Hand to Hand Instruction

Airplanes with side-by-side seating offer instructors a wonderful opportunity to apply a unique teaching technique. Your seating proximity allows you access not only to your student’s flight controls, but to their arms and legs. Why not take advantage of this?

I discovered how useful this technique was with a student who was reluctant to push the throttle in for takeoff. I said, “Betty, push the throttle in all the way.” She inched the throttle forward at a snail’s pace. “I’m afraid I’ll hurt the pistons,” she replied. I looked over at her and said, “Don’t worry, this is a rental and rental pistons have no feelings. Now, move that throttle forward, OK?” Finally, I just reached over, and put my left hand around her wrist and pushed in at the appropriate rate. Her first comment was, “Oh, so that’s how to do it.” From that moment on I realized that mere words often can’t convey what the physical sensation of pressure can.

It’s one thing for students to follow you through a maneuver with their hands on the controls. A good practice, indeed. But they can’t accurately sample the control pressures involved because you’re the one applying the pressure. Using their wrist as a handle, they obtain the tactical sensation of pressure resulting from their hand contacting the flight control.

Try this technique the next time your student is having trouble maintaining level flight. Place your hand on their wrist and level the airplane for them. They’ll quickly develop a sense for the pressures involved.

This technique becomes immensely useful in preventing students from over controlling during landing. I’ve guided students through the approach, roundout and flare with my left hand controlling the aileron and elevator through their wrist.

You can even apply palm pressure to a student’s knee to initiate rudder movement. During flight, students should have their heels on the floor and apply rudder pressure with the balls of their feet. Therefore, a slight push down and forward on the knee moves the ball of the foot forward. Fortunately, it’s right rudder that’s most often needed and that’s the leg that’s easiest to get to.

One word of caution. Always make sure you obtain the student’s permission before pushing on any part of their body. Let the student know what you’re going to do and demonstrate how you’ll do it. Do this and you’ll only push a wrist and never push your luck.

By Rod Machado | | All Rod's Posts, CFI Resource Center | 0 comments
next post → ← previous post

Comments

Leave a comment

Stay in Touch

Physical Product Ordering Only (800) 437-7080

If you'd like to order a PHYSICAL product by phone, please call the number above. Digital (downloadable) products can't be ordered by phone.

Latest Posts

  • It’s a Long Way Down, Isn’t It?

    Psst! Psst! Come here. Come a little bit closer. I’ve got something I want to ask you, and I don’t want anyone else to hear. Are you afraid of heights? It’s probably embarrassing to admit it, but if you’re like... read more

  • A Foot in the Mind

    By Rod Machado Psychologist Robert Ornstein, in his book Evolution of Consciousness: Origins of the Way We Think, talks about a person he knew as Jim. Jim’s reputation was based on his ability to get others to do things for... read more

  • Dive and Drive: Fact or Fiction? Maybe Both?

    By Rod Machado I am a "dive and drive" denier. There, I said it and I'm not taking it back. The term "Dive and Drive" is used by some instructors in the pejorative sense. It's a pointy phrase that's released like a... read more

  • Pilots, Poets & Psychologists

    By Rod Machado Mention the word poetry to a pilot and he'll act like he's in a hotel fire. He'll think: get low, get down, get out. Admittedly, even I get the heebie-jeebies at the mere mention of haiku (that's... read more

  • The Power of Flight Simulators

    Flight Training on a Budget By Rod Machado Over a period of two semesters, a young college student with two intro flights in his logbook acquired approximately 60 hours of supervised training using a desktop flight simulator. Curious to test... read more

  • The Prevalence Error - Why We Look but Do Not See

    Looking Good, but Seeing Little By Rod Machado Recently, I was having a difficult time seeing things that were in plain view. I was even thinking about visiting the Our Lady of Fatima Optometry Center, where their motto is, “If... read more

  • The Middle-aged Aviator

     By Rod Machado Over the years, I’ve heard many stories about middle-aged pilots (45-65 years) who gave up flying due to a sudden onset of anxiety. Apparently this wasn’t induced by any specific aviation trauma nor inspired by the relatively... read more

  • Cargo Cult Thinking

    By Rod Machado  Early in the 20th Century, pilots visited remote islands by air, dropping off goodies for Tarzan and Jane. On subsequent visits, these pilots noticed that the natives had built flimsy stick-and-twig replicas of their airplanes. Anthropologists named... read more

  • Recent Changes to Part-61 and Why They Are FANTASTIC!

    By Rod Machado Am I happy about the recent changes to FAR Part 61? You bet I’m happy. These changes will be helpful to general aviation in much the same way a corkscrew is to a Frenchman on Bastille Day.... read more

  • FAR CHANGES THAT BENEFIT GENERAL AVIATION - BIG TIME!

    The FAA has just released several "final new rules" that will have a positive effect on general aviation. The FAA deserves props for these changes and I want to be the first to congratulate them. You can read the rule making... read more

  • ACS Changes? Don't Celebrate Yet

    Flight instructors! Remove those party hats, collect the confetti and deflate those balloons because this is no time to celebrate. Celebrate what? I'm speaking of celebrating the FAA's semi-reinstatement of full-stalls in the June 2018 Commercial Airplane ACS. It turns out that... read more

  • How Is Maneuvering Speed Determined?


    If you've ever wondered how engineers find an airplane's maneuvering speed, here's your chance to understand the concept in non-technical terms. That's right! No math here. Sit back, relax and let Rod Machado help you better understand Va and how... read more