Use Your Hazards

Just the other day, I spent a wonderful morning cleaning out my beloved Grumman Tiger at my local airport for a few hours. I rewarded myself with a few much-needed laps around the pattern and decided to head home when the sunny sky became spotted with the usual Summer afternoon storms. As I was driving home on the interstate, one of these storms seemed to plant itself in the busiest section of freeway that Memphis, Tennessee has to offer.

Cars began slowing down as visibility reduced on the road. A few drivers forgot to turn their headlights on, which made navigating the interstate much more dangerous. Some drivers thought that the decreased visibility, slickness of the road, and multiple lane combinations ahead didn’t create a danger to them at all and decided to continue to drive above the speed limit. One car though, a silver sedan, had their hazard lights on, staying in the right lane driving slightly slower than the flow of traffic.Read More »

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 »

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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