The Business of Being a Flight Instructor •Teaching Clearance Shorthand •Runway Excursions

The Business
of Being a Flight Instructor
•Teaching Clearance Shorthand
•Runway Excursions
•The Stabilized Approach
Flight Instructor
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Mentor is a how-to magazine dedicated to
improving the teaching skills of aviation
instructors of all disciplines
John Niehaus
Program Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
NAFI Board of Directors
Robert V. Meder—Chairman . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Carl Fry—Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Ken Hoffman—Chairman Emeritus. . . [email protected]
Harry Riggs, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
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Robert L. Snyder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Craig O’Mara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Eric Radtke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
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©Copyright 2013
National Association of Flight Instructors
The Business of Being a Flight Instructor, pg 10
10The Business of Being a Flight Instructor
Things they don’t teach you
By Scott Johnson
14Teaching Clearance Shorthand
Simple versions will get students started
By Alexander Burton
32The History of Flight Instruction
Part 3: A Nation Readies for War
By Joe Clark
Your Feedback
NAFI News Briefs
Position Report: Facing Our Many Challenges
By Robert Meder, NAFI Board Chairman
22 Teaching the Stabilized Approach, With Math
By Rudi Hiebert
26 What the Examiner Sees — Pilot Logbooks
By Larry Bothe
32 Runway Excursions
The instructor’s role
By Jordan Miller
35 The Roles We Fill
By Matthew T. Elia
Winter 2013 • 1
position Report
Facing Our Many Challenges
s you’re probably aware by now,
I’ve been fortunate enough to
be named the new chairman of
NAFI. I’ve read that publishers and editors find it daunting to write their first
editorial or position paper for a publication. Until now, I’ve never had this
task: I can assure you that it is indeed
First, I’d like to thank Ken Hoffmann,
our chairman emeritus, for his service
both on the board and as chairman. I
look forward to continuing to work with
Ken, and I am grateful for his advice and
counsel. I have very large shoes to fill in
taking on my new role.
I’d also like to thank Jason Blair for
his service as executive director. Jason
did an excellent job of positioning NAFI
for the future. We look forward to his
future contributions to both NAFI and
the flight-training industry in general.
We wish him good luck in his future
From where I sit, aviation, and by
extension NAFI, is facing many challenges. The most obvious one is the
promulgation of the 1,500-hour rule.
Airlines, flight-training organizations
ranging from universities to small FBOs,
and instructors are trying to come to
grips with the new regulation and its
consequences. These consequences run
the gamut from who will be qualified to
train airline transport pilots to how new
pilots will gain the necessary experience
to gain the ATP certificate to the likelihood of airline crew shortages as a result
of these challenges.
A challenge that is close to me is
general aviation’s safety record. As any
FAASTeam representative can tell you,
we have not moved the safety record in a
positive manner for years. This is indeed
unfortunate; not just in terms of human
cost, but also in how “little airplanes”
are perceived by both the public at large
2 •
and by politicians. For the good of all
of us, improving our record needs to
be addressed. I would like to see NAFI
in a position where we are among the
leaders of a grass-roots effort to improve
safety. As flight instructors, we are the
people who have the best opportunity
to provide the necessary safety training
to pilots, and to set the example for the
community as a whole.
Another challenge is the state of the
economy. Without mincing words, it’s
terrible. This affects the flight-instruction community directly. Obviously,
flight instructors’ compensation is an
issue. Additionally, flight training is
competing with other activities, whether
a prospective student is considering
an aviation career or wants to fly for
business or pleasure. As individuals, as
members of flight-training organizations, and even as the flight-training
organization itself, we have to become
better at marketing to prospective
students and retaining those we already
have. Although flight education is the
core of what we want to accomplish, we
also have to recognize that education,
especially when it is elective, is a serviceoriented business and should be treated
as such.
This leads me to the topic of professionalism. I’ve had many long discussions with senior managers of organizations, at my employer and in other
organizations, as well as with other
flight instructors, friends and associates
as to what this term really means. The
dictionary definition from MerriamWebster says that professionalism is
“the conduct, aims, or qualities that
characterize or mark a profession or a
professional person” or “the following
of a profession (as athletics) for gain or
livelihood.” The second definition is all
well and good; flight instructors take
money in exchange for teaching people
Robert Meder,
NAFI Board Chairman
Professionals are people
who seek to continuously
improve themselves
through continuing
education, improved
service and demeanor. One
of NAFI’s goals will be to
help provide the tools to
help CFIs, both new and
experienced, in achieving
this goal.
to fly. But what does the first really
mean? Although we all know a professional when we see one (to paraphrase
Justice Potter Stewart), using that
criteria really does not serve to guide
inexperienced flight instructors who
are attempting to find their voice as
educators. A student and good friend
of mine, Joe Santamaria, said it well, I
think: Professionals are people who seek
to continuously improve themselves
through continuing education, improved
service and demeanor. One of NAFI’s
goals will be to help provide the tools to
help CFIs, both new and experienced, in
achieving this goal.
Continued on page12
your Feedback
Kudos, Better Late Than
I just got around to reading the May 2012
issue of Mentor. No sense rushing into these
I just wanted to pass along to Jennifer
Christiano how much I enjoyed and appreciated her piece, Next Generation, or Stick
and Rudder. Having worked in both worlds,
steam and glass, perhaps because I’m a bit
of an old guy, I think she has hit the nail on
the head. In some sense, the more we learn
to rely solely on technology, the more we
can avoid actually learning how things work
and the less we need to develop our own,
personal skills and appreciation of our spatial orientation. It’s a discussion that needs
to carry on. The safety stats do seem to be
showing that pilots are not, in fact, safer
flying glass. This may well be because they
spend way too much time playing with the
equipment and not nearly enough time flying the machine. Besides, on some training
flights, I think I may be developing carpal
tunnel syndrome from pushing buttons.
The magenta lines are very cool and helpful,
but without the experience of developing
our own senses and a dynamic “air picture”
it is very easy to lose sight of what we are
actually doing, where we are, and what we
are trying to accomplish.
If you can pass my thanks along to Jennifer, I appreciate it.
- Alex Burton
Eds: Mr. Burton, a longtime contributor to
NAFI’s Mentor, is a flight instructor in British
Columbia. He wrote the article beginning on
Page 22 of this issue and his collection entitled
Flight and Flying is available through Amazon
Books for Amazon Kindle.
Ag Pilot Shortage an
Just a note on jobs for new pilots coming up—one that instructors can pass on to
their students is the ag pilot shortage. I’ve
been an ag pilot for 46 years doing day and
night ag flying. I’ve been an instructor for
43 of those years and still enjoy instructing.
The main problem I hear from the operators
of ag flying business is the work ethic and
the inability to fly the aircraft with a feel instead of herding the airplane around on the
airspeed indicator.
I know this is old time stuff but it is very
important. The ag pilot must understand the
aerodynamics of flight and maneuvering at
slow air speeds, we call this flying the wing,
so I really emphasize the critical angle of attack and slow speeds. This is something the
instructors must pass on to the aspiring ag
pilot. The future is bright. We are having our
fair share of stall crashes in the new easy-tofly and very expensive turbine aircraft.
- Carl Trinkle
The FAA Knowledge Test
Re: Woody Minar’s article in eMentor. I
wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Minar’s position. The FAA knowledge exams should
be restructured to be compatible with the
knowledge levels required for the sport,
recreational, private and commercial certificates.
- Marc Santacroce
Problem Students
Re: Rob Mixon’s recent eMentor article
on this subject. I had a student who was
an engineer and thought he knew everything already. He would frequently add
two and two and get apples. For example,
he once said, “I’ll try not to forward slip on
downwind,” which I thought was a complete non-sequitur. Really hard to find a
way to respond to statements like that. I
know, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve every heard” is not the correct response, but
what should we say? He eventually moved
on and I don’t think he’s taken a checkride
yet, but the question of how to respond remains. This is someone who could fly the
airplane and understood most things well.
But his thinking was sometimes about 30
degrees off true.
- Dan Larson
Regarding State Regulatory
I am a CFII, MEI, ATP, and former corporate pilot (and 76 years of age) in Illinois. I
also am still employed as a Flight Safety Coordinator with the Division of Aeronautics/
IDOT in Illinois. Regarding Illinois, I can say
this (from recollection): The Illinois Department of Education (DOE) ... I believe that’s
what it is called ... was definitely involved if
the school was a Part 141 school and “VA
approved” (if there now is such a thing).
The VA approval process went through the
DOE. In fact, the DOE tacked on more requirements; like that the ground instruction
must be given by an FAA Certified Advanced
Ground Instructor (not required by FAA).
I believe the Illinois Department of Education required the FAA Instrument Ground
Instructor’s rating also, when the instructor
was conducting instrument ground instruction, which, again, the FAA did not, in the
Part 141 approved school.
I recall this from having been a Chief
Flight Instructor with a Part 141 Flight
School back in the early to mid 1960’s.
However, that was their only involvement,
i.e., when VA approval was required; Part
61 flight instruction and pilot certification
still was not under the prevue of the DOE.
So far as I know, nothing has changed.
CFIs can still conduct flight instruction
as an Independent CFI, with no state
involvement (other than having their
ratings on record with the State of Illinois
Pilot Registration, which is under the
Division of Aeronautics) and it has always
been that way. As an independent CFI,
my last student (age 25) just received her
Private Pilot’s certificate (very successfully)
about a month and a half ago. I only dealt
with IAACRA and the FAA Examiner.
- Dale L. Rust
Winter 2013 • 3
your Feedback
On High-Quality Training
Regarding the (eMentor) article Teach Using
Professional, High-Quality Training Materials, I
use Jeppesen training material almost exclusively primarily because of the quality and ease
of access. They do a fantastic job of illustrating and explaining. Unfortunately, however,
they don’t have anything in their Guided Flight
line that’s for ATPs.If they did, believe me I’d
buy it and learn it, hands down the only way
to go.Now, with that said and looking at what
the FAA has published for teaching ATPs, there
doesn’t appear to be much available. I’ve reviewed King’s ATP course. It’s OK... a lot of
reuse from other courses they’ve produced.
Some specific Part 121 ops that would be necessary for the exam. As an ATP candidate I
have been considering using Shepard Air only
because there doesn’t appear to be a better approach available. I’m certainly open to direction
you have.
- Forrest N. Fluckey
Airports Looking Like Prisons
The points made by Sporty’s John Zimmerman in his essay, Our Airports Look Like Prisons, (eMentor ) are worthy of repeating again,
and again. Left unchecked, in the so-called
interest of national security, maybe one day
we’ll be required to pat down ourselves before
entering our Cessna 150s. General Aviation
needs to push back against the far-reaching
measures the TSA has already implemented or will want to implement in the future.
Fences and gates will never stop determined
individuals bent on stealing a GA airplane, let
along stopping one willing to end their life in
the process. The nutty thing about the TSA, is
that its measures merely serve as a tool of terror, and mislead the public. Or, maybe I’m just
biased and this fence and gate security is warranted and has thwarted terrorists’ plots left
and right. Of course we need to be vigilant for
suspicious activity, but we should ask the TSA
to please remain reasonable and logical.
- Bruce Baer
4 •
By Neil Ulman
His cheerful, secret wariness has saved
The flight instructor’s life for long enough
To gray his hair and hood his glance against
The sun. Had taught him years ago to sweat
On just the right side of his weathered face,
Show flickering fear in only one blue eye
While belted tight in the co-pilot’s seat
With student after student on his left.
It’s repetition this, not rocket science.
Take-offs and landings, touch-and-go around
The airport traffic pattern rectangle:
Cross-wind, downwind, base-to-final:
“Don’t forget to breathe,” he counsels
As runway numbers mushroom in the curve
Of bug-besplattered windshield plexiglas.
He keeps one eye on flags and blowing smoke,
One on the pallor of his student’s hands
And on the muscle tension in his jaw.
For as technique fills up the learning brain
A practiced guile must bail out the fear;
Mere words cannot confer the magic calm
Of confidence, so he must act it out:
The teacher fiddles, puzzled, with his mic,
While noting that the turn downwind is good.
On base, perplexed, he pulls the headset plug
And taps it on the yoke just as his student banks
Into the final glide and adds more flaps.
Descent looks good. He ducks his head beneath
The instruments, pretends to tug some wires,
Sees rudder pedals move and holds his breath.
With power off, he urges silently,
Nose up. Nose up. Hold up the nose. Touchdown.
Breathe out, dump flaps, full power, and carb heat cold,
Nose up again and back into the sky.
“Okay, I got this headset fixed,” he says,
Emerging like a den-dazed fox in spring
As they climb out. “So tell me: How did that
Last landing go? I missed the whole damn thing.”
Eds: Neil Ulma, an instrument-rated private pilot and
retired newspaperman living in northern Vermont, is the
father of a CFII. His poetry has appeared in Permafrost,
The Lyric and the Orleans County Chronicle.
In December, NAFI
announced the election
of Robert Meder as the
new Chairman of the NAFI
Board of Directors after
the regular Fall Board of
Directors Meeting.
A member of the NAFI Board
since May of 2010, Meder said,
“I have big shoes to fill taking
over for Ken Hoffman, but will
work hard to continue the
growth of NAFI and efforts to
ensure that the voice of the
flight instructor community
is heard at the national level.”
Meder is succeeding Hoffman
as chairman, but Hoffman will
be continuing to serve as a
member of the NAFI Board of
Directors. Hoffman has served
as chairman of the board on
two occasions historically,
with this most recent period
covering the past three years.
Meder is a CFI with single-,
multi-engine, and instrument
privileges. He has more than
3,800 hours with 2,000+ hours
of instruction given. He was
the 2009 St. Louis FSDO and
2010 Lincoln FSDO CFI of the
Year, the 2010 Central Region
CFI of the Year, as well as the
2009 St. Louis FAASTeam
Representative of the Year.
He is also a manager with the
Union Pacific Railroad with
33 years experience. Meder
is married, with two adult
children. He lives in St. Louis,
MO, and Omaha, NE.
NAFI selects officers of the
board of directors from its
current board members in a
regular election process. For
more information on the NAFI
Board of Directors, visit
nafi News Briefs
NAFI Webinars
As one of his first initiatives as NAFI Board
Chairman, Meder launched monthly Webinars
to seek input from members. He said since
that launch the Webinars have yielded great
feedback from members. Here are some of
the suggestions that have been made during
those webinars and what Meder said NAFI is
doing about them:
• Publish the advocacy in which NAFI is
currently engaged:
This is an important point—to that end,
we will work to let you know in what areas we
are working and who at NAFI is responsible
for that activity. At the same time, we will
probably be reaching out to the membership
for assistance in these areas.
• Mentoring and chapters:
This has come from several sources,
including the Webinars. We’re working on the
best mechanism to create NAFI chapters that
won’t be burdened in bureaucracy. We would
like to use the chapter concept as an avenue
to mentor new instructors as well as keeping
longtime members sharp.
• Make the benefits of being a NAFI member
more clear:
We heard that loud and clear in the last
Webinar. We have to do a better job of
informing what we do for our members and
potential members. After all, membership in
an organization is not an end in itself.
• Improve the website:
This is one of the keys to what we want to
accomplish above. The NAFI website should
be more than just a place to go to sign up or
renew membership. This should be a portal to
what we do and stand for as an organization.
This will take a little time, but watch for
How to Listen to the Webinars
Each monthly Webinar is announced
in eMentor. But if you couldn’t participate
previously, there are the links to audio files of
the webinars on the NAFI Web site.
Member Help Sought
for Regulations
NAFI is seeking a group of
dedicated members to serve
on a regulatory update committee. If you are a member
who is willing to help NAFI
track and develop information
that will be shared with other
members on changes in regulations, training standards,
or practical test standards,
we ask that you let us know
by emailing [email protected]
or calling the NAFI office at
866-806-6156. This committee
will ask for contribution from
members who are willing to
help over a continuing period
of time.
Competitive Pay based on
commitment and
experience along with the
opportunity for bonuses
Aerosim is Hiring
Flight Instructors
Instructors average 80
billable equipment hours
per month*
CFI is required of all
applicants while we pay
for your CFII and MEI**
Lifetime Pilot Placement
Assistance to all of our
flight instructors
Established relationships
with top regional airlines
Contact Us Today
[email protected]
1 800 U CAN FLY
*Average from July 2011 to July 2012.
Average hours may vary.
**We will pay for CFII and MEI once
commitment contract is signed
Winter 2013 • 5
nafi News Briefs
Volunteer Graphic
Design Help Needed
Do you have expertise with graphic
design? NAFI is looking for help from
members willing to volunteer to help
with graphic design to create promotional material. If you have the skills
and can volunteer the time help, please
let us know via [email protected]
Blair Steps Down
In January NAFI Executive Director Jason
Blair notified the Board of Directors that he
resigned the position he had held since May
2008. Leaving the position was a difficult
decision, Blair said, “because I’ve invested
my heart and soul in its mission ... I fully
support the mission of NAFI and hope the
association and its members can find a way
to continue the growth of the association.”
NAFI’s board of directors was fulsome in its
praise of Blair for the work he accomplished
during his tenure.
Eastern Aviation
Fuels sponsors FATA
The Florida Aviation Trade Association (FATA) and Eastern Aviation
Fuels, which distributes Shell-branded
aviation fuels in the United States,
have partnered to establish the Gary
Steele Scholarship Fund as part of the
FATA Scholarship Program. The fund
was created to honor the memory
of Gary Steele, a long-time FATA supporter and Shell customer who died
in 2012. The scholarship will support
the FATA/Embry Riddle Aeronautical
University Scholarship Fund. Eastern
Aviation Fuels will provide a minimum
of $2,500 a year to the fund, with a
three-year commitment. The scholarship can be used for any type of flight
training at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona
Beach campus. More information on
this and other scholarships can be
found at: http://daytonabeach.erau.
6 •
Girls With Wings Announces Spring Scholarships
Girls With Wings, a nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging girls and young
women to reach their full potential in aviation, is accepting applications for its spring 2013
scholarships. The private pilot scholarship to help defray the cost of flight training will
provide $1,000 to a female who has soloed but not taken the checkride.
Go to to find out more.
Group Proposes Changes to TSA’s GA
Airport Regulations
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in collaboration with other general aviation (GA) organizations has submitted a list of proposed changes to the Transport
Security Administration’s (TSA) security regulations for GA airports. Among the changes
include a focus on security guidelines for flight school operations, improved airport
fencing and implementation of camera systems that can monitor ground traffic into
secure areas.
“There were a variety of factors to consider,” explained Doug Carr, vice president for
safety, security and regulation at NBAA. “The group spent the past six months reviewing
the existing guidelines and making updates that better aligned with current TSA policies
and the best practices of GA operators.”
TSA is currently reviewing the proposed changes by the GA working group.
NBAA said the GA subgroup of the TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC)
also recently submitted recommendations to revise the original security guidelines for
GA airports established in 2004.
Among the recommendations are voluntary guidelines for GA operators to address
recent aviation security concepts and technology enhancements. “We will continue to
review this guidance in the future,” said Carr. “To ensure that the interests and concerns
of general aviation and business aviation pilots remain adequately addressed in our
shared goal with TSA to improve security at general aviation facilities.”
NBAA expects TSA to publish an updated security guidelines document for GA airports within the next several months.
IMC Club Launches “Brown
Jacket” Instrument Mastery
A brown leather special flight jacket will
be awarded annually to one outstanding
General Aviation Instrument Pilot for his
or her safety, proficiency and contributions in helping other pilots in their quest
to “Master the Art of Instrument Navigation.” This recognition will be a prestigious
award similar to the “Green Jacket” award in
professional golf.
The award recognizes excellence in areas of flight proficiency, continuing education and service to the aviation community.
It is open to all IMC Club pilot members
and will be presented each year at Sun-nFun in Lakeland, Florida starting in 2014.
In addition to the “Instrument Master”
leather flight jacket, the winner will receive
a top of the line new S1 Digital general
aviation headset specially developed for
pilots of single and twin-engine propeller aircraft. The headset features the new
Digital Adaptive NoiseGard™ system, and
has been donated by the newest Platinum
Corporate member of the IMC Club International – Sennheiser.
The award identifies and publicly recognizes those pilots who demonstrate an
ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community, while setting standards to
which all instrument pilots can aspire. For
more information:
Report: Air Traffic in
Europe Will Continue
Decline in 2013
Overall air traffic in Europe declined by 2.67 percent in 2012,
according to a new report released by the European Organization
for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL).
The decline is likely a reflection of the economic climate in Europe, which saw major airlines layoff thousands of workers and file
for bankruptcy over the past two years. However there was some
good news in the report; low-cost and chartered carriers saw air
traffic increases of 1.4 percent and 2.6 percent compared to 2011.
EUROCONTROL said several countries in eastern Europe also
saw an increase in air traffic, with Turkey, Norway, Poland and
Ukraine experiencing a combined extra 240 flights per day yearover-year.
However, those increases were offset by declines in the “busiest
countries.” According to the report, Spain saw a decline of 290
fewer flights per day; Italy and Germany each declined by about
140 fewer flights per day.
“With fuel prices remaining high and the economic recovery
delayed yet again, EUROCONTROL’s current forecast is for a slight
decline in traffic in 2013,” the group said in a statement.
Air Traffic in Asia, Latin America,
Middle East to Grow in 2013
German aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines said air
passenger traffic will increase in the Asia, Latin America and Middle
East regions in 2013, during its annual results press conference in
Munich on Monday. The company said the increase will lead to more
profits for its OEM business.
MTU reported a revenue increase of 15 percent to $4.5 billion for
2012, and said it expects its commercial engine business to be “the
area of strongest growth in 2013.” In contrast, the manufacturer
said it expects its military aircraft engine business to remain stable,
a possible reflection of reduced defense budgets in the U.S. and
other nations.
The company’s outlook for air passenger traffic increases reflects a
report released by the International Air Transportation Association in
late 2012; the report predicted international airline passenger traffic
would grow at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent through 2016,
lead by increased demand in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
“In the commercial sector of our OEM business, we expect
growing revenues from the new GEnx and GP7000 programs. We
also anticipate further growth in deliveries of V2500 engines, with
the full effect of our increased program stake in 2013,” said Reiner
Winkler, chief financial officer at MTU Aero.
Winter 2013 • 7
nafi News Briefs Offers Pilot Supply
and Pipeline Data to Airlines has launched with free registration available to all pilots seeking
airline employment. is ATP’s pilot recruitment tool that helps airlines
visualize the pilot pipeline and access pilot qualification data far beyond the horizon of traditional HR application processes. Pilots gain the advantage of establishing a relationship with their target employers as they work toward meeting hiring
In 2011, ATP soft-launched to ATP graduates and instructors while
refining the application system. Now, with open registration available to all pilots,
airlines may benefit from even more data about the pool of pilot candidates. ATP is
further supporting its partner airlines with dedicated representatives
to help integrate with airline workflows.
Pilots setup a free profile on where they enter their essential pilot qualifications and upload a resume. As pilots progress through more training
and experience, airline recruiters receive notification when important milestones
are reached. includes a proprietary tracking program of flight times of pilots,
giving airlines accurate projections of when pilots will meet minimums and be
eligible for airline new-hire classes. Many recruiters find that data in their files of
potential candidates is outdated and misrepresents the real status of pilots seeking
employment. Pilot pool gets airlines access to the most relevant pilot profiles for
recruitment and relationship-building so airlines can meet their hiring needs over
a longer term time horizon. Along with this, ATP provides partner airlines with a
dedicated representative to assist with workflow integration. Partner airlines who
use can be assured that the information they are receiving about
candidates through is up-to-date.
For more information about ATP, visit and
New R22 and TH-67 Helicopter Flashcards
ASA announces two new sets of Helicopter Flashcards for the Robinson R22
and TH-67 training helicopters. Civilian
and military students, instructors, and pilots of all levels will find these flashcards
serve to greatly facilitate memorization
and understanding of the systems and
functions of each aircraft.
The R22 Helicopter Flashcards Study
Guide contains nearly 400 flashcards
covering the Robinson R22 Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) and also FAA helicopter instrument procedures. Topics include an
aircraft overview, limitations, normal and emergency procedures, performance, weight
and balance, maintenance, helicopter-specific instrument flight rules and regulations, and
a special emphasis on systems.
The TH-67 Helicopter Flashcards Study Guide contains 400 flashcards and covers
nearly all the material in chapters 5, 8, and 9 of the TH-67 Operator’s Supplement and
FAA/Army helicopter instrument procedures. Topics include operating limitations and
restrictions, normal and emergency procedures, as well as Army IFR content for instrument/advanced students.
Look for the R22 Helicopter Flashcards and TH-67 Helicopter Flashcards at your local
pilot shop or visit
8 •
ATP Increases Fleet
Independence, Kan.-based flight
school ATP has taken delivery of 10
new Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna
172s in a deal valued at $3 million.
The aircraft will be used in some of
the 28 locations around the country
where ATP operates, according to
ATP. “A few of the aircraft will be used
in providing aircraft to FAA contractors while the other aircraft will allow
ATP to open new facilities to be
announced in the near future,” the
company said.
[email protected]
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The Business of
Being a Flight
Things they don’t teach you
ow that you are a certificated
flight instructor (CFI), or advanced ground instructor (AGI),
you have the opportunity to start charging a fee for your knowledge, professional skills and aeronautical experience.
Not only can you charge a fee for your
services, but also you should get paid.
Doctors, accountants, attorneys and
plumbers charge for their time, knowledge, and skills; why should you give it
away for free to your friends?
Because you have a legitimate skill,
professional education and license from
the federal government to practice your
10 •
craft, you can be considered a “business.”
You should recall from your training that
the federal government via the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
already considers all individual flight
instructors a “flight school.” So start
thinking of yourself as a business owner.
What are the first things that any business owner needs to plan for? Revenue,
expenses, income, liability and taxes.
You should always consult your own
advisers before implementing any of
the discussion items in this article. In
general, most expenses you incur in the
performance of your business may be
By Scott Johnson
deducted off your gross revenue. You
only pay income taxes on your adjusted
net income, so you want this number
to be as low as possible. Also, unlike
your prior jobs, you need to mail the
Internal Revenue Service your taxes
each quarter because your employer is
not going to do it for you. So be sure to
set aside funds in a special savings and
checking account that you have created
for business use only.
What are some examples of taxdeductible business expenses? What do
you use in the performance of your instruction with students? Charts, books,
paper, printing and office expenses
such as rent, utilities, phone, computers, printers and the Internet. Software
subscription fees and memberships in
aviation training associations. Also any
airplanes or flight simulators that you
rent or purchase for your business.
How do you find and attract students
to your new flight school? Anything you
spend on marketing and advertising
your services is a business expense. Do
you have a personal website? Business
cards? A uniform that you only wear
when you fly or instruct students? Do
you take prospective students, other instructors or business referral sources to
lunch where you discuss flight instruction, training and other business-planning activities? Do you travel to industry
meetings for training or presentations?
Is your primary flight school office
located in your home, or at one airport?
When you travel from your primary of-
Your membership
in NAFI provides
you access to a
renters insurance
plan geared toward
flight instructors.
fice to another work site to another, you
can deduct the cost of transportation.
You may travel by city bus, your own
car or even by airplane. Be sure to keep
a logbook of your travels that includes
where, when, how, who and what you
talked about, and your expenses.
Did you purchase an extra headset
for your new students, or upgrade your
own to active noise reduction? Did
you need to purchase a special pair of
eyeglasses or sunglasses for when you
are flight instructing? Did you purchase
a special video camera to record your
lessons and flights? These cameras are
also a source of revenue if you charge
your students for a copy of their lesson
or Discovery Flights.
Flight instructors need to maintain
their passenger-carrying currency to
maintain their privileges. Flights you
have to take, and pay for, to maintain
your skills are considered a business
expense. It would be a good idea if your
flight school also has a written policy on
expectations and currency minimums
for flight proficiency if more than the
FAA minimums, just for the IRS. Your
annual flight physical is a deductible
business expense as well.
Do you, and your students, purchase
renters and instructors insurance? If
not, you should. Also, make sure that
you are covered by insurance for any
private aircraft owners you fly with.
Your membership in NAFI provides you
Winter 2013 • 11
access to a renters insurance plan geared
toward flight instructors. Things happen; bird strikes, blown tires and runway
excursions, tail or nose wheel strikes,
and student pilots who trip and fall getting out of the airplane or while helping
you refuel. Can you afford to pay cash
for any repairs? Be sure that your signed
work agreement with your students
spells out who is responsible for paying
for any damages and repairs, lost aircraft
rental time, etc. while it is in the shop.
The insurance companies will not pay for
any damages their insured did not agree
to be held liable for before the accident.
You should check with your home
state’s department of aeronautics for
any local licensure or insurance and
bonding requirements. Some states
require flight schools to have a state
business license and carry a fidelity bond
and liability insurance. In my home state
ground schools are exempted from the
license and insurance requirements. Is a
sole flight instructor considered a flight
school, or does your state have minimum requirements such as an office, an
airplane or multiple instructors to be
considered a flight school?
If you do not want to go to the expense of setting up a full-fledged flight
school, offer your services to local flying clubs, the Civil Air Patrol, FAASTeams and EAA chapters. There are
many organizations that are looking
for energetic members with the skills
to teach others to fly or to conduct
aviation-related seminars.
Once you become a flight instructor,
there are several places that you may list
your services. The first is the bulletin
board at your local airport. Make a sign
or a business card that tells the world
that you are a flight instructor and available. Be careful not to cross the line and
advertise yourself as a commercial pilot
for hire. You are a flight instructor, not
an on-demand charter pilot.
NAFI and other websites allow you to
list your name and aviation-training specialties. Many people will find you when
they search for information about learning to fly. Before you start training other
pilots, and before you forget what it was
12 •
like to be a novice flight student, be sure
to write down all of the reasons why you
became a flight instructor. What did you
like, and dislike, about your instructors
and flight training? How will you conduct yourself and what are your personal
“policies and procedures” for your flight
school? What are your instruction rates,
when is payment expected and how may
customers pay you? Set yourself apart
from the rest, and have these items
spelled out — in writing — in your
school’s operations manual.
What will be your flight school’s policy on customer service? What will you
do with, or for, your students that other
instructors and flight schools do not
do for their customers? When I started
my flight school, one of my hot buttons
was that the flight instructors I employed would be ready on time for their
students and that they would have a
written syllabus for each lesson (ground
or flight). Another was that we would
have the cleanest rental fleet in our area.
Our policy was that every student pilot
would take five minutes and “debug” his
airplane after every flight. What will you
do to stand out from the crowd?
You should create a free Web page
using Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo,
Google or others to advertise your
flight school. For a few dollars a year,
you can even go all out and buy your
own domain name and private email
address. Take photos of your students
and aviation activities and share with
the world. Write articles about aviation
and flight training for your website and
the local newspaper. It is up to you to
generate enthusiasm, recruit and train
the next generation of pilots.
Scott Johnson, CFI, AGI, is the founder
of Stick-n-Rudder Flight Training LLC
in Minnesota. He is a frequent speaker,
author and presenter at aviation events
around the United States. His aviation
specialty is teaching the flight instructor refresher clinic (FIRC) to renewing
instructors, and developing a culture of
safety and professionalism in aspiring
flight instructors. Contact him at www.
“Position Report” continued from page 2
Key to all of this is continuous
improvement. Our core publications, eMentor and Mentor, are
named as they are because that
is one of the key concepts behind
NAFI. Whether we are talking
about mentoring a student, an
experienced pilot or our peers, we
are really talking about improving aviation through our efforts
as flight instructors. Our publications, as mentioned, provide that
service to instructors, sharing best
practices, ideas, information and
so on. Along with that, though, I’d
like to have NAFI members take
on a more active role. That is one
of the reasons I’ve started conducting monthly webinars. One of
the ideas that generated a lot of
excitement among the members
who participated in the first webinar is that of establishing NAFI
chapters. The purpose of these
chapters would be to provide a
setting where instructors can work
together to improve the product
they provide their students. Because it resonated so strongly, this
is something that we are actively
Another mentoring opportunity
that came out of the first webinar
was that of marketing. Many of
the participants indicated that
they’d like help in becoming better
at the business of flight instruction. We took that to heart and
will work to provide that kind of
education to our membership. In
fact, because of that input, you’ll
find an article by Scott Johnson in
this issue.
Because of all of this, I’m excited to be your new chairman. There
are many opportunities, more
than outlined here. I’m firmly convinced that we can affect change
for the better in aviation, and that
our membership is the key in doing so. I look forward to hearing
from and working with you.
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Simple versions will
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Alexander Burton
“We just go. It’s shorthand.
It’s familiar.” — Denzel Washington
any students putting their first foot into the world of IFR
flying find it feels like trying to drink through a fire hose:
There is just a lot of new information coming at a high rate,
and it can be a challenge incorporating it quickly enough without
being overwhelmed. This is particularly true for low-time pilots
and for those who, as we might say, are on the mature side of 25.
As with any new environment, it can be extremely helpful to
begin by learning something of the language and developing a facility with copying instructions and clearances provided by ATC.
Generally, IFR controllers speak as though they were talking to a
senior 747 captain: quickly and in code. This can be very confusing,
at first. Remember those first few times as an ab initio private pilot
student when you had to listen to the ATIS broadcast and actually
speak to a controller to obtain taxi instructions? Well, here you are,
again, starting at the beginning.
Before you even consider roaring off into that sometimes complex IFR environment, it is helpful to learn or develop a simple,
easily understood shorthand method of copying clearances from
ATC. Spending some time accomplishing this can simplify entry
into this new world of flight.
There is no single, universally accepted system for clearance
shorthand; find one that works, learn it, and as you develop pro-
14 •
ficiency, modify it to suit your own particular requirements. Our
good friends to the south, the FAA, do publish a good set of clearance shorthand notes (see notes), which you can certainly adopt
for your own if you choose.
Here’s an outline for a very simplified version that can be helpful to get you started:
. . . . . . Airport
. . . Intercept
ABM. . . . . . AbeamLT. . . . . . . Left Turn
AP . . . . . . . ApproachPT . . . . . . Procedure Turn
ASAP. . . . . As Soon as Possible
RT . . . . . . Right turn
ADV. . . . . . AdviseMAP . . . . Missed Approach
BC . . . . . . . Back Course
OB. . . . . . Outbound
BPOC. . . . . Before Proceeding on Course
R . . . . . . . Report
BLO . . . . . . BelowRL . . . . . . Report Leaving/Level
C. . . . . . . . .Clearance or Clears
RR. . . . . . Report Reaching
X . . . . . . . . CrossU/S . . . . . Unserviceable
DLY . . . . . . DelayTIL. . . . . . Until
EAC . . . . . . Expect Approach Clearance
TWR . . . . Tower
EFC. . . . . . . Expect Further Clearance
UFN. . . . . Until Further Notice
ETA . . . . . . Estimated Time of Arrival
. . . Climb
FL. . . . . . . . Flight Level
. . . Descend
FPR . . . . . . Flight Planned Route
N. . . . . . . North
H . . . . . . . . HoldS . . . . . . . South
IB. . . . . . . . InboundE . . . . . . . East
M. . . . . . . . MaintainW. . . . . . . West
D . . . . . . . . DirectSQ. . . . . . Squawk
Longhand:“ATC clears GVTN to the Vancouver Airport via flight planned
route. Departure Runway 25. Squawk 1234. Airborne, contact
Calgary Departure on 119.8. In the event of a communications
failure squawk 7600 and proceed on course.”
FPR 25 SQ 1234 119.8 CF SQ7600 POC
Longhand:“ATC clears FWJV direct the Turner Valley NDB to hold west
inbound on a track of 090. Maintain 7,000 feet. Expect further
clearance at 1845 UTC.”
D TV H W IB 090 M 70 EFC 1845
Longhand:“ATC clears GGBM to the Springbank Airport for the straight-in
ILS/DME Runway 34. Descend to 6,000 feet. Report 12 miles
south of the airport.”
60 R 12 S
Try writing “FABC is cleared to hold southwest of the Calgary
VOR inbound on the 200-degree radial; maintain 7,000 feet; expect further clearance 1845 Zulu” in the time it takes to read it at
a fairly quick rate. Not so easy. But, “H SW 200R M7Ø EFC 1845”
doesn’t take all that long to jot down and provides the necessary
information for the pilot to understand what is being offered.
Normally, learning viable shorthand for clearance copy will be included as a part of an IFR training program, but not all instructors are
either willing or able to spend the time with students helping them
gain facility with a system. So, do yourself a favour: Don’t shortcut
the shorthand. Time spent learning it will be time well spent.
As with all clearances, before accepting it we want to make sure it is understood, clear and sensible; as PIC, IFR
or VFR, we retain responsibility for the
safety of our flight. If, for example, you
are cleared to hold southwest inbound
on the 030 radial, you are faced with a
physical impossibility; the 030 radial extends from the navigation aid toward the
northeast. Fuel may also be an issue. You
don’t want to accept a hold clearance that
will potentially keep you flying racetrack
patterns in the sky beyond a safe fuel reserve. You know how much fuel you have;
ATC just knows the endurance time you
entered on your flight plan unless you tell
the controller differently.
If you do not consider a clearance consistent with maintaining the safety of
your flight, don’t understand the clearance or it doesn’t make sense, don’t accept it. Let ATC know what the problem
is and initiate the process for a repeat or
another clearance that will work for all
concerned. One of the key phrases many
pilots are reluctant to use when asked if
they are ready to “copy” but which can be
extremely helpful is, “Go ahead slowly.”
Many people would rather die than be
embarrassed, but that choice is probably
not the healthiest one, particularly if you
have others depending on you for their
safety and well-being.
The first step, however, is to develop a
facility for listening, hearing and recording the information you receive from ATC
regarding clearances and instructions so
you can both understand and read them
back accurately. Unless we can “capture”
the information we receive in a form we
can review and then read back, communication has not been successful. Without
successful communication, misunderstandings occur and confusion rather than
smooth operations prevail.
If we have the opportunity to choose
between difficult and easy, the choice is
not a huge stretch. Keep it simple; do
yourself, your passengers and your friendly ATC controller a big favour. Take some
time to learn a good system for easily recording ATC clearances and instructions
so when you are asked if you are ready to
copy, you will be.
Alex Burton is the chief flight instructor
and base manager for Selair Pilots Association in partnership with Selkirk College based
in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. He
is a Class 1 instructor and pilot examiner and
holds an ATP endorsed for both land and sea.
He has been a regular contributor to Mentor
and other aviation publications both in Cana-
da and the United States. His two-volume collection entitled Flight and Flying is available
through Amazon Books for Amazon Kindle.
One good source for a system is found in Appendix 1 of FAA-H-8083-15,
Instrument Flying Handbook, accessible online at
Winter 2013 • 15
16 •
By Joe Clark
PART 3: Flight Training
—A Nation Readies for War
The Boeing Stearman was used by both the
Army Air Forces and the Navy to train pilots.
ne provision of the Treaty of
Versailles that ended hostilities in
Europe in The Great War prevented Germany from maintaining an air
force. The treaty banned all aircraft pilot training in Germany, but allowed for
aviation education in the form of glider
flying. This fact, combined with the
Great Depression in full effect during
the mid-1930s, helped reduce United
States Army Air Corps flight training
at the time. Only 184 pilots graduated
from U.S. advanced pilot training in
1937, while both Germany and Japan
began rattling sabers, threatening
world peace.
By late 1938, many in the leadership of the United States believed we
would soon be at war with Germany,
and Japan as well. In October of that
year, Gen. Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold
approached Oliver Parks, C.C. Moseley
and Theophilus Lee. The trio represented Parks Air College, the Curtiss-Wright
Technical Institute and the Boeing
School of Aeronautics. Arnold’s pro-
posal was for the three schools to create
flight-training schools, without funding
from the government, completely at
their own financial risk. Later, Robert
Hinckley, head of the CAA, authored
the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938
providing funding for the program.
During a White House press conference on December 27, 1938, President
Franklin D. Roosevelt committed to the
aviation-training program that would
later become the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP). Its intent was to
train 20,000 pilots a year in colleges
throughout the country.
At first, the CPTP was mired in
controversy. Some military leaders
doubted the validity of training by
civilians, while Roosevelt’s political adversaries claimed it was another waste
of federal money. Those who preferred
to remain neutral and isolated from
the problems developing in Asia and
Europe believed the program would
involve the United States in a war
sooner, rather than later.
Winter 2013 • 17
The North American Aviation BT-9 was the basic trainer for
many who graduated from Primary School.
If the cadets did not fly the BT-9, they flew the BT-13, Vultee “Valiant.”
December 7, 1941, changed many of
those attitudes and opinions.
The earlier training provided by the
CPTP helped with the supply of qualified pilots as the United States entered
the war, but the shortage remained
great. Some renowned aviators and
those who would become famous in
18 •
other fields trained as CPTP pilots.
These included John Glenn, Richard
Bong and George McGovern.
After the start of the war, the CPTP
changed its name to the War Training Service (WTS) and functioned as a
screening process for those desiring to
become military pilots. For those, the
path to wings was challenging, to say
the least.
Once they passed the flight physical at the local cadet board, candidates
went to the Cadet Classification Center,
a process lasting three to five weeks.
While there, the Army tested the potential cadets for their aptitude and sent
each in one of three possible directions:
pilot training, bombardier training, or
navigator training.
After classification as a pilot candidate, the new cadets found themselves
in Preflight School. This nine- or 10week school involved classes in military
customs and law, flight theory, navigation principles, aircraft and naval vessel
recognition, and weapons training with
small arms and rifles. They also drilled
in marching, participated in physical
training and rounded out their indoctrination into the military lifestyle.
After graduating from Preflight, the potential pilots reported to one of several
Primary Schools located throughout
the country.
The Army Air Forces administered
the Primary Schools, and civilian flight
instructors staffed their teaching ranks.
The airplanes used to train those who
sought pilot’s wings included the famous Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane,
the low-wing Fairchild PT-19, the Ryan
PT-22 Recruit and the PT-23, which
Fairchild developed from the PT-19
when it installed 220hp R-670 radial
engines on the PT-19 trainers. Most of
the training airplanes sported a deep
blue fuselage and very bright yellow
wings complete with red, white and
blue roundels on both the upper and
lower wing panels.
The Army established the Primary
Schools at civilian airports throughout
the nation. The southeast and Texas
housed many of the training facilities
because of the region’s good weather.
Some of the other states where flight
schools were placed included California, Kansas, North Dakota, Arkansas,
Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, Arizona,
and Wisconsin. Originally, the Army
established the “contract flying schools”
at civilian airports and operated them
During flight training,
the new pilots had to
solo after a minimum
of 10 hours of flying.
Before solo, they were to
complete 25 landings with
their flight instructors.
as military establishments. The flight
instructors, too, contracted to the Army
as civilian trainers.
During flight training, the new
pilots had to solo after a minimum of
10 hours of flying. Before solo, they
were to complete 25 landings with
their flight instructors. They could not
go beyond 13 hours. If they did, the
flight instructors “washed out” the
slow learners from flight training. To
complete Preflight, they had to log 60
hours of flight time with no less than
175 landings.
Typically, cadets logged about 70
hours of flight training during their
nine-week stay in Primary. While at Primary, everyone flew the same syllabus,
the same type of airplane and learned
how to survive making aerodynamic
mistakes in the air. It was nothing more
than a mere introduction to the art of
flying. Developing their skills would
come later, at the Basic School.
At Basic School, which was another
nine-week course, the Army culled the
pilots for fighter assignments from
those who would go on to fly multiengine bombers. The airplanes used at
this school included the North American BT-9 and the Vultee BT-13 Valiant,
also known as the “Vibrator” to those
who flew the airplane.
Because of the complexity of the new
airplanes, the novitiates learned about
radio communication for the first time,
along with operating a more powerful
engine and adjustable-pitch propeller.
It was at Basic while flying a BT-9 or
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Winter 2013 • 19
Those selected to flight single-engine fighters went on to advanced training in the North American T-6 “Texan.”
Those who completed
flight training had reason
to be proud of their
accomplishment. First, they
survived. Flight training
during this time was, in
a word, dangerous. Many
were injured or killed
during their training.
BT-13 that pilots learned cross-country
navigation, night flying, how to fly
on instruments and formation flying.
If they passed all of their checks, the
pilots might have started to feel as
though they would actually go on to
graduate and win their coveted military
wings after only a couple more months
of training.
Moving from Basic to Advanced, the
new pilots flew in one of two aircraft
more specific to the type of airplane
they would fly in combat. The singleengine fighter trainees flew the North
American AT-6 Texan, and the bomber
pilots trained in either the CurtissWright AT-9 Jeep or the Beechcraft
AT-10 Wichita.
For the fighter pilots, in addition
to transitioning to the AT-6, the new
advanced curriculum consisted of 70
more hours of flight training, including
more formation flying, aerial gunnery
and combat flying. The Texan was much
faster than the airplanes they previously flew and sported retractable landing
gear and other more complex systems.
For the bomber pilots flying the
Jeeps and Wichitas, advanced training
included additional instrument and
night flying, as well as the complexities
of flying a multi-engine airplane in formation. While the amount of flight time
and length of training was the same, the
bomber boys did not receive training in
gunnery or combat aerobatics.
20 •
Those who completed flight training had reason to be proud of their
accomplishment. First, they survived.
Flight training during this time was, in
a word, dangerous. Many were injured
or killed during their training. From
January 1941 to August 1945, 324,647
cadets entered flight training. Of those,
191,654 graduated. During the same
period, 132,993 washed out of flying,
failed their academic courses or died
while training. This allowed for a success rate of 59 percent. That translates
into a flight-training program so difficult that more than 40 percent of those
who started never finished.
When they completed their training in the Advanced School, the cadets
had wings pinned to their uniforms,
along with the golden bars of a second
lieutenant. Their next stop: a modicum
of training in the airplane they would
take to war.
This is the juncture where flight
training during this period becomes really ugly. At the start of the war, safety
took a back seat to wartime operations.
The Army Air Corps needed pilots at
the front as soon as possible, and consequently, new pilots found themselves
in combat units with little experience in
their airplanes. The accident rate at the
beginning of the war was dismal for a
lack of training and experience.
In the United States alone, including
training in all aircraft, the military lost
12,506 airframes in 47,462 accidents.
Of those, 5,533 accidents were fatal
with a loss of 13,624 aircrew members.
One P-47 pilot voiced the opinion
that he was essentially already dead.
“I was sent to England to die,” he said.
Many of his colleagues felt the same.
In fact, some of those pilots had logged
all of one hour of transition training in
the P-47 before they entered combat
against their Germany counterparts.
Later in February 1944, when the unit
turned in their P-47s for P-51s, Col.
Donald Blakeslee was in command of
the 4th Fighter Group. Again, there was
no time for transition training to the
new airframe. Blakeslee reportedly told
his pilots, “You can learn to fly ’51s on
the way to the target.”
When Jimmy Doolittle led the raid
against Japan on April 18, 1942, there
were 15 other pilots commanding B-25s
who flew off the deck of the USS Hornet. Of those, all but five had acquired
their wings before 1941, and 15 of the
16 co-pilots flying on the raid were
fresh out of flight school.
During the war, there remained
accidental airframe losses as the result
of a lack of training. For instance, the
hapless P-51 pilot who suddenly found
himself in a go-around situation could,
and many did, fatally torque-roll himself into the ground by applying power
too quickly.
Later, when the Allies appeared to
Many pilots selected for bombers flew the Curtiss AT-9 “Jeep” in Advanced School.
The other option for multi-engine pilot training was the Beechcraft AT-10 “Wichita.”
turn the corner on winning the war, the
focus began returning to safety. When
the calendar reached the early part of
1944, pilots entering combat typically
had logged about 450 hours of experience. Of those, the pilots accrued about
250 hours in flight training.
It is hard to imagine that many of
the World War II fighter pilots had
fewer than 400 hours with less than 25
in type when they entered the war. And
most were no older than 19 or 20.
They were young, enthusiastic and
inexperienced—and they won the war
and saved the world. Then they came
home to new possibilities. They became
crop dusters, airline pilots, aviation
entrepreneurs and college students.
A few even became flight instructors.
They also sold airplanes to their students and became dealers for the new
airplane companies, including Cessna,
Beechcraft, Piper, Luscombe and more.
In fact, right after the war, aircraft
production in the United States went
off the charts. In 1946, American buyers purchased 33,254 general aviation
aircraft. With the pilots returning from
the war, many thought there would be
“an airplane in every garage.” Indeed,
many of the new designs offered were
automobile/aircraft hybrids.
For one glorious period, it seemed
as if the flight-instruction profession
was going to come into its own. Truly,
it appeared there was going to be an
airplane in every garage. However, as
time passed and the war fell deeper into
memory, things changed. Many associated airplanes with war rather than
convenience or transportation.
The general aviation boom did not
last. New units sold in 1947 consisted
of less than half those sold in 1946,
and in 1948 the same thing happened
again. In the three years of 1946-1949,
about 58,000 new units hit the skies.
From the boom sales of 1946 to
1948, general aviation would struggle
to survive in the 1950s. Another war
came along, although not as threatening and ominous as the last, but it still
affected private flying and the flightinstruction industry. General aviation
would survive, however, and go on to
become a thriving industry in the following decades.
Who would be the most influential
players in the new field? They included
the returning veteran fliers and a new
breed of aviation entrepreneurs.
Longtime aviation writer Joe Clark
teaches at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, served as a U.S. Navy attack pilot
and owns a Cessna 170. He and his wife,
Ardis, own and operate BluewaterPress
LLC, a small publishing company.
Winter 2013 • 21
Teaching the Stabilized
Approach, With Math
Exercises for primary
flight students
By Rudi Hiebert
ne of the most beautiful aspects of
flight instruction, for me personally,
is the sense of internal consistency of
ideas and principles across the spectrum
of flight operations. That is to say, ideas
and principles used in VFR flying are seen
in IFR operations, and ideas and principles
seemingly specific to IFR flight are manifest in VFR operations. Highlighting these
consistencies makes for very effective
teaching and is completely illuminating for
the student pilot.
One example is the idea of the stabilized approach. A stabilized approach is
one where the aircraft’s airspeed, rate
of descent and lateral track do not vary
as the airplane approaches the landing
point. In ideal conditions the pilot does
not need to manipulate the controls
during final approach, as the airplane
simply glides toward the intended point
of landing. The pilot’s job is to position the airplane at such a point where
the airplane’s altitude, lateral track and
descent gradient produce a glide path
that intersects the ground at the desired
aiming point.
In IFR, we have waypoints and crossing altitudes, and time and distance
checks we cross-check to ensure the
aircraft remains on the correct glide path
as it travels the approach to landing. To
produce the same effect as a VFR pilot,
however, we have to construct our own
cross-checks as the airplane progresses
through the pattern.
22 •
An Exercise
To do so, we can give our students a
simple mathematics exercise to help them
determine crossing altitudes, distances,
times and airspeeds at key points in the
pattern. To do so, draw and label a normal,
left-hand pattern. Start by assuming the
aircraft is ½ mile distant laterally from the
center of the runway, downwind, 1,000
feet above the runway. Challenge the
student to work out the time and distance
flown for the downwind, base and final
legs, and to calculate the height above
the ground as the aircraft turns from
downwind to base, and from base to final.
Start out by making assumptions about
aircraft performance that simplify finding
a solution to the puzzle. Then introduce
real-world performance parameters to
make the puzzle progressively realistic.
The exercise requires a little algebra, and
being able to substitute terms from one
equation into another to find a solution. A
completed sample exercise is provided at
the end of this article.
How does the exercise relate to
real-world flying, and what does
it do for the student? First, it
demonstrates how key values for
a normal pattern may be derived
from considerations of aircraft
performance. Students will learn
to visualize and fly their pattern according to a plan. Second,
by varying assumptions about
groundspeed, it becomes easy for the
instructor to discuss how to adjust pattern legs for winds. Finally, the exercise
demonstrates that the pattern can easily
and proficiently be flown with minimal
control inputs and with modestly banked
turns. The implications for reducing
the chances of an inadvertent stall/spin
while maneuvering in the pattern should
be obvious.
How do you know the student has
absorbed the lesson? The student should
actively identify the following points
over the ground, prior to entering the
pattern: mid-field pattern entry point,
the abeam point, the downwind-base
point and the base-final point. The
student should verbalize MSL altitudes
for each of the points and the required
airspeeds. Attention should be focused
Winter 2013 • 23
Approach to Landing Exercise
For each puzzle, determine the leg distance, time of the leg and altitude above
ground at the point of starting the base turn, and at the point of turning final. All
models assume constant power and trim setting, and no-wind conditions.
1. Aircraft flies at 90 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) on all legs, 500 feet per minute
(fpm) descent at key point. Determine leg length, time, altitude above ground at
base turn and final turn. Assume turns are instantaneous in nature.
2. Modify model No. 1 by introducing the use of flaps—90 KIAS with flaps 50
percent, 82 KIAS with flaps 100 percent. Flaps are deployed 50 percent at the key
point. Flaps are deployed 100 percent on base. Assume changes are instantaneous.
3. Modify model No. 2 by introducing rates of descents seen when the flaps are
deployed. With flaps at 50 percent, rate of descent is 450 fpm. With flaps 100
percent, rate of descent is 400 fpm. Again, assume turns are instantaneous.
4. Modify model No. 3 by introducing the radius and rate of turns. Use bank angles
that equate into 6 degrees-per-second turns. For most light general aviation
airplanes a 6 degrees-per-second turn at 100 KIAS is between 20 and 25 degrees
angle of bank. Note that during the turns, the rate of descent increases by 50 fpm.
Solution to Puzzle No. 3
Inspect the diagram and identify relationships between legs of the approach, e.g.
Distance Leg A = Distance Leg C
Distance Leg B = 1/2 mile
Note that:
speed = time / distance
Create a proportional relationship between Leg A and Leg C based on airspeed:
Airspeed Leg A / Airspeed Leg C = 90 / 83 = 1.08
= 1.08 TA
since DA = DC
TC = 1.08 TA
DA, DB, DC =
Distance of legs A, B and C respectively.
TA, TB, TC =
Time to fly legs A, B and C respectively.
outside the aircraft, and only glancing at
flight instruments to confirm airspeed
and altitude, and coordination during the
turns. The prelanding checklist should be
run early on, preferably before entering
the pattern, and a final flow check on
final approach. The student should fly the
airplane so it tracks the desired rectangular pattern. Finally, flown this way, the
aircraft does not require aggressive or
continual correction, so stick manipulations should be minor, and should be
made smoothly, calmly and timely. Power
should be used as the primary control
to remain on the desired glide path. The
24 •
Time Leg B = 0.5 nm / 1.38 nm/1 min = 0.36 minutes = 22 seconds
Altitude lost Leg B = 22 seconds * 500 ft/min = 180.7
Solve for legs A and C by substituting terms
1,000 feet = height lost Leg A + height lost Leg B + height lost Leg C
Re-express height lost for Leg A in terms of its proportional relationship with Leg C
Height lost Leg C = RC * TC
Height lost Leg C = RC * 1.08TA
and substitute
1,000 feet = RA * TA + RB * TB + RC * 1.08TA
819.3 = 8.3 * TA + 9 * TA
1,000 = height lost Leg A + height lost Leg B + height lost Leg C
Height lost Leg A = rate of descent Leg A * duration of Leg A
Height lost Leg C = rate of descent Leg C * duration of Leg C
Rate of descent Leg A = 500 fpm with flaps 50%, = 8.3 ft/sec
Rate of descent legs B and C = 500 fpm with flaps 100% = 8.3 ft/sec
Solve for time and altitude lost for Leg B, e.g.
1,000 feet = 8.3 * TA + 183 + 8.3 * 1.08 * TA
Height = 1,000 feet AGL at Point A
Height = 0 feet AGL at Point D
DA / TA = 1.08
C / TC
Write down the actual performance characteristics (these reflect an SR20.)
Positioning trim to the takeoff position and setting power to 40 percent produces the
following flight characteristics, in a no-wind situation:
Groundspeed = 90 KIAS = 1.5 nm/min = 150 ft/sec for Leg A, flaps 50%
Groundspeed = 83 KIAS = 1.38 nm/min = 138 ft/sec for Leg B, Leg C, flaps 100%
819.3 = TA * (8.3 + 9)
47.3 = TA
5. Solve for the remaining elements
HA = RA * TA = 8.3 * 47.3 = 393.9
HB = RB * TB = 8.3 * 21.7 = 180.7
HC = RC * TC = 8.3 * 1.08 * 47.3 = 425.4
Altitude Point A (AGL) = 1,000
Altitude Point B (AGL) = 1,000 - 393.9 = 606.1
Altitude Point C (AGL) = 1,000 - 393.9 - 180.7 = 425.4
Time elapsed Leg A = 47.3
Time elapsed Leg B = 21.7
Time elapsed Leg C = 51.0
Total time = 120 seconds
Distance Leg A = 150 ft/sec * 47.3 sec = 1.2 nm
Distance Leg A = 138.3 ft/sec * 21.7 = 0.5 nm
Distance Leg A = 138.3 ft/sec * 51.0 = 1.2 nm
student should not need to use trim
during the pattern if the airplane is welldesigned and properly rigged.
Final Thoughts
Anecdotally, the exercise was welcomed by the flight students I’ve shown
it to, who like the challenge of the puzzle
and appreciate the opportunity to show
off some of their basic math skills. All of
the students, whether they complete the
exercise or not, have expressed appreciation for learning that key parameters can
be derived from basic considerations of
aircraft performance and position.
As an instructor, it is very satisfying
to see pilots actively plan their pattern
by picking out key altitudes, airspeeds
and points over the ground to make their
turns. Flown in this way, the pattern
seems unhurried and completely controlled. I hope that this exercise, if new
to you, can add to your repertoire of tools
and techniques for teaching your students how to fly a stabilized approach.
Rudi Hiebert is a 2600 hour ATP
rated CFI-II instructor and teaches in the
New York metropolitan area at a major
flight school. Join NAFI to...
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w w w .NAFINe t . o r g
What the
Examiner Sees
Pilot Logbooks
or our next look at what pilot
examiners see during checkrides
we’ll go back to the very start of
a checkride, before the actual testing
begins. One of the examiner’s first
duties is to make sure the applicant is
qualified to take the test. This is partly
accomplished by an examination of the
applicant’s pilot logbook. Having the
required number of hours in various
categories (“aeronautical experience”)
shown on the 8710-1 application form
(online, in IACRA) isn’t good enough
by itself. Examiners have to verify that
there are supporting entries in the applicant’s logbook. We also need to see
the endorsements that are required for
26 •
the certificate or rating to be tested.
Consider the most common certificate, private pilot. I start by looking
for the endorsements, usually located in the back of the applicant’s
logbook in the private endorsements
section. Private pilot requires three
endorsements: current 90-day solo
(FAR 61.87,n,2); 61.39,a,6; and
61.107,b,1/61.109,a endorsements.
When applicants make an appointment with me for a checkride, I specifically tell them that they must have
those three endorsements in order to
be eligible to take the test. Even so,
they still sometimes show up without
one or more of them.
Larry Bothe
It’s you, the
flight instructor,
who is signing
the student
off. If you send
an unqualified
student for a
checkride, then
you should
personally pay
the examiner’s
additional fee.
The flight school
should eat the
airplane rental.
It wasn’t the
student’s fault.
It’s not hard for 90 days to go by
without the student being re-endorsed
for solo flight. The 90-day solo endorsement is required for the private
checkride because your student will
be flying as pilot in command. Sometimes when the appointment is set
the solo endorsement is current, but
then weather or mechanical problems delay the checkride and the solo
endorsement goes beyond 90 days.
Other times it has been months since
the applicant has been legal for solo,
simply because the instructor forgot.
Never mind that the examiner can’t
give the checkride; whatever insurance is on the plane was probably
invalid for the entire time. The pilot
wasn’t legally qualified to fly the plane,
and because of the FAR violation the
insurance contract was null and void.
If the student was working on required
aeronautical experience during that
period, say flying solo cross-country,
the FAA could invalidate that time
and require that it be flown again (but
I have never heard of that actually
happening). Note that the 90-day solo
endorsement must be dated on a day
the instructor flew with the student.
After all, how could you attest to your
student’s competence on that day if
you didn’t fly with him?
Instructors dislike the 61.39
endorsement, which is required for
virtually all certificates or ratings.
It’s long, consists of two parts and
often is not found preprinted in the
logbook. Nobody wants to write it
out. But write it out you must. The
short version, “Joe Applicant meets
the requirements of FAR 61.39” isn’t
good enough, according to the FAA. It
requires the full text. The two parts
are “… 3 hours of instruction in the
preceding 2 calendar months …” and
“… has demonstrated satisfactory
knowledge of the areas shown to be
deficient on his airman knowledge
test.” When you give 61.39 be sure to
include both parts.
The FAR 61.107/109 endorsement
is short and straightforward, and
nearly always is found preprinted in
What happens when
an applicant shows up
with an endorsement
missing? Do we just
send him home? Not
necessarily. If we can
locate the instructor
and have him drive or
fly over to provide the
endorsement, we can
give the test.
the back of the student’s logbook. It
is the one that attests to the fact that
the applicant has received instruction
in all of the areas of operation and
has all of the aeronautical experience for private pilot, ASEL, and
the applicant is prepared to take the
practical test. (The comparable endorsement for the instrument rating
is FAR 61.65.) Since 61.107/109 sort
of sounds like the first part of 61.39,
why are both required? It has to do
with the fact that many students have
had more than one instructor pursuant to any certificate or rating. The
last one, the recommending instructor, didn’t give all the training, but he
is responsible to determine that the
student has received all the required
training and has all the required
aeronautical experience, hence the
need for the 61.107/109 endorsement. Sometimes in haste the 61.105
endorsement gets confused with
61.107/109; 61.105 is the endorsement that allows the student to take
the knowledge test. Since the applicant has his knowledge test results
in hand (and/or loaded into IACRA),
the examiner doesn’t need to see the
61.105 endorsement. Don’t confuse
the two. We need to see 61.107/109
to give your private pilot student the
Here are a few final thoughts about
required endorsements. Are you
unsure about the proper wording for
an endorsement? Just grab a FAR/
AIM book, look up the FAR and write,
“I certify that I have given (student’s
name),” and then parrot back the
FAR. A form of this procedure works
for the wording of any endorsement
you need to give, provided that you
know the FAR number to start with.
Examiners don’t care how endorsements get into the applicant’s logbook. Any form—preprinted, fill-inthe-blanks, printed on crack-and-peel
labels, or written out longhand—they
are all acceptable. Although customarily put in the back of a logbook,
endorsements can be anywhere. We
just need to see them in order for
your student to be eligible to take
the test. And although this article is
primarily about what we see, or don’t
see, in pilot logbooks, while you’re
signing your student off for that first
solo cross-country, be sure you have
signed his student pilot certificate for
solo cross-country.
What happens when an applicant shows up with an endorsement
missing? Do we just send him home?
Not necessarily. If we can locate the
instructor and have him drive or fly
over to provide the endorsement, we
can give the test. How about a faxed
or emailed endorsement? Since endorsements require an original signature, the acceptability of an electronically transmitted one would be up to
the policy of your local FSDO. When
in doubt we examiners check with our
FAA boss, called our principal operating inspector (POI), for guidance. But
if the instructor cannot be located,
then we have no choice; we have to
send the applicant home.
While I’m in the back of the applicant’s logbook checking for required
endorsements I also look for a record
of ground instruction. Most logbooks
have a ground instruction section
right before the preprinted endorsements. The same FAR that requires
a record of flight instruction also
requires that ground instruction be
received and recorded. In fact, FAR
61.107,a, states that: “A person who
applies for a private pilot certificate
Winter 2013 • 27
must receive and log ground and
flight instruction from an authorized
instructor ….” Note that the ground
instruction is even mentioned before
the flight part. A student and his
instructor will take great pains to
record every minute of flight time,
but ground sessions often go undocumented. In recent years our FSDO has
told all the DPEs that if an applicant
shows up without a record of ground
instruction, send him home; don’t
give the test. A 61.107/109 endorsement by itself is not sufficient. We
have to see individual entries with
dates and times, covering the subjects
taught, just like for flight instruction
and aeronautical experience. Be sure
that you make a separate logbook
entry for any ground session that
goes beyond a few minutes of briefing
or debriefing.
After verifying that the applicant
28 •
has the required endorsements and
record of ground instruction, I then
make sure that he or she has the hours
logged to meet aeronautical experience requirements for the certificate
or rating sought. In the case of private
pilot that means 40 hours’ total time,
20 of which are dual and 10 solo, with
three hours of instrument training,
three hours’ cross-country training,
three hours of night training (including a 100 nm cross-country and 10
night takeoffs/landings), five hours of
solo cross-country (one “long” 150 nm
trip with one leg at least 50 nm), and
three full-stop landings at an airport
with an operating control tower. That’s
pretty straightforward, so how could it
possibly get screwed up? Oh Lord, let
me count the ways!
The “long” cross-country wasn’t
long enough. Examiners don’t measure
each leg of each cross-country flight,
but we are generally familiar with the
area in which we examine. We know
the approximate distances between
airports. If a flight looks like perhaps it
doesn’t qualify, then we check.
Insufficient control tower landings. The instructor told his student
that while he was over at Big Airport,
he should make three landings and
takeoffs, but he made only one, and
logged it that way.
Control tower landings were
touch-and-go; not-full stop, taxiback. How would we know? Because
they were logged as touch-and-go,
that’s how. Pay attention to how your
students log things, especially required
aeronautical experience.
Part of the three hours of instrument flight training was accomplished
in a ground-based flight training
device. Since the FAR calls out flight
training, with no qualifying excep-
tions, all the IFR training for private
has to be in the airplane. The 2.5 hours
of FTD time allowed toward private
pilot by FAR 61.109,k,1 has to be used
some other way, like cockpit procedures training.
Insufficient solo time. Dual instruction somehow got stuck in the
PIC column in the logbook, and the
instructor didn’t catch it.
Insufficient cross-country PIC (50
hours required) for the instrument
rating. This usually happens when the
applicant thinks he has just barely
enough PIC cross-country, but has
inadvertently included the three-plus
hours of dual cross-country training
he received toward his private certificate. The solo cross-country for private
counts, but the dual doesn’t.
I could go on and on, but I think you
get the idea. It is necessary that you,
the instructor, make sure your stu-
This brings up a sore
subject among pilot
examiners: sloppy
logbooks. We just
hate it when we open
a logbook and it is all
but indecipherable.
dent meets all aeronautical experience
requirements. Those requirements
must be logged in such a way that the
examiner can understand them and
readily see that the requirements are
This brings up a sore subject among
pilot examiners: sloppy logbooks. We
just hate it when we open a logbook
and it is all but indecipherable. Columns are not added up, page totals are
not carried forward, time entries in
various columns are missing, and there
are multiple errors and scratch-outs;
the logbook is a mess. That immediately tells the examiner that neither
the applicant nor his instructor give a
hoot about what they are doing. Is that
how you and your student want to be
viewed by the examiner at the outset
of a checkride? Probably not!
It is necessary that all the times
in the various categories be added up
for the purpose of entering them into
IACRA, so why not do it page-by-page
and fix the logbook up at the same
time? Virtually all logbooks have some
(corrected) errors in them, and that’s
fine. Strike-through or correction tape
is OK with me; I just need to be able
to read it. Once it’s all added up, and
before entering the totals into IACRA,
please do one final cross-check. For
the first pilot certificate, be it private
or sport, the total of the PIC/solo
column, plus the dual instruction
column, must equal the total duration
This is a fascinaƟng account of one
journey through the history of
Leroy H. Brown started his
decades ago as a crop duster
i Florida, began ying for NaƟonal
and nished his Ɵme in the
of a Pan Am heavy. On the
w to his reƟrement, he had more
than most could ever
On sale this spring.
Checkout our other aviaƟon Ɵtles
Winter 2013 • 29
of flight column. If dual plus solo does
not equal total, then there is an entry
error somewhere. You need to go find
it (it’s on the first page where dual plus
solo does not equal total), fix it, and
then fix each subsequent page at the
bottom. When dual plus solo equals
the total on the last page, then you can
move on to IACRA.
What happens if, in spite of your
best efforts, it does not appear to the
examiner that an applicant has all the
required aeronautical experience? Does
the examiner just send him home to
do some additional flying? Hopefully
not. If certain flight times appear to
be missing, we look for an entry error.
Maybe the problem is as simple as the
time for a cross-country flight was not
entered in the cross-country column.
If the rest of the entry shows that the
applicant went to airports that qualified as a cross-country, and the time
is consistent with the distance, then
we just enter the hours in the crosscountry column, count it as valid crosscountry time and move on. But if it is
not a simple logging error and the flight
was not made, then the examiner has
30 •
no choice but to refuse to give the test.
There are no exceptions to aeronautical
experience requirements for Part 61
applicants; either the applicant has all
that is required, or he doesn’t.
When an examiner sends an applicant home because he is not qualified
to take the test, who pays? If a lack of
qualification problem comes up, the
examiner usually spends quite a lot of
time, an hour or more, trying to find
a solution so he can give the test. If
in the end it can’t be resolved because
the instructor can’t be located, or the
applicant really doesn’t meet aeronautical experience requirements, then the
applicant will likely be told to bring an
additional fee, perhaps $100, with him
when he returns after the deficiency
is corrected. That compensates the
examiner for the extra work he had to
do, and for making his day otherwise
nonproductive. How about the plane?
The applicant probably rented it from
the flight school and put one to two
hours on it to fly over to the examiner’s
airport and then back home again,
while accomplishing nothing. There’s
another $100 to $200 down the drain.
Should your student have to pay for the
airplane rental? While students should
know the requirements for a certificate
or rating, it’s just not reasonable to
hold these beginners ultimately responsible. It’s you, the flight instructor, who
is signing the student off. If you send
an unqualified student for a checkride,
then you should personally pay the
examiner’s additional fee. The flight
school should eat the airplane rental. It
wasn’t the student’s fault.
What if disaster strikes and your
student loses his logbook? It doesn’t
happen very often, but through a fire,
theft of a flight case, divorce, automobile or airplane accident, or just
plain stupidity, a pilot can lose his
logbook. The good news is that the
FAA allows a missing logbook to be
reconstructed. However, there has to
be some basis for the reconstruction
(aircraft rental records, instructor’s
records of dual given, maintenance
log for the student’s owned airplane,
previous 8710-1 form, etc.). You can’t
just make it up. The new logbook
should contain a statement that it is
a reconstruction, and cite the sources
of information upon which the reconstruction was based.
In my experience the least expensive commercially available logbook,
the ASA-SP-30, has the most complete
preprinted endorsements in the back,
and also has the largest space for comments in each flight entry. A DPE friend
says the Gleim logbook is very good
as well. That means you’ll do less work
if you start your student with one of
these logbooks. Impress upon him the
importance of neat and accurate recordkeeping. Have him immediately put his
name and address, along with a phone
number and email address, in the front
of the logbook. When the time comes
that’s where the IACRA log-on information will go as well. If you do a neat job
of logbook entries, chances are that
after your student solos, he will too. If
he doesn’t, you need to point out the
error of his ways.
A pilot logbook that is neat and
kept up-to-date will go a long way toward preventing the kinds of problems
I have presented in this article. The
examiner will be positively impressed
with your student’s preparation. Pilot
examiners find no pleasure in sending
an applicant home because he is not
legally qualified to take the test. We
would much prefer to get the job done
and issue the sought-after certificate
or rating. We like to create pilots; not
prevent them.
Larry Bothe is an FAA designated
pilot examiner, FAASTeam representative
and Gold Seal instructor in the Indianapolis, Indiana, FSDO area. He is also
a Master Certified Flight Instructor and
has more than 7,000 hours in more than
80 types of aircraft. He may be contacted
at [email protected]
Winter 2013 • 31
unway excursions, events in which an
aircraft veers off or overruns the runway surface during takeoff or landing, continue to plague aviation. European
regulators found that there “are at least two
runway excursions each week worldwide,”1
and according to ICAO the rate of runway
excursions has not decreased in more than
20 years.2 General aviation is not immune
to these problems. The takeoff and landing
phases of flight account for the majority of
GA accidents. The 22nd Joseph T. Nall Report notes that landing accidents “made up
31 percent of all accidents, more than twice
the proportion of any other pilot-related
category, a figure entirely consistent with
the historical record.” 3
The learning law of primacy says that
first experiences often create a strong, almost unshakeable impression. As flight instructors, we have not been doing a good
job teaching our students to accurately assess the risks of runway excursions and understand takeoff and landing performance.
Re-examining how performance is taught
reduces runway excursion risk because students have a better understanding of distance requirements.
Takeoff and landing distance is not a
significant issue during primary training
because the runways used are often much
longer than the distance required. A Cessna
172N on a typical training flight will take
off and land in less than 1,000 feet. As a
result the student becomes accustomed to
a seat-of-the-pants assessment that most
runways are long enough.
The regulation 14 CFR 91.103 requires
a pilot “become familiar with” runway
lengths as well as takeoff and landing dis32 •
The instructor’s role
tances. These calculations during training
flights reinforce the impression that the
airplane will almost always operate in the
available distance. By inversing the process,
an instructor can force a student to think
critically about performance.
Instead of only finding the performance
for the current conditions, find out how
bad the conditions can be and still have the
required performance. Coincidently, this is
very similar to how airlines determine performance. For the Cessna 172N, the worst
condition would be a pressure altitude of
8,000 feet with an OAT of 40°C at maximum takeoff weight with a 10-knot tail
wind. These conditions result in a takeoff
and landing distance of 3,200 and 1,200
feet, respectively. These distances do not
include runway slope or contamination.
This data also assumes short-field techniques are used.
In the transport category world the
above numbers are considered unfactored
distances. A set factor, or multiplier, is
applied to these distances to account for
the use of normal takeoff and landing
techniques. The FAA recommends that an
airplane land in 70 percent of the runway
length. Rearranging the math means the
As flight instructors, we
have not been doing a good
job teaching our students
to accurately assess the
risks of runway excursions
and understand takeoff and
landing performance.
By Jordan Miller
factored landing distance can be found
by multiplying the unfactored distance
by 1.43. In the worst-case scenario for
the C-172, the factor landing distance is
1,700 feet.
Factors are not used for takeoff data
under Part 121 because single-engine performance considerations are sufficiently
restrictive. But large airplanes operating
under Part 135 are required to clear all
obstacles by 50 feet vertically within the
airport boundary. This condition can easily be applied to general aviation since the
runway length is known and data is provided for the distance required to reach 50
feet AGL. In the worst case scenario for the
C-172 the distance is almost 6,000 feet.
Now that the factored distance is determined, this number can be applied to real
life. If the runways in use are greater than
6,000 feet the pilot knows there is sufficient performance as long as the weight is
under gross, pressure altitude is less than
8,000, OAT less the 40°C, and tail wind less
than 10 knots. If the runway length is less
than 6,000 feet, we have to adjust the maximums so the factored distance is within the
required length.
Catalina Island is one of the most
beautiful places to fly, but it only has a
3,000-foot-long runway. Under the worstcase scenario the C-172 needs almost double the available distance. Therefore some
conditions of the worst-case scenario have
to be reduced. The most significant effect
on distance is the tail wind, so this would
be the best factor to reduce. Unfortunately,
the runway has a 2.1 percent slope favoring Runway 4 for takeoff. Therefore the 10knot tail wind might want to be left in the
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calculations allowing for a downhill versus
uphill departure. Pressure altitude, temperature and weight can be changed. Since
a 10-knot tail wind adds 50 percent to the
required distance, the combination of PA,
temperature and weight requires a takeoff
distance of 2,000 feet. Therefore worst-case
scenario can be:
MGTOW, PA 2,000 feet, OAT 30°
MGTOW, PA 3,000 feet, OAT 20°
2,100-pound TOW, PA 3,000 feet, OAT 40°
2,000-pound TOW, PA 5,000 feet, OAT 20°
Now that a performance envelope is established it can be used to make choices. If
the actual conditions are less than those, a
pilot has the required performance.
A couple of factors are not included in
these numbers. The POH doesn’t account
for runway slope. AC 91-79 suggests a 10
percent increase in landing distance for
each negative degree of runway slope. The
AC is addressing turbine-powered aircraft
so the effect on piston airplanes might be
slightly different. Without guidance from
the POH or manufacturer, this rule of
thumb is better than nothing. Additionally, runway contamination has not been
addressed. The POH includes an adjustment for dry grass but not for wet, snowy
or icy runways.
The use of short-field techniques can
bring the actual takeoff and landing distance closer to the unfactored length. A
takeoff from a runway shorter than the
factored number is possible. The pilot must
recognize that maximum performance is
required and that the takeoff is a significant hazard. Extra time and attention must
be paid to minimize the associated risk.
Airlines use this backward method of
finding performance all the time to save
fuel and money. By using a PA and assumed
weight just above the current conditions,
airlines find the highest temperature that
can be used for takeoff. The higher the temperature is for a given PA, the higher the
density altitude. The higher the DA, the less
power or thrust an engine produces. The
engine also consumes less fuel. Airlines use
this assumed temperature to reduce the
34 •
thrust used for takeoff. The result is lower
fuel burn, lower temperatures and longer
engine life. Airliners are approved for this;
don’t try it in a C-172.
Runway excursions are a leading cause
of accidents and incidents worldwide. As
instructors we play a pivotal role in educating our students but have not been doing
a good job. Lessons reinforce a student’s
perception that almost all runways are adequate. This is not always true, especially
as the student leaves the training environment and flies at different weights, density
altitudes and in different aircraft. Reversing the typical performance calculation
forces a student to think critically about
limits. This variety of critical thinking will
hopefully help pilots with the ability to reduce the runway excursion rate.
Jordan Miller is a CFI with more than a
decade of experience teaching Part 61, 135,
and 141. He works with NAFI’s Regulatory
Committee tracking PTS changes, and is a first
officer for a major US airline.
EUROCONTROL, European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (2013) 9.
Bob Knill and Mackteld Smith, 22nd Joseph T. Nall Report (2012)
or more than a year I have served
as a flight school manager in addition to working as a flight instructor. This has been a very interesting and
exciting opportunity while I completed
an MBA degree. Recently, I haven’t been
able to toss aside my strong feeling that
we as flight instructors need to get back
to the basics and knock the rust off. We
need to revisit the basics of the do’s and
don’ts when it comes to being effective
and compassionate flight instructors.
One thing that I have been exposed to
in my current role is talking to students
who are coming to my flight school or
learning at other schools. I have been
shocked, maybe because of my own ignorance, at the staggeringly high number of
students who have previously had negative experiences. I am one of the first
people to remind others that there are
always two sides, at least, to every story.
Thus, I suppose it is possible that the
flight instructors were not aware of the
crucial mistakes they were making.
I’m not sure if there are more of
these negative experiences now than
there were in the past, but I know that
there are just too many. The good news
is that we, as instructors, can actually
have a positive effect on this. We can
improve the experiences for our customers, the students.
While teaching flight instructor candidates we spend a great deal of time
discussing and learning about the fundamentals of instructing and what the FAA
considers important. Whenever possible,
I try to present scenarios from my past
instructional experiences. I also make it
a point to invite my CFI students to sit
in on lessons with my primary students
or in the ground school courses I teach. I
want them to see how the students actually act, plus how I perform. I am always
interested in the feedback that my CFI
students provide, and I have found in
many cases they have given good feedback that I could use to improve my own
instructional activities. While they sit
in, I hope my CFI students see the roles
that I play as a flight instructor. These are
the roles that we all play as instructors,
and the roles they will fill in the future.
Whether it is to engage the student, encourage the student or even entertain the
student, we go further than just teaching
our students.
By varying the approach we have with
students we can actively promote positive learning experiences. It is very important that we do not use a one-sizefits-all approach to teaching. It simply
does not work. One student after a flight
lesson asked me if he could continue his
training with me. He was a new student
to our school, so I explained how I have
a limited schedule based on my dual
role. His response took me by surprise,
Students are exactly what
we call them — students —
and as a result they don’t
know what they don’t
know. It is very important
that we encourage them.
This means that negative
learning experiences must
be avoided at all costs.
Matthew T. Elia
“I’m okay with that. We can definitely
make it work. I really enjoyed this experience; the last guy I flew with, well, it
wasn’t very much fun. It was like flying
with your old middle school gym teacher.” After hearing this, I gladly accepted
the student and helped him schedule his
next month of lessons.
The “old gym teacher” comment got
me thinking, and it occurred to me that
sometimes instructors believe it is their
way or the highway. Sometimes this is
good, occasionally a stern approach is
necessary, but as flight instructors we
need to fill multiple roles, and more
importantly, we have to know when we
need to fill these roles for the benefit of
our students. We must go beyond simply informing our students and being
the teacher. As students’ instructors it
is our job to encourage them and share
our passion for flying with them. We
Winter 2013 • 35
have to engage our students and get
them to play an active role in instructional activities. Finally, we must entertain them from time to time. Let’s
face it, some of the stuff we teach can
be pretty dry, but it does not have to
be. We can make a great impression of
important material on our students by
adding in humor or by employing other
techniques besides lecturing.
Every student is different: some will
study and read ahead in their textbooks,
and others will simply show up for a lesson having done nothing flying related
since their last lesson other than flying
Microsoft Flight Simulator for 10 hours.
Some students simply do not want to
study, and that is fine. It isn’t our job to
change them; it is our job to teach them
what they need to know to be safe pilots.
By engaging our students we give them
the ability to learn more efficiently. The
students who are prepared and study
will find engagement in training activities as a positive reinforcement. Whether
it is simple questions and answers or
a discussion about the aircraft after a
flight while still at the airplane, engaging students with unique opportunities
improves their learning experiences by
adding value beyond simply lecturing in
a classroom. Similarly, for the less-thanprepared students who do not study,
these types of engaging activities help to
aid in the instructional process by going
beyond the simple flight and quick debriefing. The students will receive information in a manner that they will likely
remember better because of the unique
experience it was matched with, such
as a visit to the maintenance shop. For
example, seeing a Cessna 172 with the
cowling off is much better than reading
about systems in a book.
Students are exactly what we call
them — students — and as a result
they don’t know what they don’t know.
It is very important that we encourage
them. This means that negative learning experiences much be avoided at all
costs. Being negative or threatening
goes in the exact opposite direction of
what we need to be doing. Sure, using
a veiled threat to get students to study
36 •
Let’s face it, some of the
stuff we teach can be
pretty dry, but it does
not have to be. We can
make a great impression
of important material on
our students by adding in
humor or by employing
other techniques besides
may be effective in some cases, but this
could be done just as easily in a positive
manner. By highlighting the benefits of
studying, such as doing a good job on
the next written stage check in a Part
141 environment or on the next oral
quiz in the Part 61 flight-training world,
students are not faced with negatively
framed concepts.
Remember those students who did not
do anything to prepare for a lesson? I’m
sure everyone has stories about their own
encounters. Well, those students need to
be entertained and intrigued. Whether
that means an animated ground lesson
or being involved in the decision-making
process about whether to head to the
north or south practice area, there is a lot
we can do as instructors to entertain our
students and keep them actively involved
in the lesson. Why is it our job as instructors to entertain the students? Well, if it
provides a better learning experience for
our students if they are involved and active, then why wouldn’t we do it? Those
were of course rhetorical questions; there
is no reason not to do those things.
Beyond ensuring that we inform, engage, encourage and entertain our students, there are some things that we
must make sure do not occur during the
training we provide. Negative learning
experiences hinder students’ enjoyment
of flight lessons, and that is something
we have to ensure does not happen. After
all, if the students do not enjoy the lessons, they will not continue with the lessons, and that means fewer pilots in an
age when we need all the aviation enthusiasts and pilots we can get!
We must remember that students
are by far the most important part of
the aviation community. Too often I
have seen instructors make jokes to get
a chuckle out of their co-workers, occasionally at the expense of their students.
One person I spoke with during my research for this article explained a story
about a negative experience, which left
me disappointed but not shocked. She
explained that during her private pilot
training (she has since earned her certificate) an instructor once made a point to
embarrass her in front of others because
she did not know an approach frequency
off the top of her head. This is the kind
of thing that may seen benign, but can
truly cripple a student and cause her to
drop out of learning to fly whether she
is doing it for fun or in the pursuit of a
career. I have always said that there is
no reason to memorize something like
a frequency that can be easily located
on a chart. In time the student will remember it and be able to recall it, but
this is not something that should be
mandatory. This is just one example of
an experience I have either witnessed or
been told about. I am willing to bet that
every instructor has observed this type
of destructive behavior on some level by
another instructor, if not recognizing it
in themself at least once.
By revisiting the basics and actively
making our students our priority we can
all pitch in to make the flight-training
community better. In an age when the
national news is running stories about
the impending pilot shortage, we need
every pilot we can get and we need effective instructors. By remembering these
four roles of the modern flight instructor
we can all be better. We have to inform
our students; we have to engage our students; we have to entertain our students;
and we have to encourage our students.
If we make a conscious effort to be effective instructors, we will have more students turning into pilots.
Matt Elia is the operations manager
and a flight instructor at King Aviation
Mansfield. He holds an MBA from UMass
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