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4 Answers

Aviation Mentor

Asked by: 3454 views , ,
Commercial Pilot, Instrument Rating, Private Pilot, Student Pilot

At various presentations my school has held, and general disscussion with seasoned pilots, it is often suggested to get a mentor to help guide you through your aviation journey.  What is failed to be discussed is how to go about doing that, and what having/being an aviation mentor entails.  So...  What are the benefits of having one?  How would I go about getting one?  What sort of help/aid would normally be associated with having one?  Thanks!

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4 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on Apr 21, 2011

    If the prospective student pilot doesn’t know any other pilots, the odds of getting a mentor are low; a mentor is ideally someone that already has a relationship with the student outside of aviation.
    The benefits will depend on the characteristics of the student and the mentor, and so can be non-existent to pivotal to the success of the training.  The mentor can just be someone to talk to about aviation outside of the instructor or he can be someone that pushes the student to complete each stage of training.  The instructor shouldn’t be the student’s only point of contact with the aviation field, or the connection will be easily broken.

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  2. Lance on Apr 21, 2011

    Mentors are a great tool for anyone wanting to get a start into aviation!  Let’s start with your first question.  The benefits of a mentor are more than you realize, not only will it be someone else who you can go tell all about your lessons who will genuinely be just as interested as you, but it will be someone else that you can gain inputs from and techniques that you may have never discovered before (as much as we try, us CFI’s can’t know everything about everything)  🙂  This comes with a secondary effect as well, when you tell them all about your lessons, it will force you to rethink all of the details of that lesson, which will cement the learning that much quicker and better.  The best way to get a mentor is just go to your local airport and hang out, when you see a pilot going out to his/her aircraft (unless they look like they are in a hurry) let them know that you are just starting and trying to learn everything you can about aviation, and looking to make some friends at your local airport.  Most pilots will be happy to have someone else to talk aviation with, and are very happy to welcome someone new into the world of aviation.  If you are unsure about approaching a pilot at your airport, or security or other concerns prevent it, AOPA has a pilot mentoring program called Project Pilot http://projectpilot.aopa.org/projectpilot/ that can help to connect students with willing mentors in their area.  Who knows, your mentor may become a great friend as well and introduce you to parts of aviation you had never thought of (different aircraft, ratings, airports, etc.).  Good luck!

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  3. Jim Foley on Apr 22, 2011

    Thanks for the responses!  Unfortunately, Lance, the project pilot requires a reccomendation.

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  4. Jon Roberts on Aug 03, 2011

    I’m a student with less than 10 hours, but I have a mentor.  He’s a guy I know from work, and we hit it off more because we’re both retired veterans before the question of aviation came up.  He mentioned one day that he missed flying, and I said he should get back into it.  His kids are grown, he’s within a few years of retiring — so why not?
    He bought an LSA and got back into it.  Since then, he’s introduced me to his CFI and I’ve started my journey to certification. Currently I have more right-seat time in my mentor’s plane than I do left-seat with the instructor.
    I’ve found that having a mentor gives me access to someone with experience whom I can ask questions as they come up, discuss flying just for the joy of it, and he even occasionally  runs interference with my wife (who is not thrilled with the thought of me flying).  I not only have a mentor, I have a wing-man!
    I’ve been fortunate to find a guy who is willing to take me under his tutelage, but the most important part of the relationship wasn’t the flying – it was friendship that formed before aviation became part of the equation.  A mentor in any situation, be it professional or recreational, needs to be someone who is interested in helping you reach your personal goals. This is a deeply personal relationship that will be established and maintained outside of one area of common interest. 
    So I cannot entirely recommend the ‘dumb luck’ method that I used in finding a mentor, but I would suggest that you not limit your search to the known aviators in your circle.  You’d be surprised how many people you know already fly, or have considered it.  You might find out that the supervisor down the hall is a CFI or the new guy you’re going to lunch with has an instrument rating.  Come to think of it, those things happened to me too……
    Hope it helps.  Good luck.

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