Most flight instructors spend a lot of time with their students reviewing proper preflighting of the airplane. Yet even when students see the preflight firsthand once, twice, or 10 times, they still forget to check critical items. There is a way a CFI can help his or her student literally get the picture.
The answer is a video camera. By whatever (legal) means, get your hands on a camera and make a preflight tape for your students. It¿s a job that you¿ll only have to do once, yet it will be worth its weight in Oscars when provided to each new student prior to the second flight lesson. The videotape will help your students do a more consistent and complete preflight, and it will allow you to accelerate their training. That makes your job easier.
You don¿t need to be a Hollywood genius behind the camera to make a preflight tape. Anyone Cannes do it. All you need is a buddy to hold the camera and point it in the right general direction as you do the preflight. Your job is to walk and talk. If you need to show a close-up of a particular part of the airplane, move the camera closer to that point (or use the zoom feature). Pause the tape while recording if you need to move closer to or farther from the airplane.
You can even have a little fun in the process with a few sight gags. For instance, hide a stuffed bird under the wing. When you ¿discover¿ it, say, ¿Ah, there are those missing wings.¿ Or put a plastic owl in the cowl, and when you find it, say, ¿Don¿t forget to check the owling on every preflight.¿ Don¿t get carried away¿one or two jokes is more than enough.
Give the tape to all your new students, and make sure you get it back. You don¿t want it to end up in the wrong hands, lest you find it entered in the ¿Trash¿ Cannes Film Festival.
By Rod Machado