Safety Publications/Articles

A Golden Opportunity

Ask most new instructors if teaching has taught them a lot about aviation and most will nod their heads in agreement. Yet, I wonder if most instructors really understand the depth of learning that's actually taking place.

Take, for instance, the concept of stalls. Most non-instructors have a good idea about what a stall is, how it's entered, and the proper technique for recovery. Flight instructors, on the other hand, understand stalls on a level far deeper than the average pilot. That's because they spend far more time in the pre-stall, stall, and stall-recovery regime. They've seen nearly every type of entry imaginable, and a few that were unimaginable until performed--coordinated and uncoordinated entries done with and without power, to say nothing of the predictable and unpredictable behavior of the student performing the stall.

The depth of knowledge in this area is simply stunning. What benefit does this knowledge offer an instructor? It offers the same benefit that most knowledge offers--greater confidence and ability at predicting and controlling the events in our environment.

This is why most experienced instructors feel comfortable demonstrating stall entry and recovery in all types of conditions and configurations (departure stalls, accelerated stalls, etc.). The depth of their knowledge allows them to precisely understand the limits of both pilot and airplane. This concept also applies to every other subject in aviation that instructors regularly teach.

If you're teaching others to fly, you're also learning about all facets of flying on a deeper level. So make the most of the opportunity, even if you're just building time. These lessons will serve you well later in your aviation life.

By Rod Machado

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