The following stories from the July 14, 2006, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
When a flight instructor takes on a student part of the way through training, he or she must approach the project differently than when working with a student he has trained from the beginning. Most understand this. The first session is often an informal ground-plus-flight review to reveal what you have learned so far, a necessary redundancy that can also introduce new skills. After that, the CFI should know how to proceed, and you may notice some differences in teaching styles from what you experienced before. This may require some adjustment, but not discomfort. It is not a flight instructor's province to "unteach" something you learned correctly from another instructor that is simply different from how the new fellow teaches it.
But isn't there "standardization" in flight training? There have been efforts to instill conformity; hence the expectation that training for certificates and ratings adhere to the appropriate practical test standards. Flight schools may have standardization programs for their instructors. Smaller operations and self-employed flight instructors usually offer much variation in style and method. See "Dreams in Motion" by Thomas B. Haines in the July 2000 AOPA Pilot for a description of one corporate school's standardization policy.
Good advice based on personal experience can be drawn from Bonnie Cole's training narrative: "Learning Experiences: Fighting for a Lifelong Dream" in the May 2002 AOPA Flight Training. "The key to success is hard work, determination, and the right flight instructor. Keep looking until you find the right one. Don't let anyone tell you that you can 'learn from anyone' or that you should 'stick it out' in a bad instructor/student relationship. Find an instructor who understands your enthusiasm and excitement. Find one who fits your personality and learning style. They are out there, and it's worth the search."
Indeed it is!
My ePilot - Training Product
PUT FUEL SAMPLES WHERE THEY BELONG WITH GATS FUEL JAR
It used to be that you sumped a fuel sample, checked it for debris or water, and dumped it onto the ramp. Now we know better, and the Environmental Protection Agency frowns on such practices. But what to do with the sample? You can't just pour it back into the tank. Here's where the GATS fuel jar is a handy tool for the preflight. You sump the fuel into the jar, and its filter separates commingled water or debris from the fuel. You can then pour the fuel back into the tank and dispose of the water and debris without polluting soil or groundwater. The 16-ounce GATS jar is available from numerous aviation supplies retailers; we found one selling for $15.95 at SkyGeek.com.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: As the pilot in command, am I required to wear both my seat belt and my shoulder harness for the entire flight?
Answer: As stated in Federal Aviation Regulation 91.105, required crewmembers are required to keep their seat belt fastened during the entire flight while seated at a crewmember station. The shoulder harness is only required to be worn during takeoff and landing. If the airplane you're flying is not equipped with shoulder harnesses or if you are unable to perform your required duties wearing the shoulder harness, you do not have to wear it. For additional information on seat belts, shoulder harnesses, and child restraint systems, review AOPA's subject report and an AOPA Pilot article online.