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On Being A Flight Instructor...

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#1
Thought I'd share this story...

A couple months ago, our new head flight instructor for our club put out the call for instructors, and came to me asking if I'd be willing to step up and teach people how to fly at our field. I decided I'd step up and help. I'd been having a good time doing community outreach at the various Maker Faires and booths at street faires to get our name out there, so this just seemed like another way to carry it forward.

Well, on Saturday, I had a family of 4 who came out and was interested in flying; the dad wanted to learn how to fly, and his oldest daughter seemed interested as well. I happened to show up with my dad's Apprentice, which had been donated to the club specifically for instruction, so I offered to take him up midday and let them fly on a buddy box.

The dad was cruising around and having a great time, and then his oldest daughter wanted to jump in and fly; she absolutely fell in love with it. But what REALLY surprised him was that his youngest daughter, who was 10, I think? She asked if she could learn to fly, and I said, "ABSOLUTELY!"

We stepped up and she was having fun cruising around, just figuring out how to do the basic controls, and she was absolutely loving it, and just keeping it flying in the air with a few bobbles here and there, but otherwise, really great for her first time. After, the dad came up to me and said, "Our two daughters are absolutely loving this! Can we come back again?" So, I let them know about our Monday night flight instruction that runs from 5 PM - dusk, and sure enough, the entire family came back out this past Monday night to go through flying lessons. :)

I again took the youngest daughter up, and she was ecstatic to work with me. I let her fly, just giving her a few pointers, and by the end of her 3rd flight ever, she was starting to make simple, large, sweeping turns - not something that's too easy for even experienced fliers when we've got 10-15 mph crosswinds and an updraft on the back side of the runway. She was all smiles behind her mask, and just absolutely enthralled with the flying.

After, she walked away to tell her dad how much she was enjoying it, and her mom came up to me and thanked me profusely. She told me that I was very patient with her, even though she had a bunch of questions. She told me her daughter has a case of ADHD, and is always flitting about with various things - but this was the first time she'd seen her daughter so excited and absolutely FOCUSED on something, and have that much interest in it. Hearing that just - well, I don't know how to explain it, exactly; it was like what I imagine a proud parent feels. And I know now that I'm going to keep doing this for as long as I can do it. :)
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
That's fantastic! Have you introduced them to the FT community yet?
LOL funny you should mention that. Saturday, when I was talking to them about getting into the hobby, the dad asked me, "So how much do the planes cost?"

"Well, that depends...See that big Piper Cub sitting over there on the side of the runway? That's about $3000 for all of the electronics, motor, airfra-"

"OH H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS NO! YOU ARE NOT SPENDING THREE GRAND ON A PLANE!"

"Or we have my Versa Wing over here. All of the electronics - motor, ESC, servos, and receiver, ran me about $50. Then I spent $2 for the foam, and built it myself. And if I crash it and can save the electronics - which, most of the time, I can - and then have to rebuild it new, it's only another $2 in foam from the Dollar Tree."

"Wait - how much? That's IT? And you said you made it out of foam you bought at the Dollar Tree??? Ok, honey, you can DEFINITELY build a couple of those!"

That's when I showed them pictures of some of the other planes I'd built, like my P-38. The mom went, "Ok, this is looking a LOT more affordable, especially if you're learning to fly."

So, they've gotten their exposure to it, and gotten the website info, and I told them about the FT forums; we'll have to see if they join up. I see the dad getting on here for sure, so we'll have to keep an eye out!
 

SquirrelTail

Legendary member
#4
LOL funny you should mention that. Saturday, when I was talking to them about getting into the hobby, the dad asked me, "So how much do the planes cost?"

"Well, that depends...See that big Piper Cub sitting over there on the side of the runway? That's about $3000 for all of the electronics, motor, airfra-"

"OH H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS NO! YOU ARE NOT SPENDING THREE GRAND ON A PLANE!"

"Or we have my Versa Wing over here. All of the electronics - motor, ESC, servos, and receiver, ran me about $50. Then I spent $2 for the foam, and built it myself. And if I crash it and can save the electronics - which, most of the time, I can - and then have to rebuild it new, it's only another $2 in foam from the Dollar Tree."

"Wait - how much? That's IT? And you said you made it out of foam you bought at the Dollar Tree??? Ok, honey, you can DEFINITELY build a couple of those!"

That's when I showed them pictures of some of the other planes I'd built, like my P-38. The mom went, "Ok, this is looking a LOT more affordable, especially if you're learning to fly."

So, they've gotten their exposure to it, and gotten the website info, and I told them about the FT forums; we'll have to see if they join up. I see the dad getting on here for sure, so we'll have to keep an eye out!
That's fantastic!
 

Tench745

Elite member
#8
Yeah that sounds like ADHD; some things are impossible to focus on and others are impossible not to focus on (known as hyper-fixating). While I was never officially diagnosed as ADHD, aviation has been that thing I can hyper-fixate on and learn all the intricacies of. And when I start feeling bored with the part I was focusing on, there's another area to focus on. Tired of building? Fly. Tired of flying, research aerodynamics. Tired of aerodynamics, try soaring. Tired of soaring, try racing. Tired of racing, try aerobatics. Tired of aerobatics, build ultra-micros. Tired of ultra-micros, learn about quads. Tired of quads, build a CNC. Tired of CNC, try building a real plane! etc etc. By the time you get through everything that could possibly be interesting, the first things you tried feel fresh again so you can start all over.