Flight instruction

It isn’t always the instructor’s fault

After reading the blog post Bad instructors by David Huprich, I thought it might be good to hear the other side of the story (from an instructor point of view) about some of my bad students over the years. Reflecting on David’s article reminded me of several interesting experiences that I have had helping students transition to new airplanes, complete flight reviews, and training primary students.

The Great Debate: pilots are just backup

The CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation recently remarked, "Five years ago we passed the point where automation was there to back up pilots... Clearly, today, the pilot is there to be the backup to the automation... This is simply a realistic assessment of the world today." It's a bold statement--do you agree? Add your comments.
On final approach

Dick’s blog: there are only good questions

Is it possible to know at all times what you’re doing when you’re flying? It is not only possible to know exactly what you are doing at all times, it is required. Put another way, right before every accident a pilot is flying without knowing everything that is going on in, with, around and about his airplane.
Flight instruction

Want to fix flight training? Have some fun.

The flight training system in this country is broken. That's what a variety of sources tell us, from a detailed AOPA study to the experts at your local hangar flying session. What’s the solution? Unfortunately, it’s both easy and difficult.
Buffalo crash

Dick’s blog: right seat upgrade?

The FAA is famous for writing proposals using illumination from burning airplane wreckage. The latest is a notice of proposed rulemaking that would increase the requirements for a pilot to serve as a first officer on U. S. passenger and cargo airlines. To say that this is probably the most sweeping change ever proposed is almost an understatement.
WASP pilots of WWII

The Great Debate: boy v. girl pilots

It is my opinion that we males have created a fraternal bond in flying that largely excludes females. If so, how do we change that so more females will feel welcome as general aviation, airline or military pilots? None of the past efforts have helped. What do you think would help? Or do you think we should work to keep this wonderful activity a boy’s club?
Charles Lindbergh

The Great Debate: are great pilots born or made?

"Boy, he sure is a great pilot." We've all heard some version of this, usually standing around the airport as someone passes judgment on a fellow aviator. But what makes a "great pilot?" Is it experience and training or just natural ability? Does it have more to do with decision-making or stick and rudder skills? Or do you simply know it when you see it?
Cessna 310

50 years ago in Air Facts: Double Trouble?

In this groundbreaking article, first published in the July 1965 edition of Air Facts, Richard Collins raised the question--heretical at the time--of whether twin engine airplanes really were any safer than singles. His cogent, well-researched argument started a debate that rages to this day.
Crashed airplane

The Great Debate: can we “make” flying safer?

The question relates to whether or not you think we should throw the loose cannons under the bus, accept the current safety record, and fly on with our remaining freedoms intact? Or, should we make changes that might rein in the loose cannons but that would likely swap a lot of freedom for the chance of a better record?
Flight instruction

Dick’s blog: teachin’ or learnin’

I have been a flight instructor since August 24, 1953. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time and the current emphasis on better instruction and training safer pilots has made me ponder many things. Let’s talk about some of them for a bit and then see what you think.
A380 cockpit

The Great Debate: autopilot addiction?

The loss of control of an Airbus A330 over the Atlantic has led to calls for more hands on (as opposed to autopilot) training for airline crews. This subject has recently gotten a lot of attention in the press. Much ado about nothing or a real problem?
Stall training

The Great Debate: stall training

This is the first in a series of questions we'll be posing to our readers. We'd like to hear your opinions on various aviation topics, so write away. Just enter your comments below--there's no need to sign up. Question: Most inadvertent stalls that result in serious accidents occur at an altitude too low for a recovery. Do you think this means that practicing stalls at altitude is a waste of time?
The Six Pack instruments

Wanted: Basic Flying Skills

The final report on the Airbus A330 Rio to Paris Air France 447 accident is not out yet but preliminary information provides a lot of food for thought. It is a safe bet that many thousands of words will be written about this. They will come from all points of view and represent a multitude of opinions. Here is mine.
The Six Pack instruments

50 years ago in Air Facts

The following article first appeared in the October, 1961 issue of Air Facts. The wisdom found in Bob’s advice is still sound 50 years later. And, yes, we really did do “canyon approaches” back in the good old days.- Ed.