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Nobody does they?Nobody does they?

A letter from a 92-year-old pilot matter-of-factly talks about the day he first started flying lessons. He was 58 at the time, the father of eight adult children, and he had decided it was “NOW OR NEVER.” (Sound familiar?)

The flight school had a Cherokee 140. “I … took my book home to start studying. To my amazement the book was for a Cessna 150, which didn’t do me much good. The flying school didn’t have a Cherokee 140 manual.”

Surely nobody still does stuff like that. Except they do. Here’s a more recent anecdote from a CFI who instructs independently.

“One flight school I know of changed training aircraft to a very different manufacturer and model. I was asked to do a mock oral checkride with a student there. The student was very prepared and very intelligent, but when I asked him about performance data he supplied information from the previous training aircraft, which was from an entirely different manufacturer. He was exceptionally knowledgeable—but for the other airplane.”

How did this happen?

The student’s regular CFI “hated the new airplanes that were purchased to such a degree that he refused to even look at the pilot’s operating handbooks for them, let alone bother to teach students the performance data, et cetera.” The CFI in question now makes a living in another industry; we can only hope he doesn’t flight instruct on the side.

If you’re reading this newsletter, I’d like to think that you would never permit something like this to happen under your watch. At the same time, these types of anecdotes seem to resurface with depressing regularity.

What type of rationalization permits such policies—or such employee behavior—to exist?

We often coach student pilots to practice good decision-making by saying, “Think about how it would look in the NSTB report.” Perhaps we need to use that same strategy when considering our own business practices, just to make sure that questionable procedures have not crept into existence while we were busy with other things.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

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