A pilot’s flight instructor is an integral part in their aviation experience as a student. The majority of new student pilots’ first experiences are in a small-engine plane sitting right beside an instructor. Some even end up sitting in the pilot’s seat. First time flights or discovery flights offered by FBOs can be a defining factor in whether a student continues to have a bright and desirable passion for flying and for aviation. Of course, their money is also a big consideration. New instructors with Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificates should keep in mind these seven tips to improve your teaching skills and provide a great experience for your students.
1. Be nice and don’t criticize
An obvious skill to possess, but something even the most kind of us will sometimes forgot. A student responds best to instructors who give them a chance to speak their mind. Be open to your students and do not criticize them for mistakes.
2. Do not become complacent
With the long hours and strenuous regiment of a flight instructor, it is easy to forgot or become complacent about situations that may be routine for you after many hundreds of hours of flying. Always remember to double check the outside of the plane before flight and do all pre-flight checklists on your own, even if you are confident in your student’s ability.
3. Not all students share the same experiences coming in
When it comes to American flight schools, most have experience with driving a car or a truck. Some students from other countries, for example, may not even know how to use the brakes on a car, or do not have experience in judging distances in vehicles. Keep in mind this when taxing with your student and when landing. Understand their background and their previous experience.
4. Communication is key
Always talk to your student when they are going to perform a new action. Make sure to go through the process verbally.
5. Optimize ground training time
Half of the knowledge required for a new pilot’s license is book work. For example, learning about weather patterns, government regulators, navigation and map skills. It is essential to make sure your student understands these concepts well. Make ground training a fun and interactive time for your student.
6. Don’t get frustrated
As a teacher there will always be students who do not “get it” as well as the others might. Do not assume that all will be at the same skill level even with similar number of flight hours.
7. Provide learning resources to your students
Simulators are a proven way and useful way for instruction for both new and seasoned pilots. Provide your student with information on computer based simulators so they can practice flying scenarios at home. Many computers will be capable of running simulator software and can be useful in training everything from navigation skills to radio communication work. Books and online videos may also be useful for your student’s journey into aviation.