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Old 02-28-2018, 02:10 PM   #1  
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Default Selecting An Instructor | Older Wiser?

Hello APC,

Pros and Cons on selecting your first Flight Instructor. Older Wiser? Or, Younger Hungry? Are those fair comparisons?

My flight training is now imminent. I'm putting together my final thoughts on whether I'll do 141 or 61. With 141, I know that I do not get to select my FI. However, with 61, I do. And, that's my focus in this thread.

I'm leaning 61 with a hardcover syllabus type FI. A 61 FI with a structured approach and preferably someone who has read Gregory M. Penglis' book, "The Complete Guide To Flight Instruction," and willing to essentially proceed using that Model of Instruction in preparing me for the oral, written and flight exams required by the FAA. If you have not read Gregory's book in Flight Instruction, its a great page turner.

Also, how many days per week are optimal without becoming over saturated to the point of never being able to fully connect the dots from one week's lesson to the next? It is my understanding that some of this has a lot to do with the approach of the FI. I've read and heard that if the FI does not deliver a 'dot' this week, then there won't be link to the next 'dot' for the student the following week.

Ergo, the student begins to wander in their training, never fully integrating what they should be integrating in order to progress in their training. The Haze Effect, where the student's knowledge is hazy, fuzzy and really not focused, sharp and clear - leading to the need for another Flight Instructor to later come in and force the student to unlearn what they never learned correctly the first time - all because they never got into a routine of connecting Weekly Dots and eventually forming a Chain of properly seated and unbreakable Knowledge.

Does the Younger FI understand this enough to deliver it? Should I be concerned about an Older FI, no longer having the fire and passion for Instructing - just doing it as a hobby to pass time? I've heard that former Airline Pilots who still love to fly and who also like to teach, make some of the best Flight Instructors. True, or False?

We have a current system that nearly forces those who want to become Professional Airline Pilots into first being "Teachers" of Students. Not everyone can teach or instruct. Its a Calling. It requires a Gift. You have to really want to Teach and Instruct, in order to do it well, IMO - regardless of subject matter. Teaching requires amazing (uncommon) communication skills that not everybody has under their belt.

Someone could be a great Pilot, but communicating the who, what, when, why, where and how of flying might not be their strong suit. Or, they might now have the patience and intuition for teaching at a high level. Often times, Women, do better than Men in these categories. Women, can be naturally more intuitive and patient - which will be required when giving critical instruction.

How far do I go in investigating the background of my Flight Instructor? I recently toured a house for sale. The real estate agent's name was all over the town. They looked very credible. The agent was rude during the tour and unprofessional at one point. It caused us to leave the Open House, shaking our heads.

After further investigation, I discovered that the agent's husband was a convicted felon, that the agent herself had been involved in fraudulent real estate deals from Massachusetts to California, and that both of them had filed bankruptcy so many times that one Judge even commented on how well they knew the bankruptcy court system in the US in one of their case commentaries. Essentially, this real estate agent was dirty - filthy and had been fleeing Subpoenas and Summons in several states. Yet, there they were, showing a house valued in the millions like it was no bid deal.

So, how do we investigate whether or not we have the right FI and that their credentials and background are solid?

Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:08 PM   #2  
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Pros and Cons on selecting your first Flight Instructor. Older Wiser? Or, Younger Hungry? Are those fair comparisons?
Older ones can be hungry, if there's enough money involved. If you offer a premium and a set weekly guarantee, you could find an older, wiser CFI who would put your schedule first, and then schedule any other work around you.


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Also, how many days per week are optimal without becoming over saturated to the point of never being able to fully connect the dots from one week's lesson to the next? It is my understanding that some of this has a lot to do with the approach of the FI. I've read and heard that if the FI does not deliver a 'dot' this week, then there won't be link to the next 'dot' for the student the following week.
Not sure what a "dot" is in this context. But I would say the optimal is a range, and of course depends on your availability, your distractions (family, job if any, etc), and your study habits/learning ability. Also how much of a hurry are you in, and how motivated?

Training 2-3 times each week is the minimum to prevent incurring time and cost due to regression (two steps forward, one step back).

Most people could handle training twice a day six days/week if they really had to. That leaves one day for rest/study, and there would be daily study/preparation in the evenings, leaving little time for anything else besides eat/sleep/exercise. Each training "session" would consist of student prep/study (1-3 hours), typically 1-2 hours ground with the CFI, and 2-3 hours flight. You would likely have to pay a premium to get an instructor to commit to this regime for an extended period.

You know yourself best. If you want to enjoy the ride somewhat, maybe do 6-8 sessions/week.

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Originally Posted by November Seven View Post
Does the Younger FI understand this enough to deliver it? Should I be concerned about an Older FI, no longer having the fire and passion for Instructing - just doing it as a hobby to pass time? I've heard that former Airline Pilots who still love to fly and who also like to teach, make some of the best Flight Instructors. True, or False?
An older instructor would probably be better than a younger in all regards IF they are willing to commit to your desired schedule. They most likely will tell you up front if they can't work as much as you envision. If I were retired and flexible I would enjoy jamming a motivated student through a custom fast-track program. Or doing the same thing slower, just nice to have a road-map, goals, and a motivated partner to work with.



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We have a current system that nearly forces those who want to become Professional Airline Pilots into first being "Teachers" of Students. Not everyone can teach or instruct. Its a Calling. It requires a Gift. You have to really want to Teach and Instruct, in order to do it well, IMO - regardless of subject matter. Teaching requires amazing (uncommon) communication skills that not everybody has under their belt.

Someone could be a great Pilot, but communicating the who, what, when, why, where and how of flying might not be their strong suit. Or, they might now have the patience and intuition for teaching at a high level. Often times, Women, do better than Men in these categories. Women, can be naturally more intuitive and patient - which will be required when giving critical instruction.
All true. Time-building CFI's tend to be less experienced, possibly less professional, possibly less motivated, and likely to leave for the airlines when they have 1475 hours. The only upside to them is that they are usually willing to fly a lot, any time, and are probably going to be less expensive than a long-time professional CFI.

Now with that said... long-time career CFI's tend to be odd ducks, if they have talent why are they not making millions at the airlines? Usually there's some personality quirk going on (often harmless). CFI's who retired from airlines or other professions are probably less likely to be "characters". You do not necessarily need a CFI with jet experience... an experienced general aviation CFI will teach you everything you need to know to safely build GA experience.

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How far do I go in investigating the background of my Flight Instructor? I recently toured a house for sale. The real estate agent's name was all over the town. They looked very credible. The agent was rude during the tour and unprofessional at one point. It caused us to leave the Open House, shaking our heads.

After further investigation, I discovered that the agent's husband was a convicted felon, that the agent herself had been involved in fraudulent real estate deals from Massachusetts to California, and that both of them had filed bankruptcy so many times that one Judge even commented on how well they knew the bankruptcy court system in the US in one of their case commentaries. Essentially, this real estate agent was dirty - filthy and had been fleeing Subpoenas and Summons in several states. Yet, there they were, showing a house valued in the millions like it was no bid deal.
So, how do we investigate whether or not we have the right FI and that their credentials and background are solid?
This is not really a problem with CFI's. I would just do a detailed interview, and ask for references. Then start training, if the guy doesn't work out, find another one.

You could do an online background check if desired, but a CFI can't really rip you off unless you deposit a large sum up front (Don't do that. Ever).

A CFI who has a medical (needed for private pilot training) would have to report criminal activity to the FAA, and I believe they do check that when you renew your medical.

Last edited by rickair7777; 02-28-2018 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:40 PM   #3  
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May I say I feel you’re overthinking it a little bit...?
Private Pilot is not rocket science nor is it brain surgery.
A Chief Flight Instructor or assistant Chief should assign an instructor to you based on ‘best fit’ and not on whose turn it is to get a student.
That’s what we did anyway.
Part 141 requires stage checks with a designated instructor, usually the Chief.
For one it puts you in a testing environment and get you used to performing while you’re being graded and even more importantly it’s a check on how well your instructor has taught you.
I recommend against self employed instructors who’ve developed their “own system” or who’ve retired from the airlines. Very little of that transfers into teaching little airplanes.
I’ve been a Chief FI, asst Chief and Check Pilot 141 and now fly for an Airline.
Private pilot training should be fun and enjoyable and exciting and rewarding and preferably with somebody you get along with.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:54 PM   #4  
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777is right on, so is the tiredsoul.

Too much thinking: When I moved to Fort Lauderdale 19 years ago from Dallas, needed to find a new dentist.
Looked for the nearest one to my house who took my insurance.
Great choice, still go there. (Learned later they are all female in the office, everybody. Love it. No planning or screening)

As for your CFI: Pick one, meet him or her, do a flight. If the chemistry is good, keep going. If not, you still learned something and can log the flight time.
To learn a be a good pilot is up to YOU, not the airplane or the instructor.
He or she can help you, but your motivation and aptitude is much more important than the CFI next to you.
Yes, a bad one can screw you, but in general we are ok and love to fly.
(Ex CFI-II-MEI, 10-12 renewals)
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:14 PM   #5  
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Mesa shut down MAPD years ago, and they no longer operate any 1900s (all jets now).
Well, at least they kept one promise which was to eventually convert all routes to jet. Back when I was looking at them, I got something in the mail that announced the acquisition of the second CRJ. I wonder how many CRJs and ERJs they have in the fleet now.


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If you can take the time off, you could do GA training to CPL ASEL, fly for fun to 1500, and then go work for a regional, flying until you feel comfortable in the jet (500-800 hours?). They you'd be good to go in a VLJ.
You are reading my mail. I've actually ruled that path out after further investigation. You allude to it - the Time involved. I too, think it would be a very sound way to actually take a step down to the Phenom 300. If you've been flying an ERJ or CRJ, or even the E-175 then certainly that's a step down when you get to the CJ4, P300 or PC-24. But, getting to the right or left seat of something like through a corporation would seem to take an eternity, given the schedule I'd like to keep.

I'm giving myself about two (2) full years from start to finish to get this done. For three reasons:

1) Hoping for Embraer to continue upgrading the Phenom 300E. I've got the feeling that the "E" designation is the first in a series of Phenom 300 transformations to a faster and longer range Phenom. That will take time.

2) I've been hoping for a long time for Cessna to redesign the CJ4. They've made incremental improvements over the years and it is a better CJ4 then originally. But, the competition really does demand something even more improved. That will take time.

3) The order book on the PC-24 is still closed and will be until Pilatus flushes its initial orders through production and finalize a more forward looking production line/facility. That's going to take at lest a year minimum. Right now, that VLJ in terms of overall performance is the new kid and the biggest, fastest kid on the block with the longest legs.

There would be a number #4 here, but I doubt it will ever happen. That would be Embraer receiving enough interest to do a Large VLJ variant of their Legacy 450 - which personally I felt should have been single pilot certified from the start. It has all of the flight envelope protection technology imaginable - which is one of the things that makes it a great single pilot platform, IMO. It is classified as "Mid-Size" but its a tiny mid-size on par with the Hawker 850XP. Though slightly larger, on paper the performance is very similar. I've always thought the 850XP should/could have been single pilot certified as well.

This is where the PC-24 really shines, IMO. Bigger, stronger airframe, faster, over 2,000nm range and with its own set of flight envelope protection features. If they can get through the order book, start taking orders again and deliver in a reasonable amount of time, this would be my first choice hands down. The problem for me right now, is their current order book and current production capabilities. Whether they will ramp up or not remains to be seen.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:54 PM   #6  
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Private Pilot is not rocket science nor is it brain surgery.
I think you missed the other thread. They are both connected in actuality. A mere pilots license is the least of my concerns:

Private
Instrument
Commercial
Multi-Engine
3-4 thousand hours of time building in preparation for a VLJ
VLJ Type Rating (owner/operator/pilot)
A two (2) year Training and Time Building Program

I have to build that program because none exists for that purpose. So, in constructing it, I don't have a choice but to over think things at this phase. Once I have full plan and execute on it, then I'm on track and can just go with the flow at that point.

Unless I can walk into a bookstore and read about such a program from someone having already done it, then I've got to piece it together bit by bit until I have a coherent whole. That's why I'm asking these questions.



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Part 141 requires stage checks with a designated instructor, usually the Chief.
Love the stage check idea. Sounds like a good way to level up.


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For one it puts you in a testing environment and get you used to performing while you’re being graded and even more importantly it’s a check on how well your instructor has taught you.
Sounds good. How honest are those Stage Checks? What I mean is that if the Part 141 has incentive to move students through, how much of the training is focused on retention of knowledge having just been transferred for the purpose of passing a Stage Check? In other words, I remember people who used to cram for Physics. They'd pass the test - but I would not trust them to gear near a particle accelerator in actual implementation. Short term Learning and long term Retention can sometimes turn out to be two different things.


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I recommend against self employed instructors who’ve developed their “own system” or who’ve retired from the airlines. Very little of that transfers into teaching little airplanes.
Very interesting point. How much of their background would transfer to Very Light Jets and what I'd need to be able to do in order to be proficient at that level? How much of what I learned at the Private, Instrument, Commercial and Multi-Engine level would transfer to into a VLJ? I constantly hear jet pilots talk about staying ahead of the aircraft. Would a non-former jet pilot flight instructor know more about staying ahead of the aircraft than a former jet pilot flight instructor and who would do a better job of helping remain ahead of the aircraft at all times?

I'm trying to mitigate risk in my training because what I learn in training, I will take with me into time building. I'm trying to flush out as much error up front as possible.


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I’ve been a Chief FI, asst Chief and Check Pilot 141 and now fly for an Airline. Private pilot training should be fun and enjoyable and exciting and rewarding and preferably with somebody you get along with.
Much appreciated. You seem to have a lot of experience. So, I respect your opinion. Honestly, I can't think of anything more fun than flying. The whole reason behind a VLJ for me is to compress time and extend my reach around the world in which I need to travel. Netjets, Flight Options, etc., they all do the same thing. But, I don't get to enjoy flying the aircraft with them. I would with my own. In addition, we (my family) want to engage in a lot more travel than what TSA will allow us to remain sane doing. I just can't tolerate TSA anymore.

I get flight delays - that is going to happen no matter who you fly with. Sitting around and waiting to hear back from Departure Control or whomever for that clearance is going to happen. Burning fuel on the ground, or flat out asking for a return to the ramp to shut down until clearance is ready could happen, too. Ridiculous fees just for breathing airport air (landing, ramp, etc., etc.). Inflated Jet-A prices (Hello Signature Aviation. Hello Atlantic Aviation.) I'm ready for all that and more because it will be worth the added freedom.

All that stuff I'm prepared to deal with. What I want to try to reduce is Training Risk, because that will definitely spill over into Time Building and that's not where I want to compound risk because I made some really poor Instructor choices not thinking things through.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:57 AM   #7  
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I have read your other thread.
The main problem you’ll encounter is the processing speed of your brain.
Most people when they walk in the door have a processing speed of 65-70mph. Not joking......it’s the speed limit.
They can process information and make decisions relatively well as they themselves are moving at that speed and so is other traffic.
Why do people start driving slower as they get older? Their processing speed slows down and they can’t deal with situations and information that quickly anymore.
Below 10,000 everybody flies the same maximum mandated speed which is 250kts aka about 300mph.
You can’t really put a 2 year time frame on your plan if your brain is not ready for that speed yet.
Initially in a light single you’ll work at 120kts which is the cruise speed of pretty much anything with 160-180hp.
Cirrus it’s up to 180kts, same as light twins.
A single engine turbine will get you in the same speed range as a VLJ below 10,000.
Unless you’ve had a heart attack nobody dies in cruise flight.
Most trouble is in the first 18,000 and the last 18,000 feet of your flight and things go into critical stage below 10,000.
This is the Terminal Area and I mean that just as ominous as it sounds as this is where people make mistakes that will kill them. Departure procedures, arrival procedures, instrument approaches, terrain clearance, situational awareness and a big killer...weather.
Enroute in cruise you can avoid weather but you can’t in the Departure or Arrival phase, you’ll have to deal with it. All while you’re moving at 250kts/300mph.
This is the biggest problem with ( with all respect) non-professional pilots moving up into professional airplanes too quickly. Their processing speed is not commensurate with the equipment they’re flying .
The flightschool i was working at had at some point in time plans to put a Diamond Jet single engine VLJ on the line and we were planning/discussing stages of training programs to get somebody from walk-in to owner.
Then 2008 hit and the bottom fell out of the VLJ market.
You seem to have one problem less then most people, you have the funds.
But money can’t buy you two things: common sense and experience.
You can’t buy experience you’ll have to earn it.
My recommendation is to train in “glass cockpit” from Day 1. Do your Instrument rating right after your PPL under Part 141 in the same airplane type you did your Private in.
Do a significant portion of your instrument training at night. Then take a couple months off from training and go timebuild flying under IFR rules.
Be extremely cautious with flying IMC.
That’s no place to be for somebody with no experience.
Build that up very slowly. Overcast day at 7000’? File at 8000’ ( with no icing).
As your experience increases overcast at 6000’? Fly at 7000’ and so on.
Don’t joke around with IMC. It kills everyday.
I’ll get off my soap box.
What I stated about PPL still applies though, it’s the fun stage of flight training and should be approached as such. Doesn’t meant the training isn’t taken seriously.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:15 AM   #8  
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I have read your other thread.
- Speed Range in general (I'll bring a slower expectation at first)
- Speed Range under 10,000 in the Terminal Area (focus, focus, focus)
- Learn how to stay ahead of the aircraft (any aircraft)
- Progressively increase IMC experience with time (don't rush it)
- Do Private and Instrument in-series with no gap
- Combine night flying with instrument training (looking forward to this)
- Take a break from training between Instrument and Commercial
- Build IFR Time during break from training (increasing IMC experience)

Got it.

First, I don't see you placing much emphasis on getting me to the Fast Twin stage like some of the other members here. Is there something going on in your experience that causes you to not care so much about the Twin, yet?

Second, you placed no emphasis at all on first learning to fly Conventional Instruments and learning how to work the numbers manually in-flight as a practical matter. Does this mean that in today's GA, having grass roots (hard core) conventional instrument skill and knowledge is no longer necessary (so-called steam gauges)? What happens when/if the Glass fails?

Don't mind the soapbox. I need it.

Thank you for the input!
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:29 AM   #9  
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Yes, a bad one can screw you, but in general we are ok and love to fly.
Csy Mon, thanks! Just trying to avoid the one that will screw you. Or, at least mitigate my exposure to as few of them as humanly possible along the way. There are no guarantees in life, but I can at least try to get it right the first time.

Let me try to give one (1) relevant example of why I made this thread. Let's say that we both agree to start flight training on Monday morning next week.

Let's assume we've already done the first ground lesson. Question: What's going to be my very first in-flight training lesson from you? What concept during that very first flight do you want to convey to me as your student? What's the very first thing you want me to know, do and experience in the cockpit?

Thanks.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:35 AM   #10  
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Csy Mon, thanks! Just trying to avoid the one that will screw you. Or, at least mitigate my exposure to as few of them as humanly possible along the way. There are no guarantees in life, but I can at least try to get it right the first time.

Let me try to give one (1) relevant example of why I made this thread. Let's say that we both agree to start flight training on Monday morning next week.

Let's assume we've already done the first ground lesson. Question: What's going to be my very first in-flight training lesson from you? What concept during that very first flight do you want to convey to me as your student? What's the very first thing you want me to know, do and experience in the cockpit?

Thanks.
Probably OK to get into the weeds while interviewing a CFI. But if you get too analytical on a regular basis, the CFI will find it annoying, and it will likely interfere with the relationship and your training.

You don't want to be the student the CFI complains about after he belly's up to the bar at the end of the day and orders a triple.

If you pick an experienced CFI carefully, he'll have the right road-map in mind (and should share that with you). He'll also have an intuitive knack for making adjustments as needed.
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