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#3. It’s said that it’s not a good idea for family mem-
bers to teach another family member how to drive. What about teaching them how to fly? Our daughter has expressed some interest in learning. My husband is a CFI and thinks it’s foolish to pay for instruction, but I’m concerned because sometimes he’s not very patient with her. What’s your advice? My advice would be for your husband to use his experience and skill as a CFI to carefully select an instructor for your daughter and here’s why. No doubt there are pros and cons to teaching a family member to fly. On the positive side you have an instructor who is very dedicated and interested in providing the best possible education for a successful completion. You also have the benefit of having that instructor nearby should a questions come up say after dinner one evening when your daughter is studying (could also be construed as a negative which I’ll get to). The cost savings cannot be ignored in this case either which can be significant. Also on the positive side is the special bond that takes place between instructor and student which can ultimately strengthen the father/daughter relationship. And there will be plenty of joy and celebration that can be shared as a family working together toward the goal of a pilot certificate.
On the negative side, there can be tremendous added pressure to an already stressful situation – for both the student and instructor to succeed. The daughter will undoubtedly be trying to please her father and should your husband lack patience or waiver somewhat in his encouragement, this could lead to an unhealthy motivation to reach the end or worse, not reach the end at all. The delivery of flight instruction also requires some candor and tough love. I would be concerned that the father may not feel he can be as direct with his daughter as with other students. The opposite extreme is also very possible, that in your husband’s desire to be the best, too much pressure and unrealistic expectations may take over. As mentioned earlier, there’s an overarching concern of not being able to separate home life and the educational environment. The lack of separation could become unbearable for both father and daughter and remember learning to fly should be a fun, thrilling experience. These potential negatives can have damaging, long-term affects in the relationship. In the end I would agree that the advice we’ve all heard also applies in aviation, not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule. But in the end I think the father can be involved, supportive and an invaluable resource without being the lead CFI. Good luck!
There will be plenty of joy and celebration that can be shared as a family working together toward the goal of a pilot certificate.
#4. I’m considering going for my commercial rating,
but I don’t plan to fly for a living. Will this extra rating be worth the expense and time? Would my money be better allocated on a glider or seaplane rating? Most additional flight training is worth the time and expense. While it may not appear to be directly related to your day to day flying, it will improve that flying and make you a safer pilot. Each of the ratings you mentioned has merits. The commercial rating will cover much of what you learned during your private training but it will be in more depth and to tighter standards. New maneuvers such as the Chandelle and Lazy Eight will improve your ability to control the aircraft in a coordinated manner. The Power-Off 180 will enhance your approach planning, judgment, and landing skills. The glider rating will open your flying up to new experiences and it is a lot of fun. Most landings in a glider are without power. I say most, because self-launched gliders, aka motorgliders, may have the option of an engine on landing. Without an engine, you do not have the option of a go-around. This will enhance your landings and raise your confidence in airplane flying. You will also learn about energy management and micro-meteorology. This is knowledge that you will find useful when back in an airplane.
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The seaplane rating is really about fun and adventure. Even if you never fly a seaplane again, you will learn how to read the wind without a windsock. This valuable skill can be useful in the event that you ever need to make an off-airport landing due to emergency or other circumstances. The ability to read the water will also improve your chances if you ever have to ditch an airplane. Ultimately, it is up to you, but I think that you will find value in whatever path you choose.
The commercial rating will cover much of what you learned during your private training but it will be in more depth and to tighter standards.