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Difference between instructors

What's the best way to deal with the different procedures followed by different instructors.

I'm about 40 hours through my PPL and getting ready for my skills test and I am concerned that if one instructor is adamant that something should be done one way and another another way, what will the examiner make of it?

Thanks for your thoughts.

If this is at the same school, then tell your instructors that the other instructor is asking you to do it differently. Explain that you are happy to do it either way, but ask that they agree between themselves which way it is to be done.

Anything else at your stage, is just asking for trouble. The school really should have this sort of thing standardised.

EIWT Weston

Best if you can stick with the same instructor, especially towards the end. I did have a check flight with another instructor prior to my skills test and while that does help raise/pick out some underlying flaws, it can also cause confusion/uncertainty.

In my school (which no longer exists), the big debate was when to use Carb Heat or not. Quite different views amongst the instructors - not necessarily right or wrong, but confusing at a time when you just want to be told straight what the procedure is and stick to it.

EGBJ, United Kingdom

What also helps, particularly with technical stuff like carb heat, is to read what the POH has to say about this.

If the instructor tells you differently from the POH, ask him to explain it. It might make good sense, in which you can use the same argument if the examiner asks you the same question.

As for carb heat itself, you will find that most POHs specify "carb heat checks during run-up, carb heat off for take-off (full power), and carb heat "as required" during all other phases of flight". But instructors will typically teach "carb heat on below 2000 rpm, off when on short final". Reason is that in the relatively damp climate we have in western Europe, carb ice is reasonably likely at low power settings, and prevention is better than to cure it.

With experience, you will learn in what (flight/weather) conditions carb ice is more likely, and you will find yourself applying carb heat (or not) proactively only when needed.

I have recently passed my skills test and had 11 different instructors during my training. There was consistency, but as you might imagine there was a lot of conflicting advice.

I think dealing with this, as has already been suggested is to defer to the POH. If not that simple try to get two instructors together to reconcile ambiguities in advice. If that's not possible, use your head. I'm not an examiner, but I would expect they are looking for someone who is capable of rational and logical thought, not someone who fly's by rote.

Some good advice precedes this.

Refer to the Flight Manual. If someone is suggesting that you deviate from it, there better be a very good reason for that (and I doubt that there is!).

If it one of those "as required" situations, ask each instructor to explain their personal rationale for their determination as to "required". Based upon the explanation, grow your own interpretation - as long as it is not in conflict with the Flight Manual.

It would be very unlikely that a procedure or technique, which was actually unsafe in a "modern" GA aircraft would not be warned against or prohibited/not approved in the Flight Manual. Bear in mind, that in the background there will be the design requirements, which present minimums for the approval of the aircraft. they can be interesting guidance for pilots as to what the aircraft actually had to demonstrate to be approved - it's a lot more than you would think, and you'd be surprised what your average plane can actually do safely in the hands of a pilot of "average" skill.

If all of the foregoing don't give you clear answer (which is entirely possible) ask the instructor to show you the written material which supports what you are being told. EVERYTHING in flight training is written down somewhere. If your instructor cannot present it in a written document, I would be skeptical...

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Thing is, there are many wrong ways to do things in aviation, but often more than one right way as well.

I would recommend that you make a mental note of the issues, and raise it in the debrief. Find an agreement as to the proceedure you'll follow - the vast majority of instructors will recognise that there's more than one right way.

If you don't get a debrief, or your instructor isn't prepared to discuss it, change instructor.


Boffin at large
Various, southern UK.

I had similar experiences. When I was learning, my young freshly qualified instructor left for the airlines, and I continued my training with a seasoned career instructor, and I recall he had much differnt approaches to diversions, dead reckoning, cross wind landings etc

I guess some small parts of the POH are open to interpretation, but also the training books in some cases offer a few ways to do something, and it depends on which the instructor prefers. Then of course there is the 'this is what the books says, but this works as well' practise as well.

I think when your learning you need to learn the way that the schools examiner will measure you against, then later once you have qualified you can make your own choice what other methods suit you best.

The answer to this age old problem is really given above, but the answer is to open yout mouth and ask. There is no correct way to do things in general and if asked an instructor should be able to justify the way he requires things to be done. When learning you have to put up with this, but when solo - well you are the captain so it is up to you. If you know why a certain instructor does things in a certain way then it is up to you, based on his/her reasons to use this technique or another based on the reasons that that instructor has given you. As an examiner, I never minded what a candidate did in the air so long as it was safe! We all know that different instructors have different techniques - they are all safe and allowances must be made. Provided a candidate handles the aircraft in a sensible, safe mannerm a pass will ensue nomatter what technique he uses.


Instructors should be standardised. Mention this to the CFI/HOT.

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