Go Out There and Make a Thing!


Go Out There and Make a Thing! Guest Blogger John Niehaus, CFII/NAFI Director of Program Development

As I contemplated the topic for my NOTAMs blog post I was reminded about a video that NAFI Board Member, Brian Schiff, shared with me recently. The author of the video, Dr. Elwood Schapansky, is a Schiff family friend, and suggested the topic about the commonly misunderstood concept of gyroscopic procession might make for an interesting post.

Dr. Schapansky’s video is wonderful and the way he teaches is not only informative, but truly entertaining, thank you sir! It brings back memories of my high school physics teacher that inspired me to become who I am today.

(View Mr. Schapansky's Youtube Page and Subscribe Here)

Now I could go on about how understanding gyroscopic procession is important for instructors, students, and pilots alike, but I’ll take a different direction. I listen to a podcast hosted by a comedian and self-proclaimed nerd Chris Hardwick (left photo courtesy of IMDB.com), and one thing he encourages his listeners to do in just about every episode is search for something you truly enjoy and find a way to create something that not only makes you happy, but will also bring joy to someone else . He suggests “just go out a make a thing”.

Dr. Schapansky did just that, and not only does he teach and discuss outstanding topics, I believe he is an inspiration to us as flight instructors as well. During this time of COVID, now more than ever instructors need to find creative ways of sharing our passion with students using the self-taught “at home learning” we gained. Think about it, anything that can reach someone who has interest in learning to fly, or encourages someone who may have been mid training when the pandemic started to not give up can potentially help change someone’s life in a significant way. These things can play double duty as well because when you train in person, they become instructional aids that make the product you provide unique and special.

So I challenge you, while you wait for flight training to spool back up, or in between flights you are lucky enough to have, “make a thing” a video, a song, a phone app, an instructional prop, or even write an article for NAFI Mentor Magazine, you never know the positive impact it might have on someone else, plus it’s fun!

PS: Don't worry about how good something is from the start, don't let perfection be the reason NOT to do something. Get it started, and then worry about getting it right!

Elwood Schapansky is a retired physics professor from Santa Barbara City College. He has both a PhD in physics and an airline transport rating. In 1993, Schapansky quit teaching to go Alaska and enjoy the occupation of bush pilot. He has been doing out-reach physics and science programs for young students all of his life. Now with the coronavirus situation, Schapansky is presenting physics programs to fourth, fifth, and six graders while also doing workshop presentations for one of the junior high schools in his area. He says he did the gyroscopic precession video because of an accident he had on Montague Island where gyroscopic precession played a role he he wanted an educational way to explain to those who asked about it why it happened.

John Niehaus Head Short Program DirectorJohn Niehaus, CFII/ATP
Director of Program Development
NAFI# 28109





Blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent, professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinions or position of the National Association of Flight Instructors. NAFI does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Readers should note content may appear in various media, including print, email, enews without further notice.
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Comments on "Go Out There and Make a Thing!"

Comments 0-5 of 1

John E Ketelhut - Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Excellent post and professors explanation of gyroscopic prelesion.

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