Yesterday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Chris Palmer, Angle of Attack, where the members in our Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.
Chris Palmer is the host of the Angle of Attack YouTube channel, and isn’t your average flight instructor. Chris is on a mission to make better pilots. Whether it’s in the cockpit, on the ground, or on YouTube, Chris’s passion is to give new pilots the skills they need to fly safely and have fun. Here are all of the questions and answers.
What is the hardest part of running a large social media network alongside the ground school?
I think the hardest part is just making sure I maintain a personal connection with as many people as possible. I really like to respond to every message, and also offer valuable advice where applicable. I’m only one person! It can be a big job sometimes.
Is that a Cirrus in your profile picture?
It is! I helped Cirrus do the online video training for the Vision Jet Program.
Where did you get the habit of going “CleEeAaaAAar!!”? Gets me every time.
I honestly just got bored of doing the same old “clear prop” that no one cares about, and started it with a student one day. This was around the time Josh Flowers came in town, and now it’s an international revolution.
What are the benefits of online ground school versus a classroom based one?
I think the biggest benefit is it’s always there. And, it’s go at your own pace. There are many pilots that just learn recreationally, and have families, jobs and other things that make their schedules sporadic. That anywhere, anytime access is helpful for a lot of people.
For someone that’s new to making aviation related content on YouTube or anywhere, what’s a tip you would have for that person to grow a following?
My advice would be to perfect the craft first, especially that of story telling. Anyone can throw up cameras and show them flying, but I always think it’s the story surrounding the flying that is the most compelling and important.
What’s your most memorable flight?
This is one of my most memorable flights.
What’s one of the scariest experiences you’ve had while flight training, either while you were training or instructing?
This wasn’t in flight training, but it sure taught me a lot. Video
What’s some advice you have for student pilots right now who might not be able to go out and get to flight training as much as they’d like? I know in one of your latest videos you said the world will recover and life will return to normal, but anything else?
Actually just did a podcast on that subject today.
In short, this is a HUGE opportunity to get a lot of stuff done at home. I would NOT pass it up!
What’s your favorite part of flight training/instructing?
It’s so, so, so cool to see people achieve their dreams. They go from knowing nothing when they walk in the door, and then to see the smile on their face after a checkride is just the absolute best. I get to do a lot of amazing flying, I even support my family by doing it, but nothing compares to seeing that in action.
I’ve started to look into doing my flight instructor rating in the next few months, do you have any advice for someone looking into it/just starting their flight instructor rating?
I still remember vividly each checkride I’ve done with my students, and also their first solos. It’s just really special and cool to see all that take place. I wouldn’t place many others above that.
What is your most memorable moment as a flight instructor?
Here is a student I met at AirVenture when I was volunteering. She ended up coming to Alaska and getting her commercial. This was after she passed her checkride!
That night we all took a flight, at almost midnight, up near Denali, the largest and tallest mountain in North America. It was absolutely magical. Those walls of rock you see on either side of the glacier are about 5K to 6K feet tall.
Do you have a favourite aviation novel that you would recommend?
Stick and Rudder. Absolutely.
What’s the hardest part of being a CFI?
For me it’s all about giving value to the student. I always have a personal struggle where I strive and hope to give them more, but always feel a bit unsatisfied with what they’ve received. For them to get where they need to go, that learning knowledge transfer needs to happen. And it’s up to me to make sure it does happen.
What’s one trait/quality you wish all your students had?
Study super hard at home, come to our lessons with good, deep questions for our ground sessions. The self discipline and passion is really refreshing. I’m not super interested in helping people that won’t help themselves. I invest a lot of myself, way outside what I get paid, so it’s important that I see that happen. You lean in, I’ll lean in.
What’s your dream meal?
We just ‘fled’ California because of the virus. I’m REALLY missing In-N-Out Burger!
What is the one location you’d like to fly but haven’t got the chance yet or can’t?
Africa seems like an amazing place to fly. Europe as well, like over the beaches of Normandy or something. I think there are just so many amazing places in the world, I’d love to see them all from the air.
Have you ever flown within the U.K before, and if not do you have plans to?
I don’t have any current, active plans, but I’d love to. I have ancestry in Scotland and have visited a few times. That’s way up there on my list of places to fly!
What is your favourite Single Engine Piston Aircraft?
I have about 600 hours of Bonanza time. Freakin’ amazing airplane. They’re IFR monsters. So, so good.
Am I right in saying have good useful load and short field performance as well?
Yes, they can do short field. Gotta know what you’re doing, though. The video I shared earlier is an example of what not to do… and I had even done that the FAA way.
On my introductory flights, I have this habit of referencing instruments. One of my instructors said to rely on visual cues more. How should I get into that?
Do an entire lesson (from takeoff to shutdown) with the flight instruments covered up (keep the engine instruments uncovered, and even use the RPM settings as a reference). Doing that in the pattern for several hours will A. give you some of the best landings and B. start to break you of some of those bad habits.
Remember instruments in VFR are for REFERENCE only. The BIGGEST instrument you have is out there, the horizon, the sky, and ground.
An instructor from Canada told me, that the correct procedure for executing a climb is APT and not PAT, in order not to surpass Vno/Vne, would you disagree or agree, as I’m sorta sat on the fence about this?
I’m careful not to get too opinionated or granular about how I teach. There are many different opinions on certain things, and very few things are “wrong”. That said, I heard that as the APARTMENT (APT) is upstairs, and you PAT the dog (that’s sitting below you). I thought that was a great way to remember.
I teach APT when leveling off in cruise from a climb. To initiate a climb, PAT makes more sense to me. But I can see how in certain planes that could exceed Vne. Not really sure how, though, because if you’re doing it right it’s almost all simultaneous.
Trim always comes last. Don’t fly with trim. But you’ll see the pro pilots roll the trim they know they need without thinking about it. It’s good for your first hours to think of it that way, but it’ll become really natural. You’ll do APT or PAT instinctually when you need it.
What got you into aviation?
Always had a thing for flying things. Really enjoyed WWII documentaries, flight simulators, and building WWII models. Even had a love for science in practical ways, like physics. It all fit together when they were pushing us high school students to choose a career. I found out I could become a pilot without going into the military. The light bulb went off, and I never looked back.
Follow up question. Did you ever think it would lead you into this, creating YouTube videos, online ground school, podcasts, etc.?
Not at all. YouTube wasn’t even around then. But I’ve tried to connect all my other talents with aviation as well. That’s good advice for everyone!