Distractions

One point I’m drilling into my student is the idea of no matter what happens during the flight, you MUST always fly the plane first and foremost.

Even if it appears that your going to have an off airport landing for any reason, you must fly the plane all the way down and remain in control. Your odds of surviving are much higher if you remain in control of the aircraft.

While we we out practicing some ground reference maneuvers near the airport, we were monitoring the tower frequency for traffic alerts as it’s a high traffic area, we heard that there was a disabled aircraft on the runway. Uh oh. It was a great teaching moment on many accounts. First it showed the importance of teaching the student the need to be familiar with nearby airports in case that happens during any solo activity, especially the initial solo. They must be prepared to divert and I wouldn’t be doing my role as CFI if I didn’t prepare them for the unexpected.

Distracted pilot

It also pointed out the dangers a distraction can cause. After we landed we heard the full story from another pilot who witnessed everything first hand. The pilot of a Diamond aircraft had left a briefcase containing something valuable at the tiedown spot and declared so to the tower and needed to return. He was so distraught at the thought of losing it that he came in fast and hit hard on the nose wheel and according to the pilot the nosewheel left the aircraft and became disabled on the runway.

We heard the airport truck going out to the aircraft with a tow bar to tow it off the runway and it was soon reopened after the inspection by the truck driving down the runway. No injuries were reported which is always a good thing.

What do we learn? It’s a simple lesson but we must always be in command of the aircraft and fly it all the way to the ground and including the taxi to parking. A distracted pilot has brought down many planes including in 1972 Eastern Airlines 401 into the swamp over a landing gear light. No one on board was actively flying the plane and the crew allowed the problem of one simple light to engross them all to the point that they slowly descended into the swap.

FLY the plane

There are many things that can a distraction to us, but we are first and foremost Pilots, so lets fly the plane first and solve the problems later. We may have more time than we think we have in order to troubleshoot a situation or get our head together so we can land safely. After all isn’t that our responsibility as PIC?

Final CFII Update

The day has finally arrived. After a week of sulking and some more practice the day has arrived to finish the CFII check ride after last weeks discontinuance.

I spent Monday evening playing the instructor to the other student in our CFII class as I taught the G1000 sim and the maneuvers that were left on my task list. That went well but I still needed work on getting the instructions out fast and cleanly as there is a lot to do.

I awoke at 5:30, yes that’s AM, so I could get in an hour of my own practice (before going to work) on the sim and got it set up and then flew the partial panel approach as I “taught” myself and walked through all the steps. I had also reread Rod Machado’s IFR handbook on holding entries the night before and it all finally clicked. I could always enter the hold but I had to work at the process. That morning in the sim was magical and it just made sense. I got it now, this is in the bag!

Ctrl-Alt-Delete time

We had some interesting technical challenges with the sim right as I was intercepting the final approach course, the engine failed! No the DPE  pulling any funny stuff either. So we had to shut it down, reboot, and it was still wonky, so another shutdown and reboot. Meanwhile I’m thinking it’s broke and I’ll end up with another discontinuance and be stuck paying a third time as well.

We persevered and got the sim booted up fine and then repositioned my to where I was before and the exam continued. Whew, okay I can focus and do this.

Flew the partial panel G1000 approach and teaching at the same time how to adjust to that, what scan changes I was doing and utilizing the power of the moving map and such.

Wrapping up

Then it was on to the hold and I explained the parameters of the hold instruction and the all important way to determine the correct entry. That all went perfectly thanks to the practice.

Last up was to teach the unusual attitude and correct recovery techniques for both climbing and descending situations. I’ve always done well at that so no surprises there and we talked about common errors too that students make.

Did I pass?

It was odd to not know, even though I thought I did as she went off to finish off the IACRA application and suddenly was on the phone with the FAA. Hmmm, I started getting nervous. She needed to input the type of sim or really the type flight training device it was, on the application, but I didn’t know if she was checking the “Issue” box or something less desirable.

After an hour it was resolved and I was relived to see she was checking the Issue a certificate box and printed out my new CFI certificate with the added Instrument Airplane privileges on it.

Then it was time to take the “I just passed my check ride” photo at the plane the we flew the initial part of  ride then. What a thrill.

Getting back to teaching

So my time as a student is over and I can go back to teaching. Not only my primary student but also now the instrument student that was my motivation for adding this so soon after gaining the initial CFI.

Just like passing the private check ride, us instructors are still learning as we start teaching as it really is an art form to do it right. Thankfully the DPE’s recognize that we might be a little rough around the edges but they see the potential in us as we must do with our students and work to bring out the shine in them.