Cruising tag 9000 feet.
One unexpected aspect of becoming a flight instructor is the people you meet, relationships you form, and learning experiences gained. I check my schedule online and see a name and aircraft pairing, maybe a tag such as Checkout or Flight Review, or Instruction, but often don’t really know what that block is going to involve. Sometimes you get lucky and there are notes attached to the reservation or the office or pilot will call to discuss the appointment, but that is a rarity. Depending on the situation you might know their certification level; are they a student pilot or a type rated multi-engine instrument rated commercial pilot? I’m OCD type A when it comes to that stuff so I would rather spend 4 hours preparing for a 2 hour appointment as opposed to walking in and having to construct the period on-the-fly; but such is the environment of flight instruction until you meet the first time and develop a training plan. Sometimes pilots come for just one appointment to work on a specific task or required currency requirement and you just have to draw from your training and experience to make it beneficial and meaningful; usually that evolves into multiple flights to work through a mutually agreed upon course of training to achieve a desired goal.
Many of the pilots I have instructed have taught me as much as I have assisted them. I’ve flown with National Guard C130 pilots, retired military pilots, and senior airline pilots who’s type ratings fill the back of their certificates. It proves the saying, A Good Pilot Is Always Learning, and each certificate is a License To Learn.
On this flight an instrument rated private pilot who was thinking of getting Cirrus Certified Training booked a 6 hour block to get some time in the airplane and experience the type in order to determine if it was something he wanted to pursue further. He needed some high performance aircraft time and had not experienced the Cirrus Life. He had flown his wife down to Kentucky the week before in the Diamond DA40 but decided to take the opportunity to pick her up to get some Cirrus time.
As you can see from the weather chart overlays we had many weather risks of concern and due to cloud layers and adjacent convective thunderstorm activity it was beyond a doubt an instrument flight. That gave us a natural a opportunity to work through real world preflight planning and ADM. We decided that the flight was safely a go and departed for the 3 hour one leg trip to Georgetown Ky. We we had dinner in town and then as is often the case the late afternoon hours and nighttime brought dissipating clouds and smooth air on our return flight to Carroll County Regional, Westminster, Md. Enroute we worked through aircraft systems, avionics, CRM (Crew Resource Management) and ATC clearances in a real world environment.
It was another memorable training experience even though I am now on the other side of equation.
Fly Often, Fly Safe.