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Who is teaching the teacher ?
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ORC
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:34 am    Post subject: Who is teaching the teacher ? Reply with quote

An interesting article from Rotor & Wing

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who is Teaching the Teacher?By Keith Cianfrani


There are many new and rotary wing pilots emerging into the aviation community who are looking for that perfect flying job. The current training and experience level of many of these rotary wing pilots, especially flight instructors, could be much better. What kind of experience do our flight instructors have prior to taking on this huge responsibility? Are we really producing well-rounded pilots and instructor pilots? We all know there is extensive flight training for military flight students to achieve their aviation rating. The process of becoming a military instructor pilot is also much more involved than it is in the civilian profession.

At Rotor & Wing’s recent Safety & Training Summit in Denver, Colo., the opening remarks were given by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. His remarks were right on target relating to rotary wing safety and the efforts for present and future safety initiatives. He discussed the challenges that face the rotary wing industry, especially in the medical evacuation field.

These challenges included the lack of weather reporting, landing in remote areas, and how the public relies on helicopters when all other options are gone. He discussed how low-level VFR flight does not offer altitude and airspeed in the event of an engine failure. Finally, he mentioned the industry’s and FAA’s desire to reduce the accident rate by 80 percent by the year 2017. In order to accomplish this goal, our pilots must be highly trained and proficient in all areas of rotary wing aviation.

As the summit progressed, helicopter flight training was discussed during one of the panel sessions. Several operators conducted presentations regarding their programs. As I sat in the rear of the room and listened to each flight instructional program operator describe their flight training programs, I could not ignore what I was listening to regarding the process of developing pilots and flight instructors. They are called “turn around IPs or instructor pilots”. This is not a new topic but one worth talking about. A civilian pilot with just over 250 hours, no turbine time, limited flight experience, and very limited aeronautical knowledge becomes a flight instructor upon graduation of flight training, a written test and completion of a “check ride”. How bizarre is that? In today’s economy, I know aviation training is dollar-driven. Some operators stated that some students, who have the ability to pay, make it through their flight training program even if they should not. Let’s not fool anyone, a CFI “ check ride” with a check airman who deals with this every day is not really conducted to the standards of a military evaluation. The result is a new certified flight instructor with 250 hours and no turbine time.

These new flight instructors will continue to build time teaching, primarily in a limited flight environment, to 1,000 or 1,500 hours and hope to find a job flying for an operator. These pilots have no turbine time, limited aviation experience and limited decision-making experience. Yet operators are willing to hire them for such jobs as sightseeing, on-demand charter (Part 135), electronic news gathering, and medical evacuation.

When we look at military instructor training, most services prefer their pilots to have a minimum of 500 hours before they can actually apply to the instructor pilot program. Most pilots selected have more than 1,000 hours of flight time. In today’s environment, many military pilots have extensive combat time prior to admission to the program. Not everyone is selected. It is a privilege to be chosen. The whole person concept is looked at during this process to include the maturity of the pilot. If you are one of the candidates selected, the next phase is anywhere from 6–8 weeks of intensive training in all areas of aviation to include instructional methods.

In order to be a safe pilot, one must be a well-rounded pilot. I spent a half of my military career at Ft. Rucker, Ala., the home of U.S. Army Aviation. Prior to attending an instructor pilot course, I had flown in many parts of the country to include New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. I was even flying Part 91 and 135 in those areas during my reserve days.

What about IFR flying? As I stated in earlier articles, rotary wing pilots, even military pilots, do not fly IFR enough to be proficient. So what about the new civilian CFI or CFII, who probably has not one hour of actual instrument (AI) time, teaching instrument flying. Is this advisable?

So what does this mean for the rotary wing profession? We are producing pilots with little aviation knowledge and aeronautical decision-making experience and flooding the market with them. We need the balance of good, experienced military and civilian pilots who provide the cornerstone of the commercial aviation pilot positions. Who is teaching the teacher? Will the helicopter industry be able to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by the year 2017 without the foundation of a good flight training program producing high caliber pilots? Maybe.
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RotorBez
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So ORC,

Have you copied and pasted this here for others to comment on, or do you have an opinion?

I am going to go out on a limb and offer the first response IMHO.....

The quality of tuition that I have thus far received has been exceptional! Imagine then my surprise when I found out that my instructor has sub 18months of instruction under his belt...... Shocked

I am going to suggest that this level of tuition is primarily so good due to a a number of reasons, mainly however because it wasn't so long ago that they were in the 'student' seat so they can relate to what we are going through!!!! Also, because they probably still have a fresh outlook on what 'what can be' rather than looking back through what potentially are rose coloured glasses 'missing the good ole days!'. For what it is worth, I am absolutely prepared to enter into a 'discussion' about the level of instruction (albeit limited) that I have been exposed to at my training establishment - actually I won't have a bad word said about it!

As for the article - I wouldn't be so quick to compare 'military' flying with 'civilian' flying - I have extensive experience in the former (look at my avatar as a clue) and I have a growing enthusiasim and knowledge for the latter. Again, in my humble opinion they may as well be two totally different things they are that far apart. A good military pilot doesn't automatically mean you will make a good 'civvie' one! Rolling Eyes

I sincerly hope that this article / thread isn't suggesting that to be a good pilot you must have 1000's of hours.......because if that is the case then it is a flawed argument / suggestion before it even gets off the ground (pun very much intended) in order to keep my reply jovial.

Anyway - hope you keep up your flying!

WB
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I have always disagreed with the FI being the first job... maybe that's why I am not working in the industry full time thou!

How can a 150 -200 hr pilot really teach a student when they are still learning themselves?

I mean in the UK you can't even teach someone to drive a car until you have held a licence for 3 years!

W.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So by that rationale holding the license for 3 years then qualifies you to then become an instructor..........or even suggests that you can drive!

Or what about the Student that leaves high school, straight to University and then becomes a teacher......(NQT time aside) - what makes that example any different to an FI?

I am very much playing devils advocate at the moment.......

So exactly how do either of you suggest that people break into the market place then?

Please don't suggest via self funding your way to being 1000's of hours qualified so that you are an attractive prospect to various compaines. All that does is prove that you have 'funding / backing' - not ability!

I am absolutely certain that there are people who are on this site that have opinions about FI'g straight out of the 'factory' themselves - however given the industry as it is it seems that it is really the only feasible way for people to get into the industry.

Again - military pilots are not out there in sufficient quantities to fill the demand for pilots. And, like I mentioned earlier some of those military pilots have no place being a pilot in civvie street - honestly I know some of them!!

I think that like in all walks of life there are going to be some people who are going to be better as an instructor than others - the industry will sort them out over time.

Cheers

WB
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have the answers but I stand by my feelings newly qualified pilots shouldn't be teaching others to fly. I was lucky I was taught by a 6000hr+ pilot/instructor.

I assume the rationale behind the 3 years is that you would (hopefully) have some experience in driving that you could pass on to the trainee.

I would love to be flying full time but I am not - I have made my choice and chose not to teach with (relatively)) low hours, so I earn a good living doing something I am experienced and good at and fly whenever I can.

W.

Edited to add - not many people will die if they're not taught math/english/sciences properly...
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, with 16.7 hrs of training, probably with one instructor, you are qualified to say that you are receiving expert instruction?

Partially sighted leading the blind.

I agree with the initial post, pushing out minimal-experienced pilots as instructors is not giving us the best way of teaching the next wave of students. Mistaken ideas (such as gyroscopic effect and LTE) are propagated and come back as "gospel" instead of the urban myths that they are.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wberesford wrote:
So ORC,

Have you copied and pasted this here for others to comment on, or do you have an opinion?


WB


I posted this article, as with all articles that I post to keep people abreast of the current thoughts and or situations around the world. If something I post provokes a discussion then all well and good. As for my opinion, I do think that the current situation is unusual and not ideal. There are many low hour and hence low experienced pilots out there instructing, many of them doing an excellent job. They are doing it as this is the way the industry "expects" them to. If you want to fly for a living and don't or can't make it through the military route, instructing is the way you build the hours and scrape a living. If every instructor had to be of high hours, high experience. How much would an hours tuition cost then ??

How would you change it ??
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response,

Ascend_Charlie

"So, with 16.7 hrs of training, probably with one instructor, you are qualified to say that you are receiving expert instruction?

Partially sighted leading the blind."


As a qualified instructor in a number of technical things I am able to recognise "Instructional abilities" - OK so I am "only" a helicopter student with 16.7 hrs as your very direct response confirms. Oh, by the way, I believe I wrote "Exceptional" not "Expert"..........what were you saying about partially sighted and blind??? Rolling Eyes - Only pulling your leg! I can only suggest to that end, that all of my instructors and fellow students are either lying to me or 'pandering' to me as they are of the opinion that my progress is good for my stage of training...........Unless of course it is the other potential........that is.....The instructors that I have flown with thus far (of which none of them exceed 4 years total flying time) are actually "Good Instructors". Now wouldn't that be novel - especially being so.......inexperienced and all that! Shocked

ORC,

Thanks you have answered my question as I wasn't sure whether you were posting for posting or to invoke a thread. I guess you have managed the later rather well. Very Happy

As it has been pointed out - I am probably too junior in terms of flying experience to have a valid opinion that can be taken seriously. However, I absolutely do not subscribe to the theory that "time in trade" makes for good instructors. It is very often the exact opposite in many trades / walks of life.

Finally - I guess I was wanting to vocalise that "Just because you are new to something" doesn't mean that you can't be good at it - I still stand by that statement surrounding those that are teaching me currently!

Cheers

WB
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Solo Nav, QCC, Skills test - Bring them on!!
All PPL(H) Theory exams now passed after having to start again after time lapsing on 5/7!!!

BMW R1200 GSA - that my instructor wants!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with most things in life, I don't think there is a clear, black & white answer to this one!

A couple of the comments rightly suggest that a recently qualified instructor (low-hour pilot) is fresh from the mistakes we all (or most of us) make. I can recall any number of massively qualified, hugely seasoned tutors at Uni, with most of the alphabet after their name, who couldn't effectively portray Bernoulli's Equation to us if it crawled up his..... Shocked Some people just don't make good instructors/teachers/bosses (delete as appropriate).

However, given the preference, I would put my money with high-time (I like the word 'seasoned') pilot/instructors....... it's all the little bits they have picked up over the years (dare I say, their 'experiences') that often seem to better help you understand what is happening with the machine; and why; and where the limits are.

Yes, I know that can also mean that perhaps some of the 'not-so-good' habits can creep through as well..... as I said - no clear answer!

Just to add to the confusion, the guy who did the majority of my PPL was a newby (in fact, still under Restriction when he first picked up my instruction) and I thought he was both an excellent pilot and instructor. Having soldiered on, and gone through my CPL, I still stand by that.

On the flip-side, I have flown with 2 seasoned pilot/instructors, one very regularly, and have enjoyed every flight as I learn something new each & every time, either about the aircraft, myself, or operational practicalities!

And yes, I intend to go on and get my FI Rating fairly soon; I will be a low-hour pilot; and yes..... it is my only way of flying full-time AND building the hours that will hopefully make me more attractive to a certain Air Ambulance Trust!!!

Anyway, that was my two penneth - well batted for posting ORC, a very valid thread me thinks! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject: Not the Instructor but the Instructor Examiner Reply with quote

I am not as yet able to pay for training for Helicopters but have undergone much training in my time. To me the key thought in the quote is not the experience of the instructor but process of becoming an instructor and how are they assessed competent to instruct?

Some one noted about school teachers - they either take a 3/4 year teacher training course with constant in classroom supervised expereince or the one year on the job supervise training. This follow-up (now) with annual quailty checks.

So the real question to me is how are FI's trained, assessed and quaility checked nopt I many hours they have?

Mark
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Not the Instructor but the Instructor Examiner Reply with quote

lancsman wrote:
So the real question to me is how are FI's trained, assessed and quaility checked nopt I many hours they have?

Correct. At PPL level what is needed is an effective teacher to convey the fundamentals.

Experience has a more significant part to play when coaching/mentoring for specific roles.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Teaching Reply with quote

Normally, I hate to jump in on such a touchy subject, but since I have been instructing for 35 years, I would just add this.

Students will always revert to the Law of Primacy which simply means that if all else fails, they will subconciously do what they were taught first.....by there first instructor.

The initial instructor lays down the foundation upon which all future training rests. I have had instructrs where the ink on their certificates was still drying that showed far superior airmanship than some who have become too set in their ways, and other high timers who I wouldn't get into an aircraft with them.

The 'methods' and 'aeronautics' do not change. It is the situations that change and the lessons to be learned. Those only come with experience.

It is unfortunate that as instructors, our first few students may suffer as we 'grow', but it is the nature of the beast.

The advantage of a newly minted instructor is they have current knowledge, and are familiar with new developements in the industry.

Most instructors today are not 'career' teachers but only use the CFI as a stepping stone to an industry job.

In that lies the dilemma!

Regards,
AB
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Canada we do things a bit differently.

I have never seen anyone do any kind of survey, but I am guessing the average Instructor has flown 10-15 years and has 6 to 8 thousand hours of operational experience before they even thought about becoming an instructor.

It's the polar opposite of what happens in the U.S.

At one small local flight school the owner of the school splits his time between teaching new students and heli-logging in a Sky Crane. He has been doing this for a couple of decades now....

We have really really good instructors in Canada. A new pilot goes from zero hours to having a Commercial License in 100 hours. The process took me 60 days to complete, day 61 I started my first job. ( that was 20 years and 11,000 hrs ago)

I was born in England and on occasion I wonder if I had stayed there all my life would I still be a Helicopter Pilot. Seems to be a massive amount of red tape and I am sure life as a Pilot in the U.K. would be a lot different than the average Canadian Bush Pilot!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:59 pm    Post subject: Whos teaching the Instructor Reply with quote

Let us not equate the "CFI's" teaching hours, with "flight hours'. Many CFIs have come from the military and other industry jobs with thousands of hours in flying time.

Maybe they decide to teach and obtain their CFI.

As I said earlier, I have seen both the newly minted CFI that was excellent, and the high timer that needs to be redressed.

If the "newly minted CFI" was taught by an experienced teacher, then so too will they be, regardless of their flying hours.

Law of Primacy....remember?

Fly safe,
AB
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is all about the attitude of the Flight Instructor. Experience is important, but if the IP can not relay his knowlege to the student his experience is doing nothing for the student. Try different instructors.
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