Flight Instruction [home]

I am an FAA-certified flight instructor for gliders.  Before I moved to Switzerland, I spent about 50% of my flying time giving flight instruction, and the other 50% doing personal flying.  During my time in Switzerland, all of the flying I did was for personal enjoyment.  Now that I am back in the US, I expect the ratio of personal to instructional soaring to settle back down to what I did before I left the US.   I have had my instructor rating since March 2004, and it is probably my proudest accomplishment.  

Some interesting things I've done as an instructor include a Civil Air Patrol National Encampment in 2005, The Illinois Wing of the Civil Air Patrol Johnson Flight Encampment (2006), The last encampent I attended was in June 2007.   I have let my Civil Air Patrol membership lapse, while I was in Switzerland, and do not have any current plans to re-join.

At these encampments, and as a flight instructor in general, I've signed off all sorts of people to get their pilot rating, including a 16 year old on his birthday. I've signed off a crusty old Marine to do his first solo, and I've given rides to some as young as 3, and others as old as 80.

One of the more interesting things I have done lately, is to do ground instruction using a flight simulator.  Not just any flight simulator, but a simulator specifically-geared towards gliders.  Silent Wings is an excellent simulator, including nearly all aspects of soaring, with maybe the exception of sitting around on the ground all day long, waiting for a tow. 

A typical set-up for suitable flight instruction simulation is more involved than simply a computer and a joystick.  Without having thousands of dollars worth of flat-screen monitors cluttering up my computer desk, I simulate the looking-around motion with a very nifty device called "Track IR".  Now that I have flown simulators with the TrackIR, I can not even consider going back to the old style.  A few flights of familiarization with the head tracking motion, and it is quite natural. 

I have computerized the flight logging system of my flying club, Skyline Soaring Club, so that all of the lesson plans are on-line, and the progress of each student is tracked through a web interface.  Each Instructor signs off how proficient the student is for a particular maneuver. Once all of the required maneuvers are completed, and if the student shows his ability to "put it all together", he is ready to solo.   Take a snoop at our training syllabus here: http://skylinesoaring.org/TRAINING/Syllabus/

View the September 2009 Issue of Skyline Soaring Club's newsletter -- this describes the Training Program I wrote. http://skylinesoaring.org/NEWSLETTER/2009/September/200909news.pdf