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Darren Hughes

Lesson Plans for Helicopter Flight Instructors

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Hey Guys,

 

Hopefully by next Monday I will have my CPL and I will then be moving onto my CFI and CFII courses. I was wondering if any of you have come across this book; "Lesson Plans for Helicopter Flight Instructors"? If so, did you find that it helped you with writing up your own lesson plans? Did you get any good tips from it that you didn't get from your CFI training? Is it worth the $88 that it is advertised for on Lulu.com? I have seen some varying reviews on other sites on this book and I'd like your opinion.

 

Now I know that this book won't be the solution to all my lesson plan writing problems but as I feel that this will be my weakest area in my helicopter flying career, the ground school, that is, I think I should take advantage of any help I can get.

 

I did a search for any other references to the book in this forum and didn't find anything, thanks in advance for any replies.

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I have seen that book, I'm not so sure that it's worth the 80+ dollars they get for it though.

 

Writing lesson plans will be a pain, no way around it. All you will really need is your Rotorcraft flying Handbook, the Fundamentals of Instructing Handbook and if you can find it on the Internet, there used to be a Helicopter Instructor's guide from the FAA. I haven't seen it in a while, but someone probably knows where to find it. Other than that, just plan on spending days with your instructor working thru them. Have fun!

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

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Thanks alot guys for the replies so far, especially KODOZ for both those links. The helicopter instructor's guide from the FAA looks like it will give me good guidelines for instruction both in the air aswell as on the ground. It seems that people have given generally good reviews about the "Lesson Plans" book so I think it should also be a good aid for writing up my own lesson plans. Over the next few months I'll let you know what I think of both books as I'm going through the torture of writing page after page of notes from them!!!

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You really dont need a lesson plan book, and I'd advise speciffically against it. Its important that you develop your own lesson plans in a way that makes sense to YOU. Just open up your PTS and start ticking them off. Also, you dont need to create a lesson plan for every single subject area, if you know it then dont bother. Remember when using non FAA books that your examiner is only going want to see the information from the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, FAR/AIM, and Advisory Circulars. Good Luck.

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I'll have to agree with both Superman and Helliiboy on this one. I bought the book. I was disappointed with it, and it showed me what I didn't want to do in many respects insofar as teaching the material. Not saying it isn't good for the author, BTW. I think you should develop lesson plans that are "living" documents you can always improve upon, and they should match your teaching style. Try to use someone else's and you'll generally make things more difficult for yourself and confuse your student. Most important - get a test audience for your lesson plans, refine them and your presentation techniques. Yes it is a painful process, but you'll benefit greatly overall, and so will your students.

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Hi Darren,

I'm the author of the book in question, and it is always nice to see new instructors looking at the book. It has been on the market for about 16 months and has sold very well to both old and new instructors as well as students (although this is not what it was designed for). There are some great points made by those posting before me, especially these:

 

Nbit: "I think you should develop lesson plans that are "living" documents you can always improve upon, and they should match your teaching style.

Great. It actually says this in the introduction to the book. You should always be adding your own experiences, anecdotes and expressions to lesson plans to make them memorable and better teaching aids. What the book gives you are the basic facts, for you to add to whenever you want. That's why the book has had several revisions - to make it better to the purchasers. Each book has a 24 hour email hotline direct to the author - so if you don't understand the plan - or maybe even the subject, you can ask. Do you get that with Wagtendonk? I think not.

 

Nbit: "Most important - get a test audience for your lesson plans, refine them and your presentation techniques. "

Also covered in the book and good advice - if you can teach you wife and have her understand aerodynamics, you are doing good. If she doesn't get it, find a way to make her understand by changing the way you teach it. The facts are not going to change - but the presentation may. Needless to say - you may then have to change the presentation again for another student. But there is always one constant - the facts. That is what the book has, and believe me - at several points along the way, the student's questions will have you doubting those facts - even more so if you are not that confident in the plans you wrote for yourself.

 

But there is some stuff here too that I am going to dissagree with (well I would I suppose) but I will explain why too. So please guys, don't take offense - there isn't a bitter or vindictive bone in my body, promise.

 

Superman "Writing lesson plans will be a pain, no way around it."

Sorry, this doesn't have to be the case - and unfortunately we are not all Supermen. Let me tell you from experience that writing the perfect lesson plan for you is going to take you at least 4 years. By the time you have it barely right, you will be getting out of teaching. Never mind the added pressure of having to do it after just a few short weeks in front of the faa examiner.

This is an old arguement about reinventing the wheel and should you do it or not. My answer is no. The book contains the facts - presented in a visual way that makes it easy for you to transpose into a meaningful lesson to the student. Think of it like a recipe book. If you bought Martha Stewart's cake book, and made some of the most delicious cakes, then your friends also wanted to make the same cakes for their family, would you recommend the book to her or make the friend work out the recipe herself? If you gave her the book, she may well burn the cake, or add too much salt - but that is because she needs to work on the cooking skills - the facts (or the recipe) were correct - so its the skills that need the most honing, not the facts. So why waste all that time rewriting recipes when you could be spending what short time you have making the lessons better presentations?

I wrote this book because I find that new CFI's know the facts (or some of them) - what they can't do is teach very well and present them in a clear, orderly understandable-to-a-new-guy way. Their presentation of the facts sucks, their whiteboards are a mess, and what the students get to write down is a mess too. If your student can't take his notes out after not looking at them for 6 months and understand the lesson just from those notes - your job has been done poorly. I believe this book helps cure that.

 

Nbit: "Try to use someone else's and you'll generally make things more difficult for yourself and confuse your student."

Not true. Ever found yourself repeating the same thing to your friends/kids that your parents said to you when you were little? Of course you do, and while you may kick yourself for doing it - you do it because the lesson is an important one, that was right in it's facts and you learnt through repitition. You say these things to others because you know it worked on you. If you understand the facts, you will be able to work out a presentation style that works for you. The facts won't change, helicopters still fly for the same reasons, we all teach autos in the same safe way - and we do it by copying what we have been taught. It is important therefore to at least have something that has all the facts right. And that is where this book gets you off to a flying start.

 

Helliboy: "Remember when using non FAA books that your examiner is only going want to see the information from the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, FAR/AIM, and Advisory Circulars."

Really. I would like to know where you got that information from. In fact, most FAA designated examiners doing the CFI initials want to see that what you present is correct. Some of them care that you say it in a way that a student will remember. (the better ones that is). There are many examiners that don't like all of the FAA's explanations of subjects in the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook.

I can't find anything that says only the FAA material is the correct stuff, nor have I experienced any FAA examiner who has thought anything else other than the fact that the lesson plan book was clearly one of several valuable tools to teaching the right stuff. Even better, lesson plans for helicopter flight instructors includes all the things wanted by the PTS, including timings, objectives, definitions and common student difficulties, more than satisfying examiners that they meet the PTS standards. If you look on the Lulu.com website under the book review, one examiner even bothered to review the book. I also cannot find anything in the books you mention about the fuel or electrical system of the 300CB, not a great deal either on how to demonstrate settling with power in the aircraft. Certainly none of those books show you, or guide you in any way on how to present this to the student in a good, memorable way using a whiteboard or without one. They don't give you advice like what colors to use on the board, when to make eye contact with the student, and certainly don't cross reference each lesson with other lessons that may be relevant or linked.

 

Helliboy: "Also, you dont need to create a lesson plan for every single subject area, if you know it then dont bother."

Now, I don't mean to pick on anyone but this is terrible advice. Please, don't take offense, as none is intended, but I have some experience here. Even if you are the world's expert on a subject - you cannot teach it to someone else from the top of your head. You'll make mistakes, you won't have all the facts on hand, you might get the order wrong making the presentation confusing. You will certainly be using "um" and "err" alot and pausing while you think what comes next. It will appear that you don't know what you are talking about, even though you do. Every successful orator, teacher or instructor in any subject throughout hisory has done it using a lesson plan or speech notes. That is why there are 133 pages of lesson plans in my book - because these are the plans neccessary to have - and no more. Will you add to it? I hope so; will you be scribbling your own notes into the book - you better. But do you have to write out your own 133 pages in the first place? No you don't. Bringing you back to the first point - the Examiner can have his pick of any subject listed in the PTS to test you on. You must have prepared a plan for it, and be able to orate that plan - so how are you going to do this if yo haven't written any of it down? How on earth is a student going to take home anything from a lesson that isn't structured - and while some individuals from the top of there head may be able to do it - this is terrible advice for the masses - sorry.

 

On a final note - this book won't please everybody. Thats impossible. But it will help the majority, and that is what it is for. As I explain in the introduction, what instructors lack is teaching skills, not the facts. Use the book so you can spend your time working on your teaching, presentation and interaction skills, not on writing out 133 pages of the same old stuff and presenting them so that none of it remains with the student.

 

Most of all - enjoy it, it will pay dividends. Happy teaching and be safe.

FFF :P

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Thanks alot guys for all your replies so far. Even though I know all or most of my stuff, my biggest problem will be as FLY FOR FOOD puts it, describing "orderly understandable-to-a-new-guy way", which is why started looking for a book like this in the first place. (I suppose being from Ireland and speaking almost a completely different form of English doesn't help much either, we use alot of slang!!! :unsure: )

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