Advice for the Grounded

From NAFI's Chair

Advice for the Grounded

One of the bigger challenges I face as chair of NAFI's Board of Directors is filling this space. I am always conscious of the fact that what I write has to be of some interest to NAFI's membership as well as relevant to being flight instructors. Often, these missives are observations that I've made while talking to other pilots, flying with students, flying myself or on commercial airlines for work. I enjoy the challenge and most of your feedback has been positive, for which I'm grateful.

As some of you may know, I'm stuck on the ground for another few months because of a health issue that surfaced back in July. I've been assured that there will be no problems with my flying once I get re-assessed in October, but in the meantime I'm not even allowed to fly on a commercial aircraft, let alone exercise my privileges as a pilot or flight instructor. I find myself spending a lot of my outdoor time looking up when I hear something fly by.

Because I haven't been flying, I scan the various Facebook aviation and space groups to which I belong for inspiration. Nothing really struck me recently. There was a good thread started by a new instructor named James-Paul Dice that asked about how to teach good decision making in Greg Brown's Student Pilot Pep Talk Group here, but the responses all covered territory I've been over many times with you, so I'll point you in that direction for yourselves. Besides, you'll all probably have good advice for him.

That leads to this week's conundrum. I'm sure some of you have been stuck in my position yourselves. What advice would you give to a pilot who is temporarily grounded? Particularly about how to stay engaged and ready to fly when the restrictions come off. Also, what suggestions do you have for someone who is frustrated because they otherwise feel fine, but the doctors want to ensure that they are fully healed?

Yes, this may be a bit selfish on my part, but in the past, I've been the one providing counsel or a sympathetic ear to a fellow pilot in a similar situation. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I find that I probably could have done better. I'd be interested in what the collective wisdom of NAFI's members has to say on this subject.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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