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View Full Version : When to stop someones training?


Tippy
09-16-2015, 07:12 AM
I have a student in his early forties, retired army who always wanted to fly. Now that he has the funding he has decided to change careers and wants to be a bush pilot in alaska. We are pushing 45 hours and no solo and no chance of it. he simply is not safe but WILL NOT give up. i admire his attitude and persistence he tries very hard and studies very hard but simply does not retain information well and again the physical part is not coming to him. Has anyone come across anything similar and how do you go about it? What legal right do i have to stop his training other than not signing him off to solo? The VA has come down on frivolous use of flight training funds and may possible put a limit of some kind in the near future and i dont want him running out of educational benefits with no useful skills to speak of...


FlyingAnvil
09-16-2015, 08:05 AM
A tough situation. My hat's off to someone who won't quit and to the instructor who hangs in there at least for awhile.

First thought ... you might consider having the student fly with another seasoned instructor for two or three flights to see if this sheds new light on the situation for you and/or the student.

Barring progress there ... one of my mentors said, "Bad news doesn't get better with time." If you haven't already, I think you owe the student an honest assessment at the right time based on your experience and knowledge. You could opt to put it in terms of pros and cons (we can continue flying together but I don't see you being cleared to solo, etc.). Sounds like you may also need to make a separate judgment call related to VA funding.

Best of luck.

TheFly
09-16-2015, 08:36 AM
Have him fly with another instructor, maybe the chief pilot. If that doesn't go well, then it might be time to cut him loose.


UAL T38 Phlyer
09-16-2015, 12:24 PM
Agreed...have another very experienced instructor that students love to fly with...it's one thing if he's experienced, but there is a difference between knowledge/skill, and the ability to impart it.

Maybe even a third opinion.

If you all agree that it is hopeless, then all should talk to him about it together, so he won't think one guy is singling him out.

rickair7777
09-16-2015, 12:29 PM
1. Have him fly with another instructor, just to verify what you're seeing.

2. Sit down, give him the honest assessment which is "no end in sight, no way to predict it".

3. Give him the option of continuing, with the understanding that there can be no expectations or timeline. Basically turning avgas into noise and see what happens, if that's what he wants to do. If you can't keep the training safe (ie really sketchy landings), don't give him this option.

4. Make it clear to him that instructor shopping might get him a rating, but his lack of aptitude could get him killed.

TheFly
09-16-2015, 12:56 PM
Also, let the PTS (or whatever they ca it now) be the standard. If he doesn't meet the standard, show him so he doesn't take it personal.

doublerjay
09-16-2015, 03:36 PM
He's using the VA to pay?
So is he training under Part 141?
How did he pass his first stage check and end up at 45 hours without soloing?

Tippy
09-16-2015, 04:01 PM
He's using the VA to pay?
So is he training under Part 141?
How did he pass his first stage check and end up at 45 hours without soloing?

we are 141, but the first stage check is right after initial solo, so he is still stage one. and due to being a public institution we cannot deny his enrollment. Im sure there is a way to do so be we would rather him come to the conclusion on his own.

my plan is to have him fly a few times with a senior instructor as soon as flying resumes in a week. and maybe he can shed some light on the situation and help, or confirm my feelings.

we did have a sit down council with the chief that at this rate a career in this is very bleak at best. his response was "can i take the hour ive done here and apply them somewhere else?"

i have tried to tell him that there are other careers in aviation other than pilots. he used to be a combat medic so my first thought was a flight nurse. i told him you still get to be around airplanes and use a skill you obviously already have...

tall guy
09-16-2015, 06:18 PM
Good luck with that man...My issues are students that can't speak english. I have one guy who can't read the checklist. Yes the checklist in a 172SP.

Tippy
09-16-2015, 06:51 PM
Good luck with that man...My issues are students that can't speak english. I have one guy who can't read the checklist. Yes the checklist in a 172SP.


management is trying very hard to get foreign students and i am not looking forward to it. fortunately they are at least a year out and i will be at R-ATP mins in about 5 months.

JamesNoBrakes
09-16-2015, 09:34 PM
It's the old catch 22, you can't make the guy aware so he actually understands or knows what he is doing wrong. With smarter/more aware students, they can understand and eventually correct what they are doing wrong (if you explain and understand it well enough yourself), even if they totally screw it up at first. When the student doesn't/can't, it's the source of much frustration and long hours. Sometimes they eventually get it, sometimes as you say, the end is simply not in sight. Don't want to sound mean, but it's exactly the problem of someone that is "too stupid to know they are stupid", or "not smart enough to know they are not smart", maybe as a better way of putting it.

krudawg
09-17-2015, 07:54 AM
Sounds like your student is over-thinking and as such task saturated. I'd have him fly with another seasoned flight instructor. Then I would suggest your student spends about 5 hours in an ATD like Redbird with a good sim instructor. See if the student starts to settle down now that he's not flying a real airplane. If your student is still showing no progress, then sit him down, give him an honest assessment and tell him you can't keep taking his money and that he should consider another career. Maybe you can suggest he start flying RC airplanes which may help him figure everything out. One of my sharpest students came to me with over 5 years of RC experience and I solo'd him in 5.5 hours.

rickair7777
09-18-2015, 06:12 AM
Sounds like your student is over-thinking and as such task saturated. I'd have him fly with another seasoned flight instructor. Then I would suggest your student spends about 5 hours in an ATD like Redbird with a good sim instructor. See if the student starts to settle down now that he's not flying a real airplane. If your student is still showing no progress, then sit him down, give him an honest assessment and tell him you can't keep taking his money and that he should consider another career. Maybe you can suggest he start flying RC airplanes which may help him figure everything out. One of my sharpest students came to me with over 5 years of RC experience and I solo'd him in 5.5 hours.

Actually the RC thing is not a bad idea. MS Flight sim or similar might also be helpful, although that's better for IFR procedures than stick-and-rudder.

WesternSkies
09-18-2015, 07:06 AM
I have a student in his early forties, retired army who always wanted to fly. Now that he has the funding he has decided to change careers and wants to be a bush pilot in alaska. We are pushing 45 hours and no solo and no chance of it. he simply is not safe but WILL NOT give up. i admire his attitude and persistence he tries very hard and studies very hard but simply does not retain information well and again the physical part is not coming to him. Has anyone come across anything similar and how do you go about it? What legal right do i have to stop his training other than not signing him off to solo? The VA has come down on frivolous use of flight training funds and may possible put a limit of some kind in the near future and i dont want him running out of educational benefits with no useful skills to speak of...

Be honest, have options for him to try other instructors, besides that it is not your job to be a "gate keeper", your job is to teach this guy to land and recognize when he hits that mark. The hours don't matter but the situation changes if he starts pressuring you. I've had two guys that went long past normal, they are now just your normal private pilots.

Bumper
09-19-2015, 04:49 AM
I had a similar issue years ago, I had the knack of getting all the problem students from other instructors. One of my student started when he 75 years old just wanted to fly. Guy waited his whole life and was finally able to do it financially. The guys passion and love of flying was remarkable.. made instructing very enjoyable.

After about 50 hours and still no solo I sat him down and explained I was willing to keep flying with him but there is a very strong chance he would never get his private or even solo as well the amount of money he would spend. He agreed and kept on flying and did solo but that's as far as it went.

My suggestions would be:

Have him fly with another experienced instructor for a lesson or two, no offense but I have seen students do much better after a change of instructors. Some people mesh some don't.

If he still doesn't progress give him an honest evaluation ... don't sugar coat it but be professional. If he wishes to continue and understands he may not make it and also understands the cost then keep flying with him if that's what he wants but be firm I wouldn't want to see a guy throw thousands of dollars away.

Best of luck

Ewfflyer
09-20-2015, 12:57 PM
I think i have you all beat.

Hand me down student at 50hrs, not even close to solo. Brilliant man, with computers and books(a CPA, and he loved his tax laws!), machinery just wasn't his thing, but he had the passion and means. Finally soloed I think at 75hrs, and worked his way through. Signed him off at 175TT for check ride and nailed it. He had a mental switch, some days he was on, others like he had never done it. Hard work, patience, and some luck, things will work out.

Now if this guy is going for this as a professional career, might need to reevaluate what's going on.

Good luck

Rotors2Planks
09-20-2015, 09:45 PM
I too was was an instructor that got the students that the more senior instructors knew would be a can of worms. I don't think I can suggest anything that hasn't been said already and to be honest, I really wasn't successful with them. I'll just add that I noticed patterns in many older students, in that they had a very difficult time learning new things. Hell, I'm 30 now and can start to see how that begins.
I had one older student that I later learned had once smoked pot right before his helicopter lesson... not saying that's your situation but do at least entertain the idea, it sounds like this guy is taking his training seriously though. I just mention that because I had suspected something a couple times but was too young and naive to believe that someone would really do that.
If it makes you feel any better, I've been in your situation and I didn't have the balls at 22-23 years old to tell someone my Dad's age that they couldn't hack it. You're doing the right thing by asking for advice. In my situation, they ended up failing their initial PPL checkrides and then it became my problem.



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