At one point, we were all primary students, understanding little, questioning even less, but placing complete faith in our instructor. Many of the little things necessary to get through the first few lessons before solo were done by rote, without a great deal of understanding. Such as ensuring anyone on the ground near the airplane was aware the prop was about to spin.

One instructor was working with a pre-solo student. Instead of using the phrase, "Clear prop!" before turning the key, the instructor had simply taught his pupil to use the word "Clear!", presumably shouted loudly enough that those inside the FBO could hear. Of course, primary students rarely fly in poor weather.

One day, preflight complete, the student reached for the key, looked outside the airplane, and shouted, "Cloudy!"

One Response to Clear…

  1. Jamie Beckett March 20, 2012 at 04:35 #

    That’s hysterically funny. I can just imagine being at the next airplane in the tie-down line wondering, “What the heck is this school teaching ?”

    I once had a former US Air Force pilot come to me to get a commercial single-engine certificate (he was multi-engine ATP rated). On our first lesson he preflighted the airplane, climbed in, ran through the checklists, and announced he was ready to fire up the engine and go. I asked, “Are you sure you’ve checked everything?” He answered in the affirmative, so I let him start the engine. He watched the oil pressure come up, then raised his head and gave the hand signal to remove the chocks, as he had done in the Air Force countless times. It was with a certain amount of humility that he shut the airplane down, got out, released the tie-downs, and removed the chocks.

    He turned out to be an excellent pilot who I really enjoyed flying with. But that’s one of my most enjoyable memories as a flight instructor. Even the big dog can blow it now and then – temporarily anyway.

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