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How To Choose The Perfect Flight Instructor

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How To Choose The Perfect Flight Instructor

Hi there! So, are you thinking of taking flight lessons? Well, I promise, it will be an experience of a lifetime! However, make sure this experience is a good one, rather than a bad one. One thing that will almost guarantee it be an awesome experience, is choosing the right CFI – Certified Flight Instructor.

This is one of the most important decisions you will make as a student pilot. Although some schools will assign you a flight instructor, if you don’t feel comfortable with him/her, you can certainly ask for another one. In fact, that’s exactly what you must do.

What do I mean by “comfortable”?

Knowing whether a certain instructor is right for you takes more than just asking questions – it takes intuition. You have to use that feeling that you get inside you.

Have you ever been driving along and suddenly felt that you were going the wrong way? There were no signs that said, “THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO YOUR DESTINATION”, yet, you felt like you were off track. Before you see a road sign to confirm that you were going the wrong way, your intuition was already telling you this.

This is what I mean by comfortable. It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling you get once you turn around and know that you’re back on the right road.

When interviewing a potential flight instructor, pay attention to your intuition. Try not to judge someone based on how professional they look (although, if they’re completely sloppy, you might want to be weary), or how tall they are, or whether they’re young or old, male or female. Instead, listen to what they say and see if you feel “expansive” or “restricted”.

What do I mean by expansive and restricted?

Here’s what I mean:

Think about something that you enjoy doing with a passion. Perhaps it’s dancing, playing video games, riding your motorcycle, or even flying. Now, think about talking to someone about this activity – you are being expansive if you get excited from talking about it, you feel more energy, your eyes are wide, you move towards the person as you talk.

If, however, you feel restricted when you talk about something that you don’t like, you slump down, you feel insecure, unsure, and perhaps a bit afraid.

When interviewing flight instructors, ask them a few questions and see how their answers make you feel. Here are some questions you can ask. Remember to pay attention to what they’re saying, but also to your own body language and intuition.

Instrument Flight Training – Old Analogue Or New Glass

General Aviation in the twenty first century desists in pursuing the technology of it’s larger heavier cousins. affordable computers and new technology has now bridged the chasm between GA aircraft avionics suites and the glass cockpit behemoths of the sky, and to the private pilot, offers an exciting new dimension to flying.

There can be no doubt that such instrumentation offers extra safeguards with visual representation of terrain, moving maps and courses, you name it, it’s all there at a glance.

Everyone would agree that such instrumentation offers the VFR pilot a level of safety, never enjoyed before, and yet, some would argue (myself included) that the temptation of a glass presentation might encourage the pilot to push into an ever deteriorating situation that he or she may not have previously considered pushing had their aircraft been furnished with analogue gauges.

We should not forget that a VFR pilot with a thousand hours, is still just a VFR pilot, and only trained to that level, and is required to have their eyes on the natural horizon. With the introduction of glass cockpits in GA, there will be a natural tendency for those pilots to start spending more of their time inside the cockpit.

VFR pilots delighted with their new modern avionics will find themselves relying on it more and more and may result in getting into more trouble with it than if they were without it in the first place.

Without the correct training and guidance, the outcome could be disastrous, as the pilot will be have been lulled into a false sense of security thinking that they are equipped to deal with situations that will likely spiral out of control.

There are many varied types of pilots, but we can reduce them to two kinds. Visual pilots and number pilots. Most of you will fall into the visual category, the remainder of us are number pilots, and then there are the very few who are adept at both.

My friend and colleague is a visual pilot but is a very accomplished IFR pilot also. He uses a visual picture in his mind, but uses numbers to confirm his situational awareness picture. I myself am a number pilot, all the way, and do not use a visual picture at all, the numbers tell me everything I need to know.

Number pilots I think, will make generally better IFR pilots than there visual counterparts. It is important to clarify however, whatever kind of pilot you happen to be, neither one way or the other is right or wrong, ultimately, your training should be tailored for the way your mind processes information.

And so, we have reached the point and subject of this article. Adding the IFR rating to your certificate, old analogue or new glass?

As most of you know, GPS, EFIS systems employ satellites to compute a position in space, and presents that information to you on a colourful logical display, complete with terrain, intersections, and all manner of numbers in the form of a tape, like headings, courses, altitudes and the list goes on.

Essentially, your being presented visual and numerical information. The currant land based navigation system for pilots is usually in the form of V.O.R’s and N.D.B’s. Although N.D.B’s are officially being phased out, the V.O.R system will be with us for the foreseeable future and most GA aircraft use this type of navigation coupled with Distance Measuring Equipment. (D.M.E) So, which system do you decide to use to acquire you IFR rating?

Having spoken to a good cross section of people including D.P.E’s (Designated Pilot Examiners), FAA inspectors, other CFII’s it seems the general consensus of opinion is that it would be advantageous to the IFR candidate to learn the V.O.R based system first, acquire the rating and then transition to a glass system.

If you happen to be flying an aircraft that has both the analogue system and a say a Garmin 530 also, you will have to learn not only the analogue system but also learn to use the GPS system also, the rule states that you must be able to use the equipment that is in the aircraft.

This will add extra training hours to your rating. If your a renter, and wish to rent an aircraft that has analogue gauges, and you decided to learn on a glass system, odds are when you go to rent that aircraft, you will not be able to fly IFR with it. Simply put, you will be incompetent to fly that system. The final conclusion, you are, and always will be, so long as the old system is around, an incomplete, and sub-standard IFR pilot.

Case in point, an young airline pilot who visited Kona some time back, wanted to rent a Cessna 182, no GPS of any kind, could he file IFR, no he could not. Why? He learned on a E.F.I.S and was unable to fly IFR using the analogue gauges, he even admitted as such. He was however willing to give it a whirl, I won’t bore you with the details, except to say he was not much better than a VFR pilot.

The simple fact of the matter is, not to learn the land based V.O.R system of IFR puts you at such a disadvantage, it clearly is detrimental to your skills as an IFR pilot. It will be far easier to advance to glass systems than to learn on a glass system and then go back, who goes back to old systems when you have learned a new one?

Remember, once you have your ticket in hand, you can transition at your leisure to any glass system you want to fly. In today’s world, everyone is after instant gratification, ten day Instrument Ratings, bare bones minimum standards as stated in the P.T.S and bare bones minimum hours, as little studying as possible.

If that’s the kind of IFR pilot you want to be, good luck, fact is you will probably end up on a piece of government paper as another FAA statistic, because you just won’t be prepared to fly real solid IFR when the time arrives, and it will some day.

Any pilot with mediocre skill can fly IFR when all is hunky dory, it’s when you have an instrument failure or two, it’s night IFR, the weather is bad, visibility is nothing and the only company you have are the outside strobe lights and yourself, that’s when the true test of your instrument training will be revealed.

The simple fact of the matter is, your standard of IFR piloting will be considerably higher having mastered a analogue system first. One last note before I conclude this article, if you do have anyone else in the plane with you, you’re responsible for their lives, get the picture?

Questions To Ask A Potential Flight Instructor:

Why did you become a Flight Instructor?

This will tell you if he/she is there to build up flight time (at your expense) because they can’t get another job in aviation at the time, or if they have a genuine interest in giving someone the gift of flight. This does not mean that someone who is trying to build up flight time in order to move up in their flying career won’t be a good instructor, but you should be able to determine their affinity for teaching.

Some instructors are not happy to have to fly with students in order to build up flight time. These types may give answers, such as, “Because I had to” or “Because that’s how you build up flight time”.

If someone became an instructor to build up flight time AND they also have an interest in teaching you, they will answer more along the lines of, “Because I wanted to continue to learn, and students have a lot to teach too” or “Because the look on someone’s face when they first solo is priceless”.

How long have you been Flight Instructing?

No matter how well-intentioned an instructor is, the first couple of students are the guinea pigs while he/she develops his/her teaching style. If you’re someone’s first student, but you feel this instructor is for you, just make sure you ask a lot of questions and keep very good track of your progress using your syllabus.

Make sure you talk to other students and ask them what kind of reading their doing, what books they’re using, what type of homework they’re getting. You should ALWAYS have some type of “homework” assignment at the end of each lesson.

Describe your Teaching Style? Is it very structured or tailored to the student?

Many pilots are the “technical” types. They’re very logical and like to make decisions based on logic without relying on feelings or intuition very much. In fact, during pilot training, you will be taught NOT to trust your intuition in certain situations. If you’re more of an intuitive person or a little on the sensitive side, you may want to look for an instructor who’s not so “technical” or look for someone who has several years of experience teaching.

Some students like to figure things out as they go, they want to try out a maneuver first, while others like to be shown first, then guided through it before they try it completely on their own. Figure out what type of learner you are and look for an instructor that is willing to adapt to your learning style.

Would you say you give more compliments than critiques or the other way around?

A lot of people respond very well to positive reinforcement, while some may not like a bunch of sugar coating on bad news. The same goes in the reverse for flight instructors. Some like to point out what you’re doing wrong (not because they don’t like you, but because they’re trying to help you improve), while others get excited with you and for you whenever you do something right.

What is your preference? If you know what it is, tell your flight instructor, so that they know how to teach you. They will have their own preference, but may be willing to adapt to your way of learning too.

Do you stick strictly to the syllabus? Or do you like to jump around?

Some people are more spontaneous while others are more comfortable in a routine. If you like to keep things predictable and are not too excited about things NOT going as planned, a flight instructor that likes to “wing” it with your flight lessons might not be the one for you. It’s good to maintain some structure in your flight training, and absolutely make sure you have a syllabus where you can keep track of your progress.

However, some flexibility is good too. For instance, some flight training maneuvers require you to be at an altitude of 3,000ft or above, while others require only about 1,500ft. If the clouds are at 2,500ft, but you were scheduled to practice maneuvers that require you to fly at 3,000ft, there’s no reason to cancel the flight. Instead, switch to a lesson that requires only the 1,500ft altitude, and you can still make the most out of a lesson.

Do you use a syllabus? Can I see a copy of it?

Depending on the flight school, the syllabus may be a commercial one that you can buy online or at a pilot shop, or the school could have their own. Whichever it is, make sure your CFI uses one. If he/she thinks it’s not advantageous to use one, find another instructor.

I’ve heard people talk about “stalling” an airplane. Can you tell me what that means?

Whether you do or don’t know what “stalling” an airplane means, this is a chance for you to see how the instructor teaches you something. Will they be patient with you or talk down to you? Do they talk over your head or do they use simple terminology that you can understand? Do they ask you questions to make sure you understood or do they try to brush you off with an over-simplistic answer?

Now, with all that said, keep in mind that flight instructors have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. Even after they sign you off and you get your pilot certificate, if you go and do something silly and get in trouble, or even worse, end up dead – your flight instructor is the first person the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administrator will want to talk to. He/She can even have their pilot certificates suspended or revoked.

So, just because your instructor should treat you with respect and professionalism, it doesn’t mean you are off the hook from accountability. Your role as a student is to show up prepared for each lesson, study in advance, ask questions if you don’t understand something, and take notes at the end to make sure you know what to do differently next time.

I hope these tips help you find the perfect flight instructor for you! Remember, if you’re taking flight lessons and you’re not having fun and feeling like you’re growing in piloting skills AND as a person, something is not right.

What Is Accelerated Flight Training?

Time: Accelerate flight training programs commonly instruct their students in as little as two weeks up to around 60 days. This can happen if you have already passed your written test or at least taken some type of ground school.

Cost: The largest factor to determine the cost of flight training is how often you fly, the price of aviation fuel, the type of plane and your instructor’s costs. While some of these could possibly be open for a reduction, you can help lessen your cost by locking in a price with an accelerated flight training program.

When you call and talk to your flight training school, ask them if they will lock in a price for a certain number of flight hours with an instructor. This way you will know, with reasonable accuracy, what your costs are going to be to get your private pilot license.

Instructor: Make sure to check out your instructors’ references before you commit to any school. Some certified flight instructors, especially if they are newly licensed, will be building flight time until they can move on to their first flight line job.

While training is one of the greatest ways to become a better pilot, the attitude of the instructor is something to consider. Find out if your instructor at your accelerated flight school has the knowledge, experience, and teaching ability that you are comfortable with.

Normally, you will find a better fit at a local FBO with certified flight instructors who are there to teach and not there to build time. As with other training, prices are negotiable with flight schools and trainers.

Before you begin training, call around and get the prices for each of the items involved in training. You might try to use this information to negotiate with the flight school that you end up choosing.

Ground School: What is your learning style? Are you experienced at teaching yourself or do you prefer group sessions? Can you read a book and absorb all of the knowledge you need to know, or would videos work better for you? All of these items need to be taken into account in your decision for a flight school.

Accelerated Flight Schools can be so effective because you must learn all or most of your written test standards before you start with them. By the time you walk in the door, it’s time to jump in the plane and fly.

If you aren’t good at teaching yourself, or would prefer to ask lots of questions and discuss principles and practices with others, a traditional flight school would be more to your liking.

You: What all of these items really boil down to is “what is the right decision for you?” Do you want to get as many individual licenses and ratings as you can so you can move on to flying big jets at an airline?

Or, would do you just want to fly for fun and do weekend trips to get the $100 hamburger? If time isn’t a factor, then take into account cost. If cost is not the determining factor, then take a look at your certified flight instructor or see how comfortable you are at the individual flight schools.

Making the decision on accelerated flight training versus traditional flight training really comes down to your personal feelings on each of the items. Make sure to ask lots of questions and be comfortable with the answers.

Are there other deciding components in choosing an accelerated flight training school? Care to share your background whether you went the accelerated flight training track or the more traditional direction?

Why Should You Pursue A Flight Instructor Career?

There are different ways in which you can make a career in the aviation industry. One of the most popular options is to be a commercial pilot. However, there are many students who have gotten their certificates as commercial pilots but still choose to try out flight instructor courses. There are many reasons as to why a pilot may choose to become an instructor instead and they include:


This is one of the reasons as to why someone may choose this path. Being a commercial pilot is coveted but most airlines need someone with great experience before they consider hiring them. If you are an international student, then being a flight instructor will give you the chance to gain some experience so as to get to the ultimate goal of being a pilot.

Some independence

If you become an instructor, you have some options available. You can work at an institution or you can create your own flight program. This is a good option when you want some level of independence. There are many chances that the business will flourish greatly and become a success.

For the love of teaching

Teaching comes with great rewards, especially when you are passionate about it. This is one of the things that instructors enjoy most. The chance to impart knowledge is one of the best things. When you see a student clasp the basics and then take off, it is exhilarating. Being responsible for someone else’s education is a satisfying thing.


If you love a challenge, then this is definitely a career path worth pursuing. The certificate is not that easy and it is something that you will have to work very hard for. Most people within the industry love challenges. Being an instructor will require you to be alert and on the lookout most of the time. There is never a dull moment.


There is a high demand for flight instructors today and this may remain the case for years to come. The airline business seems to be expanding every day and it is due to this reason that many governments are enacting new laws to govern it. Due to the expansion, there is a higher need for pilots and instructors. Being a qualified instructor will definitely give you a high chance of getting a job.


Being a flight comes with its own prestige. When people get to know what you do for a living, they will definitely want to know more about your job. This comes with a great deal of respect from the community. This may not be the main reason to become an instructor, but it is definitely worth mentioning.

Socializing with people

As an instructor, you get a chance to meet people. The people you meet in the career will have a lot in common with you. This is because you all love flying. This will give a chance to deal with domestic and international students learn more about flying. This is your chance to influence people’s future within the aviation industry in a positive way.

Flight Training Simulator – Affordable Alternative For Cash Strapped Pilots

What is great about using flight training simulator is that it is an affordable, low-cost way to learn how to fly.

On the other hand, if you are already a pilot, then it is a great way for you to refine your piloting skills or for you to undertake advanced training while, at the same time, saving money on training costs.

Let’s face it. In this economy, everyone cutting back, businesses and individuals alike. And there is no doubt that the economy is taking its toll on the general aviation industry as well.

That means that learning to fly can be quite an expensive proposition, and be financially out of reach for too many aspiring pilots who wish to experience the thrill of flying.

Fortunately there is one option: Use a flight training simulator to supplement the actual flight training that you receive in the air.

This will help you gain some extra practice, thus making your time spent in the cockpit to be more productive, since you will have already had ample time to practice in the simulator beforehand.

The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction in an aircraft to get your pilot’s license. Some people are ready for the pilot’s exam and check ride right at 40 hours. Some people need a few extra hours of practice. And some people may take twice as many hours to get their license.

By supplementing your actual fight instruction with practice time in a flight training simulator, you can accelerate your training, gain extra practice, develop your proficiency, and reduce the likelihood that you might exceed the 40 hour minimum, thus saving you time as well as money spent on lessons.

Become A Flight Instructor At A Flight School Near You

Are you interested in getting into the aviation industry? There are many ways to become a professional pilot and log the hours required in order to be considered by a major aviation company. A popular method to getting a great job in one of the major flying companies is by first becoming a Flight Instructor. Let’s dive in and examine this choice a bit:

Day to Day Life – Talk the Talk

First, let’s look at one of the most essential skills in flight training: your ability to communicate.

Basic communication in English is essential, but beyond knowing the language, there are many other requirements for being able to communicate clearly. Advance communication skills first come from your knowledge of the society and cultural habits of your students.

If you are from one part of the world, and wish to teach flight lessons in another part of the world, you must first take the time to understand the cultural differences with the types of people in which you wish to communicate. A great tip is to watch movies, especially documentaries, about people in that area of the world. You may then be able to join social media sites with people in your target area. (Facebook, twitter, etc )

Types of People

You must then be able to utilize your communication skills in being other centered with the people you meet. Always consider how you are coming across to the people you are speaking to in order to understand how you may be perceived. As an instructor, you will be expected to be able to communicate with various types of people from ages 16 – 65… and “city people” as well as “country or small town people” all communicate differently.

Ask Questions

In order to fully understand who the type of person is in which you will be instructing, begin by asking them several questions and look for points where you can relate. For example, ask your students if they are married? Do they have children? Boys or girls?

This is just one method in order to find a common meeting point with your student. Generally, people associate well with others if they have something in common. It is your duty as a flight teacher to find common interest points with your students which will help you get along better.

Patience is a Virtue

The most important quality you need to have when teaching flight training to student pilots is your ability to be patient. It will be hard for you to remember the newness of what the student is feeling, and with newness comes fear. With so much information to process at first, the student pilot will certainly have problems remembering all that you will be teaching.

Keeping this light and humorous is a great way to keep stress-free while engaging with the student about what is required for proper procedures. Each student will learn at their own pace, and that pace will be different than your own. Always look at the intention behind the abilities of the student rather than their performance: as long as there is no ill-intention, your duty is to help and not hinder the education process.

How Do I Become A Flight Instructor in the United States?

In the USA, a pilot must obtain at least a CPL (commercial pilot certificate) or ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate. As a Flight Instructor you must also have your instrument rating in the desired category and classification. Certificate holders of a sport pilot certificate may get a flight instructor certificate with sport pilot rating, which would give them permission to give instruction for the sport pilot certificate in light-sport aircraft.

All pilots desiring to become instructors must pass two written exams (Fundamentals of Instruction – FOI – and a test specific to the knowledge of the category of aircraft in which instructional privileges are desired, such as fixed-wing as well as an examination called a practical test. First and foremost, you must be at least 18 years of age.

Those pilots who hold Commercial Privileges in Lighter-Than-Air aircraft (Balloons and Airships) will have flight instructor abilities in those categories and classes they have on their pilot certificate. However, it is good to remember that Lighter-Than-Air flight instructor privileges do not get put on a Flight Instructor Certificate.

How Do I Become A Flight Instructor in Canada?

The pilot holding a Commercial Pilot License in Canada or an Airline Transport Pilot License may be eligible to have their license certified with a Flight Instructor Rating – Aeroplane. To begin with, the pilot is first categorized with a Class 4 Flight Instructor.

This will enable a pilot to teach flight training to pilots-in-training looking to receive their Recreational Pilot Permit, Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, VFR OTT (over-the-top) Rating, as well as Night Rating. However, the Class 4 Flight Instructor is only permitted to teach flight training while being directly under the supervision of a pilot holding a Class 2 or Class 1 Flight Instructor.

Once you have obtained specific requirements such as satisfactory flight test records, ample experience, the written examinations, and flight testing, an instructor can apply to increase their rating to a Class 3, Class 2, or Class 1 flight instruction rating.

As a holder of a Class 3 Flight Instructor, you will no longer be required to have a Class 1 or Class 2 instructor over you as a supervisor. As a Class 1 flight instructor, you will be permitted to give ground school as well as flight training for the certification of a flight instructor rating.

If you wish to be an instructor with an instrument rating, a multi rating, types ratings, and various class conversions such as sea or land plane, an instructor rating is not absolutely essential. The actual essential requirement may be limited to holding a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) or ATL (Airline Transport License) as long as you have reached specific working experience of flight time.

However, in the situation of an instrument rating, the pilot holding a Flight Instructor rating could teach instruments even if they lack the experience needed for non-flight instructors.

If you’d like more information about which flight schools you could attend in order to become a flight instructor, check out Flight School HQ.

Things You Need To Know If  You Want To Be A Flight Instructor

If you choose to become a flight instructor, then you should know that it is going to be very tough but rewarding. In all honesty, when you decide to pursue the course, you may realize that you need to work extra hard so as to get a good rating. Before getting started, then there are some things that you should be aware about.

Eyes, hands, feet

When you decide to become an instructor, you need to find a way of explaining aeronautical knowledge in words. This can be very challenging, especially because you will have to explain all the maneuvers verbally, step by step. When one is a pilot, verbal communication is limited. You will have to learn how to guide your students. You need to explain to them exactly how to move their hands, their feet and their eyes.

You will also have to learn using some exterior visual cues instead of remaining focused on instrumentation.


So as to be successful, you will have to train and train well. You will need to learn all the basics. You may have to revisit some of the topics you may have learnt as a pilot as they form the basics of instructing. When you have your studies at your fingertips, then you will be able to guide your students through anything. You will also be able to tell whether the student is ready for check rides or not.


If you want to excel as an instructor, then you will have to let your students make mistakes. This is one of the best ways that they can learn valuable lessons. Do not fix all issues the students have without allowing them to fix it themselves. You can be ready to take charge in case things get out of hand, but you should not make it too obvious. Letting your students try to handle issues is the best way to give them confidence and also build their skills.

Lesson plans and outlines

So as to be a great instructor, you should learn how to do your own things. Write your outlines and lesson plans. Even though there are lots of materials, online, refrain from using the, as they are. When you write your own, you will definitely have an easy time when you go for the check ride. Writing allows you to customize your plans and this is where you get your own teaching style that you can use after you finish the course.

Don’t do it if you just want to build hours

It is not uncommon to come face to face with a poor instructor. In most cases, such a person focuses on building time instead of flying. Before taking such a course, you should assess your own personality and whether you really want to teach. You need to know that being an instructor is not all about flying, sometimes you have to remain on the ground so as to get ready.

Becoming a flight instructor is not for the faint hearted. Be true to your true self so as to end up in a satisfying career.

Flight Training – Instrument Rating Basics – First Crucial Hours

Today I am going to write about an aspect of IFR training, and one of the most vital aspects of Instrument rating there is. This concerns both CFII’s and pilots alike. The need to be able to fly the aircraft precisely. That means training to what I like to call, zero, zero tolerance.

That means dead on an altitude, dead on a heading. Pressure from pilots to rush into flying approaches, holds, etc. will end up being completely detrimental to them in the long run, and as yet, are unable to comprehend the negative impact this will have. Pilots new to IFR training must be made to understand the need to master precision flying skills before learning to fly holds, holding entries and such.

I get inquiries from pilots all the time, such as, “why do I have to spend all this time doing this? When can we move on to the good stuff?” and similar questions. These questions, are indicative of a pilot who has no concept or understanding of the absolute necessity to master this skill prior to advancing further into the syllabus.

As CFII’s, it is our responsibility to convince new IFR students that without this skill, probably, the most important skill in IFR, they will never make safe, good, IFR pilots. The acquisition of this skill will enable them to fly safely, it will enable them to manage their instrument flight workload effectively and efficiently.

IFR student pilots, embrace this phase of your training, learn to fly the plane precisely in any configuration, learn to trim the aircraft for a climb, a decent, level flight, an airspeed. Trim skills will be the most valuable weapon in your IFR arsenal.

Once you have that skill mastered, it will make the rest of your IFR training much easier. If you decide to take short cuts and rush it, consequently you will be fighting the course all the way through, your confidence will suffer and you will become despondent and disillusioned.

A fair amount of time will be spent with your hands off the yolk to perform other duties, you will be unable to do this if you are having to make corrections to maintain the desired headings and altitudes. In smooth air your plane will be trimmed up exactly to maintain an altitude, and your able to maintain an exact heading with your feet on the rudder pedals.

A demonstration of these skills consistently, and competently will be the indication for your instrument instructor to advance you into the next phase of your training, whilst never permitting your newly acquired skill to regress.

If you have not realized thus far, you have now mastered a great skill, and are already head and shoulders above your VFR peers. Further into your rating and undertaking actual IFR flights, it should have dawned upon you by now, how essential this skill is. In busy airspace, typically Class B, “Air Traffic Control” take deviations in altitude very seriously, a deviation in altitude could get you violated. At the very least, a call to the control tower.

Instrument Flight Rules and Instrument training is not to be taken lightly.

What It Was Like to Be Up in the Admiral’s Quarters on the Aircraft Carrier USS Nimitz

I was in the navy for 8 years, and had the privilege of flying up to Bremerton Washington with some other people from my squadron. I was an enlisted yeoman, but had sea experience, because I was stationed on a submarine tender and a destroyer. My Skipper asked me if I wanted to fly up with him and work with him taking care of the secret message board, and any other things he might need, which of course I had to say yes.

We flew up to this little airport, and we were informed on the planes overhead speaker, that the airport had never had a plane of this size land at their airport before, so they had the local fire department, and rescue waiting just in case, and that was pretty wild landing and seeing all the fire trucks waiting just in case, and everything went fine!

I was used to smaller ships. A submarine tender usually has a crew of roughly 1,300 people, and a destroyer usually has a crew of roughly 300 or so at any time. The Nimitz did not have most of their squadrons and attachments on board, but they still had some. All night long the planes were taking off the deck from the catapult, and the first time I heard it and felt it, I could not believe it was so loud, and it felt like it moved the ship some in the water.

The ship was so gigantic inside. When I went into the hangar bay, it was like a stadium, the size of it, just so big. When I would have to walk from one end of the ship to the other, there are so many hatches, and you have to lift your legs up over them to get threw, and it is a ton of them all the time.

We were out to sea, and the ship would be heading back down to San Diego. We pulled out of Washington, and when we were out to sea, my skipper asked me if I wanted to see how the Admiral and the Chief of Staff live on board, since they were not on this cruise, all the rooms were empty, but my skipper was using one of them.

I was used to being with the regular guys on the ships I came from. Even on the carrier, it was 3 bunks high. And maybe 300 guys in my compartment. Way to many people for me actually. I prefer the Cadillac ride of a destroyer!

The skipper gave me a tour of all the staterooms, the person spaces, private showers, private kitchens, with home style refrigerators, stoves, personal chefs from the ship, everything an executive would need. Everything was military issue, but it was spectacular actually.

On the ship, on most of the levels, those are spaces that are meant for everyone. Up higher, they call that Officer’s Country, where only the officers are supposed to be, unless you are on business. On top of the ship, they call that Flag Country, and That is where the Admiral, the CO and XO, Chief of Staff, those sort of people hang out. If your an officer, you should not be up their unless you are on business also.

This is the room we work out of. Most of the time the top brass are always so serious and everything that is a drill, seams so real to them, because it has to be. But sometimes, they guys are cracking jokes, or making fun of the junior officers, and I’m the only guy in the room that is just their.

One time in m squadron that had the tail hook problems in Vegas, had a picture up of a female LT officer, and they were taking turns throwing darts at the picture, which she never knew anything about, and she was married to a full bird Captain at the time.

Robby Davis

Robby Davis

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