A high honor for a flight instructor.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Training a new flight instructor is a great responsibility because this flight instructor will be teaching people to fly for many years. It is also a high honor. I approach training a new flight instructor as a high honor for a flight instructor.

I have flown with thirty seven flight instructors and I learned something from each of them.

They were not all good.

November of 2017 Peter was a client seeking a Sport Pilot, Gyroplane add on rating to his private pilot certificate and after he passed his proficiency check ride he built an American Ranger in Florida and flew it back to California getting his Private Pilot, Rotorcraft-Gyroplane rating in Texas along the way.

Now I am working with him to become a Flight instructor for Sport Pilot, Gyroplane.

In his confidence; Peter has already scheduled his check ride for the middle of March.

I don’t want to screw up my 100% pass rate or compromised safety so I am very cautious.

Peter has passed the knowledge tests and just needs to do his oral examination and check ride.

To be a flight instructor you need to be able to demonstrate maneuvers to practical test standards from either seat while explaining them to the client. You also need to brief the mission accurately and debrief constructively. Everything needs to be to FAA standards and phraseology.

I had Peter print up a sheet of all the maneuvers we needed to cover as our time would be limited.

Peter flew up here from Whitman 2/19 (about 110 miles to the south east) to Santa Maria. Morning fog delayed his departure so he didn’t get here till 11:00.

I explained I would be wearing three hats; A by the book examiner (either you meet the standards or you don’t), a recalcitrant student working on his Sport Pilot, Gyroplane certificate and a flight instructor trying to help Peter meet the standards. These are three distinctly different personalities.

We did our weight and balance and discovered we would only be able to carry ten gallons of gas.

After a preflight inspection we got ready to fly and we discovered that Peter’s microphone didn’t work well in the back seat. Peter has been in the USA for more than twenty years and still has a very strong Bulgarian accent and I often have trouble understanding him and the garbled microphone made it much worse. We did a radio check and ground came back with four by five also known as plenty of power but difficult to understand.

Peter normally flies his American Ranger from the front seat so he was not aware of the problem. I could hear the tower well; I just couldn’t understand Peter and Peter could hear me. The plugs were not the same as mine so we could not use my helmets.

We quickly came up with a plan B. I would be the examiner and the flight instructor trying to help him reach the practical test standards and have him teach me to fly another time.

His air work on several maneuvers was not to practical test standards in part due to his inexperience flying from the back seat and in part his instruments in the back seat were difficult to read and required real focus to interpret.

I leaned hard left and Peter could see over my shoulder and that helped.

I reminded Peter of the basics, power for altitude and pitch for speed. In the real world I use my speed to control altitude on long cross country flights but the maneuvers needed to be done to practical test standards and the easiest way to achieve that is power for altitude and pitch for speed.

On 2/20 Peter took some time to adjust the intercom and managed to make it worse. The tower could barely understand Peter and it did not help me at all and now I could not understand the tower either.

We had what Peter described as “The Flight from Hell!” and did our slow flight maneuvers with great difficulty communicating coming up to practical test standards.

On the way back he asked me to make the radio calls and I could not understand him so we worked through it annoying the tower in the process.

We finished up around 2:00 with plans for a second instructional session where he teaches me to fly.

I felt Peter needs to practice more from the back seat and he has a friend closer to Whitman that is going to help him with that.

Being able to understand him on the intercom is an important piece of the puzzle.

I feel it was twelve hours well spent and look forward to our next flight instructor lesson.

54, 55 and 56. The American Ranger that Peter built.

58. Peter flying from the back seat of his American Ranger.

63. One of my practice areas.

1. Peter taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.
 

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bugflyer

Bugflyer
Joined
Mar 4, 2014
Messages
204
Location
Lodi, CA
Aircraft
owned C-205, Titan Tornado II,1 hour in P51C, 1 hour in Magni M-16
Total Flight Time
445
So he's going to teach out of Whitman? Why do you guys all live down that-a-ways?
smiles,
Charles
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,023
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
That definitely sounds a worthy challenge Vance. I do however know that once on a mission you are a pretty determined individual. I hope that it goes well for both of you.
 

PW_Plack

Active Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
8,572
Location
West Valley City, Utah, USA
Yikes! The combination of a strong accent and a rough intercom would make instruction difficult. I hope Peter can get it sorted, because we sure need instructors entering the pipeline.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
It is my understanding that Peter already has it working Paul. I hope to fly with him soon.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
So he's going to teach out of Whitman? Why do you guys all live down that-a-ways?
smiles,
Charles
There are several instructors in northern California, Michael Burton in Petaluma is only about two hours from Lodi. 813-482-2626.
 

okikuma

Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
2,053
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
Hello Vance,

Peter's hanger is the row behind my hanger row at Whiteman Airport. Never-the-less, I seem to always miss him whenever I'm on the airfield, so I have never seen his Ranger up close. The next time you speak to Peter, give him my e-mail and tell him to contact me.

Thanks,

Wayne
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I love the American Ranger.

I am not able to detect power/pitch/yaw coupling in the American Ranger.

The rudder authority is wonderful.

The suspension handled my most intentionally inept landings.

I spent an hour with Greg S playing recalcitrant student at Wauchula flying an American Ranger in horrible flying conditions. He seldom spoke to me as I worked through my list of client errors and when he did it was to tell me to be more aggressive.

I would love to train in an American Ranger, it is just hard for me to justify the expense and The Predator does most things as well.

I have not flown an American Ranger with a 915. That may resolve my issue with power flying with two large people on board. We were limited to ten gallons of fuel.

It is hard to give up The Predator’s 160 horsepower.

The Predator has more stick shake and heavier controls.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
The American Ranger is a lot of fun with a 912 or 914.

The climb may be a little weak when I go flying with some of my larger clients and that is where the 915 would be nice.

It is nice to have enough power to let a client get into deep trouble before helping them get out.

In my opinion the lessons are learned more quickly the closer one comes to errors.

I was quite pleased when I asked Peter to go around when we were low and slow during a normal landing.

It allowed me to cross lift off at low speed and high angle of attack.

The 914 powered American Ranger touched down gently and climbed back into the air at less than 20kts under complete control.

Peter is an exceptional pilot; the American Ranger is an exceptional gyroplane or likely a combination of both.
 

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
3,660
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
3600+ .. New to gyroplanes
The AR-1 would be fun with 915... It would help in higher altitudes too.

2 x 915 AR-1's in the works at the shop and one in Texas where Tony is doing his own install. We had to modify the clocking of the turbo, make custom piping for intercooler, make new brackets for coolant radiator because gearbox on 915iS is different, use a different prop option. The intercooler in our installation is down on the keel not sticking out like a sore thumb on the left side

I did get a chance to fly an AG-915 side by side (Xenon derivative). The engine is completely centered. The tail is completely symmetrical and there are obvious consequences of this visible at high power settings that increase pilot workload. I hope to reduce the effect of the higher HP and torque in our installation.
BTW if 915iS is 140 HP. The so called Xenon and Trendak 135 HP engine is definitely no 135 HP. May be on marketing paper. I have flown a couple of hours with that engine also. May be its around 120 to 125 HP.
 
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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,570
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Another step in the journey to Sport Pilot, Gyroplane Flight Instructor.

Peter flew up with his friend Max on Friday in the hope of getting signed off for his initial Sport Pilot, Gyroplane Flight Instructor practical test. Max was flying his beautiful 915 powered Kallithea; the first I had seen in person.

Max wanted to fly further up the coast to Hurst Castle so after a short briefing he headed off on his own.

We have been working toward Peter’s instructor certificated for close to a year.

The fundamentals of instruction and the knowledge test were finished with excellent scores so we didn’t have to spend a lot of time reviewing them.

A flight instructor needs to be able to fly to practical test standards from either seat while explaining each maneuver and then talking a recalcitrant student through their errors.

Judgment needs to be developed on when to take the aircraft controls and how to fix things in a safe and instructive way.

The sight picture from the back seat in an American Ranger is very different from the sight picture in the front seat so it takes practice to learn to fly well.

An American Ranger should not be flown solo from the back seat so a trusted person needs to be in the front seat to practice.

Peter’s American Ranger has much smaller flight instruments in the back seat that add to the difficulty. Fortunately Peter is tall enough to see most of the flight instruments in the front over my shoulders.

We had rescheduled several times for rain and the date scheduled for Peter’s practical test was fast approaching. It had rained the day before and as could be expected the wind came up in the afternoon coming very close to my personal gust limit in my own trainer (The Predator).

There was enough wind (290 degrees at 16kts gusting to 24kts) that our takeoff roll was exceedingly short with the nose coming up when we were moving very slowly.

We headed out toward my practice area with the winds over the hills challenging Peter’s ability to manage altitude. He got very close to idle several times to keep from climbing and used full power at least twice to maintain altitude in an un-commanded descent.

Gyroplanes handle winds very well and we rocked and rolled along the beautiful green hills. It was a quartering gusting tail wind and we had chosen fifty five knots as our standard. I saw 90kts of ground speed several times. It would be safe to say that just reaching the practice area put Peter through his flight instructor paces.

We were still having some challenges with the adjustment of the intercom although I could hear much better than last time.

We did some clearing turns and Peter would demonstrate a maneuver and give me the controls to attempt the maneuver he had just demonstrated.

As a recalcitrant primary student I was doing turns around a point and became both low and slow. I didn’t listen to Peter’s instructions well and made it worse. Peter kept us out of trouble well.

Recognition and recovery from low airspeed and high rate of descent was interesting in the gusting wind. Peter managed it to standards.

Slow flight (thirty five knots) with left and right ninety degree turns was somewhat challenging because it is a ground reference maneuver and the winds would quickly take us off line. I was watching the ground speed on the GPS and saw less than five knots of ground speed several times.

Satisfied we headed back to the airport to do some pattern work.

I felt some trepidation as Peter was landing when a gust, ballooned us up and put us out of alignment with the runway. I was pleased with how Peter managed it with power, realigned with the runway and made a nice landing further down the runway still able to exit at Alpha Six.

Peter managed the spool down well despite the gusting winds.

After a debrief and some adjustment of the intercom we headed back out so Peter could teach me to take off and land.

We did normal landings and then started in on engine at idle accurate landings. The standard is minus nothing and plus 300 feet. On the first attempt Peter misjudged the wind and was short. I felt his recovery and explanation were appropriate for a flight instructor. Peter touched down at about plus 50 feet on the second try.

It is my job to see that Peter can handle difficult conditions without putting his client in danger so I decided to do an engine out on takeoff despite the increasing wind.

We told the tower what we were planning and it was approved as requested.

At 200 feet above the ground on our climb out Peter pulled the power and we made a very steep descent with a very aggressive flare to a completely satisfactory landing.

Max was watching from my hangar row and feared for us as he watched us hurtle toward the ground.

I was satisfied that Peter was ready to take his Sport Pilot, Gyroplane Flight Instructor Practical Test and it was time to make some log book entries.

Friday evening I kept replaying the flight in my mind and called Peter Saturday with some suggestions.

Peter is a giant step closer to becoming a Sport Pilot, Gyroplane Flight Instructor. I am proud to have been a part of that great adventure.

Flight instructing is my favorite thing to do and it is an honor to open the door for Peter to find that joy.



88. The Santa Maria Airport behind us with Peter flying us out to the practice area.

91. South along California Highway One toward the practice area.

92. Looking east from over California Highway One at 1,300 feet mean sea level.

93. The hills are green from a week of rain and the air is fresh and cool on my face.

95. North along California Highway One at 1,300 feet returning to SMX for pattern work.

96. Peter still has a good attitude after more than an hour of demanding flying.

97. Max taking pictures of us in front of his lovely Kallithea.

99. Peter after his sign off preparing for the flight back to Whiteman.
 

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