26 October 2011

Life... is the Pitts

I know I’ve been quite quiet. Things have been busy, what with preparing briefings for my instructor’s rating and procrastinating.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I was at the airfield debating whether or not I should go fly, when I had the opportunity to see 3 professional aerobatic pilots run through their formation routine during a briefing, and I also got to see and chat to two pilots of the South African Air Force.

But the best was having the opportunity to take the following photos, and realising that its days like those that I live for.

Yup, life really is the Pitts... x3! ;)

14 October 2011

The Art of Teaching

After passing the instructor's ratings exams, I hit the briefings. On average, someone wanting to be an instructor will complete about 40hrs of briefings before qualifying. Doesn't seem like too much, right?

But what people don't realise is the amount of time and effort that goes into those briefings. One briefing can take between 5 and 15hrs to prepare. And then it still has to be presented, refined, and sometimes, completely reworked.

But that's still not bad. No, the really tricky bit is making the transition to 'teacher mode'. What's also difficult is trying to pretend that your instructor (the person you're presenting the briefing to) is someone that know's nothing about flying.

It's all good and well throwing a briefing together and going over it a few times in front of your mirror or dog, but standing in front of a room with a whiteboard marker in your hand while trying to explain the Principles of Flight in the most simple manner while still trying to convey all the important info is no easy task.

It doesn't help that one of the important things is to be able to take a flying scenario, and compare it to some normal, everyday scenario, otherwise your student will sit there with his/her eyes glazed over and mouth hanging open. Unfortunately I lack both life experience and imagination, so sometimes I really struggle to come up with examples.

If I'm honest, I'm enjoying myself. I've only presented two topics (Aircraft Systems and Principles of Flight. Presented both of them twice), one of which I decided to completely redo (Principles of Flight has always managed to catch me out, and it looks like it will continue to do so). It's tough, but I enjoy the challenge.