Images and Text on this page are the exclusive
property of Flying Laundry, LLC
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Inset and background photos
courtesy of Kevin McKelvey
Copyright 2008 - All Rights Reserved
What's wrong with "training?"
We don't like the term "training."
When used by itself, like the words "education" and "inoculation," it has a connotation of some process that is
supposed to take place once-upon-a-time in a person's development, after which it no longer requires
consideration-- as in: "Oh yeah, I got that, already. I'm good." It shouldn't need pointing out that this is
In aviation, our safety and enjoyment depend on our skills, knowledge and abilities. The quality of those traits,
in turn, depends on the frequency with which they get used. The concept of recency-- how long it's been since
performing a given task-- also becomes a valid concern.
If we wish to be safe, skilled, and competent pilots, we must continually hone our skills, and seek and receive
constructive feedback on how we're doing. Can you imagine a pro ball player who doesn't practice, based on the
notion that he already knows how to play! NO! Even the most talented and skilled professional athletes know
they need to always strive for improvement, and they understand the importance of a coach, to help them get
there. This is the attitude we must adopt. This is why we prefer the terms "coaching," or "pilot development."
Sometimes, we'll also use the term "initial instruction/training," to indicate the beginning of the student pilot's
learning process. The implication is that the journey has only begun, at this stage. There is much more learning,
still to come, through continued, regular coaching, such as that provided by Flying Laundry LLC.
What is "orphan syndrome?"
Orphan syndrome is a term we coined to describe the condition in which the new student pilot finds
himself/herself, upon finishing initial training with a remote instructor.
Whether the new pilot has just returned home from out of town training, or the travelling instructor has just
left town, the new pilot is now on his/her own, to make their way as a pilot. The unlucky ones are unable to find
a either a place from which to fly, or fellow pilots with whom to share the experience. The very lucky ones find
active fellow pilots, and perhaps a base of operations. However, they are frequently treated as outsiders, until
they demonstrate that they pose no risk to the established flying sites or pilots.
New pilots who don't immediately demonstrate proficiency and safety are often shunned by established pilots,
who don't want to lose a flying site due to a safety mishap, nor do they want the liability and risk of bringing a
newbie up to speed. The new pilot may only now discover his training had holes, and is left without a local
mentor to help him/her through this difficult (but preventable) stage. Too often, the end result is a pilot who
"got trained," but never flew much. Their un-used, year-old gear, is sometimes offered at auction on eBay, at a
fraction of it's value (right beside some obsolete PPG junk).
Orphan syndrome is totally preventable, with local, thorough, continued instruction. That's what we're here to
What are "training holes"?
Another concept we've named, training holes are the things that should have been covered, but were left out of
a new pilot's initial training. Pilots suffering from training holes usually discover their ailment AFTER they've
returned from training outside of their home area, or AFTER their traveling instructor has left town. You might
say that they come to know how little they know.
A good example of a training hole is seen in the pilots who learn to kite and launch in smooth and steady laminar
beach winds, then return to find they lack the techniques to adequately handle the wing in the gusty,
turbulent, or variable breezes common to their inland home area. Another example is seen in the new pilot who
can't tell the difference between a congested area, and legal class E or G airspace (the difference is a big, fat
fine from the FAA). Sometimes the training holes are revealed when meeting another pilot who, at first glance,
seems to be at a similar stage in his/her flying career, but who demonstrates much better skills, knowledge,
abilities, and confidence, as a result having undergone a thoroughly comprehensive initial training program,
followed by continued coaching and contact with their instructor. Pilots who receive this ongoing coaching
develop MUCH faster, as pilots. As a result, they are safer, more competent, and more confident, much earlier
in their flying career.
Training holes are totally preventable, with thoroughly comprehensive initial instruction, which follows an
organized and consistent lesson plan or syllabus, and subsequent continued coaching and pilot development. At
Flying Laundry LLC, we follow an augmented version of the USPPA syllabus for new pilot training, followed by
consistent, continued local coaching support. Important lessons are not only "covered," they are also practiced
and reinforced through supervised repetition. The results are pilots who develop safety, skill, and good
judgment, as HABITS.
Why do training holes happen?
Sometimes, they're the result of sloppy, disorganized, or lazy instruction.
More often, though, they happen due to limited contact with an otherwise capable and caring instructor. This is
caused by the costs associated with travelling and staying in a place that's not home. Whether it's the instructor
who travels, or the student-- these costs cause a lack of access to qualified instruction which stunts pilot
development, due to the time restraints imposed.
Limited time means limited exposure and limited opportunity to ensure the student pilot has mastered the
necessary basics before instructor and student go their separate ways. This is why we strongly recommend
thorough LOCAL instruction and coaching, such as that conducted by Flying Laundry LLC.
What does "pilot-in-command" mean?
The concept of pilot-in-command is rooted in a long-standing aviation tradition of total self-responsibility. This
is sometimes at odds with our society, which often tries to shield individuals from the results of their actions
and decisions. That just doesn't cut it, when it comes to flying.
As pilot-in-command, you will be absolutely, 100% responsible (to the exclusion of all others) for your safety,
and the safety of others near you, while operating your aircraft. It is always the pilot's choice to fly or not to fly,
given the conditions of the equipment, the area of operations, the weather, the traffic, and the pilot, himself (or
herself). As such, it is the pilot, alone, who assumes the risk and must bear all responsibility for the outcome of
the choice to fly or participate in any other related activity. Individuals who are unwilling or unable to bear this
level of responsibility should find another form of recreation that does not include flying.
Is it true that the "best" pilots make the best instructors?
We think they involve different skill sets.
We've known excellent instructors who were just average pilots, but had a gift for teaching and good
We've also come across some individuals who are very technically skilled flyers, but don't communicate well
enough to be effective teachers. Still others in this category have garnered a reputation for undue risk-taking,
or poor judgment, over time, despite their otherwise evident flying abilities.
It's a rare thing to find someone who is both a superior pilot, as well as an excellent instructor. We do know at
least one person in our sport, who meets this standard. We'd be happy to identify him and put you in touch, if
How do you define a "good pilot"?
We believe a good pilot possesses and practices all three of the following traits:
1) Safe and sound flying techniques.
2) A solid understanding of the risks of flying, and habits which minimize these risks.
3) The application of knowledge which consistently demonstrates responsibility and sound judgment.
I heard about a travelling instructor, who gives FREE training. Why should I PAY for instruction, with you?
If you aren't within a two hour drive from us, you shouldn't. We don't want our legacy to be a bunch of pilots
burdened with training holes and orphan syndrome, scattered about the country. Call us anyway, however, and
we'll be happy to recommend someone that you can trust to help you. We'll also advise you on how to avoid
If you ARE within a two hour drive, then there are two good reasons you should consider.
1. to prevent orphan syndrome (defined earlier, on this page).
2. to prevent training holes (also defined, above).
We know someone who travels around and trains for free. He's a great guy, knows his stuff, and we get along,
fine. He even sells the same line of very high quality gear as we do (though we also sell many other lines, so we
can better suit your needs, skills, and finances, and give advice without risk of built-in product bias.) Call us,
and we'll even give you his name and number. But, there are limits to what can be accomplished in limited time
(especially when the weather doesn't cooperate). So, we recommend you have a conversation with some people
who got free training, and ask them these questions:
How many flights did you complete, before the instructor left town, and you were on your own?
How did you feel about your first flight, after that?
How did the next few flights go?
How many flights do you have, now?
How much have you spent on replacing or repairing broken props, cage sections, or frames?
Have you had any experience in which you were afraid, because you felt unprepared for the situation?
Have you ever found yourself in conditions or a situation which you felt was beyond your skills, knowledge and
Have you experienced any safety mishaps or injuries?
Have you ever met another new pilot, who seemed to have greater skills, knowledge, abilities, or confidence,
than YOU did, at that stage of your flying career?
Looking back at your flying career, so far, are there any areas that you wish had been covered more completely
during your "training"?
Now, ask YOURSELF the following:
Is the potential for saving money, but feeling fearful and unprepared, better than the confidence that comes
from being ready for whatever happens?
Do I want to invest in my skills, knowledge and abilities to fly, or would I rather risk the cost and pain of repairs
Would having the confidence of REALLY knowing what I'm doing, help to eliminate fear, and add measurably to
my enjoyment of flying?
Would I (and the people in my life) feel better, knowing that I've covered all the bases, when it comes to
learning how to fly safely, and being prepared to handle the unexpected?
Most folks, if they've been in the sport a while, will tell you that you can pay for good instruction, or you can
pay for broken props and bent cages. The idea of scrimping on the cost of learning to fly has always been a false
Why should I learn to fly with you, instead of someone else?
Local, organized and consistent lesson plan means nothing is left out (no training holes).
Continued LOCAL coaching means your skills and knowledge will grow more quickly. You'll become a better,
safer, more skilled and confident pilot, sooner (no orphan syndrome).
We're different than other PPG schools
Most PPG instruction (not all) is aimed only at giving you the mechanics to get off the ground, and land.
We don't think that's nearly good enough.
We believe it's not enough to know HOW to fly.
We believe you also need to know:
WHEN to fly & when NOT to fly, so you stay safe.
WHERE to fly, & where NOT to fly, so you stay out of trouble.
WHAT to do when things don't go as planned, so you are a more prepared & confident pilot.
HOW to take proper care of your gear, including preparation, maintenance, and storage, so your gear, in turn,
takes care of you.
HOW to do proper pre-flight and post-flight inspections, so you minimize in-flight surprises.
HOW to excercise responsibility and good judgment, so we can all continue to enjoy the amazing freedom our
great sport offers, well into the future.
If you agree with our perspective, then we should talk.
Give us a call, and start living the dream, today!