Managing Student Fear For Effective Learning

As pilots, we all will eventually have to face the incapacitating effects of fear. This will either come during new flight experiences while training (student lock-up) or when facing a shocking and unexpected emergency while flying (e.g.  US Airways Flight 1549 or Neil Williams’ amazing inflight recovery). The startle response has received lots of recent … Continue reading “Managing Student Fear For Effective Learning”

Trust Not Trauma: “Student Lockup!”

A recent poll in the SAFE eNews revealed that a shocking 65% of CFIs, at some point, had to physically take control from a student who “locked up” on the flight controls. That is an astonishing frequency of student “fear paralysis” during training. Obviously, we are doing something dramatically wrong in flight training if this … Continue reading “Trust Not Trauma: “Student Lockup!””

“Comfort Zone” and “Pathetic” Spin Training!

The amazing lack of understanding of slip/skid/spin aerodynamics demonstrated by many applicants on flight tests is almost criminal. A simple rote recitation of “P-A-R-E” with no real understanding or experience is not going to save a pilot in an upset situation. Yet Loss of Control-Inflight (LOC-I) is the #1 fatal accident causal factor in aviation. … Continue reading ““Comfort Zone” and “Pathetic” Spin Training!”

Struggle for Control; CFI (Or YOU!)

Most senior CFIs have at least one story of forcibly taking over control of an aircraft from a locked-up, panicked learner. A SAFE survey of CFIs revealed that 65% had at some point forcibly taken back aircraft control from an irrational student! One CFI/DPE revealed a crash where he struggled and lost this battle resulting … Continue reading “Struggle for Control; CFI (Or YOU!)”

Managing “Extreme Fear” (Startle/Lock-Up)

We have seen some recent accidents where “student lock-up” is a strongly suggested causal factor. This fear reaction is common in flight training; 65% of SAFE CFIs surveyed reported forcibly taking the controls from their panicked learner . “Lock-up” is a result of “extreme fear” which puts the brain directly into the “fight or flight” … Continue reading “Managing “Extreme Fear” (Startle/Lock-Up)”

Reforming The (Ancient) “Laws of Learning!”

The “Fundamentals of Instruction” (FOI), are required to be learned and then tested by the FAA for initial CFI certification. This teaching doctrine is a formidable challenge for many pilots transitioning into their new role as “educators.” Success for every aspiring CFI requires shifting from the world of “flying and physics” to their new primary … Continue reading “Reforming The (Ancient) “Laws of Learning!””

Praise Effort – Build a Love of Learning!

Many people grew up in the middle of the “self-esteem movement” of the 1990s. This misguided trend perpetuated the myth of innate talent and instant success. Everyone was “special” and “participation trophies” were awarded for “showing up” rather than any effort, struggle, and achievement. The myth of “instant gratification” and entitlement replaced hard work as … Continue reading “Praise Effort – Build a Love of Learning!”

*Practical* Aerodynamics; Facts Every Pilot Must Know

Pilots don’t need aerodynamics at the level of Greek Letters and many decimal places to be safe in flight. But understanding the basic physics of flight is essential. F-16 pilot and good friend AF General Mike Hall calls this “fighter pilot math;” a practical working knowledge ready for immediate use. Remember, gravity works tirelessly, day … Continue reading “*Practical* Aerodynamics; Facts Every Pilot Must Know”

“Clueless” is Dangerous; Teach Situational Awareness!

We all start out “clueless” in a new environment. In a social situation, this deficit is commonly described as an inability to “read the room.” We all have different levels of situational awareness (SA) depending on our needs, aptitude, and environment. But unfortunately, in the high-consequence world of aviation “clueless is dangerous” so every pilot … Continue reading ““Clueless” is Dangerous; Teach Situational Awareness!”

Safer Pilots; “Instinctive” Flying!

This week’s blog is by Ken Wittekiend and previously published in Flight Training Magazine. Ken is a 7X Master CFI, and a DPE with the FAA – until earlier this fall when he was “terminated with cause.” (This FAA action is being contested by Ken and supporters around the country). At the risk of being … Continue reading “Safer Pilots; “Instinctive” Flying!”