How to Make Your Instructor Nervous

Having been taking flying lessons all summer (or at least trying to get in the air on a given weekend) and getting to the point where every little thing no longer induces sheer gibbering terror in me I'm beginning to notice that occassionaly the *instructor* shows small signs of unease.

Now, I don't suggest scaring the crap out of the guy teaching you how to fly - this is intended more as a list of things you probably *shouldn't* do without good reason. (Although in some cases if some of this stuff really IS happening you probably should say something) Nonetheless, I couldn't resist... If anyone has anything to add to list, feel free.


During pre-flight stare fixedly at one particular spot for a l*o*n*g time. Get real close. Poke at it with your finger. Stare some more. This is particularly effective if you found something major wrong the week before. Other fun things to do one pre-flight are things like inspecting the prop and saying "Is this a crack or what?", "Is that a leak in the fuel line?", "Is that hole supposed to be in the wing?", "Is this supposed to wiggle like this?"

As you taxi over to the runway look down and say "Did we just run over something?"

As you take off, say something like "I think this is the spot where "Joe" cracked up last week - isn't it?" or as you fly over various local landmarks "Look - see that dent? - that's where "Joe" crunched" or "Isn't that the field where "Joe" flew his ultralight unside-down?" Actually, dwelling extenstively on crashes and snafus before taking off is a sure-fire way to make *you* nervous if not your instructor.

As you take off say "Did you hear about "Joe" bending "X" on this last week?"

Attempting to fly through trees during take-off is definately a no- no.

Letting out a blood-curdling scream during your first stall is definately a good way to get the adrenalin pumping in the guy next to you. Particuarly if you've been real cool, calm, and collected up to that point. Flailing your limbs wildly about in sheer panic will also help achieve the desired effect.

While flying along, sniff the air, turn to your instructor and say "I smell smoke - do you smell anything burning?" This is also a quick way to learn how to inspect your plane in mid-flight.

While flying along, turn to your instructor and say "What's that noise? Is that the engine?"

While flying along, whip your head around real quick toward the back of the plane then turn to your instructor and say "What was that that just went by? Did it hit us?" (Actually, it was the *instructor* who said that to me, not vice versa. Great for the confidence, let me tell you.)

When he congratulates you on doing a manuver well look at him and say - "I didn't do anything - weren't *you* flying the plane?"

While flying over a fairly extensive stand of trees become confused about up and down elevator and get yourself into a screaming powerdive. Pull up less than 200 feet ATL (above tree level).

During your landing approach say "If we come in real low can we go *under* those power lines? You think there's enough room?"

During your landing approach look down and say "Do we need to worry about those kids on that go-kart on the runway?" This is particuarly effective if there really ARE kids in a go-kart on the runway.

And, oh yes, a late addition from last week: nothing gets the attention of bystanders at the end of the day the way saying "By the way, be sure and tell the owner something fell off the plane today".

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