"R" works in construction. His family own a construction business and normally live a thousand miles East of Dallas, but happen to be here for 6 months on a contract. His previous flying experience has been piloting his family's Cessna 337 SkyMaster with instruction from his Dad, but he just bought a Cessna 182 Skylane.
"A" is a retired tennis pro from an aviation family in West Texas. He took the compressed private course from a local part 141 school at Addison airport (KADS), and takes his test today. He just bought a G36 Bonanza, and wants me to transition him to high performance and complex aircraft, especially the Bonanza. Then he will decide if I'll teach him instruments, or if he'll stay with the flight school to get it done faster. Speed is more important than cost to him.
I've been flying with R in my 150. He wants to get his private done while he's working in the DFW area, with little to do in the evenings and weekends. As all of his experience has been in high performance aircraft, he's having to learn about precision use of the controls. A SkyMaster will climb at a variety of pitch attitudes and speeds, but the 150 wants 77 mph plus or minus 10, or it won't climb at all. The SkyMaster has very little "p factor" due to the twin engines rotating in opposite directions, and has the power and speed to line up with the runway without using the rudder much. Not so with the 150, which is very light and needs good footwork on the rudders.
Other than that, R is almost ready to solo - once he gets his student license and medical. His family seems to play a little looser than I like with the rules. He didn't actually need them before going solo, but I've never heard of anyone that advanced in his training not having them already. Once he solos in my 150, we'll move over to the 182 and use that for his cross countries and preparation for taking the test.
A is a very precise pilot pilot already. We flew in my Bonanza last Saturday, and after some pattern work which he picked up very quickly (the speed and number of checklist items can be over-whelming at first), we did emergency procedures. He was a bit shocked at how much more violent a high performance stall is compared to a trainer, and by how poorly a heavy, high performance airplane glides, but that's the reason for the training. You can't assume one airplane flies like any other. The good things about him are how quickly he learns, and that he is not afraid.
"D" has been my student for over a year. In late 2013 he was almost ready to take his private license test when the engine in his Cessna 172 Skyhawk decided it needed an overhaul. In the late summer of this year his airplane was ready to fly again, and after a few hours I signed him off to solo. We've done 80 hours together and he's still not ready to take the test - he is a bit fearful and learns slowly. He's more than twice as old than either R or A, and I think that slows him down a lot.
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