Solo' from a instructors view!

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Solo\' from a instructors view!

Wow. I just soloed my first student today. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Theres a lot less pressure on my side then there is the students. I think its because of two reasons.
#1. The student was really gung-ho about his training. He was commiting 3 days a week solid to his private license and was able to progress quickly.

#2. He was able to demonstrate the understanding of what was going on.

For example, I've got a student who is probably on his 15th hour of flight training and wondering why we haven't moved passed the 3 basics(turns climbs descents)? My answer: You can't hold an assigned heading, you deviate altitudes by 300-400 feet before I finally ask you to reposition yourself, the list goes on and on and on. In other words, this guy just either wasn't meant to fly, things aren't clicking, or he's not taking it seriously enough. He also only commits about 1 session a week to flying. And has skipped one or two sessions at that.

In other words, giving advice from my standpoint, I'm looking for a student who is proactive about flying. Telling me whats going on in his head. Not just sitting there looking at me as if to say what next?


So anyways, after I spoke with another instructor who took him up on a pre solo phase check, he gave the go ahead. So I wasn't even considering soloing him today. However, considering the high regards from the other instructor, I decided to have his paper work filled out just in case his performance was spectacular. I made him go preflight the plane and made up an excuse about wanting to look at his logbook for administrative purposes!
Anyways, I filled out his logbook, and medical and had it in my jacket insert the whole time. I didn't tell him of course because I didn't want to freak him out. BTW, I had told him that he wasn't soloing today, but that since he had taken all the necassary steps, he was open game to being soloed at any time.
So from the minute I got in the plane I told myself I wasn't going to help him becuase he wouldn't be able to have me up there with him if something went wrong.
So try number one was excellent, but it would have made me feel better if he would have gone around because there was a jet taking off on the parralel runway and one holding in between the two on 19R and 19L. Theres a perfect crosswind at SNA for wake turb to come right into our runway.
Try number two went really well, no traffic, just a simple pattern circuit.
Try number three, they had us switch to 19R on shirt final and he had to adjust for this. At the flare he began to pull the yoke back and forth as if he was trying to reel in a fish, and without me saying anything he went around.
After that demonstration of a go around, I said this is it, he's ready!
The next landing I had him turnoff the runway and I say to him, " I've got the radios, Me: Tower I'd like to get out here on the taxiway and let my student solo." I look over at him and he's not even flinching. I think to myself, either he's frozen up, or its no big deal to him. I said oh well, its now or never. So with that said, off he went, One go around and three touch and go's.

Not as nerve wrecking as I thought, but I have to say he was one of the better students I've seen.

Good luck to you students out there!
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Re: Solo\' from a instructors view!

Great Story Mrivc211....

I can't think of anything more nerve racking than soloing someone for the first time!

It's as if your handing your entire career over to someone else....if they screw up it's all on you!

Congratulations on your success! Looks like you're doing a great job as a CFI so far.
 

chrisdahut1

Well-Known Member
Re: Solo\' from a instructors view!

Congrats! I soloed only my third student a week ago. The last student I soloed was in November 2001! I have to say that it felt like sending that first first solo all over again. Went well though, thank God

It's an awesome feeling though. I didn;t think think the feeling could get any better when I did my own first solo. But it feels even better to send someone up myself :)
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Re: Solo\' from a instructors view!

So, what's it like when you get your student ready for the ride? Mine is on Tuesday. Finally!
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Number of hours to solo?

I know it's dependent on the student, but I'm about to jump into primary training out of a low traffic, controlled airport. I'm going to tell them to expect 15 hours to solo. Does that sound about right for a 152?

Soloing a guy out of SNA...now that's crazy...
 

chrisdahut1

Well-Known Member
Re: Number of hours to solo?

I'd say it depends on the student. I've taught students of varying abilities, therefore I'm very cautious when it comes to estimating times to solo or complete a certificate or rating. 15 hours sounds about right though for an "average" student.
 

CPilotUK

New Member
Re: Number of hours to solo?

mrivc211,

Congrats on soloing your first student. It must be a great feeling, at the same time, nerve racking. I always say that Instructors do a difficult job because you cannot always predict what students will do.

[ QUOTE ]
For example, I've got a student who is probably on his 15th hour of flight training and wondering why we haven't moved passed the 3 basics(turns climbs descents)? My answer: You can't hold an assigned heading, you deviate altitudes by 300-400 feet before I finally ask you to reposition yourself, the list goes on and on and on.

[/ QUOTE ]

I somehow get the feeling that you are loosing patience with this student. Don't forget that all students have different abilities and it will take some longer to achieve what others will achieve in a short space of time. Also, you might not agree with this, but you might have to review your teaching methods; don't assume that it's the best because there is always room for improvement.

[ QUOTE ]
In other words, this guy just either wasn't meant to fly, things aren't clicking, or he's not taking it seriously enough. He also only commits about 1 session a week to flying. And has skipped one or two sessions at that.

[/ QUOTE ]

I wouldn't go that far and say he wasn't meant to fly, it's just that - as you say - things aren't clicking and that's where, as I said before, you might have to review your methods or perhaps get a different perspective from another Instructor.

I started my PPL last April and have just hit the 40 hour mark and still within the minimum time required for the JAR PPL. If I had my way, I would have completed the course in a couple months, but due to my family and heavy work commitments, I can only commit 2 days a week and that's if the British weather allows it.

I am very happy for both you and your solo student, but please don't give up on the other.
 

flyitup

Well-Known Member
Re: Solo\' from a instructors view!

Great job Mrivc!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading that post as well!


Good luck with all your future CFI work.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Re: Number of hours to solo?

CpilotUK- Thanks for the adivce, I actually had thoughts going through my mind about whether he was catching on or I just wasn't teaching him in a way that he would understand. You're right, some people are different. ANd you hit the nail right on the spot, I did begin to get impatient with him initially, but then I took a deep breath and said, "be patient, maybe I'm presenting it in a way that he doesn't understand". And then yesterday when I went flying with him, I began to understand that it is maybe that because as he was getting the clearance, the tower told him to climb and maintain two thousand four hundred etc etc, yet he wrote it as 2000400 on paper. I looked at it, then it hit me as if a light went off in my head.
I took it as a challenge and I"m going to see if I can somehow teach him in a way that he'll understand.

We'll see how it goes!
Thanks again.
 

DrBenny

New Member
Re: Number of hours to solo?

[ QUOTE ]
I know it's dependent on the student, but I'm about to jump into primary training out of a low traffic, controlled airport. I'm going to tell them to expect 15 hours to solo. Does that sound about right for a 152?

Soloing a guy out of SNA...now that's crazy...

[/ QUOTE ]

I wouldn't get hung up on numbers. Compare the guy who comes three times a week to the guy that comes four times a month. They may be equally talented (whatever "talent" means), but the person who comes less frequently will need more hours due to retention issues.

Then there are other issues. For instance, I train out of BWI (class B), and about 40% of my time was spent getting to the practice area. Of course, time in the air was time well spent; but it wasn't time in the pattern. So for me, the solo was somewhat later.

Ah, but the big airport environment has its advantages for those who wish to develop those professional pilot skills. For example, I'm quite comfortable working with ATC and have even flown IFR with the CFI four out of the past five lessons (while still a primary student!). I've flown around 40 ILS approaches (about 10 in actual), and know all about long finals, wake turbulence, keeping speed up on final, etc.

Anyway, I'd recommend not putting a number on it.

Just my thoughts
 

DrBenny

New Member
Re: Solo\' from a instructors view!

[ QUOTE ]
For example, I've got a student who is probably on his 15th hour of flight training and wondering why we haven't moved passed the 3 basics(turns climbs descents)? My answer: You can't hold an assigned heading, you deviate altitudes by 300-400 feet before I finally ask you to reposition yourself, the list goes on and on and on. In other words, this guy just either wasn't meant to fly, things aren't clicking, or he's not taking it seriously enough. He also only commits about 1 session a week to flying. And has skipped one or two sessions at that.


[/ QUOTE ]

Ah, see? There you have it. Reading this segment of your post again, I realize that you really already knew the answer. You may have even been getting frustrated because subconciously you wondered why at 15 hours things still weren't clicking.

You say that he commits to one lesson a week, but then sometimes skips. OK, then let's call him a three-times-a-month student. Well, now, even if he's got talent, he's going to have to work very hard to get to solo. Figure that he spends the first 30% of each lesson regaining what he lost over time. Then on top of that, it sounds like he needs help with some of the basic *conceptual* parts of flying.

He's going to need your help. Perhaps spend more time in the preflight briefing. Have him walk *you* through a flight--verbally--before you go outside. Throw a few situations at him (again, verbally). Even have him "walk" the traffic pattern. Have him announce each leg of the pattern as he walks it. Have him "air fly" an imaginary plane (for example, moving his hand to reduce power on base leg). Knock the rust off *before* you get in the plane.

I'm really a 5-lesson-a-month student, but these ideas have helped me greatly. Sure, I have many more hours than a typical cross-country phase student, but I'm solid.

BUT, now that I think about it, you might want to find out why he's cancelled on you. There may be a motivation problem there.
 
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