Pilot's tip of the week

When CFIs Don’t Agree


Subscriber question:

"I am learning to fly and have had a few instructors. What should I do when one instructor tells me to do a maneuver one way and a different instructor tells me to do it a different way? I'm confused." - Janice D.


“I know how tough it is to learn a new skill when you are given differing views on how it should be done. The truth of the matter is that there are lots of right ways to fly an airplane. Some may be better than others but as long as they are safe, they can all be OK.

As you gain experience you will learn various techniques that work best for you. A good instructor will acknowledge this and allow his students to accomplish tasks in various ways.

The good news here is that there are a number of references to help us know the proper procedures. First and foremost is the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the aircraft you are flying. Then there is the Airplane Flying Handbook. This book describes most general aviation maneuvers and is a reference for the FAA standards for many ratings. Then there is the Aeronautical Information Manual. This manual is designed to provide the aviation community with basic flight information and ATC procedures for use in the National Airspace System. These and other FAA publications make up the guidance we need to operate our aircraft.

I know it is tough to question your flight instructor or other pilots with much more experience than you, but next time you are told something confusing, you might explain that you have been told something else in the past by another instructor. Then you might question the reference your CFI is using to support their beliefs. Perhaps you both might learn something in the process.

So don’t be bashful, by asking these questions you will help yourself and perhaps the next student behind you.”

Imagine you’re flying with an instructor you’ve never flown with before, and he/she tells you to perform a task differently than you’ve ever seen it done. What would you do?

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