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An Underwriter's Wishlist for Every CFI

NAFI NOTAMs #10

An Underwriter's Wishlist for Every CFI~Guest Blogger Marci Veronie, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Avemco Insurance Company

When John Niehaus invited me to write for the new NAFI NOTAM, my initial thought was, “Well, I am not a CFI, so not sure what I could offer.”  However, on my drive home that night, I knew that as a 30+ year veteran aviation underwriter, I had a whole lot that I wanted to impart, so I titled this piece “My Wishlist for Every CFI” and I hope you learn something you can pass on.

Aviation underwriters develop a unique perspective on things that go wrong in and around an aircraft. We see most of the accidents that are reported to the FAA and many of the incidents that are not, and I can tell you that we pay numerous claims where there is a CFI in the right seat.  Many of these events have one thing in common:  The accident chain started in the habits and attitudes that were formed early on, often during primary flight instruction.


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Training Utilizing Distraction

NAFI NOTAMs #9


Training Utilizing Distraction~Guest Video Blogger John Niehaus, NAFI Program Director

 

 



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Clearing up Generational Misconceptions

NAFI NOTAMs #8

Clearing up Generational Misconceptions- Paul Duty, (CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI) - Aviation Product Manager at Gleim Aviation

I recently read an article citing several challenges with teaching millennials to become pilots. Clearly the author is from another generation and assumed that growing up in a high-tech world did not jive with “old-school” aviation. Certainly, millennials differ from earlier generations, as do all generations with unique views and individuality. Rather than dismissing an entire generation, I determined to embrace them while taking a deeper look at my own values. What I discovered was a need to change some of my own processes to better reach them.

As flight instructors, it is not enough to just teach our students to fly safely. We need to foster a learning environment that encourages students to expand their horizons and spark a never-ending quest for knowledge. This approach ultimately creates safer, better-informed pilots. I’ve found that millennials are some of the most inquisitive learners—not because they don’t have or can’t find the easy answers, but because they are trying to positively influence an outcome using all available information. To me, this sounds a bit like a recipe for promoting risk management, aeronautical decision making, and judgment.

When inquiring minds want to understand, instead of spouting out facts and figures, challenge your students to do their own research to solve a problem you pose. Use scenario-based training to discuss alternatives that lead to a safe outcome when encountering a hazard. Here is where it really gets important: Try to refrain from restricting research or alternatives to the methods YOU are familiar with. Let your students find resources that speak their language. Let’s face it, we all learn differently and our world is full of information. Millennials in fact did grow up in a connected world where access to information is an assumed right. Not everyone is going to be as passionate as you are about the same things, and if they are, it might not be for the same reasons.

For example, I was recently talking with a freshly minted flight instructor who had never used the “blue lever” (referring to the propeller control). His training through commercial pilot was in a technically advanced aircraft with a FADEC, never needing to manage a constant speed propeller manually. It surprised me initially, but I realized it was a sign of innovation—and there’s nothing wrong with that! He knew his limitations and, more importantly, he wanted to learn more, so I challenged him to research the blue lever from the perspective of teaching others about it. Sometimes there’s no better way to learn than by teaching.





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A Cautionary Tale

NAFI NOTAMs #7

A Cautionary Tail~Guest Blogger Nick Garrod, CFII/ATP

The air, like the sea, can be unforgiving. Mistakes can go one of two ways, be a teachable moment or be a tragic life-changing event. As a professional pilot and CFII, I take stock of my own mistakes or errors in judgement as ways to achieve personal growth and development as a CFI. If I can prevent the same lapses in judgement in others and especially my students, then I can potentially save a life. The following story is a great example of how I made many small mistakes that, on a different day, could change the course of my family’s lives. This blog is a cautionary tale. Do not test any of the actions I took on this flight, rather LEARN from my mistakes.


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Aviation Safety Starts with Us

NAFI NOTAMs #6


Aviation Safety Starts with Us~Guest Video Blogger Jason Schappert, MzeroA.com

 

 



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CFI, A Key to Many Doors

NAFI NOTAMs #5

 

CFI- A Key to Many Doors~Guest Blogger Sarah Rovner, CFII/MEI/ATP/MCFI

Most flight instructors would agree with the old adage, “you learn most by teaching others.” Personally, I never considered myself a subject matter expert in any one thing, but priding myself on being the “jack of all trades, master of none.” It wasn’t until I began flight instructing that I truly learned my craft. When your student looks in your eyes and asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, finding the answer becomes not only an opportunity to learn, but also a professional expectation. Before long you learn the answers to numerous questions that you never thought anyone would ask. You soon learn considerably more than just the books you studied to get that flight instructor certificate.

The truth is that today’s golden standard for time building is to become a flight instructor. Yet, I still come across many who are reluctant to enter the trade. Some aviators have no desire to instruct while others balk at the schedule and pay. Personally, I didn’t become a flight instructor with the intention of time-building. While the main reason was to quench my insatiable need for self-improvement and precision; it was also frankly the quickest way I knew to fly some cool airplanes. Often plane owners would come to me for an instrument proficiency check or flight review, and in the process, introduce me to many unique airplanes. Over time instructing helped me developed a niche skillset that made me marketable as a ferry pilot flying many different aircraft types around the world. It also helped me navigate the most important aerodynamic force in aviation: paperwork. Learning about regulations and how to sign correctly gave me an appreciation for the lost art of getting paperwork right the first time, which served me well as I branched out to flying around the world.


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What’s in a Name?

NAFI NOTAMs #4

What’s in a Name?~Guest Blogger Paul Preidecker, NAFI Board Member

As a NAFI Board Member, I have the opportunity to work with fellow board members and staff on various projects. Recently, John Niehaus, Director of Program Development, told me about this blog. When he told me the name, NAFI NOTAMs, I expressed my exceptional displeasure for the name. Why? Because NOTAMs represents something broken…a NAVAID out of service, runway closures, and more recently, ATC closures.  My electronic logbook program even sends out a NOTAM file which lists the bugs with the software. So, why would I think this is a good name? John suggested that I look at it as a reminder of things that need to be checked before flight. That still did not help me make peace with the name….but I have been reflecting.

More than 20 years ago, I was doing some Part 135 flying out of Morey Airport (C29) just west of Madison, WI. On this particular day, one of our best customers called to ask if there was anyone who could take he and his family to Chicago – specifically, to the iconic Meigs Field on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The customer explained that he had a special day planned for his family with a ball game, some shopping on Michigan Avenue, and a dinner. A limo would meet them at the FBO. He asked that we keep the plan a secret as his family thought they were just going to Chicago for some business and lunch to follow. I told him that I would be glad to help out. We agreed on departure in an hour.


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Passion has no limitation

NAFI NOTAMs #3

Passion has no limitation~Guest Blogger Tom Huitema

Time passes quickly, and I suppose it’s those moments in time, the anchors, whether they be vacations, events, or moving parts of our past, that compete for the prime storage space of our long term memory.

From my first flight in a Cessna 150 to some 22,000+ hours later, there are stitches in time that bring a smile or a grimace when I reach back for them. Because of my love for flying, I decided long ago that I would do all I could to remember as many steps of that path as possible.


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Introducing NAFI's 10 Question Challenge

NAFI NOTAMs #2

Introducing NAFI's 10 Question Challenge

 

 


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The Tolerance of Mediocrity & Demanding Perfection from Students

NAFI NOTAMs #1

The Tolerance of Mediocrity & Demanding Perfection from Students ~Guest Blogger Capt. Brian Schiff

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
–William Arthur Ward

Bart’s (not his real name) flight instructor had moved on in her professional flying career. The greener pastures offered by the airlines (not like recently) compelled his CFI to abandon her students so that she could fly jets in the “big show”. So, I took over Bart’s training.


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Chairman's Corner to NAFI NOTAMs

NAFI NOTAMs #0

Something NEW AND EXCITING, Announcing NAFI NOTAMs Blog

Since April 2018, NAFI has been using our blog feature under the title Chairman’s Corner. It has been a highlight of our Chairman of the Board Robert Meder’s thoughts and comments on the activities of the organization, as well as the state of flight instruction in the world. While we intend to continue to feature Bob’s literary contributions, we have decided to rework, renew, and rebuild the NAFI blog into something new and exciting; something we are calling our NAFI NOTAMs Blog.


How is this different than what it was before?

NAFI NOTAMs will be a collection of educational, inspirational, and lifestyle posts relating to flight instructors in and out of the cockpit. Our guest authors will consist of industry leaders, NAFI Board members/Staff, NAFI members, media creators, influencers, and relevant thought leaders from outside aviation altogether.


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Failure to Communicate

From NAFI's Chair

Failure to Communicate

I recently saw a conversation on Facebook where a CFI candidate described how they had failed the CFI practical test because of a question that the examiner asked regarding the structure of an aircraft. This was an aircraft the candidate had never seen before and it was a question that never came up during training. As a result, the candidate became flustered and subsequently failed the test.

Many participants in the conversation took the examiner to task. There were comments suggesting that the examiner be reported to the FSDO, accusations that there's a "quota" in place to fail first-time CFI candidates, that it was ridiculous question because that wasn't the make and model of aircraft that the applicant had presented, and so on. In all, many voices were saying that it was just plain unfair, some in language I won't repeat here.

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An Opportunity to Learn

From NAFI's Chair

An Opportunity to Learn

As we self-isolate, the question comes up: what do I do with my time? Let's be honest about this. When we're stuck at home, it can be easy to settle into a state of lassitude. We see the same four walls, the view out the window doesn't change, and the TV remote is easy to reach. The siren songs of Nefllix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc. are all calling. And, knowing how pilots in general, and flight instructors in particular are wired, our homes are organized to the point that we're shifting shelf knickknacks at the millimeter level.

The good news is that you're interested in aviation and instructing, enough so that you opened this issue of eMentor.   Also, the various flying groups to which I belong on Facebook are as active as ever, maybe even more so, with the usual hangar talk about regulations, procedures, aviation news, and, of course, talk about how everyone is dealing with COVID-19.

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NAFI Seeks FAA Relief on Certification Expirations

From NAFI's Chair

NAFI Seeks FAA Relief on Certification Expirations

Due to member concerns, NAFI reached out on Monday to the FAA seeking relief for flight instructors whose certificates were to expire yesterday. In letters to the director of FAA Flight Standards office and the manager of the Airmen Training and Certification Branch, NAFI Board Chairman Bob Meder requested the same type of temporary regulatory relief for flight instructor certificates that would expire on March 31 as was recently given for medical certificates and Part 135 qualifications.

“Because of social distancing and quarantine issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors whose certificates expire in March might have had in-person FIRC’s cancelled, been unable to visit a FSDO in person to renew based on activity, or may have had issues with an on-line FIRC provider not being able to process their paperwork in a timely fashion due to reduced staffing,” Meder wrote Monday to Rick Domingo, Executive Director, FAA Flight Standards Service, and copied Shawn Hayes, Manager, Airmen Training and Certification Branch (AFS-810).

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It's Time to Stand Down

From NAFI's Chair

It's Time to Stand Down

We are in the throes of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the nature of the illness, it has strained healthcare systems in many parts of the world to the breaking point. Where this hasn't happened, the tragic potential is there. In the countries hardest hit, such as Italy, there has been a lockdown requiring everyone other than those in the most essential services to stay home. The United Kingdom has ordered a similar lockdown. Here, in the United States, some areas where the pandemic has hit hardest, such as California, New York and Washington states, have shut down virtually all non-essential businesses and services and our fellow citizens have been asked to stay home. Almost universally, we have quarantined ourselves, with large gatherings from Sun 'n Fun to the use of Florida's state parks and beaches cancelled, postponed and/or prohibited. We are practicing enhanced sanitation procedures and engaging in something new - "social distancing." None of this should be news to you.

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A Precautionary Landing for All of Us

From NAFI's Chair

A Precautionary Landing for All of Us

There are number of "standard" questions asked of applicants during various practical tests. One that is asked of private pilot candidates, and that I ask my students at all levels all the time goes something like this: "If the oil pressure gauge falls to zero, but the engine temperature remains normal, what action should you take?" We all know the answer is "land as soon as practicable," because if there are no other indications of engine problems, most likely the gauge is broken and we just need to land at an airport and get things checked. We don't have to make an emergency landing in a field or go through any other heroic efforts. But landing is a good idea, because we really don't know why the gauge isn't working and it could very well be something much more dire. Of course, it's inconvenient, but it's an approach to the problem with the least possible consequences.

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Wash Your Hands!

From NAFI's Chair

Wash Your Hands!

Understandably, concern about the novel Coronavirus, or, more properly, Covid-19 has both spread and become more intense. Those concerns have caused the government in Italy to impose emergency measures to contain the pandemic, virtually quarantining the entire country, which, according to the BBC, has been hit hardest after China. Closer to home there have been deaths and an increase in reported cases in the United States, while Americans are asked to take common sense precautions to stop the spread of the disease, and there have been reported shortages of, all things, toilet paper due to panic buying.

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FAA Issues Congressionally Mandated Rukemaking

From NAFI's Chair

FAA Issues Congressionally Mandated Rukemaking

The FAA has announced the final rulemaking that is in response to the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. Many of you may recall that this law was Congress' response to the Colgan Air accident in Buffalo, N.Y. in 2009.

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When Not to Fly

From NAFI's Chair

When Not to Fly

What is the most important thing we instructors can teach our clients? There are a lot of lessons: regulations, aerodynamics, weather theory, some physiology, and a host of other subjects.

When we send applicants for their checkride, the appropriate Airmen's Certification Standard (ACS) is used, as we all know. The introduction to the ACS states that "During the ground and flight portion of the practical test, the FAA expects evaluators to assess the applicant's mastery of the topic in accordance with the level of learning most appropriate for the specified task," and "The flight portion of the practical test requires the applicant to demonstrate knowledge, risk management, flight proficiency, and operational skill in accordance with the ACS." In other words, the applicant should be well prepared to fly at the level being tested.

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Changing the World for the Better

From NAFI's Chair

Changing the World for the Better

One of the reasons that I am proud to be a flight instructor is that in my small way I am part of what is changing the world for the better. As I've written before, the two great revolutions of our time, aviation and communications, have fostered a greater understanding among peoples worldwide. It has not been perfect, and we humans have had to learn difficult lessons along the way, but, on the whole, I believe the changes have been positive. My part in the process - and yours - has been to be a part of the training of pilots who have joined the ranks of general aviation, the military, and the airline industry, both domestic and international.

These thoughts came to me as I was attending an aviation event overseas two weeks ago. It was natural to think in these terms due to the international nature of the event. In fact, one of the international airline pilots who I have trained good naturedly took me to task, via Facebook, for not letting him know which city I was in, as he had a number of favorite restaurants that he wanted me to check out. The fact that a young man from Missouri had local hangouts over 7,000 miles from home filled me with a sense of awe and pride.

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