Reply To: Instructor & Tow Pilot Credits

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Rich WalendaRich Walenda


    I do not ask for a penny for anything, including instructing. I am a FAA advanced ground instructor, CPR/AED Instructor, Gracie Survival Tactics Jui Jitsu instructor*, legal instructor for misdemeanor prosecutions, instructor on how to do civil mental health commitments regarding critical incidents in Illinois and mentor for criminal investigators and a mentor to a digital forensics master’s program student.

    My job pays me well and in return I am “barred” from outside employment. I can volunteer some time to causes or clubs but can not ask for credit, discounts, or money. I am willing to help SSI in ground instructing, wing running, lawn mowing, cleaning, assembly, etc.

    As a sport pilot airplane pilot gaining experience in flying gliders I do not mind paying an instructor fee and it does not bother me if they get credits up to 100% of their membership. The other way would be to pay the club for the launch and separately/privately pay the instructor for their time. I realize I am a charming guy and the instructors should pay me for my company but they also deserve some compensation for their job. As an add on pilot I could not teach myself and also rely on either ground launch or tow pilots to get me into the air. I agree that mowing the lawn, keeping the aircraft maintained and in compliance, cleaning, ordering supplies, etc. is also important. Sky soaring allows me to fly a glider and relax. I know that I am not the typical add on pilot who just wants a rating ASAP and then goes away. I enjoy flying with the instructors and when I they have enough of me they send me up in the 1-26 for some peace.

    I do not have the answers as to how to compensate the lawn mowing, cleaning, etc. We are a club and together can come up with a solution that offers a balance to encouraging people to become instructors and instructing and tow pilots and keeping others engaged in the other vital duties of running the club. In the future I can become an sport pilot glider flight instructor and teach for free but there are no sport pilot glider instructor DPEs in the area and SSA as a national organization is not supportive of sport pilots for some reason. With that said, I appreciate the daily work of everyone in the club and hope we can come up with equitable compensation for all who go above and beyond. Peace.


    *Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) is a revolutionary defensive tactics system based on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that incorporates time-tested techniques into an easy-to-learn system designed to help officers humanely prevail against larger and stronger opponents. In sport jiu-jitsu practice, the tap-out matters; in a fight for your life against an aggressive subject, it doesn’t. For law enforcement professionals, we understand that victory isn’t achieved until you neutralize the threat and apprehended the suspect.