Saving Lives, One Flight Hour At a Time


Saving Lives, One Flight Hour At a Time ~Guest Blogger Randall Williams, CFII/MEI

Last week I flew a training flight with an experienced student. He had more than 100 hours of flying time, and seemed very comfortable at his home airport in the plane that he usually flies.

We were on short final in the 180 hp Cessna 172, with flaps at 30°, engine power back for landing, and still about 500 feet above the threshold when tower called us to say “continue, expect late landing clearance.”

There was a 737 being tugged along the runway. I had seen it from downwind and expected that it would be clear before we came over the threshold.

spinThe student was tense, this was a new situation for him. He responded to the tower by announcing that he would make a 360.

He did make a 360, or at least he started to. He pulled back on the yoke, turned into a 30° bank to the right, and continued to pull back, all without applying power.

Within two seconds, I pushed down hard on my yoke, preventing what could have become a textbook stall/spin.

In our debrief that afternoon, the student said that as soon as I had pushed, he recognized exactly what had happened. He shared several ways he could respond differently the next time he gets in that situation.

CFIs joke about saving lives, but that is exactly what we’re doing. There are situations where everyone can clearly see how an instructor kept an airplane from crashing, but often it’s not as obvious.

Sometimes, a skill or habit we teach may surface in a situation that a student experiences decades later. Our job is breaking the accident chain, no matter how long it is - that’s a good business to be in.


Randall Williams NOTAMSRandall Williams, CFII/MEI
NAFI# 222907






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 "Saving Lives, One Flight Hour At a Time"

Comments 0-5 of 2

John Niehaus - Thursday, July 27, 2023

Thanks for reading Ean and for contributing this month!!

Ean Sugarman - Sunday, June 18, 2023

Great Blog Randall! Thanks for sharing

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