Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By ThePipster
Good evening all,

The recent thread on mentoring (which I didn't manage to read fully before donking) revealed different view points on the subject, so I hope to open a thoughtful discussion on the positive differences between mentoring and instructing.

To be clear, I don't support the idea of mentoring as an 'poor flying man's instruction'. We already have FI ratings for teaching people to fly from scratch and CRI ratings for post licence training. Whilst probably controversial in the assembled forum, I do think that mentoring has a place.

To my mind mentoring is completely different to instruction, which I view as the transfer of skills, where as mentoring should be the tranfer of aspirations.

I could choose to take a new PPL under my wing as a mentee, introduce them to the idea of European touring, steer them to the myriad of resources to help with flight planning, give them tips on ground transport, accomodation, local customs etc and most importantly, never leave the comfort of the flying club cafe. I have personally benefited from such advice and support in the past and would welcome a network to enable the same support.

Schemes such as the the LAA coaching scheme or the AOPA wings scheme provide fabulous practical skills support and training but perhaps there is an opportunity to promote aspirations to improve the dismal PPL first rating renewal rates?

By Balliol
I think aviation sometimes just ties itself in process and titles etc to be honest. What you describe above is just good old friendship and camaraderie really, and I have certainly experienced in other sports and hobbies without any need to call it something specific. Unfortunately in the airborne environment there is much opportunity for the well intentioned but unconsciously incompetent to cross the line with unwelcome results, and that is why we tend to get angst about any kind of ‘scheme’. I think keep frameworks, schemes, training courses etc out of it and just promote good old friendship and shared experiences. As soon as you start to make it anything more structured you will have a battle with those who can’t resist trying to be unqualified instructor...
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By PeteSpencer
When I first got my IR ten years ago I could have done with a mentor in the form of a willing experienced IR holder to hold my hand with my first few European airways flights.

The last thing I wanted was a lot more (fairly ropey ) expensive instruction from a self confessed hour builder who just sat there hour after hour allowing me to continue to make the same mistakes while I continued to pay their salary, but never gave instruction on flight planning, route submission ,paperwork etc.

I did have the offer of mentoring from one such willing pilot but the distances were too great and mutual diaries always incompatible

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By ThePipster
Perhaps mentors should undertake not to fly with their mentees, rather like teachers and adult students agree that physical relationships are inappropriate?

By profchrisreed
At my gliding club I do a certain amount of what I describe as XC coaching. This means I go flying with club members who want fly XC in the near future. I show them how I carry out the different types of activity (efficient thermalling, navigation via source of lift, speeds to fly, final gliding, etc). I also explain different approaches to all these. I let them try it themselves, and critique how they did.

There is no instructional syllabus for this, and the club's instructors don't have much time to teach this aspect. What I do is not formalised in any way, except that the club's instructors have satisfied themselves that I'm competent enough not to badly mislead fellow pilots and know I'd stop if they decided I was not sufficiently current, too out of practice etc.

If you try to draw a dividing line between "instruction" and "other support (aka mentoring)", where does this lie? And if some of it is "instruction" of a sort, would you want it reserved to an instructor who is not trained in this kind of flying and may have almost no experience of it?

Never forget that in the UK, at least for the time being (!), everything that is not expressly prohibited is permitted. So instruction for a rating/qualification is, quite rightly, reserved to qualified instructors. But advice, encouragement, critique and demonstration is not, even if some of it might be instructive.
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By Flyin'Dutch'
A Long time ago I got my gliding instructing ticket and with that experience in the bag I have always happy to do some mentoring; basically doing what @ThePipster suggests it is.

However over the years I have become more risk adverse and decided to do teh CRI Course so that from a legal point of view there was not going to be any unclarity about who was having which role when flying with other, less experienced pilots.

I enjoy encouraging others to expand their flying experience, never taken a penny for it (not because of any high morals - just because I enjoy flying and don't want to make money from what is my pastime)

The CRI Course is enjoyable and I can recommend it to anyone with an interest in training/mentoring/instructing I did it with our own Cookie who I can thoroughly recommend.
By johnm
I was fortunate to have some excellent mentors in my early years, very experienced pilots who had literally travelled the world in light air craft.

I think a degree of formality is helpful which is why I signed up as an AOPA mentor, I can share my experience with confidence knowing that my ideas have been tested and that I have a practical and useful approach thought through by others more experienced than me.

Quite a lot is about sharing ways to find stuff out rather than just telling people the answer to a question.

Phrases like, “you might like to consider” “ have you thought about” how will you tackle this” set the tone I think.
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By patowalker
johnm wrote:Quite a lot is about sharing ways to find stuff out rather than just telling people the answer to a question.

I agree. All hell breaks loose on here if anyone suggests a poster should know the answer to his question or, a least, know where to find it. Too often the answer is served up on a plate, when guidance on where to find would be more appropriate.
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By Talkdownman
patowalker wrote:
johnm wrote:Quite a lot is about sharing ways to find stuff out rather than just telling people the answer to a question.

I agree. All hell breaks loose on here if anyone suggests a poster should know the answer to his question or, a least, know where to find it. Too often the answer is served up on a plate, when guidance on where to find would be more appropriate.

Yes, the trick is to know where to look...
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By David Wood
Mentoring is a good thing, in and of itself, in so far as none of us know everything and all of us can benefit from someone else's wisdom and advice.

The problem is that mentoring is an incredibly broad term and in the context of aviation can and does include any form of encouragement and/or advice from one to another. And there's the problem. I have witnessed and indeed benefitted from some sublimely excellent mentoring from conscientious, experienced and responsible pilots. On the other hand I expect that we've all witnessed shockingly poor advice being passed from one to another and breezily framed as best practice or godspell truth.

So I guess that the advice is: by all means ask for advice but remember that the great thing about advice is that you don't have to take it.
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By TLRippon
I think what many are describing here is a functional flying club, not a training school, not an airport which allows GA to park there, a proper flying club. Members of the club fly with other members, information is passed on, horizons are expanded and possibilities are opened up to the lesser experienced by the more experienced. This seems to happen at the two flying clubs of which I am a member.
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By MichaelP
Sharing experiences with trusted individuals is normally a good idea.

When I operated a flying unit I would pair pilots together whenever possible for a trusted experienced person to fly with a less experienced one.

Recently I did two seaplane ratings in the Volmer Sportsman.
Before doing seaplane ratings in flying boats I looked for someone with more experience than me to give this training. I do not have a background in flying such aircraft.
Sure, get five hours in type before teaching in it...
While I can give a pilot a seaplane rating, it is a rating to learn, and I would like an experienced flying boat pilot to mentor the newly minted seaplane rated pilots.
It is a worry for me being responsible for the safety of the new flying boat pilots.

A certified flying instructor can give training in a type, but there is no doubt in my mind that the mentoring by a trusted experienced in type pilot can go a long way to alleviate the concern after basic training has been completed.

I use the word trusted for a reason.
Before flying the Maule amphib back from Calgary with the new owner I flew with the highly experienced vendor.
He had owned the aeroplane for many years and had a lot of hours in it.
There followed the most frightening approach I have seen in my life! The speed bleeding off, the nose going up, the power going on. If the engine coughed I probably wouldn’t be writing this.
I was ready to go for the throttle.
We landed stalled with a lot of power on.
I would not trust this experienced pilot with mentoring!
He was a pilot I would label as being “charmed”. A charmed pilot gets away with stupidity again and again, and may come to believe his procedure is good.
But we are not all charmed pilots, copy this at your peril.

If we can trust each other we can mentor each other, but we must be open to critique too.
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By Flyin'Dutch'
Those are then pleasant exceptions to common practise…..

The post PPL Zone is pretty bare when it comes to ongoing support and help in most flying schools and clubs. To the extent that some even actively discourage new PPL to hire and take an aeroplane away, sometimes even for a few Hours.
By Shrek235
Around 2010/2011/2012 I stopped flying with other pilots. It gets a tad lonely from time to time not having someone to natter to but that is a small price to pay. I would rather pay for proper instruction when required and not have some wannaby “instructor” try imposing their way of thinking onto me. I also ensure I fly with an instructor a few times a year to ensure no safety issues are creeping in. I am blessed now that I have access to 3 very good instructors. My aerobatics instructor who is a god send and two IMCr instructors, one of whom sorted the last niggles of my glass flying. Happy to pay for this.