Thursday, November 17, 2011

Its an all consuming course and I am all consumed......

The first couple of days of the Flight Instructors course really have gone by in a blurr.
 I have now done 4 flights and 4 days of briefings with my instructor and only really on yesterday afternoon's flight did I start to feel a glimpse of understanding about where I need to be with this course. 
There is quite a lot to take in over the first few days and also I feel like its also important for the instructor teaching us to teach to have a really good understanding of our flying skills, as a pupil will tend to copy the instructor, therefore we need to iron out any bad habits thats we have now.
To be honest with myself there are a fair few that need ironing out but I am enjoying the process of improvement and getting used to flying from the right seat. The different aspect to this course from my Commercial Pilot course is that we are spending large portions of the day in the classroom, the lectures are really quite good, I am learning each day even though we are mainly going over the Private Pilot Course and learning how to teach it.
But the days are long into the classroom for 8am today, then an hour and a half flight before lunch, then the next lesson brief all afternoon. Then home work and practice, last night I was in the classroom until 10:30 practicing on the board and trying to get a feel for my own briefings. Presenting on a white board not being my strong point, I am sure my 4 year old son would be better on it.
Having said that I am starting to get a feel for whats needed, between precise flying, precise wording and precise timing of what point you are trying to teach. I also need to learn that its possible to say something in using 5 words not giving a huge speech......
The best part is that I am still smiling though after each flight, and that's always been my yardstick of how I am doing, my instructor is like an encyclopedia of aviation, his knowledge is scary, but what I do like is his way of guiding you to get to where he wants you then getting out of you the information that you already know but aren't using as its buried in some bit of grey matter behind the kitchen sink, kind of like gentle torture, he did say yesterday that he would make a good interrogator and I tend to agree.
Its an all consuming course and I am all consumed......

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 1 of the instructor course.... not only Rick Perry has a brain freeze in the US.

Air Force One my teaching aid.
Today was a busy day here in Florida, first thing this morning was my pre-entry test for the Flight Instructor course which has started today. This involved a flight with the Instructor course manager here to show that I am up to scratch to do the course. Having only just had my Commercial Test this passed week if I had forgotten everything in less than 5 days then I really shouldn't be here.
It went ok, nothing great and a few mistakes but I am trying to re-adjust back to a very different plane once again, so whilst I was judged to be up to scratch I know I can fly better. It was only when I landed that I realised that this is the final flight for me for quite some time from the left hand seat. From now on its time to learn to not only fly from the other seat but also teach from it.... the flying has to pretty much be automatic and then on top of that demonstrate and teach the various lessons to a new PPL student.
This course is monumentally different from the CPL, this is ALL about language, communication and the delivery of it.
After the morning flight it was off to the brand spanking new classroom for us Instructor trainees and a good introduction to the course and then straight into the first of the briefings that we will have to deliver to our "pupil". Suddenly the depth of knowledge that we need to not only have but be able to communicate in an understandable manner to our brand new student who doesn't really know the back of a plane from the spinning bit at the front has dawned upon me....... The best way I can describe this at this early stage to me would be to say its like peeling an onion.
For the passed few years I have followed checklists, done my checks and carried out the manouvers as guided by my instructor at the time for over 200 hours, now we are peeling back those layers as to why we do these things which form the building blocks of the Private Pilot course and there have already been a few penny dropping Eureka moments and I am sure there are many more ahead.
After 2 hours of briefing it was time to fly once again but this time it was to be my first flight from the right seat and then the first time I was to teach anything. I manged to take off and get us to our training area and my instructor gave me the first part of the lesson so that I could see how we are meant to do this, taking 5-10 minutes initially. At this point I think it dawned upon me that Rick Perry (Rep. President Candidate) is not the only person on this side of the atlantic to suffer a brain freeze, him to forget a government department's name infront of 10 million people, me forget to be able to communicate in a normal way. I just wish I could watch a video of this flight as I am sure I started to make up completely new words as I tried to describe what I would like my student to do. Utter brain freeze at times. I am sure from the response of my instructor this was not unusual on day 1 of the course. We managed to get through it and I feel I settled after a while but its left me having 500 times more respect for each instructor I have ever had through aviation. For them to be able to sit calmly in an airplane booting through the sky at 100mph dodging clouds with a student having their life in their hands then ontop of that delivery instruction and evaluate performance. I salute you all............

London's calling..... London's calling.....

Well, where are we......? I was reminded at the weekend that I hadn't done my blog in a while, (thank you Gruff) so I have sat myself d...