8 Types Flight Students That Drive Instructors Crazy

••• Photo: Getty/Marcus LindstrAm

The job of a flight instructor is both amazing and challenging at the same time. On one hand, you get to fly airplanes around all day. You're not confined to a cubicle, you always have a great view and you get to meet some amazing people who are as excited about flying as you are. On the other hand, not every student is a dream. And even those who are natural pilots can, for one reason or another, be a drag to fly with.

Here are a few personality types that can drive flight instructors crazy. Are you one of them?

MORE>> 12 Annoying Things Flight Instructors Do

1. The Know-It-All

The know-it-all student is the student that thinks he knows everything before he even gets into the airplane. Maybe he's a Ph. D., or maybe he's a Microsoft flight simulator expert... either way, the know-it-all student jumps to conclusions about flying and makes a fool out of himself by pretending to know everything. The Know-It-All sits around telling other students how to fly, often gives terrible advice and refuses to listen to other people. He's always quick to say, "Yeah, yeah, I get it," when he doesn't really get it. At all. 


2. The Improviser

Ever have to wing it on a flight? We all do sometimes, but the chronic improvisor can be a drag. Possibly the most understandable of the types (after all, we all show up unprepared sometimes!), the improviser may also be the most frustrating, never showing up prepared.

This student expects to be spoon-fed, and often makes excuses for not having studied, which brings me to my next student...


3. The Excuse-Maker

The Excuse-Maker has an excuse for everything, even an excuse for making excuses: "I'm not making excuses... I'm just really cold and I can't think straight!"  On any given flight, the Excuse-Maker will say things like "Well my old instructor taught it to me that way," or "It's just that I'm not feeling all that well, today, actually," or "I can't hold altitude because it's too bumpy today." An excuse here and there might be viable, but an excuse for every mistake isn't likely and your instructor will see through it quickly.

It may even cause him to make an excuse to not show up for his flights with you. "It's just that something came up..."    


4. The Risk-Taker

Risk-taking is always a red flag to instructors, but some students seem to think that risk-taking is a good thing, or that they need to be bold to fit in. A student that always wants to fly faster and lower and closer to the clouds while refusing to follow checklists is a hazard to everyone around him. Perhaps a Risk-Taker thinks that flying outside of his own personal limitations or outside of the rules will make people think he's a better pilot, but in reality, almost all pilots will frown upon this type of behavior. Risk-taking is only fun until the airplane crashes, and instructors frown upon this behavior. 


5. The "Yes" Man

Possibly the most frustrating student of all is the one who just nods and smiles at everything you say, never has any questions and always agrees with you. As an instructor, you can never tell if the "Yes" man actually understands the concept you're explaining, or if they're just nodding and smiling again, like the previous 1000 times. If you always agree to everything, and you always understand everything (you have to question something!), why don't you have your license yet?

And how can an instructor trust that you'll say no when you always, always say yes? When you're too agreeable, it makes instructors wonder if you have a backbone to make good judgment calls, or if you'll fall victim to other people's poor decision-making in an effort to agree with everyone. 


6. The Selfie-Taker

Instead of being engaged in the task at hand, the Selfie-Taker is always pulling out their phone to take pictures. Selfie-taking has been the cause of accidents in the past, and will likely be the cause of many more in the future. Don't be that guy. Put the phone down and fly the airplane. 


7. The Drama Queen (or King)

Being dramatic might be more acceptable than being agreeable, but it's still unnecessary.  The student who squeals at every little bump, who cries whenever their instructor offers constructive criticism, or who gossips wildly about other instructors and students, their girlfriends and coworkers is not the most fun student to fly with.

A genuine fear of flying is, of course a serious concern and a good instructor will help you overcome it, but that's different - the Drama Queen will be dramatic at every step along the way.


8. The Complainer

The Complainer is never fun for anyone. He shows up at the airport, complains about the weather, tells the maintenance guy for the tenth time that the seat is too hard for him to sit in comfortably and then tells the secretary that the computer is too slow. He'll then complain that the flight service briefer is taking too long, his coffee is too cold and the words on the checklist aren't large enough. He'll move on to complaining about the other airplanes in the pattern before complaining about his wife and kids, his car problems and how his stall recovery wasn't on par because of the turbulence. The Complainer often just wants to make conversation, but tends to go about it in the wrong way, annoying those around him.