One of the challenges of instructing is being able to get a message across. Sometimes changing the wording from ‘kick straight with rudder’ to ‘press the rudder’ can have a big effect on a student’s cross wind technique. Other times it’s not the wording or the message that is the issue.
Back when I wasn’t shuffling papers and was instructing at PAC, I went out on a night flight that has always stuck with me. My student had around 500 hours which included quite a broad range of experiences. Part of the night rating required nav aid work so we headed off to Cowes to do VOR intercepts. On this particular night there was no moon so tracking away from the aid over the water provided no visual horizon. As we were completing the airwork our altitude was all over the place, as the aircraft wasn’t correctly trimmed. In addition, while trying to chase the height the angle of bank went a bit haywire. I tried to get my student to set up for hands off straight and level. But with around 500 hours my student didn’t require such basic instruction. The shutters went up and no messages were getting through. I continued to give the student airwork tasks but gave up on trying to help with the general flying. With a high workload, no horizon and fighting the aircraft the whole time we soon ended up in a spiral dive. After a bit of a climb and re-stabilising the aircraft I again suggested we configure the aircraft for hands off straight and level. Funnily enough I now had an attentive student!
On another occasion I was into the third or fourth lesson with a young ab-initio student. As I was conducting the lesson the draw for my student to admire the view out of the left-hand window hadn’t subsided from day one. I ended up letting him know that I’d be happy to continue flying him around. In the mean time I would cease teaching until he was ready to participate. After a couple of minutes of silence my student was ready to re-commence the lesson.
As instructors, our job is turning up and hopefully imparting some knowledge which will help our students succeed. As students (I don’t think we ever stop being students) our job is to turn up ready to learn.
Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year,
Head Of Operations