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Don’t panic, be professional!


NAFI NOTAMs #38

Don’t panic, be professional!~Guest Blogger Tzu-Cheng Kuo, NAFI MCFI

The story goes back to two years ago while I was working for a local flight school in Arizona. Due to the amazing weather year round in Arizona it is a great location for flight training. Therefore, many overseas airlines are sending their cadet pilots over here to complete flight training as quickly as one can.

A particular instrument student was assigned to me just prior to them completing their end of course stage check. I had never met or flown with this individual before, so I devised a plan for how we would become acquainted and both develop a level of comfort for them to be signed off for the final step before their checkride. I planned for two flights with me before the stage, the first was intended to check their instrument flying skills, and review any deficiency areas noted from their previous instructor. The second was to be used for a mock check.



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We Need To Talk About The Skills Gap In Pilots


NAFI NOTAMs #37

We Need To Talk About The Skills Gap In Pilots~Guest Blogger JBaynton

aircraft cockpit Among the major industries disrupted by the pandemic was aviation. CNBC notes that the pilot shortage currently stands at around 8,000 pilots, accounting for 11% of the total workforce. This gap has only been aggravated by the pandemic, and has in fact been growing over the past few years.

This shortage of skilled and qualified pilots can be traced back to the decline of aviation interest among the younger generation and an aging workforce facing mandatory retirement. As demands for air travel are not going to slow down anytime soon, now is the time to put the skills gap in pilots at the forefront of the conversation.



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Imposter No More, Dealing With Impostor Syndrome


NAFI NOTAMs #36

Imposter No More, Dealing With Impostor Syndrome~Guest Blogger Michael Hodge Jr. CFI

The DPE extended his hand with a smile and with a hearty “Congratulations” and a firm handshake, he handed me my temporary certificate which had words that I had waited a long time to see, “Flight Instructor - Airplane Single Engine”. After nearly six months of studying at home, teaching over forty hours of ground instruction to members of our flying club, and spending many hours “teaching” in the air, by many accounts, I was ready. Within a week of passing my checkride I had my first discovery flight scheduled and I was anxious to jump in feet first. There was only one problem. I didn’t “feel” ready, and in fact, I felt woefully unprepared.

I started wondering if I had what it took to be a good flight instructor. Would I be able to see the bad landing coming before it happened? Would I be able to help my learners through their bouts of anxiety, learning plateaus, and even a defense mechanism or two? Most importantly, would I be able to provide value to the learner and keep the process of learning to fly fun and efficient?



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Improbability and the Beginning of Instructional Wisdom


NAFI NOTAMs #35

Improbability and the Beginning of Instructional Wisdom~Guest Blogger Thomas P. Turner

Like a lot of pilots of my generation, my flying career started in the right seat of a Cessna 152 at a quiet, rural airport. I was the instructor in a one-person flying service in central Missouri. One early summer evening, as the wind calmed down, the shadows grew and the skies turned golden with the setting sun, I was in my happy place with a pre-solo student in the Cessna’s left seat. Of the flying school’s two 152s we had drawn the red-striped N46123 – “flying is easy as 1-2-3,” I quipped in the sales pitch on demo flights. The registration N46123 is now painted on a Boeing 737-800, but back then the designation belonged to the beginning of pilots’ dreams, not their career destination.

The learner (to use the modern term) was doing a great job and I was pretty certain he’d solo in the next hour or so. So after a little air work we were now on left downwind for Runway 18. No one else was in the pattern and Unicom was quiet. Somewhere about midfield my student pulled back a little on the yoke, then began easing the nose down—probably involuntary movements in response to an unusual situation, first a tensing up and then an attempt to correct for what he saw. For the airspeed indicator was reading low, and although we continued more or less level on downwind the needle spun slowly past the bottom of the green arc, then the bottom of the white arc, and then almost vertically as if the airplane was sitting on the ramp. My student said something in the neighborhood of, “Well, darn,” and looked directly at me, calling on all the judgment and experience I’d amassed in my lofty 300 hours’ total time. “What do we do?” his wide eyes exclaimed.



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Celebrate Your Freedoms


NAFI NOTAMs #33

Celebrate Your Freedoms~Guest Blogger Bob Meder NAFI Chairman Emeritus

A co-worker of mine has always been interested to see what it was like to fly an airplane. A few days ago, I took him up for about an hour so he could have that experience. As with any introductory flight, I ensured that the ride would be on a nice day with little or no turbulence. We, of course, had a briefing beforehand covering the basics, including sterile cockpit, seat belt usage, what to do in an emergency, and so on.

What my friend hadn't expected was the part about exchanging controls. When he expressed his surprise, I told him that it'd be a lot more fun for him if he got to actually fly the airplane - besides, I already know how to fly.



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The Strength of Asking For Help


NAFI NOTAMs #32

The Strength of Asking For Help~Guest Blogger Aaron Dabney, MSEd, MCFI

When I was a brand-new CFI, I was a chief pilot of one.  Literally.  I’d been given the keys to an office, a nice airplane, and a mandate to figure out how to make a flight school work at an airport where there had been no home-based school in nearly a decade.

ask for helpIt was awkward enough that I was pretty new to the aviation community in my area, but the audacity of standing up a flight school with the ink still wet on my certificate had me convinced that asking for help was the last thing I should do if I was to be taken seriously.  If that wasn’t enough, I had (and still have, if I’m honest) this independent streak that thrived on the idea of “me versus the world.”  If I couldn’t figure it out for myself, maybe I wasn’t good enough.



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Are You A Leader?


NAFI NOTAMs #31

Are You A Leader? ~Guest Blogger Bob Meder NAFI Chairman Emeritus

I recently had a great conversation with a good friend regarding leadership. What impressed me was that it wasn't the usual platitudes attempting to define what a good leader is, but instead contained a few of my friend's more down-to-earth observations.

  • "Do you love your people enough to want to help them and help them grow?"

  • "A good leader gives his followers small tasks at first, making those tasks incrementally more challenging and larger. This will cause your followers to grow and get better at their jobs, making them leaders as well."

  • "A great leader is someone who will crawl through the mud to give someone a clean dish towel if they need it."

Editors Note: Watch this short video by Simon Sinek about being a leader. He sums up perfectly how being a leader is difficult to quantify, but is a sum of your actions shown over time.





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Backstory: Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Induction


NAFI NOTAMs #30

Backstory: Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Induction ~Guest Video Blogger Greg Brown, Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductee

 

Every aviator develops mutually rewarding relationships with the flight instructors delivering his or her wings. Here Greg Brown, 2021 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductee, shares the inspiring 22-year backstory behind his nomination, including compelling reasons why every good CFI is a Hall-of-Famer.

(Access Greg’s 1999 NAFI Mentor column referenced in the video, here.)


Learn More about Greg Brown here: https://gregbrownflyingcarpet.com/

Greg BrownGreg Brown
2021 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductee
NAFI #13972










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Laser-Focused—Flying a Single-Seat Airplane


NAFI NOTAMs #29

Laser-Focused—Flying a Single-Seat Airplane ~Guest Blogger Beth Stanton, NAFI eMentor Editor

Nobody can teach you how to fly a single-seat airplane. Once you and your instructor establish confidence in your competence, at some point you just have to suck it up and do it. Cruising back to the hangar on my bike after a third anxious pee, the thought of bailing crossed my mind.

I had already called the Livermore tower to warn them. My coach was on frequency with a handheld radio. All that was left was to strap on my parachute and climb into the tiny cockpit. Wrestling with the five-point harness, I wondered, “What the hell am I doing?” Once the engine roared to life, I was pure focus.



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In Defense of the VFR Flight plan, and Being Prepared

NAFI NOTAMs #28

In Defense of the VFR Flight plan, and Being Prepared ~Guest Blogger Patrick Howell CFII

First off, a confession…I filed one VFR flight plan in the first ten years of my flying career.  Frankly, I just did not see the point.  I did most of my primary flight training, from private all the way through CFI, in and around southern states, mostly Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. As a student pilot, my flight school based was at San Antonio International (KSAT), before moving to Stinson Airfield (KSSF), so we were always talking to ATC.  I was then and remain a habitual user of VFR flight following, and I found more utility in it than filing a flight plan, as well.  Also, it was not an emphasis item with my flight school, so just like the law of primacy states, first learned is best learned….and my first learned habit was not to file a VFR flight plan. So, I flew like that for many years…


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You can H.A.C it!

NAFI NOTAMs #27

You can H.A.C it! ~Guest Blogger Tom Dorl, NAFI Board Member

I always enjoy the month of January, as it provides an opportunity to reflect and learn from the past and begin with a fresh start. This month also provides flight instructors with an opportunity to perform a self-evaluation and to look for ways to improve their skills and abilities. During my USAF career flying the HH-60G, I had the opportunity to attend and graduate from the Weapons Instructor Course (WIC). This nearly 6-month program expands instructor skill sets that come from many different USAF aircraft and mission support backgrounds. As part of their culture, they infuse a few core concepts into their graduates: learning about their aircraft, learning about themselves and making those around them better. They also instill three unique character traits within the graduates: to be humble, approachable and credible. These traits can help every flight instructor to have a fun and prosperous 2022. Here are a few actions to consider as we get ready to take off into 2022.

Humble – As instructors, we should be modest and teach with respectful approach to our students. Try not to take yourself too seriously but approach your craft of flight instruction with dedicated professionalism. Stay grounded with yourself and your abilities, and your students will learn to soar. They will likely teach you something along the way. When you mess up, admit it, own it, and learn and teach from it. Don’t write checks that your skills and abilities cannot cash. This makes teaching fun and remember that ALL flight instructors were students at one time. Try to have fun with yourself and your students—this is why people stay in aviation.


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Pilots Don't Grow Up, Why Should Flight Instructors?

NAFI NOTAMs #25


Pilots Don't Grow Up, Why Should Flight Instructors?~Guest Video Blogger John Niehaus, NAFI Program Director

 

 



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The #1 thing you can do to become an amazing instructor right away

NAFI NOTAMs #21

The #1 thing you can do to become an amazing instructor right away~Guest Blogger Kimberly Dawn ATP, Class 1 Flight Instructor, ICAO Certified

The single greatest thing holding you back from being a total rockstar flight instructor is likely something you’ve heard before but not yet ‘heard’. Mentorship. What is it, and why is it so important!?

Instructors who try to become great without a mentor are willingly fighting an uphill battle, much like mechanics who do not complete an apprenticeship. Successfully finishing your schooling only to wander the world alone…makes it very difficult to become good at what you do. There are a lot of mistakes to be made and to learn from, and this is where a mentor can guide you. Mentors help you diagnose common student problems, and better yet, uncommon student problems. They help you avoid pitfalls, they give you a safe space to talk and discuss, and they are an outstanding resource for many things you didn’t think about yet.


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We Are All On The Same Team

NAFI NOTAMs #19

We Are All On The Same Team~Guest Blogger Randall Williams, CFII/MEI

If I could say anything to new instructors, I would say that (in addition to being super aware and not letting students kill you) our relationships with examiners will determine so many things about what we as instructors are able to accomplish. Finding examiners that we can work with as a team - and nurturing those relationships (i.e. NETWORKING) - is a big piece of doing this job well.

How well do we ACTUALLY know the examiners we’re sending our fledgling flyers to? Can we not just work within their busy schedules, but also understand/anticipate their needs and requirements? How do we meet each other as professional individuals out to accomplish mutual goals albeit through different procedural lenses? Do we know the examiner's priorities? Finally, how do we as flight instructors consciously extend our reach to meet new DPEs and expand our own horizons? It is only through establishing personal relationships that both parties can begin to answer these questions, but this takes time, effort, and primarily starts with the efforts of the instructor themselves.


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The Talent Code

NAFI NOTAMs #17

The Talent Code~Guest Blogger Adam Magee, LTA DPE/NAFI Boardmember

We’ve all heard the phase – “They were born to fly!” and perhaps that’s true of many, well likely, most pilots. But there is a difference, some pilots indeed have an instinct, or natural talent, for flight..

For many of us we work to instill this natural ability into our flying. However, the book "The Talent Code" reveals that everyone can develop a talent with the right mix of practice, motivation, and coaching. After reading this book, I highly recommend every flight instructor read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. I promise, I receive no commission!


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Mitigating Risks in Aviation with Help from Risk Assessment Tools

NAFI NOTAMs #16

Mitigating Risks in Aviation with Help from Risk Assessment Tools~Guest Blogger Jon Little CFII/MEI


All transportation methods involve managing some level of risk.  Many people do not consciously realize that during normal activities they are continuously making many risk assessments and mitigations, whether it is while riding a bicycle, taking a jog, or driving a car.  Your brain is analyzing the situations and then you are taking the appropriate action, ranging from:

  • Putting on your helmet before you get on your bicycle (lowers your risk for head injury).
  • Putting on your reflective vest before you jog (makes you more visible to cars).
  • Looking both ways before you pull through an intersection (avoiding a collision with another car).
Risks in aviation are much greater and pilots must realize that there are risks involved with every flight. The FAA focuses on Risk Management as one of its top safety issues. The FAA wants the aviation community to always work towards a culture of safety in the aviation industry from student pilots to airline captains.  


The FAA has a basic three-step process for Risk Management:



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Story Corner: Mickey Mouse's Questionable Flight Training

NAFI NOTAMs #15


Story Corner: Mickey Mouse's Questionable Flight Training~Guest Video Blogger John Niehaus, NAFI Program Director

 

 



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Mindful Flight Instruction

NAFI NOTAMs #13

Mindful Flight Instruction-Guest Blogger Lauretta Godbey, NAFI Director of Marketing Communications

The definition of mindfulness according to Webster’s dictionary is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” This is a relatively new concept for me that I learned during my recent graduate studies. The intent of mindfulness is to periodically take stock of what you feel, think, see, or hear that might affect the quality of your current state of being. Sounds quite ethereal but let’s unpack this regarding flight training.


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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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