Tag Archives: Flying

CFI – Certified Flight Instructor: 10/1/2000

cfiTeaching someone else how to do something hearkens back to the days of Master Craftsmen and their Apprentices.  The days when the skilled and experienced artisan passed on their knowledge and training onto a junior aspirant, and it has its roots in religious systems as well.  To pass on a skill, a concept, or a way of being, to share with someone else a passion you possess, is a blessing, a gift, a purpose. I believe each of us in some way possess the gifts of teaching, but I know throughout my secular, aviation, and now priestly vocations, teaching is something I think defines me.

cfi3On October 1, 2000, I completed one of the most difficult FAA aviation checkrides.  That checkride included a lengthy oral exam in which the examiner quizzed me on the Federal Aviation Regulations, the complicated concepts of aerodynamics,  the many logbook endorsement requirements for students, and any other topic he wished to discuss.  Later, I spent nearly two hours in the aircraft teaching the examiner every maneuver for each pilot certificate (private, commercial, and instrument rating), along with more oral questions.  At the end of the examination, and as we were taxing back to the ramp, the examiner looked at me and said something so profound, “Eric, today you are a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), congratulations.”  He continued, “Today, you begin learning how to become a better pilot yourself.  Let your students teach you how to become a better pilot, as you teach them to become a pilot.”

cfi2I believe that teachers learn more about their subject or skill, when they teach others.  I think we clergy also learn more about our sacred vocation, by those things God’s people teaches we priests.  Teachers are not mere purveyors of concepts, statistics, quotes, and ideas.  Teachers are relationship builders through which, both student and teacher learn together.  I give thanks to my flight instructors over the years who taught me to be a better person:  Evelyn Bryan Johnson, Beth Ford (Lennarz), Mike Figard, Paul Scott (also my first student).  Thank you for not only being a teacher to me, but for giving me the gift of friendship.

Peace,

Eric+

“Flying down memory lane.”

paul ericRecently, I had the joy of receiving a rental checkout from my first private pilot student.  He now flies corporate jets as a Captain, and he probably has over 8,000 hours.  It was an incredible experience to fly again with my dear friend Paul Scott.  The best part was the  time we had before and after the flight, to reminisce about our old flying days together at Naples airport, to remember old friends, and to learn where they are today.  It has been 18 years since I gave Paul his first introductory lesson in an old Cessna 172.

For my checkout with Paul, we flew an old C172M model, which felt underpowered and sluggish compared to the Cessna 182’s and C172SP’s I have been flying.  It probably felt like flying a brick compared to the Phenom’s and Beech-jets Paul flies now as a Captain.  Nonetheless, it was an incredible day with my dear old friend Paul.  With our move to the Naples area, I will be close to my old friend again, and I hope this will not be the last time we fly together, and I am convinced it will not be the last.

What a joy it is to share the joy of aviation with friends.   Paul reminded me during our flight that I had taught him to put the ignition keys on the dash, so, as we were pre-flighting the aircraft, we would know the keys were not in the ignition switch as we walked around the propeller.  He reminded me of the other little lessons or “isms” I taught him nearly 20 years ago, lessons that he teaches even today.   It is a gift to know that in some way, you had a part in helping someone achieve their life-long dream, and to help a flight student learn the basics of flying. In Paul’s case, he has carried into his professional flying, many of those little disciplines that I taught him back in the day.   I imagine he is passing on some of those lessons to other pilots as well.  Thank you Paul for a wonderful blessing the other day.

Peace,

Eric+