50 Reasons to find a new student

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Big Pistons Forever
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50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:38 am

This is IMHO the best time to be an Instructor in at least 30 years. There is a no sh*t instructor shortage with most schools having a waiting list. The bad old days where you had to deal with anybody who walked in the door are over and you can now high grade the wannabe's especially CPL students.

I have fired a few students in my time, so my examples of when it is time to find a new student:

1) 19 yr old flying on Daddy's credit card. Lazy unmotivated and a pain in the ass. Last straw he shows up for one lesson hung over, unwashed and completely unprepared so I tell him to go home as we are not flying today. His response " If you don't do the lesson I will tell my daddy and he will make sure you never get hired at Air Canada !". In the immortal words of Donald Trump " You are fired !"

2) Being told on the first lesson that " I expect to go solo in 10 hrs, if I don't I will be looking for a new Instructor". I told him I would make this easy as he can starting looking for a new instructor as of right now.

3) Instrument rating student in his Cherokee. "the airplane runs great but there is a few minor issues, the turn coordinator sometimes stops working and you have to transmit on #1 and receive on #2 radio, that won't be a problem right ?" Yup not a problem for me because I won't be your instructor.

4) Multi Engine student. Engine fail on the overshoot exercise. As soon as I retard the throttle he pulls the wheel all the way back :shock: . Airplane stalls and snap rolls inverted. I recover after loosing 2000 ft very thankful I was also an aerobatic instructor. Bottom line that guy was not going to get the chance to try and kill me again.

5) A story related to me by a guy I know. A rich guy buys a Citation and hires him to teach him how to fly it. He doesn't have a lot of experience and no time in anything high performance. The first flight after the instructor has gotten the airplane to a empty patch of air he says, OK lets start by you establishing straight and level flight. The response from the student "What do you want first ? "
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by PilotDAR » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:22 pm

Yeah, I've had to fire two students, and have "words" with a couple of others. They were all nice enough people, just were too far back of the threshold of necessary skills for the type they were learning to fly, and no hope in sight.

It is important that the instructor be comfortable with the overall prospect of safe progress. An instructor is not helping anyone by handholding a student in excess.
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by Squaretail » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:29 am

To make more general the reasons to not fly with students, or in some cases to "fire" students, I use the following guidelines that I have developed over a stupid amount of dual given.

1) Don't fly student's junk. That said, it can be tough to figure out what is "junk" and if you're new to this and if you only fly school planes, well hopefully they're not junk. Now this can be temporary junk, (ie planes with defective yet rectifiable issues) or just outright unsafe crap. The unfortunate thing is many students who decide to train on what they buy are incredibly defensive on the subject. No one purposefully buys junk after all, but as they say: junk is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to temporary junk, hopefully you can convince the student to get things fixed before flying. IF they insist on flying what can be temporary junk, you probably still need to "fire" them. Side note: learn lots about airplanes so you know what junk is, especially if you're considering instructing lots in this lifetime. And have a strong desire not to die in an airplane.

2) Don't fly with students who's airplanes you're otherwise uncomfortable with. While this can relate to the above, there are also airplanes that while completely reasonably airworthy, just aren't suitable for training. Now beware, you can catch a lot of flak for this, but if your gut is giving you a bad feeling about an airplane, as a new instructor don't feel compelled to give lessons in it. The big ones that come to mind are a lot of home-builds. Read up how John Denver died. Many of these aircraft are going to have things in them you won't expect, possibly some odd flight characteristics, which unless you're somewhat familiar with the quirks can turn what may be a small oops in a Cessna or Diamond trainer into a holy shit moment. Be careful here as even two of apparently the same plane, may have a lot of differences. Again, expect to take a lot of derision for making this decision, but some hurt feelings are better than bent tin.

3) Don't take abuse from students. If you're working for a school, stop flying with this student and tell your CFI. Make sure it gets documented. If the CFI don't care, and nothing happens, quit your job. If you're freelancing, have the balls/ovaries to tell them to @#$! off and then not fly with them.

4) Don't bother with students who want to "control their training". Just don't bother butting heads with this type. If you set rules and have a syllabus you're going to follow, stick with it. At a school your CFI should back you up. Students don't get to show up and tell you what they're going to do. This is often a bigger problem with students that own their own airplane for initial training and don't feel they should need your ok for anything. This usually isn't hard to accomplish with today's modern communications, so a sub-PPL student that goes solo without any supervision is just being an ass if they can't be bothered to call and ask if they can.

5) Don't bother with students who want to "combine their training with their busy schedule". Or at the very least make sure you get compensated for this effort. That is to say if a student only wants to do lessons on the way to golf games and business meetings, just don't bother. Usually this student while they will have a nice plane, isn't going to progress at all and sooner or later is going to give up and probably blame you for the lack of progress. Save yourself some time and grief. Now if you want to be this guy's personal pilot, fill your boots, but my advice is be clear about your arrangement. Also be prepared for this guy to "fire" you, the first time you aren't able to accommodate his "busy" schedule. This may come with a rant about how you clearly don't want to work as a pilot, the usual threat about not working for Air Canada. Which he may conveniently forget if he turns out to be desperate for a pilot in the future. Side note, this fellow may expect for you to ditch your other students to serve him, which may be fun short term, but isn't a viable way to make a reasonable living as an instructor.

6) Don't bother with students who expect you to be "exclusive". Students have to understand that you have other students. The guy who comes and interrupts your time with other students, or demands you take him over others, or otherwise reserve your efforts, just ain't worth your trouble. They will cost you the rest of your students, and impact their progress. Make this clear to your students from the start. Personally I always operate on a first come, first serve basis and maintain a strict schedule that I don't break for students.

7) Lastly, if a student shows up dressed in a suit, drinking off brand energy drinks, in his fifties riding a skateboard with a carefully folded up master's degree in computer engineering in a briefcase, just avoid him. There's enough crazy in the world without needing more.
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clairvoyant
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by clairvoyant » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:49 am

***Disclaimer: this reply is a rebuke to the previous post****

5) Don't bother with students who want to "combine their training with their busy schedule".
Some of us have to forfeit our precious golf games and work hard to pay for the flight training since quiting one's day job is a risky move. Among adverse weather condition, instructors' availability, aircrafts being snagged for prolonged maintenances, commutes; will Joe Averages be left behind?

7) Lastly, if a student shows up dressed in a suit....with a carefully folded up master's degree in computer engineering in a briefcase, just avoid him. There's enough crazy in the world without needing more.
Some of us have no choice but to dress in a suit occasionally. I forget where I place my carefully unfolded master's degree in computer engineering but I have my carefully unfolded post-doctorate degree in my backpack to take home today. Am I that crazy?

==========================================================================================================================
I sense elitism among many FTUs and flight instructors these days. Prove me wrong.....
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by digits_ » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:12 am

I sense elitism among many FTUs and flight instructors these days. Prove me wrong.....
Not really. I understand both sides of the argument. What wasn't mentioned though was that the students seldom want to pay more for their special requests. The biggest nickle and dime student I ever had was one that wanted to fly at xx time, was always late, was a fairly weak pilot and demanded priority over other students if the weather was bad or the plane needed unexpected maintenance.

Today, that student would probably be let go if there are 10 more on a waiting list. They drain so much energy it just isn't worth it in this economy.
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by Squaretail » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:49 am

clairvoyant wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:49 am

5) Don't bother with students who want to "combine their training with their busy schedule".
Some of us have to forfeit our precious golf games and work hard to pay for the flight training since quiting one's day job is a risky move. Among adverse weather condition, instructors' availability, aircrafts being snagged for prolonged maintenances, commutes; will Joe Averages be left behind?
You totally missed the point. Everyone comes through the door is "busy" I'm busy, you're busy, everyone is busy. Show me someone who isn't busy. To be honest, if you want to learn to fly, you have to dedicate time. If you can't, then you have to accept that you have other priorities in life, and that's ok, but don't expect your flight instructor to acquiesce to your demanding time slot. Or for it to come cheap. Keep in mind I'm talking about the guy who - apparently unlike you - WON'T sacrifice his golf game to flight train. I'll expand on this and say that this practice is part of the MO for guys who want "scenario based training" that fits with their intended small airplane travel schedule. But then they also are intending to pack around a parachute to compensate for their lack of flying skill. You don't strike me as this category of flyer. Nor would I consider a guy who can afford a half million dollar airplane an "average Joe".
7) Lastly, if a student shows up dressed in a suit....with a carefully folded up master's degree in computer engineering in a briefcase, just avoid him. There's enough crazy in the world without needing more.
Some of us have no choice but to dress in a suit occasionally. I forget where I place my carefully unfolded master's degree in computer engineering but I have my carefully unfolded post-doctorate degree in my backpack to take home today. Am I that crazy?
Maybe? Do you also ride skateboards in your suit and drink Red Rave by the case? Do you feel the need to present your degree to your instructors? This was reference to a specific individual, are you him?
I sense elitism among many FTUs and flight instructors these days. Prove me wrong.....
You feel what you need to feel to make yourself feel better. BPF's point still stands, its a worker's market in flight training these days, as an instructor, you don't have to put up with the BS of the old days of flight training.
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Re: 50 Reasons to find a new student

Post by PilotDAR » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:57 pm

Squaretail is right on.

Students, avoid being on Squaretail's list. You'll attract better training, and you'll survive better as a pilot!
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