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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Saturday, June 10, 2006

First lesson

While the horrible weather has forced me to cancel flights in the past couple of days, I taught my very first lesson a few days ago. It was an incredible experience.
The student, pre-solo with about 30 hours of flight time, is a very nice guy, about 20 years my senior, funny as all heck and smooth at the controls. After a chat about his training so far, his strengths and weakenesses and the plan for the day we headed out to the practice area.
We began with steep turns. He was a little shallow bank-wise and lost about 300ft. I let him finish the turn then demonstrated one while he looked outside to take a mental snapshot of the sight picture. After all, I explained, this is a visual maneuver. His next steep turn was much better and within PTS.
Next came slow flight, of which he had done very little. I decided to let him get used to the feel of the controls in slow flight and only burdened him with holding altitude at first and keeping the plane coordinated. He did pretty well so I asked him to make a 90 degree turn to the left.
"You can turn in slow flight," came the amazed reply.
Sheepishly, he banked the aircraft and in no time at all became very comfortable turning.
So it was now time to bang out a few stalls. While he was a little timid pitching up, a common trait among students as I understand it, he did well. His recoveries were a little dramatic, however, so I explained to him the purpose of the maneuver and the fact that if this happened on approach pitching down so much would not be wise because of the proximity to the ground. It seemed that a little light bulb went off in his head at that moment, as he understood why we practice stalls. His subsequent attempts were good, although we'll need to do more.
On the way back to the airport he became slightly confused about our pattern entry instruction but eventually figured that out and flew an amazingly smooth and stabilized approach.
"This is going to be a nice landing," I told him.
Sure enough, following an almost flawless approach with proper speed, glide slope and configuration, he set the aircraft down very softly, smack on centerline.
It was an awesome experience! I wondered how much I'd be able to let a student screw up before taking over or stopping him, and in this particular case it wasn't too hard. I only handled the controls to demonstrate maneuvers and was able to let him see his mistakes.
I'm glad to have him as one of my 5 students so far. He's a true pleasure to fly with.
Next lesson: tomorrow if this weather ever decides to pack up and leave the area.


Anonymous Ron G said...

How about logging that flight time that you didn't have to pay for? Best feeling in the world....

5:42 PM  

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