Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Putting a bed in my office

Sure seems like I need a bed here. That would save the hassle of having a place to live, and all that driving back and forth. All I do at the house is sleep anyway. Last night I finally got to fly a cross country with one student who had been waiting 2 weeks. We kept running into weather and scheduling issues.

The great thing about summer is that you have plenty of daylight to use. The bad part is, when you need to fly at night, there is no way to get home at a reasonable time. Joe was planning for the night cross-country to be a trip from here to Roanoake, then Lynchburg, and back home. There was a small line of weather moving toward Roanoake, so we changed the plan and went to Richmond instead. He wanted to get some experience with bigger airports.

Too often, I have seen schools try to fit the bare minimum requirements into as little time as possible for the student, in order to impress everyone with how quick and efficient they are. The problem is, the bare minimum is rarely enough to impart a real education. Going into Charlottesville is fundamentally different from Richmond, or Raleigh-Durham, or Dulles. Any of those qualifies as an airport with a control tower, so they all meet the requirements. But the student doing just the minimum required for the license is going to be deficient in many areas.

Most often, I see the result as one of a couple things from there: Sometimes the student understands the deficiency, and proceeds to get more training after the license. Sometimes, not recognizing it, the pilot either gets himself into a situation beyond his limitations. More often, he quietly resigns to limiting his flying to only the situations that are already comfortable. And that is a shame.

Joe is aware of all these things, so he doesn't really care about how long it takes. He just wants to address everything that will make him become a good pilot. The result is that he's one of the best students I've ever had.

Richmond International is busy enough to make a student get overwhelmed quickly, even during slow times. Last night was not one of those slow times. I figured that out about 20 miles away, when we were unable to get enough clear radio time to tell them we were descending. Plenty of traffic on the way in, complicated by a lifeguard flight carrying human transplant organs. ("Lifeguard" is a flight designation for medical priority). That backed up everybody.

So we got a good workout, being vectored all around, forcing him to struggle through complicated taxi instructions, getting clearances, etc. Tough stuff for a student, but that will make him a confident pilot.

In the end, we got home to Shenandoah Valley Regional at 12:30 AM. I made it back to the house at 1:30 AM, to bed at 2. Up again at 6:30, back to work. If I had just a little more space in the office, that extra couch of mine would find its way here.


At 8:19 AM, Blogger adr said...

That extra couch of which you speak better not be the one currently in residence in CH ...


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