Helping New CFIs

From NAFI's Chair

Helping New CFIs

I happened upon a column this week in the Nebraska Department of Transportation's PIREPS electronic October/November 2018 newsletter. The article was written by Lee Svobada, a well-respected designated examiner in the Omaha area and can be found here.  It was entitled "Delinquent Items" and was a brief listing of the things he has found missing in logbooks and records, be they the applicant's or the aircraft's. In full disclosure, I once sent him a candidate for a single-engine commercial add-on and forgot the endorsement that certified the candidate had received and logged training time from me in the previous two calendar months. That was an embarrassing lesson learned.

Some of items Svoboda passes on in his article are things like an aircraft missing placards, student pilot certificates not having been signed, the applicant checking the wrong class of aircraft (although I'm not sure how that can happen in IACRA) and the CFI has not signed off on the application and so on. Larry Bothe, writing in NAFI's Mentor magazine has made many similar, if not the same points.

As is so often true of aviation lessons, we learn best from experience and from the mistakes of others. That's one of the reasons I confessed my error in the lead paragraph, so it might be a gentle reminder to you, and perhaps give you a chuckle. Although I suspect that given the overall excellence of NAFI's members you don't often commit such errors yourselves. Rather, I think our CFI candidates, the ones we train, sometimes slip. I don't think this is due to a lack of diligence on our collective part. Instead, because we have become accustomed to the process and its requirements that we sometimes forget that our newer peers need additional guidance. I sometimes explain this phenomenon as it being like a goldfish trying to describe water.

So, as we train our CFI candidates, take the time to have them create some endorsements and try to see them as an examiner might. Introduce them to NAFI's endorsement guide as well as AC61-65H, which shows the correct forms of endorsements as well as the linkage to the appropriate regulations. While you're at it, help them form a checklist of the endorsements that match the instructing privileges they'll soon have. It'll help give Svoboda, Bothe, and other examiners something else to write about.
There, Lee - I've done my penance, finally.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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