Adjusting to the right seat

JordanD

Honorary Member
Did anyone have a hard time getting adjusted to flying from the right seat when they started their CFI? I feel like most of the time I can fly just fine, although I haven't tried the maneuvers, but it still feels a little awkward to me, not only physically as far as manipulating the controls, but dealing with the parallax issue of having to look at the other side to see the gauges. Crosswind landings in particular feel really clumsy for me over there for whatever reason. Any tips for getting adjusted other than just practice, practice, practice?
 

nocturnalaviator

Family Man
Learn to fly without looking at the gauges. Look straight ahead. Cruise around at 4500ft just looking outside turning climbing descending. Do some slow flight again no guages just site picture and feel. You'll get the hang of it, then that parallax won't matter as much. You'll know what looks and feels right, and the guages will automatically back that up.

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drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Learn to fly without looking at the gauges. Look straight ahead. Cruise around at 4500ft just looking outside turning climbing descending. Do some slow flight again no guages just site picture and feel. You'll get the hang of it, then that parallax won't matter as much. You'll know what looks and feels right, and the guages will automatically back that up.

Landing without any gauges (especially the altimeter) is a good idea too. Critiquing student landings, you won't be watching the gauges, you'll be judging how well they set up a stabilized approach that puts them over the numbers. Pet peeve of mine is using an altitude reference over a bunch of landmarks. Once the student flies at a different field, they are clueless.
 

nocturnalaviator

Family Man
Landing without any gauges (especially the altimeter) is a good idea too. Critiquing student landings, you won't be watching the gauges, you'll be judging how well they set up a stabilized approach that puts them over the numbers. Pet peeve of mine is using an altitude reference over a bunch of landmarks. Once the student flies at a different field, they are clueless.
Adittionally listening to the engine and knowing different RPM settings by sound and throttle position is a great way to keep an avid eye outside and be one with the aircraft. I taught my students the no guage methods and they made great VFR pilots. When we moved onto IFR and scanning techniques they understood the proper use of every instrument and had a strong flying foundation to build upon. I miss instructing, still keep current but I miss the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals.

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ndakcfi

Well-Known Member
For me, it was a little odd flying the airplane from the right side the first few hours (my initial CFI was in a glass airplane, so no parallax), but by the time I started teaching after I got my CFII, it felt pretty normal. Landings were probably the hardest thing for me to get used to, but after spending about an hour of just pattern work from the right seat, I was able to get my landings consistently within PTS standards, so it's mostly a case of practicing until the landings feel normal (or at least less awkward).
 

will_fly_for_bandwith

Well-Known Member
Took about 3 hours for me. The biggest issue I had was keeping it straight on landing. I figured out I was twisting my body to the left so I had a better view of the ASI. Once I broke that habit it clicked.

 

Acrofox

All dragon~
I went flying from the back seat of a Citabria for the first time last weekend. In some ways, it's what I expected, but in other ways the forward visibility is worse than a Great Lakes. o_O; And S-turns were sucking for me for some reason. Of course, I'm also 5'8 145 and my instructor was significantly taller. But man, everything goes away on landing.

I think I'm going to try a cushion next time.

-Fox
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
JordanD

Go do LOTS and LOTS of forward slips. Focus on transitioning smoothly from right to left while tracking a straight road or runway.
Heh, ended up having to do one from the right seat when tower called for a short approach yesterday. Other than the screaming in 15 knots too fast it wasn't all that bad. I actually managed to bleed off the speed and still have plenty of runway left.
 

TwoTwoLeft

o- - - - - - -l
Heh, ended up having to do one from the right seat when tower called for a short approach yesterday. Other than the screaming in 15 knots too fast it wasn't all that bad. I actually managed to bleed off the speed and still have plenty of runway left.
An easy way to fix that is to do a slipping exercise at altitude. Just transition smoothly left to right. Dont let the yaw or roll get ahead of each other on the way in or out. As the controls go through neutral, make sure the nose doesn't dip below the horizon. Smoothness and pitch control recovering from the slip is important.

When you want to take the airplane out of the slip to land, and as long as you're not too low or developed an excessive sink rate, just place the nose at the landing attitude. This will prevent that extra airspeed gain at the last second as you get into ground affect.
 

Websterpilot

Well-Known Member
I found that once you begin your flare, add a touch more right rudder over what feels right and you will be centered on the line. I know some people say to put the line on your left leg, but I found that putting it between my legs was perfect. I'm not sure what you are flying, but rivets on the cowling can be great as a reference line. Also, force yourself to use your left hand for anything other than the yoke even if you are on the ground. When I started, I had a bad habit of grabbing the flaps with my right hand. This might sound funny, but I started driving with my right hand and it seemed to help. Also, relax your grip. I was twisting my arm/hand do to a death grip, which I never really had a problem with in the left seat.

You will also figure out quick that instead of reading the ASI numbers you will start to rely on needle position, which will help you with parallax. This also holds true when keeping the ball in the center.

I wish I had more to give, but I really think it boils down to practice. If you look back on the forum history I was asking the same questions after my first flight in the right seat about tricks to help with the transition. I'll bet that when you hit 10 hours from the right seat it will click and that you will feel comfortable. At 15 hours I flew to the FSDO from the right seat because the left seat seemed foreign :confused:
 

p1l07m4n

SF340 Pirate, First Mate
Yeah, it took a little while for it to click. After a little while, everything just sort of clicks. Before you know it, they will be trying to get you back into the left seat, and it messes you up again (luckily it comes back really quickly from that side).
 

osugrad85

Well-Known Member
I did not fly for two years after I got my commercial. I decided to get my CFI and the first flight was in the right seat and man was it overwhelming! After about four flights in the right seat, I was used to it again. You will get used to it and it will be just like flying from the left seat! Good Luck!
 
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