A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard
this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer
statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of
"there are no old, bold pilots.")
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you
may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be
something we might never have considered before, or something that
didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized
it for the practical test.
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A surprising number of aircraft mishaps happen during the
conduct of flight instruction. Although instructional flight is one
of the safest classes of general aviation, my research into aircraft accidents
shows that, at least in one make of personal/business aircraft,
roughly 10% of all accidents happen with an instructor on board.
For one specific type of mishap, gear-up and gear-collapse
incidents (in retractable-gear airplanes), the most common
correlative factor is dual flight instruction.
Why is dual instruction so frequently a factor in aviation
A student of mine coined the term Instructor-Induced Stupidity
(IIS) to describe the phenomenon of deferring decision-making and
missing flight-critical tasks with an instructor on board. It's
easy when flying with an instructor to think (consciously or not)
that the instructor will take care of critical tasks and make all
the decisions -- especially if that instructor is more experienced
than you. After all the CFI is always logging the time as
Your IIS booster shot
To inoculate against IIS, before flying with a student I brief
him or her that:
- You will be acting as pilot-in-command of the flight (if
qualified and current).
- Fly as if you are alone in the airplane…don't depend on
me to tell you what to do.
- If you see anything abnormal, or feel the need to fly a
go-around, a missed approach, or any emergency procedure, go
ahead-you won't be wrong, although we may discuss indications and
options in detail during the post-flight debrief.
I'll be providing near-continuous instruction and occasionally
demonstrating things along the way, but mostly my job is safety and
quality control-I'll step in as necessary for purposes of safety or
training, but otherwise you should act as though I'm not in the
Hopefully a preflight briefing like this will help eliminate
NOTE: Instructors, be on the lookout for
signs of IIS, let your student go as far as is safe, then point out
the departure from safety. None of the briefing items above is
meant to imply the instructor is not ultimately in charge of safety
during an instructional flight.
Aero-tip of the day: When receiving
instruction, don't delegate decisions or actions to the instructor
pilot. Instructors: inoculate your students against IIS with a
thorough preflight briefing.