesn't enjoy teaching, which
results in a student who doesn't
enjoy learning. Don't be one of
these teachers.
While less-capable instructors
can teach you to fly, it's the most
capable ones who often can teach a
student to fly in a shorter time and
at less expense.
Rod Machado is a flight instructor, author,
educator, and speaker. He has been a pilot
since 1970 and a CFI since 1973. Visit his blog
(www.rodmachado.com).

AUGUST 2014 FLIGHT TRAINING

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http://www.rodmachado.com http://www.rodmachado.com

Flight Training - August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - August 2014

Contents
Flight Training - August 2014 - Cover1
Flight Training - August 2014 - Cover2
Flight Training - August 2014 - Contents
Flight Training - August 2014 - 2
Flight Training - August 2014 - 3
Flight Training - August 2014 - 4
Flight Training - August 2014 - 5
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Flight Training - August 2014 - Cover3
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