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Don Kaye

San Jose, CA
(408) 249-7626

Ratings:ATP, single and multi-engine land, Master Instructor Designation from NAFI, CFII and MEI (Gold Seal), CE525S, Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor
Total time:6,370
Instruction time:3,340
Mooney time:4,920
Other: PPP instructor for 8 years (both standard and mountain flying); FAA Wings X; USAIG insurance qualified for Mooney Specific Training; own Mooney M20M

Program fees: $60/hour

Instructor's Approach

DonKaye.jpg - 13185 Bytes

Don Kaye

What follows is an example, taken from Don Kaye's e-mail post to the Mooney Mail list in October, 2000.

My checkout procedure is summarized below:

1. Have the student read the POH several times before our first lesson.

2. At first meeting review the precision flying package I got approval from Bob Goldin to use and handout in my checkouts. This takes about 1-2 hours to go through, reviews the basics of flying and sets up a baseline for all pilots I teach. It includes among other things aircraft performance, density altitude considerations, engine/prop performance, pitch/power considerations, landing segments and profiles, weight and balance considerations, weight, configuration, crosswind, turbulence considerations in determining approach speeds, and a detailed preflight.

3. Each flight lesson consists of a maximum of 2 and 1/2 hours depending on the student's stamina. During the first session we do pitch/power control, slow flight, turns, stalls. I always do the first stall myself so that I can determine, first, if the airspeed indicator is correct, and second if the aircraft exhibits any unusual characteristics. Some do, and we temper the remaining stalls accordingly. We do power off stalls to the commercial standard, power on at 65% power. By this time I have positioned us reasonably close to an airport, pull the power and tell the student we lost an engine. They are to tell me what they are going to do. Most screw up the discussion. I go over my "modern" emergency procedure with them using Aviate, Navigate, Communicate in that order as the mantra. During the descent I show them what happens if the prop is pulled fully back, i.e. you pick up about 300 ft/min less descent. Then I tell them the POH says "prop full forward" and we shake our heads in disbelief. They finally discover there is an airport close by and I tell them we are landing there and they will no get the engine back---unless safety becomes an issue.

4. During the next session we practice turns about a point, S-turns about a road, and begin landing practice.

5. The amount of time we spend on landings really is student dependent. I had one girl who managed the landings exactly as I would after 4 hours. Others may take 10 or more hours. I spend a lot, and I mean a lot of time on soft field takeoffs. After a while the students don't even ask me what type of take off we're going to do. I won't sign anyone off who can't do a perfect soft field takeoff over an obstacle. Eventually everyone gets it. The soft field takeoff is important to me because you can't do it if you don't know the airplane at the bottom of its envelope. If you can do a soft field takeoff then you're not going to cartwheel off the runway on a go around. You know how to use the rudder. You know what staying in ground effect 6" off the ground means. I let everyone know that in "real life" the Mooney is not an appropriate soft field airplane for all the reasons we have discussed recently. For training, it can't be beat.

6. When I feel the student is ready to solo, I make a screwed up approach angling off the centerline and tell the student to make the landing. Then I do another to a "small" bounced landing and have the student make the landing or take it around at their option. Somewhere between these tests I give a go around. Then I get out and let the student take it around 2-3 times by themselves.

7. We take off and I go over the auto pilot in detail. If there are any avionics that the student is unfamiliar with we go over them until they are comfortable.

8. Then I congratulate them on having become a Mooney Pilot and sign them off.


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Last updated: 9/13/2003