‘Bad Training Baggage’ by Brian Lansburgh

Ladies, I’d like to re-introduce you to the writer of this post, Brian Lansburgh, a big LLT supporter from the beginning. Brian has donated many hours of his time as a CFI and the use of his C140 to the LadiesLoveTaildraggers Scholarship effort. His article “Bad Training Baggage” is a reflection of initial bad training, not pilot skills.

Brian says, “Acme” refers to the great majority of flight training schools and methods of instruction. Since I’m a bit of a Curmudgeon, I disapprove of most “Acme“ Schools of Instruction. They have figured prominently in many of the articles on the Tailwheelers Journal, a website that has over two hundred articles. Basically, “Acme” methods of flight instruction and flying are all bad.  It is usually best identified by the way they take off, by wasting runway while they get centered, then bringing up the power while holding the brakes. That method, rather than achieving the shortest takeoff, burns up runway while having to overcome inertia and also sucks up FOD in the prop, not to mention other ill effects.

Bad Training Baggage
By Brian Lansburgh

There is a woman who I fly with occasionally. I trained her for a tailwheel endorsement some time ago and occasionally she asks me to fly a bit of dual with her. She is perhaps the best example of bad training baggage I’ve ever encountered. First of all, her talent for flying is amazing. She is a natural. But Acme got their hooks into her when she was a newbie. Because of the frustrating qualities of the old primacy rule regarding what you learn first being what you learn best, she often drives me nuts with this stuff. One day we were inbound to a controlled field. We’d been cleared to land, and we were perfectly configured to enter the pattern on a left base. We were on that base leg. There was no other traffic. Gradually, she began a left turn away from the airport. When I asked just what she was doing, she replied that she was going to a point from which she could turn back and enter on a 45-degree angle. Wow! That got my goat. I could hear one of my earliest teachers, airshow pilot Bill Warren, lecturing me that “when you’re going to the airport, go to the flippin’ airport”. I think I left out the “…ya moron!” part of that exclamation.

So, I transmitted to the tower, “We’d like a short approach”. The controller may have not known what we were planning, but I think I might have seen the tower lean a bit as all the controllers ran over to his station to watch this arrival. “You’re cleared for a short approach,” the controller replied. With that clearance and a minimum of prompting from me, she did what she could do so well: She swooped for the runway in an extremely short approach and landed in a turn, making the first turnoff. You could practically hear the applause from the tower cab. And THAT is what I mean when I say that someone has superb skill and bad training. Maybe someday she will leave all that training in the dust. I sure hope so, because on that day she will have unlocked the terrific pilot that is now struggling to be set free. And she will have a lifetime ahead of her of
Happy Swooping.


1 Comment
  • Peter Koza
    Posted at 13:37h, 14 December Reply

    My solo was as a teenager. The instructor later got the nickname Crash. The second instructor liked to follow the telephone lines at low altitude. His nickname was Buzz. The maneuver that got me a pink slip on my private practical is now illegal.
    The instructors over five decades have been all over the map. The Acme School of flying, “there is only one right way to do it” is not my favorite, by any means. Well… Maybe there is a place in instrument flying.
    One of my favorite sayings is, “Learn from the mistakes of others. Because you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
    Keep your airspeed up,

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