Yesterday I Gave My Instructor Ground Training


October 6, 2005

Warning.... this gets long.... so read on as far as you want. ;0)


Yesterday, was the first step of my journey towards getting my CFI certificate. I know I probably don't need to tell you all how long I have been waiting to do this.

John (my CFII), had asked me to give a lesson to a first time Commercial student on the systems of the Piper Arrow II (by the way,,, my FBO's own plane, the Arrow III is supposed to be 'up' soon).

At the beginning of our session, John covered the 'flight plan' for my training, going over some of the requirements in the PTS and suggesting possible structures of training (i.e. either ground session weekly, followed the next week by a 'hands-on' (flying) session... OR a ground session once a week and a 'flight' session in that same week - I had totaled my 'flying 'pennies' in planning for my training and opted for ground and flight each week for my CFI training).

I have to admit that there was initially a certain amount of self-consciousness when I began as I kept thinking to myself that (even though it was only my first day of this) I wanted to perform well. Also, it didn't help that we don't have a private (other than the checkride room) area to do this in, so in addition to having my instructor watching me, there were other instructors at their desks in the instructors office area that I imagined were watching me to <grin>. I'm sure you can imagine some of the 'self-conscious thoughts that go through a fresh student-CFI's head at this point; other instructors listening and thinking,,, "Hmmm,,, this guy wants to be a flight instructor,, interesting..." ;0) Truth of the matter was that they were likely busy with their own students and tasks that I was probably hardly noticed. ;)

So, I started my session with my student by having him tell me about his experience and the sort of planes that he had been flying (i.e., I had asked my instructor what the scenario was; whether I was dealing with a student I had instructed very recently on a previous rating/certificate or if this was just a guy I had no previous training knowledge of - John suggested that it be the latter).

My student 'John' <g> told me that he had no experience with complex planes and was wondering what a complex plane 'was', anyhow. So, I told him that I would answer that and many of his other questions and today I would start by describing and explaining some of the systems of the Arrow II that we 'would be flying' and that questions were encouraged should there be something he wasn't sure of.

I started from the 'known' of his experience with the Cessna 172's he had been flying. I provided him a thumbnail sketch that would contrast the differences between the familiar (the C-172) and the new (Arrow II).

Once I got into the 'meat' of the discussion I began (according to the lesson plan I had drawn up) a brief discussion of the electrical system of the Arrow II (with some visual illustrations) and how there were many similarities between the plane he had flown (the C-172N) and the Arrow II in the latter regard. My rationale for starting there was that I felt (I was
guessing) that it might be wise to first start with the 'knowns' of the similarity and then began transitioning into the realm of the unfamiliar.

There were few questions about the electrical system and so we moved on to the fuel system, introducing the physical requirements of moving fuel through low-wing airplanes fuel tanks as contrasted to high-wing, gravity-fed high-wing fuel tanks (illustrated with diagrams). This led to a discussion (with visual diagrams) of fuel injection systems and their
operation also briefly contrasting with the carburetor based aircraft that he had flown. Questions were lightly peppered throughout this module of the presentation and discussion followed at the end of the 'module'.

The latter discussion was followed by the modules (I think that is the word to use) I had prepared on the constant speed propeller and retractable landing gear (always supplemented with just the right ((at least I think it was)) amount of supporting graphics). Each included questions from 'my student' (I'm really getting to like the sound of that <g>) and a discussion after each module.

John told me at the very beginning of our session together that after I was finished with the systems lesson that I had prepared for that he was going to have me do an impromptu discussion of aerodynamics aimed at a new primary
student which would also include discussion of control surfaces, flight physics (geared to a relatively new primary student - not trying to overwhelm) aerodynamics also including of course the 'four forces'.   Basically he wanted me to be able to make it clear to a new student 'why planes fly'.

After my prepared discussion was concluded my student turned back into 'John my CFI' for a brief instant,,, just long enough to say he had metamorphosed into a primary student and needed a session on aerodynamics and 'why planes

Suddenly I was at the whiteboard with a dry erase marker trying to draw a 'perfect' looking wing (I can't draw,,, really I can't <g>). For a brief moment John the CFI materialized and told me just to draw an approximate shape and move on - and then he was gone... ;0)

Students sure can come up with questions and 'my student' came up with a few things that I hadn't really thought of before. When the session was over, John 'rematerialized' <grin> out of the 'ether' and told me that I had done a good job all around. Of course, it wasn't all accolades, there are things I needed to work on, but that is to be expected ,,,, after all this
was my first day as a student-CFI. :0)

Goodness knows, it wasn't perfect,, but on the whole for a first time, I was relatively pleased with my performance. One question that threw me a little was when (during the Commercial systems lesson) John the CFI 'materialized' in place of my student shortly after 'my student' had asked the question what made a complex aircraft and I answered everything EXCEPT for including flaps. John had to help me on that one, 'cause I named everything that made it complex but 'flaps' didn't even come into my mind - probably since they are on the non-complex aircraft I fly,,,, I never really thought much about them. Maybe if I had come from flying older taildraggers, 'flaps' might have come to mind.

As I said,, all went okay,,, rough spots,, most certainly but at the end of the lesson I was feeling pretty good for the most part and eager for our next lesson!

Thanks for listening!!!! :0)

Good Flights!

Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,
"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner)

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