Distracted Student Pilot - Pls Help.

QM-fly

Well-Known Member
A month ago I received and student who seems to be having some kind of attention problems. I am instructor number 4 and when I received him, he was 70 hours of flight training and quite far to be a Private Pilot. . I talked to the previous instructors and they told me that the student seemed too have some sort of attention problem
I started to work with him and it seemed they were right. He forgot things like :

1. turning off the lights of his car (after being told 4 times to turn it off)
2. lost 3 cell phones already
3. Taxi with the flaps down after landing.
4. He bought a multi PTS thinking it was a PPL PTS and finally realizing his mistake after two weeks.

He has the will power to learn to fly, and that is the only reason why I continue to try to help him. I already talked to the owner of the school about this situation but It was not much help at all.

My question to you guys is :

Should I talk to a medical examiner about his possible condition ? Should I transfer him to a more experienced instructor ? Should I just wait until he gets his PPL with 110 hours "maybe" ?

Any questions and advise will be very appreciate it.

Thank you
 

NickH

Uber Driver
This stuff seems pretty minor to me. We all have a little mental block from time to time. Is there more going on?

3. In particular is something I question, as this is the only flight related item. Is it a checklist item? Should reinforcing checklist usage be something an instructor should do?
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
Does he actually use checklists, or just give them a cursory glance? If he's using them he shouldn't be forgetting things. If he's using them and still missing things stop the lesson and have a serious talk about what that is displaying and how this is going to kill him, have some case studies ready to make it real.

Have you talked to the student? Explain what you are observing in a helpful non-confrontational way, ask him if he has any medical history that relates to concentration or other areas of difficulty in life that are related. Could be he has a lot of trouble in other areas of life that are following him into the cockpit. Share your concern in a helpful way and see what you can find out about him.

If he's just a little air headed then it's just going to take him longer and you really need to emphasize standardized procedures. If he has other distractions in life, maybe you can help him identify them and find ways to address them if he sees they are affecting him in the cockpit.

If you have a real concern about actual safety and not just slow progress, then you have an obligation to get him to interface with a DME for more consultation.
 

gotWXdagain

Polished Member
If he's just a little air headed then it's just going to take him longer and you really need to emphasize standardized procedures. If he has other distractions in life, maybe you can help him identify them and find ways to address them if he sees they are affecting him in the cockpit.
Sorry, but air heads shouldn't be flying, period, and standardization isn't going to make this student a safer pilot if he doesn't have the airmanship to back it up.

That being said, we don't have enough information to determine the "air-headedness" of this student beyond the flaps thing. Is this a recurring issue or did it only happen once?

I agree with the posters above who suggest to delve into his personal history a little bit. If, as you say, he has the tools to learn and hasn't ever had a true medical diagnosis, maybe its time for some tough "until you get down and focus, you're just wasting your money" love.
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
Type A pilots tend to think everyone else should be just like them, driven and motivated to rock out those ratings and rush to a job in an RJ or else they are not serious and not safe and not worthy of the label "pilot". It's silly.

I know a student who might be similar to the guy above. He's an easy going musician, very different attitude than your typical driven goal-oriented nerdy pilot. This guy just loves to go fly and see things from the air, in no big rush, actually a very good natural stick, but I know it's driven at least one other instructor nuts and he used language similar to the "wasting money" line when the student just wanted to fly and was in no big hurry to add a bunch of ratings but the instructor just couldn't comprehend that. I think it's great, meet the students needs, keep them safe.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
I agree with rframe, but I also think there are just some people that shouldn't fly. I've never understood why some people can't admit that, it's truly a disservice to those that need to pick up golfing or something instead.
 

shdw

Well-Known Member
the student seemed too have some sort of attention problem

Should I
  • Work slowly with him. One step at a time.
  • Focus heavily on relating known things to the unknown he's trying to learn. Visual cues offer far more opportunity for this and the book "Stick and Rudder" is filled with ideas that may help you in this area.
  • Be very persistent, expect to repeat things many times over before they sink in.
  • Be patient, speaking from non-flying teaching experience with ADD, down syndom, autistic, and a variety of other mental disabilities; getting angry and frustrated will only close off any chance of a productive lesson.
  • Finally, be confident in them. This goes without saying for most all students, but is crucial when working with someone with a learning disability. If they catch one whiff of you being disappointed in them, you might as well pack up your material and call it a day.
Good luck with it. If he wants to learn to fly, is aware of, and ok with, the cost to his bank account; don't stand in his way. Teach him to fly.
 

Der_Meister

Well-Known Member
Are there other factors? such as how much is this student doing when not flying? and most of all and what I find important is who is paying for their training?
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Those are all things I have done, not bringing up the flaps isn't going to break anything taxiing.

I have seen students take 300+ hours to get a PPL done. If they aren't in a hurry, no reason you should be either.

Be encouraging and patient, they will get there eventually.
 

thevideographer

Well-Known Member
This sounds like me to a slightly worse degree :D He really needs to find a way to deal with it himself; I am very forgetful for "little things" even if they are on the checklist but I found ways to deal with it so I don't take off with my mixture still leaned or something. See my avatar for an example. It shouldn't be that big of a deal but it is up to him to fix it and as his instructor you shouldn't be signing him off until he proves that he can.
 

exneophyte

Well-Known Member
This sounds like me to a slightly worse degree :D He really needs to find a way to deal with it himself; I am very forgetful for "little things" even if they are on the checklist but I found ways to deal with it so I don't take off with my mixture still leaned or something. See my avatar for an example. It shouldn't be that big of a deal but it is up to him to fix it and as his instructor you shouldn't be signing him off until he proves that he can.
I always wondered about your avatar. Thanks for clearing that up. Initially I thought it was an inside joke.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
3. Taxi with the flaps down after landing.
Maybe he thought he was being hijacked? :D

Type A pilots tend to think everyone else should be just like them, driven and motivated to rock out those ratings and rush to a job in an RJ or else they are not serious and not safe and not worthy of the label "pilot". It's silly.

I know a student who might be similar to the guy above. He's an easy going musician, very different attitude than your typical driven goal-oriented nerdy pilot. This guy just loves to go fly and see things from the air, in no big rush, actually a very good natural stick, but I know it's driven at least one other instructor nuts and he used language similar to the "wasting money" line when the student just wanted to fly and was in no big hurry to add a bunch of ratings but the instructor just couldn't comprehend that. I think it's great, meet the students needs, keep them safe.
There's a difference between someone who is a professional student, just wants to take things slow and easy, and is in no hurry to get the rating; versus the person who just isn't getting or catching on to things that are paramount to safe operation of an aircraft in the National Airspace System, and are more of a liability to surrounding aircraft, people on the ground, and themselves, than anything else.

The latter were what we called washouts in military pilot training. Which is something a customer-based civilian flight training facility is very hesitant to ever do.
 

gotWXdagain

Polished Member
I'll have to look that up when I get home. I would be shocked if everyone who, at one point or another, took medication for ADD or ADHD would be disqualified however.
I believe, and I am by no means an AME, but I believe that the green light on medical issuance has to come from OKC.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Acrofox

All dragon~
I believe, and I am by no means an AME, but I believe that the green light on medical issuance has to come from OKC.
Unlike school guidance counsellors, we mere mortals are not qualified to "diagnose" someone with ADD just based on a whim.

Please lay off the "medical issuance" angle and focus on airman competence -- There are many reasons someone may be very distractible, and the last thing they need is a CFI playing armchair psychologist.

Different people think differently. If the person is missing checklist items, it's a different thing than if they're forgetting to use the checklist at all ... which itself is a different thing from losing track of things that are "in context".

If he forgets to retract the flaps during go around ... every time ... can never remember to switch tanks, forgets to make initial calls to ATC, or displays unsound airmanship ... that's a different kettle of fish.

As the others have said, none of the examples listed are grievous, but this is why one applies judgement, yes? This isn't a minimum wage j-- wait, I mean... this isn't a non-prof-- wait, that doesn't work either. Um, this isn't working at 7-11. You don't need a procedure for how to clean the squish-ee machine, or when to mop the floor. If, in your judgement, he has persistent attention issues that seem to preclude him safely flying, then perhaps you should ask him about it in a non-confrontational non-threatening way and see what he has to say, then take it from there. You know your options, but you shouldn't rely on the internet to apply judgement for you without independent observation.

-Fox
 

chrisreedrules

Master Blaster
I know someone who took 2 years and 200 hours to get a PPL and they are a decent (and most importantly... a safe and legal) pilot. As long as they are paying, I say keep em coming in.
 

shdw

Well-Known Member
Unlike school guidance counsellors, we mere mortals are not qualified to "diagnose" someone with ADD just based on a whim.
We were referring to people previously diagnosed by qualified individuals. Although ADD/ADHD rank right up there with autism and asbergers for miss diagnosis. That's another story. The question was would a person be medically disqualified if, at one point in time or another, they'd been on medication for treatment of ADD/ADHD.

Despite what might be believed or not, many who have had ADD/ADHD and were on meds as children will no longer be on medication as adults. However, these individuals still often take quite a bit longer to learn even later in life when they are no longer on medication. From what I can find in Part 67, at least as it pertains to third class, this later case wouldn't have a problem getting a medical. Those currently on medication may or may not, that's unclear to me.

Perhaps someone here with a deeper understanding of the FAR's like Midlife if he still posts here, or do we have someone who specializes in medical? would mind shedding some light. I'm tapped for my knowledge here.
 
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