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Clearing up Generational Misconceptions


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


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


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



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CFI, A Key to Many Doors



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?


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


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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The Tolerance of Mediocrity & Demanding Perfection from Students


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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