Sunday, June 04, 2017


Well the new flight school just did something that hath annoyed me rather greatly.

While the weather in the morning was indeed thunderstorms, it had cleared up to when I got to the field. A little rain but it soon stopped VFR and winds 0, yes zero and I drove out there expecting a flying lesson. Don't get a lot of days like that at Pontiac.

Ray however comes out and says there is likely some more weather coming in (turns out there wasn't dammit) and the head of the flight school told my instructor he wants me to do a refresher on airspace and emergency procedures as the examiner seems to be really hitting those areas during the checkride. Fine, and it may even be useful.

One little catch, a pre-solo student is also going to be attending to learn as well. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh boy.

Well it turns out this guy, an older gentleman is also a Flight 101 refugee who I vaguely remember seeing there at times, but apparently he did not retain much if at all, assuming he even learned or was taught much. Or he's a definite example of "It's not what you know, it's what you think you know that isn't so."

So we start going through the ACS standards and begin with airspace. We're beginning with Class A and he doesn't about Class A, nor Class B, nor C, nor D, nor E, nor G in terms of dimensions nor visibility/cloud clearance requirements and don't get me started about TRSAs.

In short I'm pretty sure he hasn't studied and has not done his written test yet as what he knows will not as they say, fly.

But it gets better.

We start discussing emergency procedures and he insists, really insists, that the Skyhawk 172 has reserve fuel on board that's not shown on the gauges. The instructor and I exchange bemused and somewhat confused looks.

We tell him no and he insists that's what he knows, and then I realize what he thinks - he thought the UNUSABLE fuel that remains in the tanks is reserve fuel. NO, NO, NO.

Unusable means the plane cannot use it and it is not a reserve at all, it is by its very unusable nature fuel that will not get to the engine - that's one heckuva dangerous belief to have when you're flying the plane. Sheesh.

Then we get on to engine restart procedures and he's swearing up and down that the mixture control on the Skyhawk is on the throttle. Again -- Hard NO -- he's confusing the throttle with its tension adjustment with the mixture control knob right beside it and they do very, very different things. Never-mind that he's flying Pipers now - but he then though the Piper Archer had a gravity fed fuel system (it doesn't) and the electrical fuel pump was only used on occasion to help the gravity feed. Argh, a Piper Archer has both an engine driven fuel pump and the second electrical one for redundancy and no, gravity will not feed fuel from a low wing upto an engine mounted above the frickin' wing.

So yeah, his knowledge of airspace, aircraft systems, and emergency procedures is rather sub-par and I'm stuck as the instructor is teaching it at his level.

It was painful to be there and sadly a waste of my time.

On the one hand, it was ok to go through the ACS and refresh and realize that yes I know this stuff. On the other hand, I can and do that by myself just fine without paying extra for it thank you very much. On the upside, having to answer the guy's questions and knowing the answers to the instructor's questions cold and being able to correct the guy's unfounded assumptions shows I probably know what I'm talking about by now at least at the private pilot checkride level.

Let's not do that again, shall we?

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