When a veteran flight instructor got in touch to defend the honor and excellent flight characteristics of the Grumman Cheetah against an inexperienced pilot’s insinuation that the breed was touchy, our conversation moved on to consider some concerns about flight-training quality that the scenario appeared to unmask.
Our chat arose from a flight lesson related in the January 28 “Training Tip: Bitten by a Cheetah.” The short of it was that a pilot receiving a checkout in a Grumman American AA–5 airplane inadvertently spun the airplane while asking a self-distracting question during a practice stall entry. Surprised by the airplane’s resentful reaction to being mishandled, the pilot offered unflattering comparisons with another popular aircraft type that was purportedly more “forgiving.”
It also suggested “that the instructor involved lacked sufficient type-specific experience and knowledge to be giving initial training in type (a real problem we have in the Grumman world).”
I think we agreed that the spin story didn’t definitively corroborate the latter objection. However, it did underline the important idea that a student pilot or pilot receiving supplemental training is entitled to know the answers to some basic questions before takeoff—and certainly before commencing a stall series—including:
So, what do you think? Did the airplane bite the pilot, or did the pilot bite the airplane?
As with most aviation questions, think carefully before answering, and avoid snap judgments.