Flight instruction
14 min read

Part one: dealing with the Feds

8/14/1953 – Piper PA-12, N3389M, 1:00, Recommended for Flight Instructor Rating – Albert Meyer, CAA 2-12

That was when it all started. I last renewed my CFI in 2016 and will let it lapse today (2/28/2018). There is no log entry for that because there was no flight. I’ll tell you why I let it lapse in a bit. For now, I’ll just say that it has to do with the FAA at its petty and officious best.

Private aviation was in turmoil in 1953. So was the CAA, which later became the FAA. The World War Two GI Bill flight training benefit had been a boon for our industry. About 35,000 airplanes were cranked out in 1947 to support that activity. The flight school business went crazy and the CAA had to develop a means to test and license all those pilots.

Then it all ended. There was a Korean War GI Bill but there were far fewer veterans to take advantage of it and the benefits were not as liberal. Most all the infrastructure that had been developed was suddenly surplus, as was the CAA’s oversight of all that activity.

What did this have to do with a 19-year old guy getting a flight instructor rating? A lot, but first I’ll tell you that it was a rating at that time, added on to my existing commercial certificate, and it granted instructor privileges in whatever was there, airplane single and multiengine land in my case on that date.

Our relationship with the CAA was far different then than it is now with the FAA. The team from the district office would actually visit our FBO on a periodic basis in the form of at least one operations and one maintenance inspector. They were actually there to help, too.

The Feds knew that small FBOs were struggling to stay in business and that some of the rules were being bent pretty far in the name of economy. For example, we had no mechanic on the field and did most of the maintenance on our airplanes. It did not take a rocket scientist to keep Cubs and Aeroncas and Cessna 140s flying. The CAA man wanted to make sure we did have an A&E (later to become an A&P) on call to look at and sign off the big stuff.


Could those black letters really cause damage to the fabric?

Our CAA maintenance man’s name was Quay Lyle and one thing he always did was check the strength of the fabric covering on our airplanes. At the time, the N-numbers were big on the top of the right wing and the bottom of the left wing and small on the tail. The numbers were usually black. Black intensifies heat and while our airplanes were hangared at night, they were on the ramp, in the sun, for most of the day and all that bright light would work on the fabric that was beneath the black numbers.

I can still see Quay, who was not tall, up on a ladder that was placed behind the wing, making a fist with his right hand and with the knuckle of the middle finger extended, delivering a sharp rap to one of the N-numbers. What usually happened next was an order for pre-sewn wing covers of Grade A fabric and a lot of butyrate dope. He would let us patch the spot and keep flying the airplane after extracting a promise that the fabric would be replaced as soon as possible. He knew that we could cover the wings ourselves and that was okay with him.

For the flying part, the CAA had developed a large network of designated pilot examiners to give check rides but most were no longer necessary. The CAA inspectors wanted to give a lot of the check rides. They never said it out loud but they needed to do that to justify their government jobs. They would usually conduct check rides on their routine visits and while designated examiners were still used for some check rides, all instructor rides were by a full-time CAA inspector.

So I flew with Albert Meyer, CAA 2-12 who was the main man at the district office. I never knew anything about his background but his age suggested that he likely worked as a civilian in one of the many military flight training programs during World War Two. He had quite a reputation as a stickler but also for being fair. He rolled his own cigarettes, too.

The oral and flight test had exactly nothing to do with instructing. The written test had covered something like the fundamentals of instruction but the flying was to be about how well I could fly. The oral was a briefing on what we would be doing.

I had tried to get Al to let me take the flight test about six months earlier, but he said I was too young and inexperienced and that I needed to fly and prepare some more. That was apparently his way of saying that he would give me the flight test and that I would fail. So I waited until he was ready.

152 in a spin

Earning a CFI in the 1950s required the ability to recover from a spin – but not necessarily the ability to teach.

That was one intense hour of precision flying, if such was possible in a PA-12, and the things that I remember most clearly are the precision, two-turn spins from straight ahead as well as over the top of a turn and out of the bottom of a turn, plus the precision power-off spot landings.

I had practiced all this long and hard and that apparently paid off. Al didn’t make a speech about what came next or what I would have to do to become a journeyman flight instructor. Instead, he said it was a good ride and that I could now sign off the dual that he knew I had been giving for quite a while.

Nothing really qualified me as a teacher and I think that rating was something that allowed me to lead students through basic maneuvers and determine that they were competent at performing those maneuvers. The two climaxes were the first solo and the private pilot check ride. Compared with today, both were as simple as the airplanes we were flying.

I had yet to become anal about keeping records, and none were required at the time, so I can’t tell you who my first-timers were. I do remember agonizing over deciding that the first solo was indeed ready to fly by himself.

Connecting that beginning with the present day, as far as the Feds have been concerned, is a trip through an ever-changing and expanding bureaucracy.

My instructor rating, as first issued, had no expiration date. The by-then FAA decided that there were too many valid instructor ratings held by inactive pilots who could again instruct if it struck their nature, and that something had to be done. This was born the certified flight instructor certificate that expired two years after issuance.

To blunt resistance to change, the FAA was always good at grandfathering everything. Thus my first CFI certificate was good for airplane single and multiengine and instrument-airplane. Can you find a loophole in that?

I’ll digress and share that loophole with you through an anecdote.

I talked a friend and FBO into buying a Lake Amphibian because I liked airplanes and boats and it is an excellent combination of the two.

Lake amphibious

The rating said “airplane single engine,” so seaplane instruction is OK?

He called me to come go flying when the Lake came in. I had flown the airplanes for pilot reports so it was familiar but I had never gotten a seaplane rating. We flew the new Lake for a while and, being a designated examiner, he bestowed a seaplane rating on me.

The next day he called and asked me to come out and give some dual in the Lake. I asked if that would be legal and he said certainly, my CFI covered airplane single and multiengine and said nothing about land or sea. So I could now instruct in single and multiengine seaplanes as well as landplanes. My CFI reads the same way to this very day. Did those spot landings and precision spins I did in 1963 qualify me to later instruct in seaplanes?

I couldn’t find a date for the conversion from instructor rating to certificate but in the beginning most of us renewed with a flight check. My first that I could find a log entry for came on 01/19/1964 with an FAA inspector. My next one was in 1966 with the same inspector and after that ride he added single engine to my ATP certificate.

While that was going on, one of the really good guys at the FAA, Pete Campbell, was working on flight instructor refresher courses that would do the renewal deed in a classroom. It was at Pete’s urging that I teamed with Dan Todd, later to become chairman of the NTSB, Dave Ellis of Princeton University and John Doster of the FAA to conduct the first flight instructor revalidation course. Princeton University let us use a hall at The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and it was a grand place to meet. I doubt if any future CFI renewals were done in such elegance.

The FAA closely monitored our course and at the completion they issued new CFIs to all who participated. Then they said yes but and it was a big but. Our 16-hour course was not long enough and the content was short on FAA dogma. They would approve all content of future courses and the courses would last for 24 classroom hours.

I taught at some of those subsequent refreshers and while some of the participants liked them, it always seemed to me that the objective was attendance for a certain number of hours during which we made every effort to turn minds into mush and butts into stone.

Then came the online refresher courses which are probably used by the majority of folks today. I took my last renewal flight check on 02/08/1990 and used online courses after that. For the record, the last real use of my CFI came in 1998 when I trained Mike Rosing of Sporty’s for his instrument-airplane instructor certificate. He took and passed the check ride on November 13th of that year, flying with a designated pilot examiner.

So, my CFI has been lying fallow for about 20 years.

I bought a course to renew in 2018 but did not finish. The course I had been using had no time requirement but the FAA caught on to that and this year you had to spend at least 45 minutes going through each outline before the computer would let you continue. The test at the end of the outlines should ensure that you know what you need to know but the FAA seems to care more about how much time you spend with the course than what you get out of it. That’s what I meant about the FAA being at its petty and officious best on this matter.

Online FIRC

This is how most CFIs renew their certificate these days.

I did finish the first section of the course because it addressed the technically advanced airplanes that have been around for a long time now. I was particularly interested in this because these airplanes have autopilots and over the years I, and many others, have found that autopilots are the most misunderstood gadgets in airplanes. A lot of words have been written on this subject but a lot of folks are still in the dark.

My CFI is still valid as this is being prepared so I’ll say I am going to use it to give a little dual to the FIRC writers and to the FAA folks who approve the courses.

The specific area of common misunderstanding is about the interaction between the autopilot and the electric trim system as well as malfunctions of the electric trim system.

The statement in the FIRC that I took issue with said that, as a last resort, pilots can use the yoke (archaic, for control wheel) to overpower the autopilot and trim system.

That is terrible advice that can actually be hazardous to your health.

The servos in an autopilot are not particularly strong. This is no problem in roll and if an autopilot malfunctions in roll it is relatively easy to overpower. Pitch, where required forces vary widely as balance and configuration change during a flight, is a different matter. Here the autopilot uses the electric trim to keep pitch forces well within what can be handled by the autopilot.

If the autopilot is on and the pilot tries to overpower what it is doing in pitch, bad things can happen. An example might be during a descent to an assigned altitude with the autopilot flying and set to capture the altitude.

If a pilot feels the autopilot is not leveling at the desired altitude, some might try to help it level off by putting back pressure on the control wheel with the pitch function of the autopilot engaged. Guess what? The autopilot will read this force as an out of trim condition and trim against it. If you are pulling back on the wheel, the autopilot will run the electric trim in a nose down direction. If you keep pulling it will keep trimming until it reaches full nose-down trim, which might well be a condition you can’t control. At the very least, it is a substantial distraction.

That happens and I have read transcripts of communications during loss-of-control events that clearly illustrate this. The real pilot was fighting the autopilot and had become totally confused.

An autopilot manufacturer once told me that the main thing to stress is that only one pilot can fly the airplane at a time. If you don’t like what an autopilot is doing, disengage it. The flight manual tells all the ways this can be done. Some of the newer autopilots have a wings level mode that does what it says. If the alligators are getting deep, that mode can disable all autopilot functions but that one and put the airplane in a safe bank attitude while you sort things out.

The biggest FAA/FIRC mistake is telling the pilot that the control wheel can be used to manage things if there is an electric trim malfunction, commonly called runaway trim.

Cessna 172 trim wheel

When in doubt, watch the trim wheel move.

The elevator control is attached to the elevator and has exactly nothing to do with the trim which is usually controlled electrically or with a trim wheel. As mentioned, full trim in either direction drives the elevator to the point where pitch forces might become unmanageable. The trim wheel is connected to the trim system and moves when the system is trimming. The only way to manually overpower the trim system is to grab and stop the motion of the trim wheel itself.

The best way to handle a runaway trim is to take power away from the system. The most common way to do this is to pull the electric trim circuit breaker. Real pilots can reach and pull that breaker without looking at it. After the electric trim is out of the loop, the pilot can manually put the airplane back in trim.

One other item of confusion came up in my discussions of this. A FIRC person said the autopilot disconnect switch on the wheel can be used to disconnect power to the trim. That is only partly true. Most all of these switches are labeled autopilot disconnect/trim interrupt. That means that while it will turn the autopilot off it will only interrupt the trim for as long as the switch is depressed. Release it and a runaway trim will continue.

When it comes to technically advanced airplanes the CFI’s role becomes ever more important and challenging and that autopilot business is just a small slice of it.

I remember that first student I soloed. The only question I had to answer was about his ability to take off, fly a pattern and land safely. In retrospect, that was dirt simple.

There is infinitely more to telling a new Cirrus owner that he is ready to use all that electronic finery on IFR flights in instrument meteorological conditions. It usually took eight hours to solo a good student in a Cub. I couldn’t even start to estimate how many hours it would take to ensure that a pilot of a technically advanced airplane knows all there is to know about blowing all the whistles and ringing all the bells. In some cases, though, it is probably safe to say that it takes a lot more good instruction than folks are currently getting.

To me, that pretty well defines the job of a CFI-I in 2018 as compared with a 19-year old instructor in 1953. Do be careful out there.

Richard Collins
29 replies
    • David Green
      David Green says:

      “And God created the Organisation and gave it dominion over man.”
      Genesis 1, 30A, Subparagraph VIII

      The FAA is an organisation staffed by people whose (human) nature imbues them with a desire to stay employed, no matter what, so that they and their families can benefit from the various – benefits – culminating in the pension at the end of it all, oh and with the occasional promotion thrown in.

      But the key is to stay employed which means perpetuating the existence of their employer – the FAA. How to ensure that happens? Why by continually justifying its existence, of course. How to do that? By continuously dreaming up new iterations of the stuff that prolongs its raison d’être – regulations. Perhaps President Trump’s plan to privatize the FAA is a solution – but then the new org’s priority 1 will be growing profits – and how will they do that?

      Anarchy, that’s the answer. But whoa, that means un-bridled swarms of unmanned passenger carrying drones whizzing around between office buildings. But then again, viewing the aerial chaos through their moon roofs will be a welcome stress reliever for the white-knuckled passengers in those driver-less taxis screeching around the city streets.

      Learning to fly on a NORDO DH82a Tiger Moth, equipped with a mere handful of “steam” gauges, communications was via those signals squares on the ground and the Aldis lamp and Very Pistol flares from the tower, and charts were simply ordnance survey maps. Pure fun.

  1. Harold Bearden
    Harold Bearden says:

    Great article by Richard. I would love to fly with him someday. I am sure I could learn a lot.

  2. Charles McDougal
    Charles McDougal says:

    Thanks Richard. Things have certainly changed. Even in my relatively short two and a half decades of flying and teaching, I have seen frustrating shifts in emphasis and basic understanding of aircraft control concepts. I hope to be reading your excellent writing for a long time.

  3. Richard Wyeroski
    Richard Wyeroski says:


    I have been an instructor since 1973. It seems everything you said is true and instructing is getting very difficult. Basic flight (J-3 Cub) has not changed but when a student buys a 182 or a Cirrus, then it all changes. It takes many more hours for that student to be safe. The regs of course still say 40 hours is all that is needed! Throw in GPS and auto pilots and the I-pad and things really get interesting.

    The FAA has not been there to help for years and the new “Risk Management” approach is a little confusing. So, where do we go from here? your guess is as good as mine.

    I give instruction in all kinds of aircraft and I will say a Flight Review in a Cessna 150 is a little different then one in a Cirrus…….

  4. Mort Mason
    Mort Mason says:

    It is interesting to note that the Fish & Wildlife Protection arm of the Alaska Sate Troopers encouraged the Alaska Legislation to reinstate the bold block letters on GA airplanes in order to make aircraft registration easier in the bush. The thought was that it would curtail the unlawful taking of big game animals (e.g. same day flying and shooting). These numbers were then required along both sides of the aircraft fuselage.

  5. Fred Watts
    Fred Watts says:

    Richard, I have been a CFI since Apr 1963 and I agree with your comments. The fun days are long gone. I recall being asked to ferry a PA-12 from Laramie to a rancher’s barn. It was one of those extremely cold days when trucks were passing me on I-25. I ferried the airplane to a field near the guy’s barn and left it with him. I later found out he taught himself to fly and patrolled his 40,00 plus acres with that PA-12. That was the spirit of aviation then, not so now. After 23 years of military aviation, I used my CFI mainly to give check rides to my buddies at Edwards AFB. I would not be confident or able to instruct in todays aviation world. Welcome to the world of non practicing CFIs.

  6. Jerry Collier
    Jerry Collier says:

    Thank you for your insightful article, I am a proud Buckeye graduated from High School in 1954 and that summer took my first flight at Akron Canton (CAK) the summer before going to Ohio University. I did not start flight training until late1959 and completed my flight training at Lane Aviation at Port Columbus CAK. I had to wait until I was age 21 because my parents would never sign off on their son, a minor, becoming a pilot. I also had to support my flight training by obtaining a very good position in the television broadcast field. Even my boss at WBNS-TV chief engineer Harold Nafkzer thought I would kill myself flying in small airplanes. I broke off a long relationship because of my desire to fly. Well with all those obstacles I became a licensed Private Pilot and my practical flight was also given by a CAA examiner at no cost to the pilot applicant. My biennial expired yesterday February 28, 2018. I also lost my airplane, a Turbo Arrow III owned and piloted for 30 years November 26, 2017 when a partner made a successful off airport landing on interstate 15 just South of the Nevada state line at night. I owned that airplane in partnership for 30 years and have many fine memories traveling all over the continental US and to many local CA airports for $100 hamburgers. At the time I received the call about the accident I said this is the end of my flying career as I am now 80. I am not allowing my age or loss of an airplane detour my flying. I have passed a third class medical given by a long time AME physician in November 2018, I am planning to renew my biennial and looking forward to be back in the air once again. One more challenge in my flying career is finding a good replacement airplane to operate in a 4 pilot partnership at a affordable cost. I make it a necessary requirement that I fly with another qualified pilot preferably with a partner in the airplane ownership, of which my son will be one of the partners and looking forward to the near future when my grandson becomes a pilot; 3 generation of pilots.

  7. Jeff Dennerline
    Jeff Dennerline says:

    Please don’t let your CFI lapse! I’ve got an old Studebaker I’ll swap for a couple hours of dual.

    • Richard Collins
      Richard Collins says:

      The CFI has lapsed but I did have a soft spot for Studebakers. I owned Champions and Commanders and always lusted over Land Cruisers.

  8. Lawrence Reed
    Lawrence Reed says:

    Richard – As always, you explain expertly the difference of hand flying versus “system integration” which encompases all the black boxes we think we fully understand. I, for one, would be a concerned CFI in releasing a student into the clouds – as it’s difficult to ascertain that he/she understands all the interactions that may occur. True, situational awareness has vastly increased in recent years – but at a cost of merging disparate makes of electronics in the cockpit. Please keep up the fantastic knowledge “sharing” that you do so well – as they say we are all ongoing “students’ no matter the level of flight hours.

  9. James Frankenfield
    James Frankenfield says:

    Jim Frankenfield

    Richard,…..I, along with a few other CFIs from The Bethlehem-Easton Airport, availed ourselves of your first refresher-seminar at Princeton, N.J. I do remember Pete Campbell, Dan Todd, and I flew with John Doster (I was one of his DPEs, 1961 thru 71) on a couple of rides when he came on board as Chief, ABE GADO (later FSDO).

    Great memories for this 86 year-old (but not so bold) former CFI Aircraft, Instruments and Multi-Engine. Best wishes, Jim

  10. William Sutherland
    William Sutherland says:

    Mr. Collins or maybe it should Sir Collins: You are still among the VERY best of all the aviation scribes/educators to put words to paper. Your tenure at FLYING included probably half of the rest of the very best. This latest article just reminded why I have always searched for your articles and paid close attention to the real world education these words give. When other pilot/writers describe flying with you, they are proud that they have flown with one of best (most demanding of precision flying skills) general aviation pilots alive and did not get yelled at tooo much. Thank You for your contributions to aviation and aviation safety education. Bill

  11. Jerry Plante
    Jerry Plante says:

    Whenever I instruct a pilot on an autopilot for the first time, I always have them do a ground check of at least the heading function and the disconnect. I have them identify the 4,5 or 6 ways of disconnecting an autopilot, and remind them that the most commonly uttered phrase among new autopilot users is “What’s it doing now?”.

    Good column Capt. Collins. Keep writing. I learned a ton about weather flying from you and am trying to passed that on to another generation of pilots.

  12. Mort Mason
    Mort Mason says:

    In late 1961, I had a flight to make from Anchorage, Alaska, to the city of Kenai, Alaska, a flight of only 38-air miles. I decided to use the autopilot in the Piper Commanche 250 for this trip. Only a few minutes into the flight, then level at 2,000 feet, I activated the autopilot. Only a few seconds the artificial horizon, to which the autopilot was coupled, tumbled and I found myself in a serious dive toward the unfriendly waters of Turnagain Arm. I closed the autopilot and, for the next 21,000+ flying hours, have never again used an autopilot. And this with lots of IFR flights from Alaska to Florida, the Bahama Islands, Central America, and other interesting places. Guess I’ve just enjoy hand-flying, even on the long IFR legs.

  13. Tom Hankamp
    Tom Hankamp says:

    If the FAA were regulating automobiles, 1/2 population would still be in horse an
    buggies l.

  14. Jim Griffith
    Jim Griffith says:

    Like Richard our authorities did not think I had enough flying time to do the job…and here are my comments on instructional technique

    By now everyone knew who the check pilots would be. Only one was known as a bully and Earl and me got him. On our last training flight before our Department of Transport Inspector’s certification ride it was my turn to do circuits. I didn’t seem to know where the sky finished and the ground began. Finally, Captain Bully said this is your last landing if you don’t get it right you are finished. Talk about pressure. At the last minute on final a heavy shower moved over the field. It was raining so hard even with the wipers on full, everything was a blur. I closed my eyes, checked back and didn’t even feel the wheels touch the runway. Sometimes a little hydroplaning can come in handy.

    North Star

    Instructional technique

    Captain Bully turned out to be my new best friend on the final ride. The DOT inspector didn’t want to give me a class one ticket even though I had done a class one job. He thought I didn’t have enough flying time. A screaming match broke out between him and Captain Bully. There was so much shouting me and Earl got off the airplane. Captain Bully won. He wasn’t a bully after all. He knew intuitively that some learners just need an allegorical kick in the keister, administered at just the right moment, to be inspirational in fostering critical thinking. Back then no one worried about crushed egos. There was no room for fractured feelings in the pilot business…we just sucked it up and got on with it. Suddenly I was not just a pilot but an airline pilot; It said so on my license committing me to all the professional gravitas that it entails.

  15. Paul Noonan
    Paul Noonan says:

    Jerry Collier, God bless you, but what the heck does any of that have to do with Dick’s outstanding article???

  16. Nikojorj
    Nikojorj says:

    About trim and autopilots, the only autopilots I’ve seen in French ultralights just kindly ask you to re-trim the plane when they need it.
    Would not that be a much safer standard than to trim the plane (almost) in your back?

  17. Brock Lillico
    Brock Lillico says:

    Excellent description of the auto-pilot and runaway trim! I had runaway trim at night, and it’s no fun. I will remember “only one pilot can fly the airplane at a time”, thanks for this, Brock

  18. John M. Konieczny
    John M. Konieczny says:

    Thank you Mr. Richard Collins. I have read your articles and columns for decades. I have read, looked at, and dreamed from Flying since 1956. I was 6 years old. Now 20 going on 68. Please do not quit. You have a vast amount of knowledge, experience and your advice, council, insight and instructions is invaluable. You are one of the very best and they are getting fewer every year. I enjoy and seek your skill and experience in your writings. In 62 years of loving airplanes and flying I have found one true statement in aviation. ‘I Ran Out Of Money.’ Forever it all seems patched together and backwards. I see the need for a ‘bang’em down’ safety trainer. Then ‘For the rest of us,’ some kind of Boneyard National Park, where pilots and people can work on, improve and fly their airplanes. I can go on for a books worth. But you know all this. Again. Thank you so very much for the years of good information and articles. Please do not quit. Have lunch with Martha Lunken and keep on writing.


    QUOTE –

    “Learning to fly on a NORDO DH82a Tiger Moth, equipped with a mere handful of “steam” gauges, communications was via those signals squares on the ground and the Aldis lamp and Very Pistol flares from the tower, and charts were simply ordnance survey maps. Pure fun.”

    What does NORDO mean? Is it a licence built or post production Tiger Moth?

  20. Bill Smith
    Bill Smith says:

    Richard Collins has written more common since to help pilots than any one I know. I wish you would help with getting insurance companies to thinking that getting older may not necessarily make you more dangerous. This year insurance wanted $8400 to insure my planes if I keep my third class medical, if I went to basic med they wanted $22,000 For insurance on the same planes. This is not right. I understand there is 67% less accidents by pilots on special issuance medical than on regular medical. Is there stats that pilots over 75 or older are more dangerous?

    • Richard Collins
      Richard Collins says:

      There are probably stats to prove anything that you want to prove. Unfortunately, the insurance folks use the ones that suit them best.I do think it would be difficult to find anything that suggests pilots over 75 are better.

  21. Manny Puerta
    Manny Puerta says:

    Another great article. The older I get, the more I appreciate your experienced writing. Please don’t stop.

    This year I have held a CFI ticket for 50 years. In taking the last online FIRC I was tempted to make it my last for many of the same reasons you expressed. It expires this September, but I’ll probably tough out the next FIRC, because I feel I can still contribute to the cause.

    Autopilots? For 20 years I flew airplanes with three autopilots. I only did an autoland once…at the request of the company. These days, no autopilot and no electric trim in the 185. My buddy has a fancy, whistles and bells TR182. One of the first things I looked for was the means to disable the electric trim. Found the switch! Life is good.

  22. Chuck Cali
    Chuck Cali says:


    You made me feel young. Indeed many of the reply’s here are from instructors from another era. That pioneering time in GA after the greatest generation fought a war from inside the sky.

    I was born one year after you got your rating. By my calculations that makes me 64. The great thing about being a post war kid was the romance of flying was still alive and exciting. Moreover, I had the good fortune to come from 20th century piloting and into 21st century aviation. As an instructor no less.

    I am a lucky guy. I work for Cirrus. I fly general aviation’s only true 21st century certificated airplane almost every day. With a bunch of 20 somethings that keep me young. These days – while riding down a glide path to minimums – I’m confident that George will not betray me. Yet, I often feel like I’m somehow cheating on the pioneers of another time. And when that happens, I press that red button and do it the good old fashioned way. At Cirrus we take currency seriously. As a result I’m as good hand flying as I ever was, but I’ll never be as good as the GFC700.

    The ink on my nearly 30 year old instructor rating is still wet in comparison to yours. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of learning the art of flying from Langewiesche (William) whose prose is easy to read. It has been my honor to have incorporated your words into lesson plans on aeronautical decision making. William once told me, that flying at its best, was a way of thinking. He was right and could have written well on that subject but, you already were.

    If I were put upon to compare what I was taught in the 70 and 80’s with what I teach today, I’d say this, “When I was 31, I flew wary that at any moment the equipment might betray me. Today, at 64, my greatest concern is that I might betray the equipment.”

    Thank you.

  23. José Serra
    José Serra says:

    I have 70 years old and I fly for more than 40 years. I’ve been blessed to be teached by someone that has a lote of similitudes like You, Mr. Richard.
    Even so, I alleays read Your comments so I could keep the knowledge You have. Thanks for your contribution to my desire of keeping flying.

  24. BestGalen
    BestGalen says:

    I see you don’t monetize your site, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn extra cash every month. You can use the best adsense alternative for any type of website (they approve all websites), for more
    info simply search in gooogle: boorfe’s tips monetize your website

Comments are closed.