The Common Good

From NAFI's Chair

The Common Good

One of the truisms of becoming flight instructors is that we learn more about flying and about ourselves than we ever thought possible. This is something I say to CFI candidates and inexperienced CFIs all the time, but it's easy to forget.

I was perusing a thread in the Facebook "CFI Discussion Group" launched back in September by a new instructor. He was musing about it being hard to let a new student touch the controls. And I think that was true for a lot of us.

What was fun about this thread is the different perspectives the more experienced among us brought. There were comments about how hard it will be to solo your first student, how you'll learn to recognize a bad landing before it starts, how you'll notice a mistake 15 seconds before the student and so on. One theme I found interesting was the number of people who said the new instructor should never be complacent with an experienced pilot in the other seat, because what habits or knowledge that person has is unknown. All these are good advice and thoughts, in my opinion.

What really struck me, though, particularly because we've just finished yet another election cycle, is how freely everyone gave advice to a new member of our ranks. It would be easy to not say anything, especially as it can feel risky in a public forum. But I rarely see those of us in the flight instructing business getting into "flame wars."

We may disagree, and I know we all have strong opinions, but even then, it very rarely gets nasty. Apart from the pleasure I derive from sharing the gift of flight, that's one of the biggest reasons I think we are all so passionate about this profession: There's a common good we all work toward.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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