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 | | 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

  • The FAA's New "Not-So-Slow" Slow Flight Procedure

    As most flight instructors know the FAA recently changed the requirements for slow flight in the private pilot ACS. Slow flight must now be accomplished at a speed higher than MCA or Minimum Controllable Airspeed (a speed at which the stall... read more

  • Your Airline Career

    By Rod Machado  Now that you've acquired all the necessary flight instructor ratings, you're ready to think about becoming qualified for that airline job. Normally, you should think about getting hired with a regional airline first. This allows you to... read more

  • Obtaining Your Advanced Pilot Ratings

     By Rod Machado     Once you've acquired the private pilot certificate, you're ready to fly, have fun and, perhaps, pursue that airline career. If so, here's what you should think about doing.   First, you'll need to obtain the following certificates... read more

  • How to Become a Private Pilot

    By Rod Machado What Does it Take? What does it take for you to become a private pilot? If you’re like most people, once you get the thought of flying airplanes in your noggin, it continues to play like a musical... read more

  • NINE FIRST STEPS TO BECOMING A PILOT

    By Rod Machado    Here is the sequence of steps you should consider in pursuing your private pilot license (it's technically called a "certificate" but we'll call it a license). As you'll see, the most important steps listed below deal... read more

  • Young People and Career Choices

    By Rod Machado I remember a time when an airplane would fly over our house during dinner and I’d run outside shirtless—in my tiny pants and bare feet—and then point skyward and yell, “Airpwane! Airpwane! Airpwane!” I remember that because... read more

  • The FORBIDDEN Question

    By Rod Machado During my high school years, it was known as the forbidden dance—the Lambada. Do it on the dance floor in front of the principal and you’d be “dancing with the scars” resulting from that encounter. Some things... read more

  • Rod's Letter to the FAA and ACS Committee Members

    Yes, really! The Private Pilot ACS adds 363 Risk Management items to the PPL practical exam testing requirements. Students are responsible for knowing the answers to each and every one of these items, all of which require highly subjective answers (according... read more

  • Minimum Cost Private Pilot Certificate

    Greetings Folks:Below is a recent letter from a young man named Joel Thomas. Joel earned his pilot certificate at a very low cost using many of the recommendations I've made over the years. Yes, it's entirely possible to earn a... read more

  • Why Vx and Vy Change With Altitude

    Recently, someone asked about why Vx and Vy change with altitude. This isn't necessarily an easy thing to understand since it involves several variables. So here's a modified "quick" version of the explanation on this topic that is covered in... read more

  • How to Flare Any Airplane Any Time and Anywhere

    Princess Buttercup and I were walking on the Redondo Beach pier last month and unknowingly stumbled onto the “live” movie set of Big Momma 2. As I passed one of the props, an ice cream kiosk, I stopped to buy... read more

  • The Airman Certification Standards

    As most readers of my blog know, I'm not a fan of the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for many reasons, not the least of which I originally posted with the FAA in 2013 (click here to read that response). Apparently, the... read more