Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Aviator's Guild

As a teen I read countless science fiction and fantasy books. Some of my favorites were set in worlds where guilds, masters and apprentices were common. In these worlds, an apprentice would be assigned to, or choose a guild, or school. From there they would be assigned to journeymen and a master to learn their craft. From musicians, to clothiers, to smiths, to bakers, to technicians, to fighters and thieves. Some apprentices compete to be apprenticed to well regarded masters. Other apprentices seek out masters who are easy or more lenient. The apprentice, when fully accepted into the guild becomes a journeyman and they become part of the lineage of their master and their master's master, and their master's master's master.

I see a bit of that world in the world of aviation. We don't have a guild per se but we do have apprentices (student pilots), journeymen (CFIs), masters (Gold Seal and Master CFIs and DPEs), etc, etc. Each student is very much the product of their CFIs and of their CFI's CFI and so on. A lineage going back as far as aviation itself. We don't formally track a lineage but it is there. You can tell who was trained by whom from the way they do their radio calls, how they start and shut down an engine, how the pull into the run-up or perform a normal landing. Yes, we all evolve what we were originally taught, based on our experience and learning from the experience of others. However, at our core, we reflect the lineage of those who taught us and continue to teach us. We are all representatives of the Aviator's Guild.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pretty Pleased

I'm pretty pleased today and feeling good. No spectacular thing to report... just got back in the air for the first time in over two weeks after a nice, long, vacation. We'd been back for almost a week but today was the first opportunity for me to hop behind the controls of a plane and fly.

I flew one of the club's Arrows. Every plane has its own personality and our Arrows are no different. We have two Arrow IIs and one Arrow. I did my checkride in one of the Arrow II's. I've been flying the older Arrow more recently just to see how the smaller "hershey bar" wing feels. So today I went up in the other Arrow II. This one has a three blade propeller and some speed modifications like gap seals, cowl flaps, etc that are not on the other Arrows. Of course, it glides differently and flies differently. But that's the fun of it.

I just had time to go up in the pattern before heading into the office.... a light rain just passed through the area and it was cloudy and cool. Not another soul in the pattern. I did 6 takes offs and landings, getting used to the way this particular Arrow flies. I also did a couple Power Off 180s. I was pleased that I could do them in this "new" plane. Not quite with the precision I did on my check ride in April but it was good nonetheless. It just felt good to go up and fly. Just me, the plane, the controllers and a flock of geese sitting by the runway watching me fly.

I'm also excited about the progress I'm making in learning how to teach. I'm starting to enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to weave together the information or procedures or knowledge I need to communicate in an understandable and meaningful way. In a way that learning can occur. Instead of trying to show my CFI how smart I am, I'm using this time to brainstorm with him. We are working together to figure out the best way to combine my unique perspective and talents with his great experience, knowledge and practice training CFIs and pilots to develop a training program, lesson plan by lesson plan. A training program that I think will be effective for my future students. I expect to continuously adjust my lesson plans as I learn more and especially when I start to teach.  This is, I think, one of the coolest things about becoming a CFI. If things continue as they are, I will never stop learning!