From the back seat, instructing tips/tricks?

Bartman

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A friend of mine allows me to keep old '81G in his hangar in return for being able to use it when he feels like it. He's a CFI and has asked about using it with his 18 yr old daughter to get her her Private license.

What would a CFI that is experienced in taildraggers but not as a tailwheel instructor need to know if transitioning to the back seat of a 7ECA to teach a new student?

If I were to work with him while in the front seat what drills would be most helpful for him to make the transition?

Thanks!
 

aftCG

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It's cake, once you get used to not being able to see a damn thing over the nose. Initially I operated off of long and wide runways when I started flying from the back of the Citabria, and made a point to land long (I usually drop it in between threshold lights). This was probably the first time I've ever used the 1000' touch down markers outside of a check ride. I still pad my touchdown point slightly, but now I'm landing in the grass bays at airports where that isn't prohibited or otherwise unpopular. Those are under 800' total length. A half dozen landings and it will be no big deal.

I do have a bit of time in the BT-13 and T-6 where the nose blocks the view ahead anyway. There are a couple of schools of thought on dealing with not being able to see forward. Some suggest intentionally looking off to one side instead of looking forward and using your peripheral vision.

I can't get myself to do that but it's kind of like the "North up, or Track up" discussion. Do what works for you and don't worry about the other folks who do it wrong (obviously).

My logic is that the tail is coming up quite soon anyway, and at the start of my roll I'm watching manifold pressure (it's real easy to overboost the P&W 985 and 1340 so it takes some monitoring). I do strongly prefer to operate off of the centerline, usually taking the center stripe down the left side of the cowl where I can see it misbehaving out of the corner of my eye. I'm doing maybe 10 mph when I get that MP needle pegged where I need it and just when I get my bearings ahead and the stripe goes by I'm feeling for enough air to lift the tail. Then all is golden.

They say you'll have some real hair on your chest if you can fly a T-6 from the back. I haven't tried it yet but honestly the peripheral view is better from the rear because the wing blocks quite a bit from the front seat. One of these days I'll find someone who is already rated in the T-6 to sit up front and cover me.

In the Citabria, while you can see even less over the nose because of the human blocking the view, it is narrow and your vision to the sides provides quite a bit of "feel". I have found that you have a much better feel for yaw issues back there too. At this point the only time I fly up front is if I'm solo. I put non pilots up there if they have the aptitude to change COM frequencies. I still pick out more traffic than my students.

On final I have the person up front shift slightly to the right so I can see the airspeed indicator.

Lastly, long flat approaches will be agonizing. Back when people landed Corsairs on carrier decks they flew a continuous 180 degree turn to the numbers, and all of the above tells you why they did it. It doesn't even have to be much of a turn to see where you're going, and being high just means you'll have to slip anyway (unless you have those flap thingies). If I have to fly a straight in I intentionally stay high until I'm close.
 

Bob Turner

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The big deal is insurance.

Be aware that an owner's policy covers the owner while he is receiving instruction, but not the CFI.

CFIs need special policies. Mine is with SAFE, and it is roughly twice the cost of my J3 policy. It does not include hull, so when I climb into the right seat of an aircraft I cannot afford to buy outright, I get a Waiver of Subrogation from the owner's insurer. Avemco calls it a "Recovery Rights Endorsement", and it is free.

My Decathlon insurance includes $52K hull, and it "goes with me." If I am not instructing, I can fly someone else's airplane and remain covered. The instant I get in the right seat all bets are off. Special CFI insurance is necessary.

To answer your question - ease in to it. Put a qualified pilot - preferably a CFI - in front, and practice a bit. Do not let your first few students out of a very tight box. You get a bigger box with experience.
 

donv

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I have been doing some instruction in my airplane, mostly for friends and family members. In fact, I just signed my 19 year old daughter off for her tailwheel endorsement! She is the second tailwheel endorsement I have done, and was the least experienced-- basically just got her private in a 152.

Insurance wanted her to have 25 hours in the airplane, so we took our time. We also did some cross countries, and she got the signoff with something like 25.3.

A few tips: I bought a retractible pointer on Amazon. There are some times when you have to point at something in order for the student to understand. The pointer is amazingly helpful.

Flying the airplane from the back is fun. I have some biplane experience (Great Lakes) from 30 years ago, and it's not that different. In the Lakes, with a passenger, you can't see anything over the nose. You get used to it, using cues from the sides. It's really not difficult at all. I did my CFI reinstatement ride in the Citabria, which helped me to get really good at flying it from the back-- lots of practice. I put pretty much anyone I knew who had at least a private pilot certificate in the front, and we went flying.

Obviously, directional control is a big deal at the start. My daughter had flown the airplane from the rear seat some, including taxiing, and diretional control was never an issue for her. You always have to be ready to give a jab of rudder at the appropriate time, just in case. Don't ever let it get too close to the edge.

The flare was probably the most difficult thing for her to master. Balancing between hitting hard and ballooning... and then it just sort of clicked.

One area where I need to improve is in talking more and grabbing for the stick less. When the student looks like they are going to slam it on, instead of yelling "stick back!" I have a tendency to grab the stick and pull it back.

On the subject of insurance, I am specifically insured to give instruction in the airplane.
 

Bob Turner

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That is the key - otherwise, you climb in the back seat with a pilot not qualified on your open pilot warranty, you have no insurance coverage. It must be in writing - far too expensive to sue your insurer with only contemporaneous telephone notes.
 

aftCG

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That is the key - otherwise, you climb in the back seat with a pilot not qualified on your open pilot warranty, you have no insurance coverage. It must be in writing - far too expensive to sue your insurer with only contemporaneous telephone notes.
Okay so I got a reply back from my insurance broker about putting someone else up front. She states that my policy does not care where I sit, so I'm okay putting anyone up front.
I'm able to add my zero time son to my policy as a named insured and provide instruction, and can also fly with my already named partner and provide his spin endorsement.

If I want to hang my shingle and provide dual instruction to the masses (and expect coverage) it will bump my policy to $2700-ish - about a $2k hit. I'm going to need to do some math on that.

I joined S.A.F.E upon the recommendation here and looked at the insurance offerings. I can get a policy for $700-ish to provide instruction, but only in other people's aircraft.
 

Bob Turner

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You can hope that, if anything goes wrong, your son will not sue you?

The thing about the SAFE policy is, it has a "tail." If something happens to somebody you signed off last year, or to somebody on the freeway they landed on, SAFE brings attorneys and a million bucks.

That's the big deal - and why CFI liability costs over twice as much as that for a student pilot.

Once you start using your own aircraft, it becomes a commercial policy. And for old folks, watch out! Big bucks!
 

Bob Turner

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Kinda quiet here - my latest rant is folks who do engine runups and high power taxi in hangar areas. That is on us - the instructor community. We should teach folks that runups are hazardous, can cause property damage and injuries, and in hangar areas are impolite.
Pilots don’t think first - we should be teaching “awareness.”
 

FalcoF8l

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I moved my AS indicator and altimeter to the far left side of the panel where I could see it from the back. Make sure the student in the front knows how to turn the fuel off, That's about the only function you can't reach. Also tell the student how to Ident, which will be greek to him if given a squawk and trying to direct him from the back, as to where to do that will take time.
 

donv

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Moving the instruments is a good idea, but I don't think it is necessary, or maybe even worth the trouble it might cause a student in the front seat. I just figured I could see EITHER the airspeed or the altimeter, and that was enough for me. I even took a checkride that way.
 

BB57

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Avemco offers a limited instruction policy - up to 4 students at a time, and 12 over the course of a year.
 

Bob Turner

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That is good news! We tried that, successfully, for a year; then they shut us down. It was $75 extra per student, liability only.
We are paying $1000/year, unlimited students, liability only. Any idea what Avemco is charging now?