Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
Argument in the Cockpit, Who's
QUESTION: I recently got into an argument with my
flight instructor during a flight about LAX airspace. Well, we
were flying at the time and things got quite heated. I was sure
that I was right and he wouldn't have any part of it. I'm still
upset, what should I do? I haven't been back for a lesson
since. -- Jeff D
ANSWER: Hi Jeff thanks for your question.
Disagreements between a student and his flight instructor are
common. And there's nothing wrong with a healthy dialogue with
your instructor to help you clarify your understanding. I'd
caution you about letting emotions get out of control while
actually flying as it can affect the safety of the flight, especially
while flying in busy Class B airspace.
The bottom line is that your flight instructor is respsonsible
for the flight whether you are a new student pilot or a seasoned pilot
with hundreds of hours. The best response you can have in such a
situation is to comply with the instruction or of there is an area of
disagreement, explore it on the ground. If something happens
during the flight, the FAA is going to fault the CFI for not properly
supervising the student.
When you get on the ground, its a completely different story.
Remember, your relationship with your instructor is important so do
your best to disagree politely and if you think you are right, stick to
your guns. Your flight instructor should be able to provide
evidence of his claim through a variety of means:
- FAR/AIM, or
- FAA Training Materials, or
- Industry Training Materials, or
- The catch-all: his personal experience.
I'll point out that your instructor has been through quite a
bit of training to get his qualifications. He is probably
right. Does that mean he's always right? NO. Does it
mean that the two of you can't negotiate a clearer understanding
between you? NO.
A good flight instructor is (as a student is) always
seeking to improve his knowledge and understanding. Most flight
instructors learn as much from the mistakes of their students as they
learned in their training to become a CFI. Keeping a CFI honest
means keeping him on his toes. The bulk of material a CFI must
constantly have at the tip of his tongue is tremendous. And the
learning doesn't stop when a CFI has gotten his ticket, nor does it
stop when you've gotten yours.
If the problem doesn't get solved between the two of you,
there are several options:
Remember, the relationship is the most important. If its damaged,
your training will be less effective and ultimately it costs you
more. If you are able, call your instructor and invite him to
discuss it further over a Grape Shasta. Then go fly.
- Just do what he says (usually not a good idea)
- Think about it more (always a good idea)
- Agree to disagree until you can resolve it on your own.
- Go somewhere else.
I hope this helps Jeff.
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