An Examiner’s Smile

Published in July/ August 2018 MENTOR magazine by the National Association of Flight Instructors. 

Recently I sent my final student to his private pilot checkride with a local examiner. Like all students approaching their checkrides, he was nervous about the oral examination. While he had little to worry about, the first checkride is a daunting task in aviation. It is arguably just as much of a “rite of passage” as the first solo. This time, he wasn’t trying to prove himself to me, his instructor, but to a stranger whom he had only seen in passing.

The day arrived and he was overly prepared for that white and black temporary certificate to be handed to him, but he didn’t feel that way. I tried the normal techniques of relieving nervousness by asking some easy and common oral questions and by cracking a few jokes, but nothing worked. A happy, go-lucky guy normally, he was all but petrified of this checkride. Nothing could crack it, even though he was attempting not to show his dread.Read More »

Look Ma, Only Two Hands!

In April this year, the US House of Representatives proposed and passed the FAA Re-authorization Bill, with a few surprises attached to the end. On top of allowing the country’s airspace to function for another year, the bill approved several research projects; the most prominent being the call for a study into the viability of single-pilot cargo operations assisted with remote piloting. While the bill must still pass the Senate, the current text of this direction is below and linked here.

SEC. 744. SINGLE-PILOTED COMMERCIAL CARGO AIRCRAFT.

(a) Program.—The FAA, in consultation with NASA and other relevant agencies, shall establish a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.

“So, what is the big deal?” you may ask, “research is good!”

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Left Brain, Right Seat

Previously published in MENTOR magazine by the National Association of Flight Instructors. 

When I was in the second grade, my class had to memorize multiplication tables. If you’re not familiar with these wonderful devices, they consisted of a twelve by twelve box table with each box containing every possible pair single-digit numbers to be multiplied. It was our job as seven-year-olds to memorize the products for each one of these pair of factors, in hopes that we would be able to recall these pairs when needed. While many of my fellow classmates excelled through these tables, at the time it seemed like the biggest challenge I would ever face in life. When time came to take the final test, I failed miserably. I was told to take three days to study and take the test again, which I failed a second time. Being the only kid who failed, I became increasingly discouraged about taking the test for a third time.

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