Gray Hair Equals Experience

All instructors are not the same. All pilots are not the same. All people are not the same. I always tell people that if you get on an airplane and the pilot in the left front seat does not have gray hair, get off. I am sorry, but the same applies to instructors. The saying, you get what you pay for, is so applicable in aviation training. Gray haired instructors can lend so much to your training that a younger instructor cannot do. What do we mean by “gray hair?” Years of experience.

I am not putting down flight instructors that are young but what I am saying is older instructors bring so much more knowledge to the training as they have “been there, done that.” Older instructors and pilots are trained to work problems. They may not have had certain problems raise there ugly head but if they do, these old war horses are taught to handle the immediate situation and buy time to solve the problem. This I have seen over and over. They have the ability to teach problem resolution.

“I just want to build time,” is what we hear a lot of and “how cheap are you compared to XYZ Flight School?” That is not what you want. What you want is to find that old gray haired instructor who can give you training over and above the standards. One who can teach you how to double check a problem on an approach. Who has shot an approach to minimums. Who learned weather when there was no internet and could determine fog by monitoring the temperature and dew point spread at the destination airport and had to read metars and radar summary charts.

As those who read my articles know that I read a lot of accident reports. Complacency in training will get you in trouble. Don’t be complacent. Find an old instructor. Tell them where you are weak or what you want to do to make your flying more successful. By the way we have a lot of gray haired instructors at Aircraft Simulator Training. And can they tell you some stories. They can also analyze your training and knowledge base and make corrections that may save your “rear end.”

Finally, I have a little bit of knowledge that I have asked students for years. If you can answer the question you get one hour of free training in one of our motion sims. Here it is.

If you lose the elevators, the rudders and the ailerons in a Cessna 150, 152, 172, 177, 180, 185, 182 or 210 how would you control the airplane about the pitch and roll axis? Email me the answer at It just an old gray haired instructor and pilots’ way of a little trivia you learn after forty-seven years in the cockpit.

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