I remember my first flight instructor just like it was yesterday. He had a lot of flying time, and instructed in between charter flights. This was back in San Angelo, Texas in the early 60s, and he flew the series of Cessna's including the 310.
Interestingly enough, he didn't have an instrument rating. He didn't talk a lot, and he always had a rolled up newspaper in his left hand. If I got distracted sightseeing, or my head and eyes stopped moving - whack! - he would smack me on the back of the head. Forced landings were the real thing. We were out over the Texas flatlands with nothing but scrub and dirt roads. He would cut the engine on me, and I actually had to land. Believe me, by the time he finished with me the check ride was a piece of cake!
So, where are all the good CFIs? Later, when I went to Michigan State, I joined the Winged Spartans Flying Club. We had a lot of members, lots of students, and a fleet of Cessna 172s. For over 3 years I instructed there, and continued instructing for the next 20 years as I worked my way up through single engine charter to flying jets. I always felt that I wanted to share what I had learned along the way. Today I read an excellent blog post by Jason Schappert called ""3 Flight Training Pitfalls". He recounts how many instructors he went through as he pursued his commercial pilot certificate. It seems today that so many instructors only teach to accumulate hours so they can move on to the jets. What a shame, both for the instructors and the students. Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions there is, and real pros like Dana Siewert at the University of North Dakota devote their lives to teaching young pilots safety so that they can live and procreate more pilots. We need more of these grizzled old instructors to teach the young bucks of today. Perhaps if we did some accidents like the one I wrote about in "How To Break An Airplane" could be prevented. How about you? What was your experience with your flight instructor(s)? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!