Safety Publications/Articles

Thinking About Others

Have you ever known a pilot who thinks a little too much about himself? It's as if all he thinks about is me, me, me, and more me. And just when you think he's become enlightened, he says something like, "I'm tired of thinking about me, I'm interested in what you think. What do you think...about me?" Couple this attitude with an overactive adrenal gland and you get aviation's version of road rage. In this issue of the Instructor Report Bruce Landsberg will tell you how one angry, selfish, and impatient pilot paid for his haste.

If you go to a Chinese-Peking restaurant while on a tight budget, you're interested in one thing: getting more duck for your buck. Considering that many of your students are also on a tight budget, it's a good bet that they want to know how to get more training with less paying. In this report, I'll ante up with a piece that might help them get their commercial and CFI certificates less expensively.

Finally, I want to share my secret to shopping during my bachelor days. When I needed supplies to clean my apartment, I made my own checklist. I personalized it with the items necessary to do the job: engine-block degreaser, hazmat suit, and mouse traps. My secret was customizing the checklist so I wouldn't forget the important things. And that's what Christopher Parker's article will show you how to do.

From The Right Seat

Put Commercial Time To Good Use

Would you like a tip to help your commercial/CFI students obtain their ratings in less time and possibly at less cost? Here's something that might help.

Commercial pilot applicants typically prepare for the checkride from the airplane's left seat. After passing this ride, they transition to the right seat in preparation for earning the CFI certificate. Most pilots will usually spend five to eight hours becoming comfortable flying from the right side of the airplane before beginning their CFI flight training.

Suppose, however, that a private pilot with CFI ambitions prepared for the commercial checkride in the right seat from the beginning. He or she could start flying from this side of the airplane soon after obtaining the instrument rating (I'm assuming, of course, that the airplane is safely flyable from this seat). Of course, the applicant would need to take the commercial checkride from the right seat. Is this legal? Yes. There's no regulation which states that the commercial checkride must be taken from the left seat.

What are the benefits of this strategy? The time between obtaining an instrument rating and taking the commercial checkride can be put to practical use. Instead of just flying around building hours to meet commercial minimums, the applicant can acquire right-seat skills that will help him fly more proficiently during his CFI checkride.

To further reduce your student's training cost, you might suggest that he or she use two airplanes for the commercial training and checkride. While the takeoffs, landings, maneuvers, and the appropriate emergency procedures must be done in a complex airplane, all the other maneuvers (chandelles, lazy-eights, etc.) can be done in a noncomplex airplane (a Cessna 172, for instance). The obvious benefit is that your students pay much less to develop their proficiency at commercial maneuvers in a Cessna 172, compared to doing so in a complex airplane. Your students can even use the two-airplane strategy for the CFI checkride.

Is this strategy for everybody? No. Nevertheless, it is helpful when a student is working on a tight budget.

One word of caution. While there is no FAR requiring that a pilot receive a right-seat checkout to act as pilot in command, it's certainly a good idea. Take the time to give your student sufficient right-seat training before encouraging him or her to fly from this side of the airplane.

By Rod Machado

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