I text messaged (see below) Tim this morning (03/11/2012) at 8.45 am to ask him if he was teaching today as I didn’t know if he had made arrangements for me to fly with him or another instructor, like he did on Friday. Half an hour later at 9.16 am he text messaged back the following:
Me: “Hello Tim, are you teaching today? How was the surgery?”
Tim: “You’re flying with Jeremy for takesoffs and landings.”
Tim: “Good. I can see 20/15 now!! I have you on with Jeremy a 2pm today. It’s only an hour, but if you can preflight and be ready to go, you will have plenty of time”.
Me: “Okay Tim. Thanks”.
I arrived at Thunderbird at 1.40pm, well in time for my preflight check so that I had plenty of time to fly. However when I got there I found out that my plane hadn’t yet arrived as some other student was flying in it. So I checked in with Kevin and chatted with him and Aaron while I waited. I asked Kevin if many people had cancelled yesterday like I had and he replied, “Yes in the early part of the morning when it was very windy, but later on past noon, the winds died down so those students arrived to fly”. He continued smilingly and said, “When I was learning to fly, another instructor was teaching me that day, not my regular instructor. It was quite windy and I was very scared as the plane flew all over the place and I was trying to manage it. My instructor was doing some paper work! Then as we were about to land, I kept looking at him to see what he wanted me to do and then he said, “Oh I think I’ll take it from here and he landed the plane”. We all laughed in unison. I agreed about flying in windy conditions and since I’m still learning, it can be quite nerve racking. So I always cancel if it’s windy.” It was now 1.50 pm and the phone rang and after Kevin hung up, he said, “Oh that was your instructor, Jeremy.” Kevin didn’t elaborate further on the conversation and I didn’t ask as I thought if it was anything to do with me he would have said. I then asked Kevin, “Where’s Mike these days I don’t see him around anymore?” “Oh he’s gone to do some CPA work but I think he’s coming back so you can see his cheery face again!” and we all laughed. Mike is an ex-military and an ex-police officer. He looks mean and very serious all the time, but once you get to know him he is a nice person.
It was 2.0 pm now and Becky arrived to relieve Kevin from his duty and Kevin left. I continued waiting for my plane to return to Thunderbird. Just then a private plane arrived and two older gentlemen stepped out and walked in to Thunderbird and asked Becky if they could get fuel for their plane. Becky said, “Yes it will just a few moments as our Line guys have just changed shift”. My flight lesson time continued to elapse now it was approaching 2.10 pm. I asked Becky when Tim was returning from his flight and she replied that he should have been here at 2.00 pm. “Ah okay. I’m just wondering if he could teach me since my instructor hasn’t arrived and it’s 2.10 pm now” I said to Becky. Then it occurred to me if that call Kevin received from Jeremy was about him being delayed, then I thought, it was probably something else otherwise Kevin would have said that Jeremy was going to be delayed. Then I said to Becky, “I don’t know if Jeremy has anyone else after me that he’s going to teach. It’s 2.10 pm now and by the time I do the pre-flight check it’ll be another 10 minutes or so and I won’t have the scheduled hour to fly. Becky then said, “Yeah, Tim might be able instruct you as he doesn’t have any students after this one. But I don’t’ know if he has any personal plans for later.” “Well I’ll go and preflight anyway so I’m ready,” I said to Becky. She then agreed and handed me the fuel sampler and the plane’s folder in which we have to log the time flown in the plane.
After about five minutes in to my preflight check, Jeremy came walking out, “Tiger?” I replied in the affirmative and he introduced himself and was very apologetic for being delayed. He said he got off work a little late and had to drive all the way from St. Cloud. St. Cloud is about an hour or so from Minneapolis. “Oh no problem” I replied. Jeremy is a slim young chap in his early to mid twenties with red hair. I said to Jeremy that we had an hour and it’ almost 2.30 pm now…..but before I could finish Jeremy said, “Oh I’m going to call my next student and delay his class by half an hour”, he continued, “It’s a bit windy but I think we should be okay”.
I liked Jeremy’s method of instructing. I don’t know why though. It could be because he’s someone I’m not used to, or it could be because he didn’t know me and was taking his time to explain everything. Jeremy explained what we were going to do, and then every step along he was saying what I should be doing, and what should be happening as a result of my actions. “It’s very important to get the Air Traffic Pattern (ATP) correct with the correct airspeeds and altitudes on each leg of the ATP. Once you get the ATP correct then the landing will be that much easier. Of course I knew that but he didn’t know I knew that and he was teaching me as if it was the first time I was doing takeoffs and landings. I thought that was good because then I would learn something new.
After the first take off he explained to me what I did “wrong”. I have put the word wrong in quotes because each instructor has his own style of teaching and Tim didn’t say anything to me about the things that Jeremy corrected me on. This is what Jeremy said:
1. You should have one hand on the yoke and one hand on the throttle.
2. You should pull the yoke toward you gently using the one hand. (Jeremy noticed that I used both hand in the first take off and the stall warning alarm went off for a brief second). Using both hand students pull too much or too quickly on the yoke and the plane takes off too steeply, hence the stall alarm.
3. The other hand on the throttle is there to make quick changes in the power of the plane.
4. Below 2000 feet, you should switch on carburetor heat. Tim said we only needed this in cold weather, but according to Jeremy it’s possible to get ice if you don’t switch the carburetor heat, plus it’s good to get used to the habit so you don’t forget it in the winter.
We didn’t do any touch and go’s, instead we stopped each time and went through the check list and requested permission from Ground and Tower to taxi and take off. We did about 3 takeoffs and landings before Jeremy asked if I wanted to do one more or if I had enough due to it being quite windy. I replied that I had indeed had enough because although I learnt some new things from Jeremy, it was a bit of a struggle. So that’s where we decided to end our flight lesson and then Jeremy signed my log book and then explained a little more by drawing the ATP about when to change power, what heights and speeds one should have, when to introduce the flaps etc. All in all I was pleased that I flew with Jeremy this afternoon. 😀