Chuck’s old flight instructor

Being a flight instructor is a rather interesting job. You meet great people. They pay you to fly with them. You share the same passion, and often you find yourself hanging out with them after work or just bumming about the airport with them. You spend countless hours with them working towards the same goal. Yet … for some completely unexplainable reason … they randomly try to kill you every few hours. Why is that?

One thing is for sure, you can never let your guard down. I got in more trouble with more advanced students who I really like for that very reason. Any CFI’s in here have had similar experiences?

Let’s hear them!

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9 comments on “Chuck’s old flight instructor
  1. Turbomallard says:

    I tell people that I instruct part time because you can’t beat the experience of riding around in an airplane that is being flown by someone who doesn’t know how to fly it…

  2. Torstein says:

    I spent close to two years as a CFII/MEII just outside Atlanta. The near death incidents are countless. But one guy blew me away. He attempted to aim for Hartsfield on a cross country calluing field in sight to ATC. 30 miles from home. Home base was KLZU. Single strip oriented 07/25. He was heading for home and didn’t realise his mistake until ATC asked if he was sure he was going to Hartsfield…. Needless to say, he didn’t get his solo endorsement that day.
    Another guy tried to kill me in the pattern. Reporting he was inbound from the south joinint midfield downwind. Traffic was using 07 with left hand pattern. I kept looking for him only to have him joining me about 50 feet off my wingtip coming in from the north. He had a green shirt that day….my pants was black. Almost turning brown…

  3. Dopey says:

    My favorite is tailwheel instruction–when things go sideways, they go sideways fast–and the student is usually 180 degrees out of phase with the airplane.

    I’ve haven’t run off the side of the runway (yet–touch wood), but had a student lift the tail with the brakes once–fortunately we avoided a prop strike. We pulled off the runway and I spent a long time lecturing him about how “feet on the bottom of the pedals” means “don’t touch the brakes.”

  4. Denton says:

    I’ve been an active CFI for a little over 11 years now. I can’t tell you how many guys have pulled stuff on me. One guy was so terrified of stalls that he would fight me on the controls despite proper exchange of flight controls protocol. I would pitch up for the stall and he would push the stick downward. At one point I sincerely thought I was going to have to punch him to gain control of the airplane. I made him sit on his hands, and when that didn’t work, we returned to the airport.

    I once asked a student to pull back some power in the traffic pattern (directly over the college campus where I taught) because he was going too fast on the downwind. He quickly reaches for the red knob, pulls it all the way back, the engine sputters, and I just as quickly punched the mixture back in. That landing resulted in a full-stop and a long discussion afterward.

    Another memorable one was with an instrument student approaching the final approach fix on an ILS. Another company airplane was also out practicing approaches and on frequency. My student was busy configuring for the approach when ATC instructed us to switch to tower. He was still busy, missed the call, so I replied for him. He then pulled the power all the way back to idle, threw his hands up in the air and hollered at me that the radio call was for the other airplane as we proceeded to enter a nose dive just inside the FAF. I took control of the plane, explained to him what had happened, and that landing resulted in a full-stop as well. I then proceeded to ask him what might have happened if he had done that at the DA rather than the final approach fix.

    I’m sure there’s more war stories, but no one has that kind of time.

  5. Magnoire says:

    My Daddy and both my big brothers were private pilots. I flunked my first car driver’s test and when I finally got my driver’s license, I wrecked the car a week later. I’m not risking lives by getting a pilot’s license! I have gotten better in the last 40 years of driving!
    On another note, my second oldest brother wanted me to fly with him. This is someone I don’t even like to be in a car with while driving! But I did. He only had to abort one landing. >.<
    I have flown my Daddy's radio controlled planes he built.

  6. L says:

    Great stories, thanks for sharing them.
    I too love to fly and I also happen to love to transfer my knowledge to others (i.e. teach). However, for those very reasons y’all are describing here, I won’t become a CFI (or CFII). I’d love to show people how to fly but I think that I’d like to stay alive a little longer.
    So kudos to all the instructors out there who aren’t afraid go get into a cockpit with suicidal maniacs. šŸ™‚

  7. Fbs says:

    As a recent FI, I did not let any student try to kill me – yet !. However my FII had a checkride with a pilot that had three times more expĆ©rience than him, and the guy managed to crash land badly the BE100 they were into (and damaged runway Ć©quipment such as the papi lights), because he was not used to use fixed turbines and retarded throttles too agressively….so don’t trust anyone else at the controls šŸ™‚

  8. Captain Dunsel says:

    One of the good bits about flying R/C is not being in the aircraft when your student tries to kill you. I taught my wife to fly R/C shortly after we married. She’s turned out to be a good R/C flier and has been flying R/C for 40 years. But, when she was learning, she would’ve killed us both…several times!


  9. Dopey says:

    I think Fbs Brought up a great point–training pilots who should know better is much scarier than training new students. New students are expected to pull a Cato on you, whereas experienced pilots are much more likely to surprise. In the tailwheel, one of my most exciting takeoffs was with a fully endorsed tailwheel pilot at the controls–I was glad the runway was 150ft wide–it was one of the few times I used full rudder and brake to get the airplane pointed more or less down the runway.

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