Sometimes I am a workaholic. It’s because I enjoy what I do and I also like money to fly. As I’ve said before, I got a part-time instructor position at the school I got my dispatcher license. October was the first class I got to help instruct and I was so excited! It was my first time speaking in front of a class and I was less nervous than I thought I was going to be. The first day I was there, the lead instructor did most of the teaching, but I jumped in on the weight and balance charts section of the flight planning. We had vastly different styles of teaching. I go much quicker, while he tends to go slower and repeat things at least three times. I know I’ll need to work on slowing down, especially the first day because I expected people to ask questions if they don’t understand something, but Jake pointed out, they don’t even know enough probably to form questions.
I was definitely a bit rusty too, but it came back quickly. I had my regular work for 3 day and I went back to instructing the 2 days after that. This time they were nearing the end of their learning process and formulating flight plans on their own. I helped walking around and answering questions. This is where I’m extremely comfortable. When I can sit down with a student and their specific question and help them work through it without outright giving them the answer; but ask the right questions myself to lead them to the answer.
The lead instructor said their flight plans had greatly improved from the day before and they were looking good. The second day, some of them got nervous because this was the final exam to be signed off to take the checkride. We sat down with them individually to explain their mistakes and what they could have done better.
Manually flight planning, there’s so many different ways they can route around the weather. We’re not using preferred routes, or what may be common at airports. They have to pick SIDs/STARs and routes themselves that work with and around the weather. No two flight plans were alike.
In my training, I loved creating these flight plans because it’s a puzzle to me. Grading them is fun as well because it’s a backwards puzzle. I have to see from just their work their logic and how they got the answers they did. I need to be able to go to charts and understand why they used the ISA +10 (International Standard Altitude +10 degrees C) chart instead of the ISA (International Standard Altitude) chart. I avgeeked out pretty much.
I’m happy to say that when they took their checkrides their flight planning was pretty good. They were weaker in other parts, which next class we’re going to fix. I’m already making a guide to help them read charts better, which was the weak point in some of them and Jake gave me a good idea with the FARs as well. I hope in December they do great and I am able to teach again! I’m working more that week so I’ll have to maneuver my time.