Fighting For Pilots' Mental Health

One of the things that bothers me about the aviation industry is the lack of good instructors. Most of the instructors I see are the younger people who only care about building time to go onto the airline jobs. However, with the economy being what it is right now perhaps some of these young hopefuls will have the opportunity to instruct longer and actually begin to love the profession.

I have jotted down a couple of things I would look for if I were shopping for an instructor. The MOST important item to me is professionalism. Find out how interested in your training is the instructor. Study your instructor as he or she calculates your flight time with each flight. As the flight time is being tallied is your instructor adding his/her times or yours?
Does your flight instructor value ground school time or is he/she more eager to get in the air. An instructor who is impatient about spending time with you on the ground is only thinking about the precious flight time he/she is losing. An FBO/School can sometimes even build into its culture an intolerance for ground school. I have noticed some FBO’s that will charge less for ground time with an instructor than it will flight time. Additionally, some schools may charge the same amount per hour to the customer, but pay instructors less per hour while on the ground with a student. In either case the message is clearly being sent that ground school is not important. This message could not be further from the truth.
It is important to have a good thorough ground school session before and after each flight. Paying for this time on the ground with an instructor will save a student money in the long run. Remember, each second that engine is running is costing you money. Just because the engine is running does not mean you are learning. Time in the logbook does put you closer to those FAA minimums, but it does not indicate you are a better pilot.
Take the time on the ground to know the material that will be covered in the air. If your instructor is not excited about spending that time with you simply remind him/her that you are the customer. No customer, no student, and no flight time. Talk to your instructor in terms he or she will understand…… hours and dollars!!
I would like to end on a positive note. There are many great instructors all over this country. Finding the one that is right for you and having that individual care about your needs is what is important. Take the time to find an instructor that you are comfortable with. Remember, your flight instructor is actually helping to reach a childhood dream.
Keep your eye on the sky!
Prozac Pilot

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder! While I love my instructor and definitely feel that he sincerely enjoys instructing (beyond the log time and $$$), I have been hesitant to ask for more ground time — though my pilot friends have all encouraged me to do so.

    I think this may have been the final push I needed :). I'm a terrible audio learner, but remember almost everything that I can write down and study.

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