Memorable words

What is it about flight students? You get along great, you share the same passion for aviation, they are nice and pleasant people for the most part. Yet for some unknown reason, out of nowhere, randomly, so you never know when it’s coming, they suddenly try to kill you. Flight instructing sure is a crazy business.

Looking back on my flying career I’m thinking that probably most of my closest close-calls were all during flight instructor days. I had one student who would stress out so bad during an approach that he would just “give up” about ten to twenty feet above the ground, literally throwing his hands up yelling “You have the controls!”. That’s not a great flight profile to transition controls, especially in a helicopter, and especially if you throw your hands up first and announce your intentions after.

Especially dangerous were students who were actually pretty gifted. They make you relax way sooner than you should. One of those students did great for the first 4 or so lessons until we happened to be passing over his house which prompted him to reach for his camera to snap a photo. The problem was, he was the one flying the aircraft at the time and just let go of the controls.

My list is long.

Imagine being Chuck’s CFI though? That’s probably expert level craziness …


Tagged with: , , , , ,
4 comments on “Memorable words
  1. Bernd says:

    My previous airplane (Socata Rallye) flew so stable that I could let go of the controls for 5 to 10 seconds to take photos. But only after I had a couple dozen hours on type and only when the plane was in trim (not necessarily straight, it might be in a shallow turn) and high enough, and only when I was alone. I was also aware when it was changing the bank angle and could correct with the rudder. I’m not yet at that level of comfort in my current type (Robin DR.400).

    But my flight instructor also occasionally yelled, mostly in jest (I hope), “I don’t want to die!” when I wasn’t flying quite as smoothly or coordinated as he would have liked.

  2. While doing circuits one day, the aircraft started rising, so I adjusted & retrimmed. It then started descending, so I corrected & retrimmed again. On the third time I realised the instructor was laughing as he used his foot to put pressure on the elevator cables to create pitch changes without touching the yoke.

    Cheeky bugger claimed he was getting revenge for the white hairs I was giving him with my landings 🙂

  3. Karel A.J. ADAMS says:

    That last one reminds me of the instructor – or was it an examiner? – who moved his keys around over the dashboard, so as to make the compass point everywhere except where it should.

  4. whitepines says:

    I honestly don’t know how CFIs put up with us stupid students. Two favorites…

    Primary training, working on short field landings. Was doing reasonably well, compensating for the lift and sink off the runway more or less correctly, then the final pass in I pulled throttle in lift, then for some reason just left it out in the region of sink over the runway despite the fact we had to be going down well over 500FPM in the flare. That was an *arrival*, thank goodness for Cessna springy landing gear.

    Much later, my second time ever landing a low wing aircraft (transition training), my subconscious thought it’d be a great idea to pull a Harrison Ford and lined up perfectly with the taxiway next to the runway. Had to be verbally reminded of this fact prior to short final…never pulled that one in all the hours spent flying high wings. Doh!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *