"My buddy was fired because..."

Douglas

Old School KSUX
There is a thread talking about a flight instructor who was terminated because of a low fuel situation. After reading that thread I have been more cautious about fuel is my flying life. So I think it will be good to start a thread that we can share stories of situations that got our fellow flight instructors in trouble. Hopefully they will help us avoid those situations ourselves.

I knew a guy that was let go from another flight school on the field because he signed a student off for his first solo cross country and while that student was in the landing flare at one of those airports, he started to wheel barrow and then had a prop strike. I don't agree with the CFI being let go for it, but he was. This is a situation we can't learn much from but the fact that you can be let go for what your student does while solo.

anybody have anything else?
 

JulietBravo

On Call, On Demand
We had 2 within the last year.

For the first one, he owns his own Pitts. We had our own Alpha Eta Rho group put together a fly-in and he brought his pitts and proceeded to overfly the runway inverted. Now yes, it was a very cool sight, but very illegal as well. The head of our program decided to let him go for it because he did not want actions like that passed onto students.

As for the second, this instructor decided to take a school airplane, along with a student, and buzz the local RC field. He flew the plane over the field at roughly 50ft. (from reports, I was not there). In the crowd, however, was an airport manager from another local airport. He then got into contact with our Chief flight instructor and the instructor was let go the next day.

Now these are basically common sense scenarios, but to reiterate the point of this thread, do not let "just having a little fun" situations get the best of you. You could ruin everything for 5 seconds of fun.

Fly safe!!
 

JulietBravo

On Call, On Demand
What is an RC field?
:yeahthat:... Remote Control airplane field... basically a little strip of grass no more than 20-30yds long??... I'm a horrible estimator though, hopefully someone knows something about them. I've only driven past them before.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
This guy wasn't fired, but only because he was already transitioning out of the flight school to fly charters full time. He certainly won't be receiving a positive letter of recommendation from said flight school at any time in the future.

The most significant problem was that towards the end of his employment with the school, he sent a customer for a private pilot checkride who was ridiculously not prepared. And when I say, "not prepared" I mean, "didn't know how to check weather, plan a cross country, perform a short field landing, or many other fundamental tasks." The pilot was barely good enough to solo, let alone have a license.

This instructor also had several issues with inadequately filling out 8710 forms, canceling lessons for weak reasons, etc. It seemed as though he didn't care about anything but himself and it's a shame he lasted as long as he did.



It never ceases to amaze me how uncommon common sense is. Keeping a job is not complicated. If an instructor has a good attitude, is humble, shows up, works hard, cares about what he's doing, doesn't tick anyone off, and has even a moderate degree of technical aptitude, he'll be fine. People don't get fired for things outside of their control. The problems come when a guy hates the job, thinks he deserves better, thinks he's way cooler than he actually is, doesn't think about his actions from an outside perspective, etc. That's when customer service, safety, reputation, and many other things go down hill quickly.
 

c172captain

Well-Known Member
The most significant problem was that towards the end of his employment with the school, he sent a customer for a private pilot checkride who was ridiculously not prepared. And when I say, "not prepared" I mean, "didn't know how to check weather, plan a cross country, perform a short field landing, or many other fundamental tasks." The pilot was barely good enough to solo, let alone have a license.
I know a guy...

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Who was fired for the exact oppostie reason. He was fired for NOT signing off a student who was unprepared.


The lesson: before you take the first job that jumps at you, think carefully of who you are working for and determine if this person/your potential boss, will provide a fair and mature work place.
 

DaveC

Well-Known Member
:yeahthat:... Remote Control airplane field... basically a little strip of grass no more than 20-30yds long??... I'm a horrible estimator though, hopefully someone knows something about them. I've only driven past them before.
The nicer RC fields have paved runways several hundred feet long. Some of these RC airplanes are as big as an ultralight. Plus, the turbine-powered jets require a lot of takeoff and landing distance. You could land a training aircraft at some of the fields. They usually mark them with an X to avoid confusion.



I've never been fired, but I left one job because I knew I would either get fired or have some trouble with the FAA if I stayed much longer. On several occasions I was threatened with termination for refusing to blatantly violate the FARs. At one point my boss told me that with 24 gallons at 6 gallons per hour, I should be able to fly four hours before refueling. I also wouldn't sign off unprepared students, which didn't go over well. This boss had never even flown an airplane before and knew nothing about aviation, but still wanted to micromanage the school.

A few people did get fired there, but it was for being late and other things that will get you fired anywhere.
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
On several occasions I was threatened with termination for refusing to blatantly violate the FARs.
I worked at a place A LOT like that, and it doesn't feel good to tell the boss "no can do."

When we go through flight training all of our instructors, schooled us on saying no to flying when it is unsafe or breaking the regs and if it comes down to it, lose the job. For some reason when you hear this you think you would feel good about it.
All the soon to be CFIs should know that it doesn't feel good to turn down a flight due to safety for regulations when a boss is twisting your arm. We are all pilots and for the most part we are all can-do people but you have to be able to make that no go decision even when it is the hard decision. You will feel like you are doing the right thing and pissed off all while being a let down to your boss. It is hard but you have to do it because it is the right thing and there is nobody looking out for you and your tickets but yourself.

I moved on from that school in good terms (as far as I know, i don't know what is cooking in his head), and the good news is that my new boss is a wonderful person. I have never once had my arm twisted by my new boss. There are good places to work where you won't have to worry about this.
 

fletchersteel

Well-Known Member
:yeahthat:... Remote Control airplane field... basically a little strip of grass no more than 20-30yds long??... I'm a horrible estimator though, hopefully someone knows something about them. I've only driven past them before.
Not to hijack, but I had an exmaniner on a checkride take me to within 5 or 10 feet of a r/c field. Of course, no one was there to witness. This one was a nice concrete runway, with numbers and strips!
Anyways, good thread discussion!
 

SlantG

Well-Known Member
There is a thread talking about a flight instructor who was terminated because of a low fuel situation.

anybody have anything else?
Careful, especially when dealing with situations where a business owner is highly likely to get sued. Even if the business owner prevails in court, one has still lost all the time and legal expenses.

Those instructors were not fired due to the situations. Most flight school owners have been in aviation long enough to realize that stuff happens and none of us are perfect. Those flight instructors were fired for their RESPONSE to the situations.

"It's not my fault" is a response highly likely to get a pilot and/or flight instructor terminated. Especially if this is a pattern, the instructor is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and is not trainable, best to let that liability be someone else's problem.

"I didn't verify the student's actions," "I didn't catch the empty tank", "I must have missed checking the other tank," "I allowed myself to get distracted", or even "I know I made a mistake but I'm not certain where" are responses highly likely to get a pilot or flight instructor some additional training, perhaps just a counseling session, maybe some informal "probation" time, and a "go and sin no more" response from management. The instructor with that response is willing to take responsibility for their actions and we know that for the most part, their clients will model that behavior. The instructor is highly likely to be trainable and not make that mistake again.


Flight school management needs to know that they can trust their flight instructors. The school's clients are trusting their lives to that flight instructor. Management is trusting their business and usually the lives of their friends to that flight instructor. In aviation, one is playing for keeps and the consequences for mistakes are grossly disproportionate to the mistake.
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX

Flight school management needs to know that they can trust their flight instructors. The school's clients are trusting their lives to that flight instructor. Management is trusting their business and usually the lives of their friends to that flight instructor. In aviation, one is playing for keeps and the consequences for mistakes are grossly disproportionate to the mistake.
Perfect case for charging more and me getting a raise.

But, "those flight instructors" is pretty vague. I gave perfect example of a flight instructor who was no where near at fault. The student made a mistake, he was solo, the instructor saying he did something wrong would be a lie if he provided adequate instruction. So who are those instructors?

I've seen and over heard MGMT trying to find ways to get rid of guys that don't fit in or are as rough as sandpaper. Getting canned is not all about incidents, what this thread is about is complacency. What can we evaluate in our daily flying lives that has gone slack that we could pay more attention too before the incident, accident or trouble making starts.
 
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