Yesterday, 'I Feel 'Toopid' ' <grin> My First Time Giving An In-The-Plane Lesson !


October 15, 2005

Okay, maybe I'm not 'too-pid',,, John (my CFII and sometimes imaginary 'student') said I did just fine, today (CFI's must take additional courses in propping up wounded egos <g>).

Well, its' always been my practice to try and find the positive aspect of things - so, I'm positive I wasn't horribly awful. :0/

Okay, okay, I suppose I am exaggerating a bit and on the whole (my CFI didn't seem the least bit concerned that he may taken on a hopeless cause <G> ((just kidding))) I did okay for a first time out.

I had told John that I'd need to be on the road and leaving by 2PM, 'cause I had promised my wife (who came back from a business trip with a cold that led to a mild case of laryngitis) I'd take her to the doctor's office, despite her mild protestations that I really didn't have to.

John,,, now a 'student' for me,, buried himself in the role telling me how long he wanted to fly and how he could hardly believe that he was getting to do it. I replied 'appropriately' although I confess I must have sounded a bit 'forced' since I was a little self-conscious about the 'let's pretend' session <grin>.

So, I gave my 'student' (John my CFII 'in-disguise') a lesson on taxiing and gave some tips on technique; mentioning that the steering on the Cessna was not proportional as he might imagine it. I suggested he think of applying the control pressure and gradually neutralizing it rather than tradition thoughts of steering. Also made sure that I showed my 'student' that turning the yoke did nothing for steering and even 'had' to hold the yoke firmly a few times to discourage him from trying to steer with the yoke. As we were taxiing we discussed appropriate taxi speeds and to be vigilant as we went by the various rows between the hangars. As we neared the run-up area I glanced over at taxiway Yankee to make sure it was clear as we were advancing, but made the mistake (which my instructor called me on) of not pointing out the importance of looking toward taxiway Yankee (we were coming from taxiway Zulu). Though I do want to point out something, that as we were nearing the run-up area 'John's voice <g>' came out of my 'student' and said I was forgetting to tell the student something (just as I was about to mention it ((i.e, to look at Yankee))). I told my CFII that I wasn't aware of forgetting anything and as we approached Yankee he said I had forgotten to mention to look out for Yankee - I told him I was about to tell him that (which I was) but that I had been interrupted by John the CFI and I was trying to reply to him - instead of being given the opportunity to converse with my student. John was skeptical,,, still thought I had forgotten,, but I didn't at all - though then again it was a good lesson on dealing with distractions. I should have said forcefully interjecting; student John, before we pass in front of taxiway Yankee ALWAYS be sure it is clear and THEN reply to John the CFI's question. Maybe the distraction was 'intended'? Or maybe he just jumped the gun... ;) lol!

Handed him the checklist (now he was the 'student' again and not the 'meddling' <wink> CFI) and watched as he went through the run-up (being sure to have my feet on the brakes, despite the fact he seemed to be doing it on his own - though obviously never anything you should take for granted).

I made all the radio calls and once we were cleared for takeoff, I told the student that if he would lightly put his hand on the left part of the yoke and keep his feet lightly on the BOTTOM of the rudder pedals he could follow-through with me to get a feel for the control pressures we would use during take-off. (SPECIAL NOTE: Before I did the latter I had to 'conjure' the presence of John the CFI and asked him if it would be appropriate to ask a first time student if they would like to have their hands and feet lightly on the controls - I told him I was wondering about the possibility of the brandy-new student maybe freezing their grip on the yoke at point of rotation because of a bit of fear on their part. John, said it was one of those things you had to 'eyeball' and see if you had a pretty good idea that you could 'overpower' the student's grip on the yoke if that needed to happen. If I had any doubts that it would be prudent to simply ask the student to keep their hands and feet clear of the yoke).

So, we took off without incident and as it became time to turn our crosswind leg, I suggested that the student (if they would like) try their hand at making a turn (with me ready on the yoke if there was even a start to overbank).

John had told me that once we got to the practice area, that my 'student' will 'magically' change to a student that had some hours under their belt and would be working on the Private Pilot ground reference maneuvers.

If I'm fair to myself (and not in 'let's beat up on me' <grin> mode) that part went okay. When it became my time to demonstrate a maneuver (in this case the turns around a point) I called for 'John the CFI' to appear and he popped in, so I asked him if it would be best to demonstrate the turns around a point being sure to bank towards the student's side so that the student could see the maneuver from the perspective that they would normally see it in. John, said 'yes' and 'disappeared'. Before I continue, let me say that I was kind of thinking that (since I had been through all the Commercial maneuvers) despite the fact I'd be flying the maneuver from the right and despite the fact that I'd be banking towards the student's side and explaining the maneuver as I performed it, that even still,,, doing the maneuver would be 'a breeze'. To be fair to myself my demonstration wasn't horrible I was well within the standards for the maneuver - but I guess that (despite flying from the right and all the rest) I presumed that it would be entirely effortless - and I confess to being a bit disappointed in myself. I actually broke our scenario for a moment and said "John, that was awful... and THIS is a maneuver performed by Private Pilots. I should have been so much better in my demonstration." So, John asked me if I had ever done this maneuver from the right side, banking toward the opposite side while explaining it at the same time? I told him, no, but shouldn't I be better. John assured me that I would be and that I had to remember, while we had done a couple of ground sessions, this was the first time I was 'acting in the capacity' (so-to-speak) of a CFI - which I had NEVER done before.

The S-turns around a point were off on a few points, but I did eventually manage to demonstrate a good series. You know, it occurred to me that my left hand had become use to all the little 'finesse' adjustments when I flew maneuvers and that my right hand was trying to get up to speed in that regard.

Most of the other stuff was okay (rectangular course). John reminded me (as even I had noticed) that most of the time my demonstrations were easily well within the PTS for the maneuvers - maybe it is just a case of being overenthusiastic about how 'well' this first session was going to 'go'.

Some point had to head back to the airport (actually I had discovered that I had far too much water to drink on the way to the airport and mentioned to John that I might want to get back to the airport to the restroom). We were only going to do another S-turn sequence, anyway, so John told me weren't missing out on anything. So, back to RHV we did go.

I had told John, in-advance that it had been some time since I had done the right seat landings and that he should be ready to turn back into CFI mode if my first right seat landing (after awhile) was looking awry. To my surprise I had no issues with alignment (I remember when I first tried landing from the right side with my CFI (during my commercial training - i.e., he had suggested that I try a little flying from the right seat now and then, so that once I got to the CFI training it wouldn't feel so alien), I did touch down on the mains just a little hard and did a very minor bounce which of course I addressed right away. Of course (since my ego was feeling a little punctured <grin>) the non-perfect landing added a bit more vinegar to my overall perception of my day's performance.

During our debriefing (before having to run out the door to get to my car to pick up my wife for her doctor visit ((my home airport is in San Jose, my home is in San Francisco)) <grin>) John reassured me I had done just fine. I have to admit, at the time, I wasn't feeling that 'generous' about my performance; but now,,, after having a day to think about it - for a first time at this CFI stuff (actually in a plane with a 'student') that, on the whole,,, I did just fine! :0)

Best part of having been through all of the training from the Private, to the Instrument, to the Commercial and now to the CFI is that I've had repeated examples of how what seemed to be hard and awkward at first will soon become something much less effortless and smooth. So, I know that time and exposure will hone me to where I want to be - just need to be appropriately patient and gentle with myself.

I guess "I is NOT toopid" after all <GRIN>!

Good Flights!

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"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner)

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