Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Protecting Your Freedom to Fly

Safety Publications/Articles

A rhyme for the time

If you want to make it big in the New Age world, I've discovered you'll need a lot of crystals and a few catchy phrases. On the other hand, if you'd like to come down to Earth so you can better teach people to leave it by flying, then dump the crystals and start thinking of some memorable phrases for all the flight phases.

Think about creating clever little quips, verbal packets that hold the essence of each lesson in the sack of a sentence. These verbal bon mots help students to focus on (and readily recall) the topic du jour. A good phrase is worth a thousand words and probably several hundred pictures.

My good friend and fellow flight instructor Jason Randal has a wonderful way of helping his martial arts students to remember the basic moves of joint locks (Jason holds a seventh-degree black belt in karate). He says, "If you see a straight arm, twist it; if you see a bent arm, swing it." Of course, you'll only want to use this in self-defense, not in an airplane.

Flight instructors have been using similar phrases in airplanes for years. Does Dead foot, dead engine sound familiar? What about Step on the ball? Phrases like these act as memory cues, making it easier for your students to better remember the lesson's main elements. To teach your student to identify the taxiway he's on (yellow letter on black background) you might use John and Martha King's wonderful quip, Black square, you're there. To teach critical response to engine failure you might use, No sound? Nose down!

Of course, these quips don't have to rhyme, but if they do, your teaching powers will be multiplied and your fortunes doubled. A word picture that's silly or fantastic can be highly effective. Give it a try.

By Rod Machado

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