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View Full Version : Flight School Frustrations


toeman9
11-02-2006, 09:24 AM
I started flight school in early September and have been at it now for about a month. I fly 3 days per week, each flight averaging 1.5 hours, and have a total of 17.1 logged hours. My CFI likes to spend about 3 flights per lesson and that is why I am only on Lesson 7 in the Jeppesen PP Syllabus. Is this pace fairly typical? I feel like I should be more advanced in my training. I am aware of the cost of flight school and estimated $5000 for my PPC. But only being at Lesson 7, I have already spent $2700 and have 19 more lessons to go. I am not a slow pilot. I know my maneuvers and I do them well. My TO and LND are decent and my radio communications are clear and concise.

Often times I get stuck with refueling the plane and because I don’t have a solo endorsement my CFI is required to accompany me. He logs our fueling time as instruction even though he doesn’t help me fuel. Instead he justifies the instruction time by rambling on about fuel grades and clouds. During our pre and post briefings he seems to chatter about stuff that I already know and I nod my head and say, “Yes, I know I read about that” but he continues on and eventually I get billed for instruction time. During my CFI’s summer vacation, I flew with two other CFIs who didn’t talk nearly as much and who I had really good flights with. My maneuvers were better and my landings were way better.

I liked the teaching technique of the substitute CFIs better than my primary CFI. The S-CFI would ask me to perform a maneuver and then wouldn’t touch anything or say anything. When I said “maneuver complete” that was when he would critique me and have me do the maneuver again. My primary CFI likes to give me a maneuver and talk throughout the maneuver about what I could be doing better. Then he gets his hand all over everything to “show” me something and I never really get a chance to complete the munuever correctly and independently. Plus he never uses the check list and when I do, I feel rushed because he then says, “Here, just do it this way”.

I’m feeling very frustrated about my very expensive flight training and am seriously considering switching instructors. My primary CFI says I can switch anytime, but it would be best after my solo endorsement. But it seems like the darn endorsement is just another carrot on a stick that allows me to linger in some refueling limbo while my CFI racks up instruction time.


favila008
11-02-2006, 10:16 AM
Dump the guy. You are paying him to do a job and if he is not doing that job you have the right to switch instructors. Dont be afraid, switch intructors. You'll learn more and waste less money. From what I can tell, the guy is a bad instructor and is just accumulating hours at your expense.

LAfrequentflyer
11-02-2006, 10:19 AM
I started flight school in early September and have been at it now for about a month. I fly 3 days per week, each flight averaging 1.5 hours, and have a total of 17.1 logged hours. My CFI likes to spend about 3 flights per lesson and that is why I am only on Lesson 7 in the Jeppesen PP Syllabus. Is this pace fairly typical? I feel like I should be more advanced in my training. I am aware of the cost of flight school and estimated $5000 for my PPC. But only being at Lesson 7, I have already spent $2700 and have 19 more lessons to go. I am not a slow pilot. I know my maneuvers and I do them well. My TO and LND are decent and my radio communications are clear and concise.

Often times I get stuck with refueling the plane and because I don’t have a solo endorsement my CFI is required to accompany me. He logs our fueling time as instruction even though he doesn’t help me fuel. Instead he justifies the instruction time by rambling on about fuel grades and clouds. During our pre and post briefings he seems to chatter about stuff that I already know and I nod my head and say, “Yes, I know I read about that” but he continues on and eventually I get billed for instruction time. During my CFI’s summer vacation, I flew with two other CFIs who didn’t talk nearly as much and who I had really good flights with. My maneuvers were better and my landings were way better.

I liked the teaching technique of the substitute CFIs better than my primary CFI. The S-CFI would ask me to perform a maneuver and then wouldn’t touch anything or say anything. When I said “maneuver complete” that was when he would critique me and have me do the maneuver again. My primary CFI likes to give me a maneuver and talk throughout the maneuver about what I could be doing better. Then he gets his hand all over everything to “show” me something and I never really get a chance to complete the munuever correctly and independently. Plus he never uses the check list and when I do, I feel rushed because he then says, “Here, just do it this way”.

I’m feeling very frustrated about my very expensive flight training and am seriously considering switching instructors. My primary CFI says I can switch anytime, but it would be best after my solo endorsement. But it seems like the darn endorsement is just another carrot on a stick that allows me to linger in some refueling limbo while my CFI racks up instruction time.


You're being used to build flight time...You should be the one pushing / pulling on the yoke, pedals, throttle...The CFI is there to do what the S-CFI. I got used and it sucks...Most CFIs at FBOs will string you along like this forever if they can - its in their best interest. You need to define / redefine the relationship constantly at an FBO.

Tell the primary-CFI the style you would like him/her to use, give me a chance to work with you. If he doesn't change his teaching style (remember he is your employee - you pay him for a service, not the other way around) end the business relation you have with him and go with the other CFI.

As far as the ground school. Study on your own. All I did was read the Jepp PPL book and go thru the study questions / guide. If I had a question I'd ask him. Be firm / be decisive with FBO CFIs or they will take you for a ride. When you are ready for the test - get him to sign the endorsement and take it...Get a 90+ and you're good for the checkride. Anything lower and the examiner will ask questions or more than normal..

Before the checkride sit down with your CFI for a mock oral and I believe by regulation they have to do a flight with you as well. If he / she strays - put them back on track immediately.

Make sure to get the gouge from him / her about what the examiner looks for on the checkride.

After your PPL consider going to a flight academy for your ratings. ATP is good and so is Flight Safety. Flight Safety is more expensive than ATP. Bottom line: if you are serious about aviation as a career get away from the FBOs and attend a training academy (ATP or Flight Safety. Don't attend DCA or ERAU) and leave these frustrations behind.

FBO management could care less if your getting trained. All they care about is the planes being rented.

V/r,
-LAFF


C152driver
11-02-2006, 10:43 AM
I saw your earlier post about getting your Private Pilot done for a fixed cost, and was a bit sceptical. However, it does sound like your CFI isnt helping you at all. I have worked with several CFI's and the ones that I have enjoyed the most were the ones that always helped fuel the plane or take care of other little time killing details. I am currently working with one that always waits for me to fuel and never offers to help. Clearly, he isnt required to do that, but it sure would be nice.

If you are convinced that you are getting a bad deal, shop around a bit. Just make sure you let your current CFI know what's going on and the source of your dissatisfaction. I wouldnt be too cool for your current instructor to find out that you dumped him from another instructor. It's a small world out there, after all....

Hang in there, keep working. Personally, I think you can get a good flying education from an FBO CFI....:D

Flying Ninja
11-02-2006, 10:57 AM
You're being taken for a ride...ditch your CFI and find someone with a more professional and invested interest in seeing you succeed. I'm starting to see a lot of unprofessional, shady, and unethical CFIs out there...so sad...to think aviation was once this amazing community of professionals.

kaos
11-02-2006, 03:59 PM
toeman9
make a plan taking into account your learning curve; to have a syllabus is nice but its useless unless you schedule it. you know yourself better than anyone. try to understand the way you learn and the progress you make, consider that after the first solo you will progress faster. choose the CFI who makes you feel confortable, you need to build up confidence more than time.
look for professionality in the CFI not just for a buddy you can joke with.
do not care for anything else, there are only 2 actors in this play you and the instructor.

aero550
11-02-2006, 05:07 PM
Like the others have already said - audition new instructors. They work for you, not the other way around, you're the one paying the bill.

It sounds like you already like the subs you had. See if one of them is available.

Some people need the extra time and coddling, but if you honestly feel like you are on the bead and keeping up, then change the program.

LAfrequentflyer
11-02-2006, 05:53 PM
You're being taken for a ride...ditch your CFI and find someone with a more professional and invested interest in seeing you succeed. I'm starting to see a lot of unprofessional, shady, and unethical CFIs out there...so sad...to think aviation was once this amazing community of professionals.

They want to fly a jet ASAP. To them a student is nothing more than hours in their logbook...Management is no better at FBOs - as long as the planes are flying / rented they are happy.

Other things to avoid in a CFI - the kind that talks about other students, complains about his / her student loans, wants to / rushes you near the end of the day...

-LAFF

sigep_nm
11-04-2006, 12:07 AM
One thing you need to think about is specialized CFI's. Throughout your training you will run into CFI's that are better at teaching a certain curriculumn than others. most draw the line in terms of Instrument/primary. Dont discount the abilities of certain CFI. He may be very good at instrument but lacking at initial. If you feel he is a time builder feel free to move away from him. He may be a little gittery as well, and wants perfection, which is a trait of a good instrument CFI. Most of the students I have average a solo at approx. 13 hours. He may be a CFI that doesnt understand a solo student and may be expecting too much out of you. Discuss this with him, and maybe seek a CFI with more experience training the newbies. From personal experience, I definetely would have a hard time going back and teaching a private, dont just assume however that he is a bad instructor, just the facts, just the facts.

AV8ER
11-04-2006, 03:54 AM
I’m feeling very frustrated about my very expensive flight training and am seriously considering switching instructors. My primary CFI says I can switch anytime, but it would be best after my solo endorsement. But it seems like the darn endorsement is just another carrot on a stick that allows me to linger in some refueling limbo while my CFI racks up instruction time.


Switch now. Part 61 lists what has to be covered by the instructor signing you off before you can solo, and if you're on lesson seven, switching now still gives your next instructor time to get it all covered without having to redo lessons. No point in staying with your current CFI. Switch today. And when he asks why your switching tell him. And tell the ACI or Chief too. Maybe then other guys won't have to be subjected to prick$ like him.

AirWillie
11-04-2006, 12:00 PM
Dude, at 17 hours you shouldn't even see the CFI unless you're getting ready to jump in the plane, no more hand holding for administrative stuff at that point! CFI is only supposed to log hobbs time and any ground lesson, THATS IT. Supervising you on preflight or fueling doesn't count! And what are you doing fueling the plane anyways, don't you have ramp rats at your airport?

If you are a good pilot, you should be ready to solo by your 8-10 hour mark. At 17 you should be into cross-countries. From my experience if you have ANY doubts about your cfi, that's the time you should dump them, a good cfi doesn't give you any doubts. Also do not get the most popular CFI at the school, doesn't matter if they have a 100% pass rate, it's more important that you have somebody that's avialiable. My first CFI ever was basically the chief CFI of the school I dumped his ass because he was never available.

toeman9
11-05-2006, 09:15 AM
Thanks for everyone’s input. No, we don’t have ramp rats. The students do all the work, unless their CFI is so inclined to help. So either I finish up my PPC with this CFI and move on to a different flight school for the rest of my training or I get out now and try to find another CFI to complete the training with me.

mprinceton26
11-26-2006, 09:14 AM
Switch right now there are no hard feelings in this business. I've flown with many instructors like him and usually after 1.5-2.0 hours you can tell they are leachers. When leaving the tarmac if you guys aren't talking about the next step ahead whether it be solo or check ride forget it. And that accompanying you on the tarmac is coplete BS. They are suppose to teach you to pre-flight the airplane on your own by like day 2 or 3. I've noticed there are a LOT of CFI's out there who play this game. They lose students all the time too. A few who don't know anybody stick around with them trying to get their PPL for 2+ years.

LAfrequentflyer
11-26-2006, 11:09 AM
Yeap....2+ years for a PPL. FBOs are a waste of time...If you can afford to get your ratings at www.allatps.com

-LAFF

AVIVIII
11-26-2006, 04:40 PM
Totally get a new instructor

AVIVIII
11-26-2006, 04:53 PM
Yeap....2+ years for a PPL. FBOs are a waste of time...If you can afford to get your ratings at www.allatps.com (http://www.allatps.com)

-LAFF

Now I have to disagree with part of what you are saying. 2+ years is a waste of time, especially if the student is dedicated. However, the generalizations of saying that FBOs are a waste of time is totally inaccurate. I have signed off 21 PPLs in over 2 years of flight instruction. They average 9 hours to solo (lowest yet is 5.9) 52.4 hours for the check ride and take an average of 257 days total ELAPSED time, some of them took breaks for kids, finances, etc. Yes, I track all of that.... and I don't fly with people that aren't serious about committing to the time. I don't have a formal syllabus like you will see in the ERAU types. It is strictly performance based, satisfaction and move on. And just because you have trouble with slow flight doesn't mean that we have to repeat lesson X, with steep turns and ground reference maneuvers, a thousand times until you get it. Most importantly, find someone who is going to teach you how to fly the airplane, not just how to read a checklist and when to push the buttons.

However, I have total confidence in the training that you will get at ATP. But go there after you get you private.

LAfrequentflyer
11-26-2006, 04:59 PM
Now I have to disagree with part of what you are saying. 2+ years is a waste of time, especially if the student is dedicated. However, the generalizations of saying that FBOs are a waste of time is totally inaccurate. I have signed off 21 PPLs in over 2 years of flight instruction. They average 9 hours to solo (lowest yet is 5.9) 52.4 hours for the check ride and take an average of 257 days total ELAPSED time, some of them took breaks for kids, finances, etc. Yes, I track all of that.... and I don't fly with people that aren't serious about committing to the time. I don't have a formal syllabus like you will see in the ERAU types. It is strictly performance based, satisfaction and move on. And just because you have trouble with slow flight doesn't mean that we have to repeat lesson X, with steep turns and ground reference maneuvers, a thousand times until you get it. Most importantly, find someone who is going to teach you how to fly the airplane, not just how to read a checklist and when to push the buttons.

However, I have total confidence in the training that you will get at ATP. But go there after you get you private.


I agree with you - flying is more than checklists / pushing / pulling things. You have to understand. A good CFI / student combo can do that.

Note that I'm jaded because of my bad FBO experience. Thats why I am so against them. It will take me some time to get over my bitterness.

-LAFF