At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

9 Replies

At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Michael Walpole on Nov 30, 2018 9:29 am

I'm a 350 hour Private Pilot working on Instrument.  I got my ticket in 1982, flew for 4-5 years, took about 30 years off and started flying again in the fall of 2016.  Since then I have logged about 200 hours mostly in a Warrior and a 182.  (Club airplanes from 2 different clubs)  This fall I started instrument training.  I got the Sporty's course last December and passed the test in June.  I found a school in August with a G1000 172 and started training.  I am also going up with a safety pilot to get simulated instrument hours in the Warrior (GTN650) and the 182 (GNS430W) to build time.  At this point I am 17 hours into the training with 14 hours of instruction.  I am pretty close to the end of stage 2 in the Cessna-King course.

Last night we flew and I was prepared to do DME arcs.  Instead we did holds over a VOR with 21kt crosswinds for over an hour.  That was challenging, but it got better as we went. and then we did a 5nm and a 7nm DME arc.  That actually went pretty well.  Coming back he had me out from under the hood as we entered downwind.  I did not find the airport right away as it was night and I was near the approach end of the runway on downwind when I picked it up.  I called downwind there, base followed pretty quickly and final.  As I started to flare holding the plane a foot or 2 off the runway he pulled back on the yoke and caused up to balloon about 15 feet up in the air.  Maybe he was thinking I was going to hit the nose wheel (was not going to happen), but it really screwed up the landing.  I landed it, but in retrospect I should have gone around and said your airplane.  If that was it, I would be OK, but there was more later.

If that was all, I would let it go.  Then he sent me a long text about not being ready for the lesson. (He never communicated the lesson plan)  Knowing the FARs.  (I am studying and going over the material.  In addition, I am an EAA IMC Coordinator who facilitates a monthly meeting on flying in IMC)  and missing comms.  In all my flying in the last 2 years I have maybe missed 1 comm flying the Warrior and the 182.  I admit I am missing comms now and then in the 172 as I am not as accustomed to the higher workload quite yet.  As that becomes more ingrained, I think that will improve, but right now I am working on the flying.

What I think the problem is here is I am a 65yo working in a highly technical job that is changing rapidly while working on the instrument rating and I am dealing with a 20 something who is headed to the regionals in 3 months who can't understand that people might have lives other than aviation.  I've been a little concerned about this from the get go with him, but I thought it would be OK.  Now I am not so sure and I'm not sure I want to give it another chance.  To state it bluntly, last night I felt like he crossed the line and I am not sure I can give him a second chance.  I plan to talk to him about it and talk to the flight school.  I am pretty sure I need to make a change at this point.
Mike W
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Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Robert Gardner on Nov 30, 2018 2:46 pm

Your CFII should know that seven miles is the minimum radius for a DME arc. He might also refer to the ACS for the instrument rating to be sure that he is not wasting your time and money. Is he using a syllabus?? Insofar as firing is concerned, you are the employer, he is your employee...end of story.

Bob Gardner

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Nicole Applegate on Nov 30, 2018 3:59 pm

Hi Michael,
I don't think you need a reason to change flight instructors. It's good to fly with someone else once in a while and its good for the flight school to have their instructors double checking each others work. Fly with the chief if you can. Also, you remind me of college where every teacher just assumes that your major is in their subject and that's your life as well. Not sure how to fix that.
As far as the scolding text afterwards, I am fresh out of my 20's but I'd like to think I'd never do that to a client. Might be a age thing but more likely a lack of training issue in good customer service.

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Michael Walpole on Nov 30, 2018 7:42 pm

A little update.

I replied to his text and, after he read it, he went said, oh understandable.  Basically, that was the right response, so he gets another chance.  I guess I'll put him on double secret probation.

I flew the Warrior tonight with a friend and we switched off playing safety pilot for each other.  We had an hour each with about .7 under the hood flying 2 approaches each.  My landing back at our home airport was fine.  Flew the landing like the one I was going to fly last night with the 172 and it was fine.  Nice, nose high, solid touch down, no bounce, no fuss and no one to screw it up by pulling back on the yoke.
Mike W

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Ronald Levy on Dec 2, 2018 10:42 am

One thing I would suggest as one who makes a living giving instrument flight training is to stick with one airplane type and one avionics suite.  Wait until you're across that instrument practical test stream before you start changing horses.

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Kurt Johnson on Dec 3, 2018 1:01 pm

It's interesting that he never gave a reason for grabbing the controls during the flight debrief.  Any time he has to make an abrupt control input such as that, he should give prompt feedback to you.  At a minimum he should have debriefed it after the flight.

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Michael Walpole on Dec 3, 2018 2:42 pm

He said he had to protect the airplane, what ever that means.  We were fine and I was coming back on the controls to hold it off until we were nose high anyway.  When he pulled it back we ballooned and it when down hill from there.  Got it on the ground OK; however, in retrospect, I should have done a go around and on climb out said, your airplane.  If that happens again I will do that and we'll be done.
Mike W

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Richard Petit on Dec 10, 2018 11:20 am

I feel your pain, I did my Instrument at 60, its hard enough to stay ahead of the game working a stressfull job,
I didn't " fire " my  CFII, he did not use a syllabus, I provided my own, did my own ground studies and went to Dallas to get all the real training, then back to him for my sign off. Check ride was not that bad, and I did it with a single VOR borrowed C-150, I was BUSY !
I am currently working on my CFI  and I cant say I will be the best, but I certainly know what hurts a student and I am not needing to send my Kids to college on your dime, and it was actually the lack of consistent back to back time that hurt the most. My CFII went out of town a lot,

Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Michael Maksym on Dec 10, 2018 11:48 am

My take is
1. Finding a instructor that knows when  to give the correct amount of instructions on one then, is hard to find
2. In no way should instruction be given with out a lesson plan and a good briefing before the flight...
3. The Pilot getting a biannual, a new rating,
up great , or just starting out, relys  on the instructors to set the stage on what to learn 
study etc.
4. For me I don’t rely on them I use the FAA
wings program for my biannual and other training and let the instructors know 
so and if they don’t use the wings program I walk away.
5. For me I strongly believe in staying current and even if you have a lot of flying hours once ever two years?
5. There are very good fligh schools and instructors out there.
good luck


Re: At What Point do You Fire Your Instructor

Posted by Richard Gallaher on Dec 11, 2018 5:30 pm

It took a while, and several flight schools, but I found a CFII that I enjoyed flying / hanging out with. Instrument training is very time consuming and you had better enjoy being around whoever you are flying around with. I flew with my CFII to the AOPA Gulf Coast flyin for my long x-country with three instrument approaches. It was actual IMC going down and back so it was good IFR training. My instructor is more than 20 years younger than I and is time building to go to the airlines, so it is not so much the age of the instructor that matters. 
At my age, I have given up flying old planes at flight schools, yes, you can get an instrument rating, but would you really fly that aircraft in instrument conditions... If you are going to really fly on instruments you really should be using the latest tech. Yes, it is expensive, but how much is your life worth? Go on flightware and watch what plans are really being used during IMC... then find somewhere that uses those planes for training.