Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Light-Sport Chronicles: Heart Like A Wing


In celebration of CFIs everywhere, and one in particular


Then, he sheepishly admits what I already know: "Even if it didn't help, I'd do it anyway! It's my nature. I make sure it's a safe and respectful process, but hey, it's gotta be enjoyable."

Recently, hanging out over margies and Mexican food, I asked John why he does what he does. "It's not like teaching math in a classroom. It's the difference between taking roller coaster tickets all day and getting on the roller coaster with them all day!"

But how, I ask, do you keep from getting bored? "It's a cliché among pilots, but I believe every time I go up, I learn something about how to teach better," John answered. Recently, I switched from teaching Dutch rolls around a single point to rolling away from one point on the horizon to reversing back from a second point, as a way to show how effective rudder can be for coordinated flight. And it's so great to me when I see they're getting it; when they're not letting the airplane fly them any more.

"On every flight, there are moments, too, when I just enjoy the awesome view," John continued. "How many people don't ever, ever get to see what we see?"

That's the really cool thing about John Lampson: He's still a kid in the cockpit himself. Yes, he loves prepping students for first solo, first cross-country, and maybe most of all, the checkride. But, he still digs the awe and wonder of it all.

"I interact with all kinds of people I'd never have met otherwise," John explained. "I see them through to the day I send them off and they come back with their license...in a way, it's as exciting as the day I got my license. It's just extremely gratifying.

"And honestly, I do sometimes forget I get a check for doing this," John said. "It's a nice little supplemental income. But I do it because I love doing it."

So let's now raise a hearty toast in praise of John and all our CFIs. He is, and they are, the very heart of all that makes flying the great and glorious joy it is.



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