I read with great pleasure Joel Elman’s article in the May issue titled “With a grimace or a smile.” I just have to tell you that it was a great article and many CFIs — new and old — should take your advice to heart.I am a CFI and I work in Aiken, S.C., at Carolina Aviation. I have been doing just as you suggest with my students for some time now and I truly believe that they are better pilots and happier pilots than what is turned out by others. I am a member of NAFI as well as AOPA and I try to be a professional instructor both for my own reputation and for that of general aviation.
That being said, I believe that a bit of hot dog — within limits — flying should be required for every student. This is also a good time to discuss minimum altitudes with students and start emergency procedures. I truly feel that having a student put the plane and themselves through the paces is a great learning experience, as well as keeping flying fun. There is plenty of time in instruction for PTS standards and the “altitude altitude altitude”, “heading heading heading” stuff.
I also believe that this makes safer pilots because they will have the experience of some pretty good unusual attitudes practice, which will make them more comfortable in the airplane. This sharpens aircraft control and will let them be at ease when they do go flying on a bumpy or windy day.
Keep up the good work!