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Old 08-03-2006, 05:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by JKovats
A couple interesting things come from the mouths of students. As an example, how to trim a plane to fly straight and level. Once it's trimmed some of us teach students to land their planes and then mechanically adjust the trims on the plane so the trim tabs on the radio are back to neutral. That way, when a pilot goes to take off, he always starts with his trim tabs at neutral. We can't believe the number of student pilots that are not taught this. Maybe some teachers don't think that kind of thing is important, many of us do. I had a guy in our club the other day who I was checking out and he starts off, says he's ready to take off, with full down elevator and 1/2 trim on right aileron. I suggested they should be at neutral and he said why, that's where it flew straight the last time. Nobody told me to set things back to neutral.
Probably has a lot to do with digital trims coming about....just think, there are those out there instructing who may have never experienced what a mechanical trim actually is!

Trims are not the only thing misunderstood....trimming in general is not a well understood task. Most things beyond simply getting the plane in the air and on the ground in one peice is beyond what most students are taugt.

What I find most amusing is when a student is taught to fly with their left thumb removed from the stick lol Thats very useful!
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:49 PM   #22
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Interesting reading, some good points, and some impractical.

My 2 cents...

We should avoid mixing student program content with Instructor qualifications/abilities (including ability to teach), we should assume an Instructor is a qualified pilot capable of passing the MAAC wings program, but this is just the first qualification;

First, we must accept the simple fact that Instructors (and I count myself as one so I'm criticising myself as well) are a generally opinionated lot. It's difficult enough to teach a raw student but, teaching a student who's been taught bad habits (Chad's example) makes the process that much more difficult.

Second, the typical club has limited in choice of Instructors, they should choose wisely, a perfect, or even great Instructor may not be available.... When you choose Instructors, you are choosing your future member flying style. You shouldn't complain about a members inability to maintain the centre of the runway when their instructor can't....

I think a technical guide (basically a simplified aerodynamics and aircraft setup guide) is a good idea. A rigorous program to qualify an Instructor such as used in full scale is not only a bad idea, I think it's not enforceable nor is it practical.

I've been with clubs who have many rules. Mandatory buddy boxes for example. I used to think they were a good idea, until I was taught "Ragland technique" aka kinesthetic learning. I now believe buddy boxes are a good aide but not appropriate for all phases of a student's development.

Further, from my background in education (I taught for several years and still moonlight for the University of Toronto on occasion), I know that people learn in several different ways. Auditory learners ("Tell me what I'm doing wrong") need to be told, Visual learners ("show me how" ... most common) need to see it, logical learners ("why do you do that") need to understand the dynamics, systematic learners ("what should I be doing") learn by rote and repeated exercise.... Applying the wrong technique to a student will only frustrate them. Forcing an Instructor to use a technique foriegn to their learning style will will frustrate the Instructor....

My point? Instructors are hard enough to find, even harder to ensure they will show up regularly. Throwing obstacles in their way or forcing them to teach in a specific way will only make this situation worse and, unless well designed, will likely miss out a large sections of students. Unless we are willing to fund an education program on a scale of institutes, you are best sticking with a volunteer program and educate those who choose the Instructors. They're not always the best pilots, they may have only passable skills but, if they can communicate well, and pass on those skills, the student may well exceed the Instructor and the roles may reverse (a very positive experience for both). The best you can hope for is to match students of a particular learning styles with Instructors of the same style.

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Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere - (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
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