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(Paid) Flight Instructor

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Old 02-25-2003, 06:36 AM
  #1  
Russ Verbael
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I have watched fellows come to the field with a new airplane, expecting to be treated with free instruction as a function of our great hobby. The expectation that someone will step forward to guide the "newby" often starts well but soon falls apart soon after the first few flights. Frequently, these folks end up with crashed airplanes and a foul taste for the hobby.

For this reason, I believe that a "paid" professional flight instructor can and should be a part of the hobby. This is a guy that is willing to provide expertise, share the knowledge from long involvement in the hobby, and most important, be available to the new guy to conduct flight training in an organized, focused program designed to produce success.

I would welcome input on this topic.

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Old 02-25-2003, 06:57 AM
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As a hobby I have no problems teaching a new comer for free. The problem with free is most don't take any crap or want to continue to teach someone who won't listen or who thinks they know it all in 4-5 flights. It is usually this kind of people who crash because they are to stuborn to take the time to learn.

Problem with your idea is that before long people will be offering instructions for a cost and then you find out this guy doesn't know jack about flying or is far from the expert you thought you hired.
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:35 AM
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If you want to get paid to give flight instruction, then you are missing the point of this hobby. The best pilots don't always make the best flight instructors as there is an entirely new set of skills to learn to become a good teacher. The traits that make a good instructor are the same traits that would prevent him or her from expecting compensation for bringing new people into this hobby.
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:45 AM
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I think that WreckRman2 has hit the nail on the head.

Getting paid for flight instruction is quite legitimate, but for this to become widespread, there would need to be a system which ensures that such instructors meet a minimum standard.

I think that many of you would agree that much of the instruction that is given to new pilots is very poor. Sometimes, the instruction will even inculcate habits that will haunt the newbie throughout his modelling career........perhaps a move towards a commercial system will help to improve this situation.

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Old 02-25-2003, 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by springer
I think that WreckRman2 has hit the nail on the head.

Getting paid for flight instruction is quite legitimate, but for this to become widespread, there would need to be a system which ensures that such instructors meet a minimum standard.

I think that many of you would agree that much of the instruction that is given to new pilots is very poor. Sometimes, the instruction will even inculcate habits that will haunt the newbie throughout his modelling career........perhaps a move towards a commercial system will help to improve this situation.

Springer
I've only been in the sport for a short time, but personally I feel that there has to be a viable option to volunteer instruction. What I hear is that there will be too many safety and legal road blocks as far as the paid instruction situation goes, but I feel that if the AMA can now cover flying turbine powered airplane, they can somehow do the same with paid flight instruction. Check out the hoops AMA makes one jump through to earn a turbine waiver:

http://www.jetpilots.org/prop2rev5.htm

I just started a little hobbyshop which is less than a mile from a very large and mostly unused county owned flying field. I hear there is a club that uses the field but rarely see anyone flying there. Now as a shop owner, if I had to depend on the club to teach my newcomer customers, I wouldn't stay open very long.
Thankfully, I found someone who is on-call to give my newcomer customer excellent after purchase customer service. Now I can be certain that when a newbie buys a trainer from me, he or she will be absolutely guaranteed excellent flight instruction, at their convenience.

It sure would be nice if I could get such service from the local clubs. We even have a free fly before you buy service, therefore I have no problems drawing in new business.

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Old 02-25-2003, 12:55 PM
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If you expect to be paid, expect to encounter all of the headaches that go with being a "paid professional". Liability insurance, some sort of standardization, licensing? Expect to be sued if you charge someone $25 an hour, spend 8, 10, 12, 16+ hours teaching someone to fly (keep in mind at a minimum now the student is pushing $1000 on his "new hobby") and after his first successful landing he crashes while trying it on his own. Think it's perposterous? Let's not forget that lawyers are (or were) suing MickeyD's for "making" kids fat.
Spend 20 hours getting paid for instruction teaching someone who just can't get the hang of it, decides to quit and wants his money back because you couldn't "teach" him....

Now, if you are talking about some sort of advanced class or school, teaching some of the finer points to those who are already insterested, invested and willing to learn, that's a different ball of wax. In this case you have a greater expectation that your audience will be receptive and has a desire to learn. I believe there is a difference between the newbie who has just dropped $400 for his new Alpha trainer and AMA after watching a couple of episodes of Inside R/C and the seasoned veteran and his 33% IMAC plane who wants to learn more about setup and aerobatics.
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Old 02-25-2003, 01:02 PM
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Charging for flight instruction is counter productive to increasing the number of persons participating in our hobby. Gentleman, our numbers are decreasing. Charging for flight instruction will not turn that around. I wonder how many of those who would be paid for their flight instruction services had to pay to be taught when they first started out?
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Old 02-25-2003, 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by aptar
I wonder how many of those who would be paid for their flight instruction services had to pay to be taught when they first started out?
That says it all, in a nutshell, IMHO.
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Old 02-25-2003, 01:21 PM
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Originally posted by xp8103
If you expect to be paid, expect to encounter all of the headaches that go with being a "paid professional". Liability insurance, some sort of standardization, licensing? Expect to be sued if you charge someone $25 an hour, spend 8, 10, 12, 16+ hours teaching someone to fly (keep in mind at a minimum now the student is pushing $1000 on his "new hobby") and after his first successful landing he crashes while trying it on his own. Think it's perposterous? Let's not forget that lawyers are (or were) suing MickeyD's for "making" kids fat.
Spend 20 hours getting paid for instruction teaching someone who just can't get the hang of it, decides to quit and wants his money back because you couldn't "teach" him....

Now, if you are talking about some sort of advanced class or school, teaching some of the finer points to those who are already insterested, invested and willing to learn, that's a different ball of wax. In this case you have a greater expectation that your audience will be receptive and has a desire to learn. I believe there is a difference between the newbie who has just dropped $400 for his new Alpha trainer and AMA after watching a couple of episodes of Inside R/C and the seasoned veteran and his 33% IMAC plane who wants to learn more about setup and aerobatics.
I see the situation from a business perpective as opposed from that of clubs. The instructor who works with me, teaches for free, but that means he makes the call of how long he teaches. It may be 5 minutes or 30 minutes, then he directs the newbie to any of the local clubs for further instruction. That way, he brings in as many new customers as I need to allow me to pay my bills. Like I said, if I had to depend on the teach for favor club instructors, my business wouldn't last very long.

I've had several beginners tell me that they were so desperate to learn that they had called the First US Flight School to make an appointment, but it seems that Dave Scott's classes are full every flying season. Apparently, few seem to have a problem with Mr. Scott's $600 fee, not to mention the cost of room, board and travel expenses. Taking an objective view, it appears that there isn't as much "free" help as so many claim. Like I said, I am new to all this, but for me finanically, I have no choice.

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Old 02-25-2003, 01:45 PM
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Bob Parker
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I`ve helped teach quite a few people in 15 yrs. of flying, most of witch became pretty good pilots. The only trouble is keeping them in the hobby, normaly after ayear or less they just drop out never to be seen again. I love flying and would never think of charging someone. Sometimes they will buy me a gallon of fuel for helping but I try not to take it. I belong to two clubs and can count the number of long time pilots on two hands.
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Old 02-25-2003, 02:54 PM
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I joined a club where we have several people that will instruct. While I probably would have paid and instructor, as it has been said there are those that won't. My instructor asked me one afternoon if I had been advised of the cost, to which I said NO. He then indicated that my fee would be only "teaching another person to fly." I thought that was a good solution and made a lot of sense.
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Old 02-25-2003, 02:55 PM
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Are these people dropping out due to lack of interest you think or what. The cost add's up though, but I think I'd try something different before calling it quits.
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Old 02-25-2003, 03:25 PM
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Gordon Mc
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Originally posted by nascarjoe
I feel that if the AMA can now cover flying turbine powered airplane, they can somehow do the same with paid flight instruction.
The reason that the AMA does not cover paid flight instruction, is that they provide only hobby insurance, not business insurance.

Anyone who runs an RC business of any kind should have insurance of their own to cover their activities, rather than expecting the general AMA membership to subsidize their business.

That applies regardless of whether you are selling flying lessons, or manufacturing models, engines, etc. Now, if the AMA wants to act as an agent in this respect, that's fine ... but it should not be expected that the business insurance comes free with the general hobby membership.

Does the basic insurance on my personal car cover me for running a driving school ? Heck, no !!! I'd have to pay a lot more for that.

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Old 02-25-2003, 03:33 PM
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Bob Parker
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I think in some cases they wanted to prove to them selfes they could learn how to fly rc. Next comes the younger group that has to raise the kids first. One of my clubs has 100 members and we can`t get but 6 to 10 pilots to fly in a reasonably easy contest. We even have picnics for all to enjoy and they sometimes flop. What`s the answer?
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Old 02-25-2003, 03:47 PM
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Plus, I can just see the reaction you'd get...

"Well, Jim, or Bill, or Frank can teach you to fly for free. But they're not out here every day. If you come out on a day when they're not here, but JOE is, he won't teach you unless you pay him."
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:12 PM
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Originally posted by Gordon Mc


Now, if the AMA wants to act as an agent in this respect, that's fine ... but it should not be expected that the business insurance comes free with the general hobby membership.

Gordon
Now we're getting somewhere. Why couldn't AMA get with the RC industry and work out something? I can now see that no one wants AMA to even consider the idea of providing paid instruction coverage, but as you say, if AMA was an agent working with the multimillion dollar industry, that would be a different story.

Respectively, being new the sport, do I detect a certain anomosity against the idea of beginners having a choice of free vs. paid instruction? To me, it does appear that there just may be a need for an alternative. Logically, if there are beginners somewhere ready, willing and able to pay for help, considering the somewhat hostile atmosphere coming from some, no matter how much of a need for on-demand instruction, it may never come to pass.

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Old 02-25-2003, 04:20 PM
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When I started in the Hobby I was making $100 a week and just married. I always loved airplanes. A guy at my church asked me if I wanted to come over and see his RC airplane go. I said YES!!! I told him how much I enjoyed being out there and he asked me if I wanted to get a plane. A flying buddy of his passed away so he had several available, and he would give me one. Well, all I had to do was go the hobby store and buy a .40 engine and one roll of covering to finish a wing. 14 years later I have taught many to fly. I do several boy scout and a few church camps every year instructing. I guess the fact that I was given so much when I started is what would make me feel too guilty to ever charge for my services.
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:45 PM
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Let me ask you this. If you were to take up golf or say scuba diving, would you expect some one to be there to teach you when and where it was convenient to you, and for free. Heck no! (Go check out the price of one on one golf or ski lessons) But some how in this hobby/sport we seem to think it is some kind of God given right that there should always be some there to teach new comers. I worked as a C.F.I. for many years, no one ever came back and sued me because they couldn't make the grade, and believe me these people spent far more money than anyone entering this hobby.
It is wonderful that at most clubs there are a few individuals, including myself that will give up some of their own free time to teach others, but if you happen to be in an area where that is not the case, then it is time to open the wallet and go find a model airplane flight school.
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:57 PM
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There are people in this hobby that charge to teach. I personally have been teaching people to fly models for free for over 25 years. It is fun to teach someone a hobby that I enjoy so much. Wouldn't ever think of charging for it. The guy that taught me was a national champ, and he busted his tail to help get my plane done and teach me before he moved. I have done the same for others. I also teach people to fly full scale. It is not something that can be compared to models. It cost me $30,000 to get all my ratings to teach those. The money I have made teaching will never cover that. I enjoy teaching full scale as well, but like most, it was a step to get to the jets I flew and the planes I still fly. People have to charge for that because it is their living. Model planes are a hobby. It is fun to work with people. Charge if you like. Most don't, and never will.
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:13 PM
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I sometimes felt guilty when I had to depend on my instructor to bring me out to his flying field, (he is a member, I am not) so I can not fly there without him. But I know I was a burdon sometimes. But I think it still makes him feel good when he sees me fly alone with no problems. I always just made sure that when I was in his workshop and he was running low on stuff like Epoxy and balsa, I would just re-stock those things. He would not take money, and if I would offer it he seemed a little upset.
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:26 PM
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I guess I just don't see it because I just don't see it. I live in a state geographically the size of NH, VT, MA, RI and CT combined. But our population is just a bit more than the city of Boston. There are no waiting lists to get into any of the dozen or so clubs in the state. None have an initiation fee (I don't think) and the most expensive is about $60 a year (my club is $35). When someone wants to learn to fly, they are taught for free.
Perhaps if we had scads of folks wanting to learn to fly with waiting lists, etc then perhaps some more organized for-fee instruction MIGHT be an idea, but I still can't bring myself to charge anyone.
I agree that there is a disconnect between being charged for skiing, diving, or trumpet lessons but not for R/C instruction. I could say that if, at some point our hobby/sport drew the numbers that skiing and diving did, then charging might be an option. But there are other disconnects - you tip your barber but not your plumber? You tip your newspaper delivery guy but not the guy who delivers your mail? To my knowledge, the only occupation which is not subject to the federally mandated minimum wage is wait staff. They get tipped. So do others who make more than they do. It doesnt make sense either.
They are all providing a service, just like the cashier at Wally World.
I guess I just don't see it.
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:33 PM
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Originally posted by A320driver
Let me ask you this. If you were to take up golf or say scuba diving, would you expect some one to be there to teach you when and where it was convenient to you, and for free. Heck no!
The difference is golf is growing quickly and there are many more venues to pursue this activity. We are concerned with the contraction of the hobby and how to stop it. Starting to charge for something that was generally included in a club membership in is a bad way to do this. I see your point, but until our quiet little hobby gets 4 days of coverage every weekend in the summer (golf), charging for instruction will be difficult to initiate. Not impossible though........

A320 driver who lives in PHX? Cactus right? Say hello next time you are in Oakland Center airspace, I'll send you direct. What's with those early turns inside the fix?! Stupid euro-trash software.

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Old 02-25-2003, 05:44 PM
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The flaw with A320Driver's argument is that people will pay to golf and scuba because that is what the market will bear. Enough people started charging for instruction in those fields for people to start paying the fees, whereas in RC flight I believe there will always be people willing to instruct for free because this is supposed to be about fun and camraderie. In addition, there are enough people wanting to learn golf and scuba that organized classes or one-on-one sessions are the way to go. Such is not the case with RC flying.

As long as I was taught to fly for free, I will not expect compensation for helping beginners out. I can spend fifteen minutes here and there during the day to instruct, because I can still remember what it was like to be attached to an instructor and not be able to enjoy the freedoms of flying at the field. Giving instruction is my way of repaying the instructors who helped me out when I was a newbie.
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Old 02-25-2003, 06:10 PM
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It's funny that we preach and preach about finding a club and instructor when people post questions here about how to get started. I believe this idea about paid instructors will ultimately lead to new hobbyists teaching themselves, crashing and then giving up.

If you don't need or want the additional members in your club, that's fine. Send them to central Illinois. Our club has three, very talented, FREE instructors that would be more than willing to help out.
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Old 02-25-2003, 06:20 PM
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Our club elects officers and has to submit those names to the AMA each charter renewal.

What if the club was to also elect flight instructors, submit those names to the AMA along with the yearly charter renewal and they would receive their AMA insurance at low or no cost?

This would create incentive to become an instructor.

The club would elect known quality instructors, or choose not to re-elect instructors who are not making themselves available for training ie. not worth the reduced AMA fee.

This would require newbies to join the local club, more incentive to stay around a while, after a training session or two.

And your LHS would have a known contact for good flight training.
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