It'd been two weeks since my last "review" flight with Rob. To say I was very discouraged is an understatement. I'd lost my personal confidence, and faith in what my last instructor taught me. In many areas, I was essentially being rebuilt.
As a student, one looks to your CFI for reassurance, knowledge, and feedback. On top of that I think it should be fun too! Call me crazy! When things are difficult, it's easy to forge on for the love & fun of it! For me, I was hoping Rob could rebuild my confidence, and help me find the love again.
Now, I've read other's blogs who've noticed the same differences between instructors. Some are serious, and by-the-book, others are loosy-goosy and let you "feel-out" the plane. With Rob being the former, and Jeff being the later, I can say there are + and - to both. In my opinion the best instructor would be somewhere between.
The By-the-Book / Strict Instructor:
The Plus Side:
A by-the-bookCFI is good, because they are teaching exactly what the FAA expects, PTS and all. In the end, the goal is to pass your "checkride" with the FAA person, so this is good. The strictness get's you to maintain a high standard early on...thus making the PTS standards laughable. It also instills enough motivation to ensure your always doing the right thing.
The Minus Side:
Unfortunetly, I'm a "feel-out" the machine type of guy, and I NEED to experiment with the aircraft to get the right FEEL down. Just teaching a "method" of doing something isn't enough. Being stressed to consistently perform, can make the whole experience less than enjoyable. If you've soloed and you say "I'm always more comfortable without the instructor sitting beside me." Then you know what I'm talking about. If I perform a manuever, and my altitude falls outside of 100', then ask me what I think I'm doing wrong...If I answer correctly, then an instructor knows I understand WHAT to do, I just failed to succeed. If I answer wrong, then tell me what exactly I'm doing wrong and correct me. DON'T give me some snide remark, "Well, you just broke PTS, and would've wasted 430$ on a failed checkride" (In fairness to Rob, he never said this, but another instructor at the school did.) Stating the obvious, even to a student, isn't helpfull. In all, I think of a strict instructor like military school, with a "Yes Sir" and having no fun whatsoever.
The loosy-goosy / non-strict Instructor:
The Plus Side:
This person is the type of guy/gal that will make you feel at ease quickly. They aren't quick to jump down your throat, and are rather patient. They tend to give lessons in a simple demonstrative way, and then let you experiement. These are the folks you'll have allot of fun flying with.
The Minus Side:
They are often not "by the book" enough, and do not instill the mental state of mastering the manuevers to PTS early on. They are usually far less structured, so sometimes progress is difficult to sense or track. You would be far less prepared for the Checkride, after training with someone in this category.
Again, these are just MY observations and opinions. With that, I would love to find an instructor somewhere in between. One that will be strict, yet exploritory and patient. Be instructive, and not "See I can do it, why can't you?" One who realizes it's important to have fun, while your learning.
I'd love to hear other's experiences in this area, and your opinions!