Travelogue Chapter Nineteen

Wednesday, July 17th 4:38 p.m.

It's been a while since I've written one of these. I figured I'd let you all know I am still alive.

I've been pretty busy with my new class. We have seven students in this one. It is intended for eight, but for some reason we only got eight this time. Most all of them are doing fine and will likely graduate tomorrow. There is one person, however, who is having a real hard time. It is really quite difficult to see someone fail like that and not be able to help them. When it comes to a "skills" course you can only tell them and show them so much. If they don't have the physical skills they just won't make it through. It is still heart breaking when it happens but I have to keep reminding myself that I cannot save them all. This is very much different than teaching people how to ride a motorcycle. They are both skills training, but that's where the similarities end. With the motorcycle training you teach the skill and allow them to practice for a while then you evaluate their performance of that skill. The big difference with the 2M training is there is no time for practice and the big part of the grading process is based on how well they can critique their own work. We tell them how to do it... We show them how to do it... Then they do it. The standards are very tight too. For each project there are "Target Conditions" that need to be met. Some conditions that are not quite to Target specifications but do not necessarily degrade the reliability of the project are called "Acceptable" conditions. For each acceptable condition they lose five points. If they have an acceptable condition and do not catch it before they ask us for a grade they lose another 2½ points. The minimum score they can get and still pass is a 75. You can see how quickly they can fail even if the base project its self was not a failure. If they claim to have a 100 and we find four acceptable conditions it brings their potential 80 down to a 70... a "Defect" condition... There are a few things that automatically cause a project to be considered a Defect... Leaving any amount of flux on the project, for example, is an automatic failure. Flux is corrosive to begin with but it also attracts dirt and moisture with a passion and can cause premature failure of the circuit. You would think that after two or three times of finding flux in a project and "Defecting" their project they would get the idea. Apparently not. There's one guy that has had flux on his project each and every time I graded for him. I just don't understand. Oh well... You cannot save them all..

Last time I wrote I mentioned that I was scheduled to give the hardest demo as one of my first ones. It actually went quite well. I was well prepared and everything flowed rather smoothly. As did the rest of my lessons. Except one. I was doing real well on my demo and it was going real smooth. Everything I did went perfectly like I've been doing it for years. My transitions went real well, all my props fell into place, the students were engrossed and learning... When I finished and did my wrap up and sent them on break I realized I had missed a single point. A single, stinking, little no-good-for-nuttin teaching point. It was a teaching point, none-the-less, and I had missed it big time. The lesson went so well and my teaching skills were so strong that the person evaluating me didn't even catch the fact that I missed it... I mentioned it to him when he walked up... As a result of missing that teaching point I failed the demo. I will have to do it over again. No worries, though, I'll nail it next time.

I was going to go flying last Sunday but it never came to be. I really wasn't feeling right by the time I got to the Club and there were reports and predictions of thunderstorms in the area I wanted to fly so I canex'd the ride. Walking out of the school building at lunch time today I could tell that my name wasn't on the flight schedule. The sky was completely devoid of clouds and there was the slightest of breezes blowing. Had I been scheduled for a flight, we'd have certainly had a gale warning. When I was getting my license I seriously considered moving to Arizona and becoming a Rain Maker. I wouldn't have to work very hard. About all I would need to do is call the local FBO and schedule a flight.

This weekend I am going to get my "familiarization" checkout in the four-seat C-172 so I can carry more than one passenger at a time. Since every hour of my primary training was done in this plane it should be but a thing. We won't even be starting the engine. The club also has a 172SP but since I am such a cheap bastard I don't think I'll be getting checked out in that one... There is a place in Hawaii that'll give me me Sea Plane rating and at the same time sign me off for the High Performance part because it is done in a 300 HP Cessna (a 206, I think). I am seriously considering doing that before I leave Hawaii. It is a bit expensive and I'll never be able to afford to actually rent the plane at $245 an hour, but it would still be a neat experience.

Welp... I'd better get going for now.

On to next chapter