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CFS 1985

(AM Pamphlet 121 - Printed March 1941)

Prepared in the Directorate of Flying Training and Issued by the Department of the Air Ministry for Training, Air Ministry.

When the Flying Instructor had been taught to fly accurately and to demonstrate his actions with synchronised 'patter', only the foundation of his profession has been provided for him. The most skilful pilot with the most perfect patter can still make a bad instructor, and the average pilot with good average patter can make an excellent instructor. The difference being that the one almost disregards the characteristics and foibles of his different pupils, while the other makes a constant study of his pupils in order that he may get the very best out of them.

To his pupil the instructor is a demi-god. One well-known High Court Judge always used to call his old headmaster 'Sir' with profound respect, even when the judge was 60 years old and the headmaster was 85. In just the same way your pupils, we hope, will still regard you as the best pilot and instructor they have ever known, even when they have flown 2,000 or more hours. Don't for one moment let a knowledge of this potential hero-worship go to your head, but by all means be worthy of its simple faith.

Already you may have heard it said that the pupil is the most slavish copyist there is; and this is true not only for work in the air but, for work on the ground as well.

It is highly interesting fact that insurance underwriters can and do trace back, causes of flying accidents to the original instructors of pilots. Some bad flying habit has been copied by a pupil, acquired and been allowed to persist in his flying until is has produced the inevitable result.

If you are slack in manner and appearance then you will inevitably breed a race of pilots, all your own, which tends to be slack in manner and appearance. Although you may not realise it, everything you do and say is mentally noted by your pupils, on duty and off duty. Your appearance in uniform should be good. Nobody should be able to teach your anything about punctuality. Move about as though you have a definite purpose in life. Don't run down ground training. Some of it is admittedly dull, and lost of it may seem to you to smack of the kindergarten. Those in authority have good reason to believe that it has high value however, so support their authority and don't undermine it. Don't criticise superiors. Don't discuss your own pupils, or other instructors or superior officers, with pupils. Along with priests and physicians you share a lot of confidences. Respect them.