Alternative Techniques Can Be Fun

From NAFI's Chair

Alternative Techniques Can Be Fun

A couple of years ago, NAFI Program Director John Niehaus had a great article in Mentor magazine where he described using a time-based game to help his instrument students manage the pressure of single-pilot IFR. What Niehaus does is use the game "Perfection," where a player has to finish a task before the timer runs out. Instead of the game pieces, though, his students have to brief an instrument approach before the clock runs out. Of course, this is done on the ground, getting the student used to what they will have to know in a rapidly changing environment where accuracy is critical.

I'm reminded of this by a Facebook post by Steve Craffey in the "CFI Group, Certificated Flight Instructor." In it, as a returning CFI, he asks if other instructors take their charges out to the parking lot and, using pylons, have them "fly" private and commercial maneuvers. As he put it, part of the fun is having student pilots walking about with outstretched arms pretending to fly. And, yes, I've both been an airplane and had my students be airplanes, "flying" traffic patterns, S-Turns, Lazy 8s, to name a few. Simulating Lazy 8s, in particular, are a great way to both get some good bending exercises and some attention from other folks in the area - especially when a larger business jet is taxiing by.

For me, at any rate, it's all in keeping the learning process fun and interesting and there are lot of ways to do this for your students. If you or they are not comfortable performing modern dance on the ramp, things like having the student teach the instructor about maneuvers at the white board is an option; the student learns the maneuver and the instructor might just gain a new technique from the way it's presented. Tossing out challenges to find something in the FAR/AIM is always fun, as long as the game is played fairly. And that one can go both ways - I've had some students make me do some fairly in-depth research because of a challenge they've tossed me.

So, next time you feel like you're Ben Stein saying "Buehler," give yourself the challenge of perking up your teaching.

On a more serious note, please take the time to remember that today is the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Keep the victims and their families in your hearts, thoughts, and prayers, and hope that such a tragedy never again occurs.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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