Friday Foibles: Get Thee To A CFI
You’d think a flight instructor would limit stupidity. You’d be wrong, as many accidents involved CFIs reacting too slowly to student silliness.
Then there’s the Kentucky instructor whose student wouldn’t do anything dumb, so he intervened, setting the Cessna 172’s fuel selector to OFF within, he thought, gliding distance of the runway. Only the instructor was surprised the 172 didn’t reach the airport, and the CFI couldn’t restart the engine before crashing in a field. Not surprisingly, the CFI didn’t make instructor of the year for his realistic training technique.
Consider the Florida CFI in a Piper Arrow who was monitoring (key word) a CFI candidate performing a power-off approach to landing—a really hard landing as it turned out. KA-FWOMPH!
Stunned but undeterred, the future CFI and monitoring CFI took off, tried to raise the gear but couldn’t and lowered it again. They then performed yet another power-off approach and called it quits but were unable to open the door. Help arrived to extricate the monitoring CFI and future CFI, who then marveled at the extensive wing damage.
In the post-accident interview, the monitoring CFI said that during flight the future CFI was the “full manipulator of the controls” and to emphasize his lack of complicity, added, “I did not do anything.” He didn’t get instructor of the year either.
If an accident occurs and no one reports it, is it an accident? Apparently not in these cases beginning first in Florida where a rental Cessna 172 flew 91 hours on 77 training flights with, it’s assumed, 77 preflight inspections without anyone noticing the buckled firewall. Damage was only discovered when a mechanic actually looked at more than the oil dipstick during a 100-hour inspection.
And in Alaska, an air-taxi Cessna 206’s nosewheel hit hard in a bounced landing on a tidal beach. That hardly merits a shrug in Alaska, and perhaps it’s common to take off again, as the pilot did, and did not mention the event to the mechanic who later spotted the substantial firewall damage.
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