HOW TO SOLOS a STUDENT in approximately
By using the VASI Lights to teach -
AOA Controls Airspeed and Throttle/Power Controls Vertical Velocity
KTPF airport, Davis Islands -Tampa, Florida
Another CFI joined me in the grass area between the runway and the taxiways, as we both watched my student solo.
I enjoyed smiling to him - the CFI who joined me - when on the second takeoff roll my student wave as he passed us halfway of his takeoff roll.
I smiled because the student was smiling and waving with confidence in what he was doing - with only six hours of total time. I noted with satisfaction how good his approaches were - picture perfect.
How did it happen? the wave, the answer is that student confidence came from us using the VASI lights to help implant the basics of a stablished approach that built-up these skills, knowledge and confidence.
I start training by covering all flight instruments for takeoffs and landings noting that the Wright Flyer did not have flight instruments.
We fly out as far as we can and turn back where we can still see the VASI lights then turn back to the airport at a point where we roll out on the Glide path at “ Red-over-White- Thats-All-Right “ ] I then demonstrate how to use power and pitch to remain on the glide slope - having the student write down the power settings and throttle position. I go above the Glide Slope to “ White-Over-White “ while maintaining the pitch and adding power and then go below the VASI Glide Slope “ Red-over-Red-Your-Dead “ maintaining the same pitch and reducing power.
Later we slow and practice stalls as we turn and weave our way down the VASI glide path.
I then have the student do the same drill. From time to time I have them trim hands off and ask him to guess the airspeed and vertical velocity then remove a cover or tape on the airspeed indicator and/or Vertical Velocity or both so he can see how good his guess was.
We continue these drills until a mile on final with the aircraft trimmed hands off with the known - written down power setting and pitch and hold this until we start to enter ground effect then manually fly and land from these straight in stabilized approaches.
We taxi back and take off again with all the flight instruments covered. Why cover the flight instruments for takeoff and landing?
First, you want the student not look in the cockpit, better to look out for conflicting taxi, takeoff and landing traffic.
You want them to listen to the engine-propeller, you want them to feel the control forces, on takeoff roll …you
want them to see the takeoff distance and for many other good reasons I explain later;
that there may come a time in their future flying careers that they lose electric power at night or do not trust your instrument due to icing or a malfunction.
These VASI drills build confidence, skills, and knowledge until the entire takeoff and landings and stalls are completed with all the flight instruments covered.
When that level of confidence, skill, and knowledge is reached its time to solo and what a joy is to stand in the grass between the taxiways and the runway.
That simple wave from my solo student as he passed us on his takeoff roll - to this day still brings a smile to my face.
Here's the wisdom of this issue, IMHO. My saint of a CFI, an elderly gentleman, was discussing solo one time. This was long after he finished with me. He said "You know it's been suggested that I hold my students back too long before solo. But, .... they are all still alive." Maybe I was a dummy and it took me longer than some Chuck Yeager wanna be types out there, but I'm still alive. And happy!!
You can teach someone to do takeoffs and landings in 6 hours but you can't teach them everything that is required to be PIC. In solo flight he/she is PIC.
What happens to the student when they go to an airport without VASI?