Aviation for Women

MAY-JUN 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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40 AviationforWomen M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 Ghosting at the FBO M E G G O D L E W S K I T he intro flight went well. The client left the FBO happy and with lots of informa- tion. The client was supposed to check his or her schedule then call to schedule les- sons… Then nothing. Does this sound familiar? What you are expe- riencing is ghosting, the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone. It can be in- tentional, such as when you want to rid yourself of a relationship but don't want the confronta- tion that comes with making that statement. You don't reply to texts, phone calls, or emails. Some might say it is passive-aggressive and an imma- ture way to terminate a relationship. Perhaps, but it is also very effective. Ghosting can be unintentional. You fully in- tended to fly twice a week in pursuit of your cer- tificate, but then you got busy at work, were accepted to graduate school, the car broke down. Basically, life got in the way. Other times the client's priorities change when they discover learning to fly is more challenging than they thought it would be. This is very com- mon with adult clients who are successful in their chosen field. They are used to being a very com- petent business person and find the academic and physical demands of learning to fly somewhat daunting. The ghosting often begins in the form of showing up late for lessons or no showing. Reassure these clients that challenge and fail- ure are part of the learning cur ve, and often some frustration goes along with it. You can also suggest a change of instructor. Ghosting is common for post-solo students. Remind these students that solo is the halfway point of training. Schedule a dual cross-country flight very soon after the solo to keep the student engaged and looking forward to the next step. Af- ter a few solo flights, dual cross-country flights, and additional solo time then it's checkride time. Be careful of the client who wants to wait for the weather to get better—the wait puts you off their radar. Check in with them weekly, especially as weather improves. The pre-solo clients who fall into the "I just want to fly, I don't want to do the ground lessons" category will ghost if you press them to do the bookwork. Here the ball is in your court: You can explain that until a certain level of academics is done there will be no solo. Or you can choose to continue flying with the student and build your hours, provided the student understands there will be no solo until he or she meets the knowl- edge requirements as laid out in the FAR AIM. Make suggestions for a selection of ways to learn including online courses, or classes at a local FBO or community college. Ghosting can be economic. The client may not have the money to fly steadily and want to save up the money before he or she begins lessons. If the instruction is done efficiently and the client flies at least twice a week, about $3,000 will usually get the client up to solo flight. There really isn't anything you can do to al- leviate the financially imposed ghosting except to realize that it isn't about you. Stay in contact with the client, perhaps one phone call or email a month as a reminder that you are still around to resume training. With younger students, ghosting usually means they are busy with school. You learn to work around their academic and athletic schedules. With the clients who are seasonally busy, sug- gest double-dipping during their off season, that is flying twice a day. I have used this method with clients who earned their certificates between base- ball and football season. Every flight school has a story about a client who did an intro flight and expressed great en- thusiasm, but lacked the demeanor, funds, and maturity to finish the job. I heard about a situation where a young man came to the flight school and put down $2,500 toward completion of his commercial certificate. The first week he flew twice in one day, and then disappeared. A day later the CFI learned that the check bounced. The chief instructor made sev- eral attempts to contact him, and the client was taken off the schedule. The client did not respond to the chief CFI but continued to email his in- structor asking if he would continue to train him for free if he promised to pay back the CFI when he got the airline job. The CFI informed him that flight training is a business and it's pay as you go. You need to accept ghosting probably isn't about you. Ghosting is just one of the realities of being a CFI, and try not to take it personally. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meg Godlewski, WAI 8165, is a seven-time Master CFI and an active instructor. Reassure these clients that challenge and failure are part of the learning curve, and often some frustration goes along with it. You can also suggest a change of instructor. T I P S F R O M A C F I

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