Misadventures with an anonymous primary student.

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,440
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
Thank you for the kind words Eddie.

I enjoy sharing the fun; in my opinion my descriptions are somewhat colorless when compared to the experience.

Bob is actually my most promising primary student at this time and I suspect he will be an exceptional pilot.

People who have not been through the process or are going through the process of becoming a pilot need to understand that learning is seldom a straight line and there will be bumps in the road.

People who are already pilots know what I am talking about based on their own challenges.

I feel a part of what makes me a good instructor is I remember how the challenges felt.

My monocular vision and the limitations from my traumatic brain injury made my path particularly challenging and I vividly recall each bump in the road.

Just when I thought I had learned a particular skill it seemed I would find a new way to screw up.

I failed my first PPL practical test because I used an airport that was invisible from the air as a way point for my cross country.

I failed my first CFI oral because after eleven hours and forty five minutes of oral I mischaracterized an endorsement. I had been reading everything out of the book and I was encouraged to paraphrase. To be fair to the designated pilot examiner to this day I still find endorsements a challenge so I feel he was right to fail me.

A friend of mine at the FAA had given me a mock practice oral and said I was not ready. At the end he asked me what would happen if I failed and I quoted FAR 61.49; retesting after failure. He felt that was my best answer of the day.
 

HiFlite

Newbie
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
9
Location
East Lansing
Love how you approach things, Vance. One thing you likely taught Bob in this little episode is that no one in aviation walks on water. Anytime there are two people in the cockpit, there are opportunities for communication screwups. In student/GFI, junior/senior, wife/hubby, hubby/wife, etc situations, an implicit imbalance of power can make it worse. Specifically, the student is too willing to accept a nod from the instructor even when what he's seeing right in front of him isn't right. I guess I consider myself lucky to have had several "lessons" on this from evil, sneaky instructors.

Like instrument training in a high-wing Cardinal C-177RG (loved that plane!). In the seemingly 27th hour of 90 minutes of difficult approaches, he started it with "let's make this one a full ILS 35 and the last one of the day, so get it really good." Of course saying it while I'm just simulating a missed VOR approach procedure on a different runway, under the hood, of course. Aka, *the setup*. Power, pitch, climb, gear, flaps, heading, level, throttle back, prop set, turn, anticipate the back-course intercept. Aaargh! The is hard stuff, but I was behind the airplane and knew it. But you know, I'm pretty damn good with a couple hundred hour under my belt!

I was outbound from the airport still struggling with the reversed localizer needle indication. The smart thing would have been to continue out for a few minutes (they give you lots of space for the teardrop turnaround). But, of course, I got a "let's get this done, I don't want to miss dinner" from the right seat. Aka "the windup". Right 45, wait (not long enough), 180 back left for the intercept, and (of course) overshoot. Take another cut, kinda get it straight, 30 seconds later, glideslope intercept.

At this point, I'm both totally crossed up and Otto (evil instructor) is totally late for dinner. The needles are kindof still on the instrument face, so I'm gonna do this! Fuel pump, gear down, mixture rich, prop forward. And *the pitch* "Three green, a little more power, and switch to the tower frequency." I've got 90 seconds to live but don't know it yet.

Finally, it's looking better. Needles centered, airspeed nailed at 80 kts, carrying a little too much power though and the plane's feeling a little sluggish. "Cockpit check?" I glance around, yeah-yeah-it's-all-fine-don't-bother-me-now-I'm-busy. 45 seconds to live. "Three green?" Yeah-yeah-it's-all-fine-don't-bother-me-now-I'm-busy. "That's funny," he said. "Why?" I said. "I don't see a wheel," he said while looking out the side window. OH CRAP! 15 seconds to live. Pitch, power, get the heck outta here.

Three green = gear down and locked. The lights never were lit. I expected them to be lit and registered them as lit because I was behind the plane and overloaded. Worse, I ABDICATED MY COMMAND AUTHORITY. To my CFI, fate, or something else, I lost control of the flight and, had it been real life (Otto of course had pulled the gear circuit breaker when I was struggling to maintain a straight line) I would have landed, not just not gear down, but far worse gear half-way down. (On the 172/177/182/210 retracts, the gear cycles by first pulling the wheels toward the center line, then rotating up. Half-way means the wheels are hanging about 5 feet below the fuselage - land like that and there's a good chance of whacking nose-first into the concrete at a 45 degree angle when the mains stop and the plane doesn't.)

Story was far longer than intended. There are simpler ways to lose control of the aircraft. Like a first flying date with a way-out-of-my league girl some years ago. I did a chatty preflight and a very very good job of helping her secure her shoulder harnesses (yes, we are all pigs). She was all cute and giggly as I started the engine. She was less impressed when I tried to taxi with the tail still securely tied to the ground. I lost COMMAND AUTHORITY because of her cute butt. <sigh> Funny, yet I could have easily missed something else more serious.

And it's the hardest thing in the flying world to successfully teach. The goal is the successful conclusion of this next flight, even if it means not taking off in the first place.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,440
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I lovely story well told Jeff.

Thank you for sharing the fun.
 

Tyger

Active Member
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Nov 25, 2017
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743
Location
Germantown, NY
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Magni M16
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Vance;n1133372 said:
Thank you for the kind words Eddie.

I failed my first PPL practical test because I used an airport that was invisible from the air as a way point for my cross country.

How does one land at such an airport?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,440
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
You just land, it is flat and the same color as the rest of the desert. I don't know what you do once you are there. It is on the Phoenix chart as a public use airport.
 
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