Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Official !

Well... at least it's online! At the speed of government the online Airman Certificate lookup shows my Flight Instructor Certificate. It only took 6 weeks. While that's longer than I like it's certainly quicker than I've seen other parts of government work. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the actual hard card certificate in the mail.

I'm still really enjoying instructing. I completed my first complex endorsement training today and endorsed the pilot's log book. Then I turned around and did a ground and flight lesson for my private student. He is doing extremely well.

Yep, fun fun. Tiring but rewarding. I didn't even mind missing part of the Broncos game to do it!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Flight Instructing is FUN!

Finally - I am exercising hard won skills and knowledge as an active flight instructor! And do you know what? It is fun!!

I really had no idea what to expect, actually being responsible to teach other pilots or future pilots knowledge or skills they didn't have before. Sure, my flight instructor (and the ASI) spent time pretending to be students and making common errors, etc. but I always knew they were fully capable of flying these planes and doing these maneuvers. It is different when flying with a pilot that truly doesn't know and is relying on me to teach them.

  • I thought I would be nervous - I wasn't. 
  • I thought I would have to force myself to act as a CFI and not just pilot - that came very naturally to me, as natural as breathing. 
  • I knew I could teach successfully on the ground, I didn't know if I could teach in the air - I can. 
  • I had no idea if I would really like flight instructing. Would I enjoy letting go of the controls and controlling what happened in the plane more with my voice than my hands and feet? - I did! 
  • I thought I would be bored not doing the flying myself - I wasn't. I was fully engaged in every moment of each flight like I was the one with my hands on the controls, not my students. 

My first student - a pilot I'm working with on a complex endorsement - asked me if it was hard to give someone else the controls. It wasn't. Wouldn't it make me nervous? It didn't. Because I knew, no matter what he did, I could take control of the aircraft and stay safe. And I was ready to do so at all times. He's a very enthusiastic pilot and takes instruction well. I've really enjoyed flying with him.

My second student - a young man restarting his private pilot training after 6 hours of flying and a five year hiatus is a joy to fly with. He was relaxed and light on the controls and more coordinated than some 200 hour pilots I've flown with. He wants to study and be the best pilot he can be.  I have a very good feeling about him.

I can feel my skills and understanding of flying improve exponentially with every flight it seems and I'm not even doing most of the flying. I think this shows a key misunderstanding I had of what flight instruction is. I always thought it odd that CFI's could log PIC time at the same time as their students. I figured it was a way to make sure the flight instructor was held responsible as Pilot in Command if something went wrong. But now I am starting to think that's not the whole truth.

I don't know how it is for other CFIs, but for me, I know, I feel, I breathe, I think, I am, flying that plane. I am so 100% a part of and aware of every aspect of the flight, from general situational awareness to awareness of the student to awareness of what the student is doing and what the aircraft is doing as a result. Being ready to take control immediately if needed. I don't have to touch the controls at all. I'm still flying the aircraft.

Flight instruction is a "job". It's something we get paid to do. Oddly I forget that I'm getting paid to do this. I'm having too much fun! I've been around the block too many times to think it will be this fun all of the time, but so far it's started off great and it's a lot more fun than I ever imagined!