Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flying = Challenge and Adventure

New student sign-ups have been slow so I have been looking on AOPA's site for some ideas on getting the word out better on taking flying lessons. They had a small video directed to CFI marketing i.e, how to put your best foot forward at an initial meeting and how to conduct an effective demonstration flight. Bits of it seemed exagerated but I did learn a lot and will put it to use.  The 2 most important things  I learned were:

1- I should not assume that because the demonstration flight went good that is enough to sell the prospective person on coming back. I should discuss how we will schedule the next flight. It is awkward for sure because you don't want to be pushy but AOPA made me aware that the "student" doesn't now how they did and may think they did a bad job  because you don't schedule the first lesson after it and should not pursue their dream of learning how to fly. How could you do poorly on a demo?! (I used to think) It is all a learning experience but I will surely treat my demo flights differently and try to schedule the first flight THAT day.

2- Challenge and Adventure, the gentlemen in the video emphasised that people who take flying lessons are looking for a challenge and adventure and I should keep that in mind. Flying is certainly a challenge. It isn't hard to learn but there is a lot to learn and that is the challenge! To a big degree finding the time or money in your already hectic life is the challenge. The adventure is a little simpler to define, what could be better than flying a plane by yourself. 
I always looked at it a bit more philosophical when someone came for a demo flight, I thought they were here to realize a dream and I would help them achieve that. I still think that is true but now think it is a dream of both the challenge and adventure of flying.

Recently I tried my hand at some instrument approaches in the simulator at work and it had been a very long time. I knew I would be rusty and was open to learn and improve. Holy cow within 5 min I asked the instructor to stop the flight so I could think about the flight. My first approach was ...well...not graceful. After a debrief, I tried it again and wow! was it perfect?no but it was MUCH improved and I clearly had the feeling of overcoming a challenge and it was great. I learned from that experience too how a student feels at each milestone, it is a VERY proud moment.

Learning to fly and flying in general is a Challenge and an Adventure you can forget that when you are not new to it. But in the beginning stages of learning it can become overwhelming and you certainly hit plateaus with perseverance anyone can over come the hurdles and the feeling of accomplishment is unparalleled.