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6 Answers

How to be a good instructor?

Asked by: 2233 views , , ,
Flight Instructor, General Aviation, Student Pilot

i'm asking to all of you experienced flight instructors:

What suggestions would you give to yourself (imagine you can send a letter in the past) in order to be a good instructor as you are now and don't make the same little mistakes you did in your career?


and i'm asking to all of you student pilots:

Which aspects do you really like of your instructor? Any weak point you would like him/her to change/improve?


thanks everybody,

fly safe.

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6 Answers

  1. Ryan Konrath on Jan 17, 2013

    There are many things that go into being a good instructor. Obviously you have to be very knowledgeable. You must be constantly learning and improving on your craft(not just aviation but teaching, interacting, etc).

    However, I think the most important thing would be the ability to adapt your style to that required by the student. Not one student will be like any other. However, the information stays the same. How are you going to help that student develop their knowledge? Are they a book person or stick and rudder? Do they self evaluate well or do they need your help? Self motivated or no motivation?

    So thinking about this quickly I would say the ability to adapt as well as constantly striving to be the best you can be (continually learning).

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  2. Bill Trussell on Jan 17, 2013

    Any person who can impart their knowledge and experience to those with less experience, while respecting their dignity,their time and money will be a very busy instructor. To do this they must treat their students as they would like to be treated while finding the “sweet spot” or the best way their student learns overall and for each topic, maneuver or situation. If they do not know an answer to a question they find out. They are patient, calm, collected, and confident. They find ways to make flying fun and exciting and they MUST love what they do.

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  3. Brian on Jan 18, 2013

    You can prepare all you want, but you’ll still never have a clue till the moment arrives. The best thing you can do is enter with an open mind, always be observant, especially to your students, and bury your nose in the books during any free moment. You can never know too much and no matter how much you know there will be questions where you feel you don’t know anything.

    Finally, you don’t know what you don’t know. This one bit me hard so I’d probably capitalize it, underline it, write it in funny font, and circle it with a red marker.

    Oh, and it’s worth it.

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  4. Best Answer

    perlgerl on Jan 23, 2013

    I really like it when my instructors ….

    – Showed confidence that I could master the required skills. He talked about “when you get your licence …”

    – Took lots of time after the flight to talk in private about what I did right, what I did wrong and what the airplane was doing. I found I could rarely absorb lengthy in-flight feedback. As a result, immediate post-flight briefings were more important than the pre-flight briefings.

    – Let me make mistakes, and/or gave me hints about what was wrong, so I could figure it out and fix it myself. I’ll never forget the low airspeed when I was trying to climb with flaps on, the length of runway I used when landing with the wind, or being on final with the gear up.

    – Made me assess the weather and decide if it was a suitable day for a lesson. When I cancelled due to weather, he was always supportive of my decision, even though it meant he wasn’t earning money or time. He set a great example of conservative decision making.

    Two weaknesses I’ve observed …

    – Talking or texting when they are instructing.

    – Manipulating controls/switches without telling the student.

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  5. Chris Carlson on Jan 25, 2013

    -teach by mistakes
    I could not agree with perlgerl more when she says that allowing the student to make mistakes is an important lesson to be taught. The instructor needs to be confident enough to let the plane go to its limits, with safety in mind, and kindly remind the student of their actions. (best lesson I learned was when i forgot to tune/identify the navaid, and made an approach into an off field NDB. Luckily it was a high ceiling, but breaking out to the wrong NDB was a hard lesson)

    -Dont appear money-hungry
    Talking as a person, and not an instructor for 50/hr is great. Like Bill said, respect the students money and time. Some of the best education I got was when I was waiting out weather at the flight school, and just talked to instructors/professional pilots on a personal basis. My original instructor lost me as a student because he didnt do this, and in turn the other instructors and I became friends, and I was then more willing to give them my business.

    -Have multiple explanations for everything that isnt rote memory
    Very difficult, but will help you work from multiple students perspectives

    -Teach in groups if possible from your school
    I loved the ground sessions that we had when 2-5 students who were all working on the same rating would get together with an instrcutor and just talk about flying. Using other students to explain concepts is a great way to do little work for an even better outcome. Its not exactly like a formal ground school, but more like a discussion.

    -The previous extends into group flights
    Every so often, if both parties are comfortable, have 2 back to back students fly with each other in the back seat. Helps to think about things without the stress of flying the plane at the same time, but still having the perspective of it. Who doesn’t like a scenic flight anyways…

    –Hands on learning
    The flightschool I used had cross section cutouts of cylinders, pieces of a vacuum pump, different instruments, sample of av-gas mixed with water/sediment in a jar, a bicycle wheel that you could spin to literally feel the gyroscopic forces, among other things

    –Take students along for the ride if the opportunity arises.
    throughout my training, I got to sit right seat on angel flights and maintenance runs, both were awesome examples of what flying can be like after the ticket

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  6. lo_fly on Jan 26, 2013

    My sincere thanks to all of you for such great advices.

    Happy landings and fly safe

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