CFI Topics

The Art of Instructing

Lesson 1

When does a pupil turn into a tutor? Is it like a pupae transforming into a butterfly or a more subtle mental flux? An instrument rated pilot transitioning to a flight instructor carries a heavy burden. Gone is his reliance on the person in the right seat since he is now the one in the right seat. So when does this transmogrification occur? The answer to these questions lies within the pilot/pupil/instructor.

The art of instructing does not come from impressing an examiner, nor from acing the written test, both are comprehensive and allow for reasoning and deduction. But neither can assess the degree of understanding required to explicate the laws of aerodynamics that apply to a body hurtling through a 3-dimensional space. There in lies the crux of instructing. It is the comprehension of the complex aspects of human behavior and the ability to tune them to the variegated fundamentals of aerodynamics – a circular peg in a round hole – that can create a perfect fit.

And so, the other day, I was asked the question what does 1.3 Vso mean? The answer seemed so simple that it flew out of my mouth, like a gasp, involuntary and utterly without thought. 1.3 Vso is 1.3 times the stalling speed, or the minimum steady flight speed, in the landing configuration with flaps down, engine at low or idle power as it would be just prior to touchdown. And then, with further reflection, I questioned myself. So what is 1.3 Vso? Now, you cannot describe the ethereal beauty of a rose in bloom by looking at a petal, so let’s look at the whole picture.

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