ATP Total CFI Program Day 9

The system must be broken, because they let me slip through the cracks: I am the world’s newest FAA certified flight instructor!

(Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.)

The checkride was a textbook flight. Once we got in the air, that is. The DE thought he heard something odd coming from the left engine, pehaps a stuck starter. So we exchanged that aircraft for a different one, demonstrating one of the great strengths of ATP: with dozens of Seminoles in their fleet, they are nearly impervious to mechanical delays. If this had happened at a traditional Part 61 operation, the checkride would have ended with a “notice of discontinuance” and I would have had to reschedule the flight for at least a few days into the future. Instead, we just moved our stuff to a new airplane and the only penalty was that I had to perform another preflight inspection.

Anyway, I passed! I really want to celebrate, but… must… resist… temptation…. I just realized that my multi-engine instrument instructor checkride is at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow and there are a lot of things to do. Money for the examiner fee, fill out a new 8710 form, a few logbook endorsements, and more than a little studying for the instrument oral exam.

The whole first week of the program was oriented toward passing the initial instructor checkride, but nothing was done to get ready for the next one, and they are less than 24 hours apart. This reinforces what I said before: you have to show up to these accelerated courses already prepared to pass the checkride.

After tomorrow’s test, however, I think things will ease up a bit. I’ll have the rest of Wednesday free, and only one flight per day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. I’ll take the CFI-SE test, and then I’m outta here.

It’s a scary prospect, actually having free time in the middle of this program. What ever will I do with myself? Hmmmm. It may be time to see what George Clooney Danny Ocean is up to.

In related news, Dan has already referred a potential customer to me, a gentleman who is seeking a CFI to teach his son to fly in their Cherokee 140.

Apparently his insurance company wants any instructor to have Cherokee 140 time, and there are indications that my several hundred hours of P28-180 time may not suffice. “Curioser and curioser”. The only difference between the two is a slightly smaller powerplant, so I can’t see any reason why I would not be qualified. Maybe if this was a special aircraft like an R-22, but this is just a plain old Cherokee.

I’m starting to wonder if insurance requirements help or hinder aviation safety.

ATP has their own insurance situation. They keep their rates rasonable by promising the insurance company that no one will ever fly an ATP airplane solo. Does it serve career pilots to go through their entire training regimine and never fly the airplane by themselves? In my opinion, no. While it’s true that as professionals they will likely fly with another pilot in the cockpit, that’s not always the case. Caravans, 421s, Navajos, and many other airplanes tend to be flown solo when operated by professional pilots. More importantly, solo flight reinforces pilot-in-command responsibility. You cannot delegate or lean on anyone when you’re flying an airplane by yourself.

I recall when I got my sea plane rating, I was looking forward to renting one of those fun airplanes. But no one will rent them for solo flight anymore. The multi-engine airplanes are getting to be that way too. Want to fly solo? You better have the cash to buy one.

Ok, enough pontificating. Back to the books…

  2 comments for “ATP Total CFI Program Day 9

  1. December 15, 2004 at 1:02 pm

    RON!

    Congratulations in the highest! That is fantastic news!

    Paul told me the good word last night – we were just so stoked for your success in doing what you love.

    Huge backslaps for you and mas tequila para todos!

    Jason

  2. Cindy
    December 15, 2004 at 3:40 pm

    All that and single too!

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