Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
Answerman: Answers to
Common Aviation Questions
have a student showing aggression. He becomes irritable during
training. What do I do? Ryan D. Ft Lauderdale, FL
I have a student who is an older gentleman and he currently seeking an
instrument rating. He owns his own airplane, and I've been working on
getting him current with a BFR. I've noticed that anytime I
go to correct him or tell him he did something wrong, he becomes
aggressive and has used profanity towards me. For example, yesterday we
were doing pattern work, and he forgot to bring his flaps up as we were
starting to takeoff again. I told him to abort the take off and clear
the runway. He became real irritable about it, and assured me he
hadn't forgot when in fact he had. We were just about to rotate and his
hands weren't anywhere near the flaps. Then on another circuit,
on base or final we got the stall light and aerodynamic ques that the
aircraft was stalling. His answer, "theres no way this airplane
is stalling, we're at 92, this thing doesnt stall until 64."
While trying to re-educate him that its entirely possible the airplane
CAN stall at 92, with flaps and gear down, in a descent, he became
irritated and said, "I already know all that!" Then he starts to
totally block out what I'm saying. What do I do? Jim,
I've got an unruly student. When we started flying he proved to
be rusty and was showing signs of agression and always trying to blame
something else other than him. After the second flight together
he said that next flight we would do 3 touch and goes and I'd give him
the endorsement for the BFR. In my judgement, he wasn't anywhere
close to being proficient. When I told him that I would not agree
to that, he became irate and stormed out of the FBO. Harris G,
Long Beach, CA
First, as a Flight Instructor, you are charged with the responsibility
of challenging inadequate and/or unsafe flying. You are on the
hook for properly supervising the flight to be undertaken.
Second, the days of the "three trips around the pattern BFR" are long
over. The FAR is very clear as to what your responsibility is
when issuing a BFR or training a student for a rating. A pencil
whipped BFR endorsement does not serve the pilot,
the aircraft owner, or the general public. When a pilot violates those
standards or becomes involved in an
incident, the FAA is mandated to figure out what part of the system
broke. Eventually they will get back to that CFI who didn't do
Third, as a professional, you are the one on the hook for ensuring that
the people that you come in contact with receive your best,
professional training. If you do your job, you will never have to
face the widow of your former student in a courtroom.
You are the decision maker when it comes to whether a student is
proficient to be flying the IFR system, advancing to new rating, or
first solo. You are the one who carries the liability for the BFR
you issue or the
checkride signoff you give. As
such, you are required to train your students to proficiency according
to the guidance given to you by the FAR/AIM, FAA Advisory Circulars,
and the PTS. The FAA is relying upon you as a gatekeeper in the
that qualified pilots are flying to the published standards.
Your students must understand this process, accept it, and respect
it. It comes down to a choice whether they can cooperate and
adapt to the process or find another instructor. A student who is
ready to learn, who is ready to listen, exhibits an attitude of being:
Fourth, there are times when a student and an instructor are just not a
good match. When a conflict arises, the resolution says a lot
about both the instructor as well as the student. Consider having
an open discussion with your student about your concerns. If you
aren't the right instructor for the student, be upfront about it and
offer to make a referral.
- a partner
a self driven professional who craves knowledge about aviation.
in their flying,
a passion for doing things correctly goes beyond using the checklist,
a way of life.
never taking unnecessary
risks, and properly managing the risks of flight.
as a student,
for each lesson, but even more important, a prepared pilot who plans
flight and seeks to know "all available information."
ultimate judge of
their own performance, accepting responsibility for their setbacks and
asking for help to improve their skills while not being too
Good debriefing openers:
For more information on your duty as a flight instructor, read CFI
Liability - a stark look at CFI professionalism
- "What could have been done better today?" Include the
good points of the flight lesson to leave the topic on a high note.
- Offering correction: "it might work better if you tried..."
Your Flight Instructor Wish You Knew - or
Things Pilots Must Learn - or
Making Safe Choices
Your Flight Instructor Worries About
Aviation Safety Programs
Flight Profile Flying - how to improve
safety flying the profile
to Aeronautical Decision Making - Hazardous
Information on the FAA
Pilot Proficiency Program "Wings"
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