Mentoring

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Craig

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I've been noticing a lot of stuff from AOPA lately about mentoring new pilots, and it brought something to mind.

Many of us have completed one airplane or more, and do enjoy sharing our knowledge and experience.

So - how about if we start mentoring new builders? I've already got my hand in with one young builder, via emails, etc., but might be up for one more. Mentoring just takes a bit more personal touches than what we have been doing - answering questions, proposing solutions.

Mentoring can add a personal touch, and would involve keeping motivated, among other things.

Thoughts?
 

orion

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Great idea!

In the case of disciplines such as engineering, mentoring is almost an automatic part of the training process, once the individual transitions from being a student to being an engineer in the workplace. Most newly graduated engineers have the common misconception that they have all they need to do a particualr job. Nothing is further from the truth, especially in aircraft design.

In fact the engineering degree just provides you with sufficient background to gain an understanding of what you don't know and the ability to analyze what you still need to gain the necessary skill or ability. Under these circumstances, most companies find that it is very important and valuable to take that new-hire and place him under the tutelage of a more experienced designer, who can impart his experience and wisdom, knowlege that comes only with time.

In the case of building an airplane, the first time builder can easily be distracted or just plain discouraged within the long process. Having a "mentor" who can help and encourage along the way should be a valuable resource.
 

Nilsen

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Well, you two in particular ( and several others on these forums) already are mentors in a very informal sense.

How would you 'formalize' your mentorship. It seems failure rate (never finishing or more often never starting) in homebuilt aircraft is very high. I would think if either of you took on a mentee there would be some kind of covenent. Especially with people who are into their 'lives' already and might be very tempted to quit easily. What are your thoughts on that? A mentor invests a great deal of valuable time and it seems to me, with regards to building an aircraft, your pool of mentees are the types that job, spouse, kids, sickness, could lead to a higher rate of 'give-up'.
 

Craig

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Well, Nilson, that would be a large part of it, wouldn't it? Having someone who has "been there, done that" can help the first time builder concentrate his/her attention to the build.

And I have been there - after building my Titch (during which I had a 4-year-old audghter, and a son was born), we moved several times, had another child, etc. And I got out of aviation for a while. With a mentor, I might have trimmed back some of my building/flying program, but hopefully, the mentor would have kept me into it at least a little bit.

And that is mainly what I am thinking of - someone to whom you can turn when life starts loading you down.

Life happens. Often times, it can overload us, and lead us off into directions that are away from our chosen avocation. With a close friend along the way, tho, the attention can be directed back.

Of course, there are also myriad problems in any build, other than family and life. How do I do this? How do I do that? A mentor can help a "mentee" (good word - thanks) develop a 'building plan', much as a beginning business person needs a business plan.

And yes, Orion, and a few others, are already doing this informally. We just need to spread the word to others who can do this, to enable them to help those persons who have an interest in homebuilding; to let them know that a mentor is available, should they wish to have one.

I've been helping one young person. He has limited means, which can turn into a very long build time. But by helping him to find alternative ways to do things (read less expensive or time-consuming), and by working through some of the anticipated problems, I think he will succeed. Then he can get some of his friends interested, and keep our hobby/home business alive and well.

How does the AOPA mentoring program work? Simply by creating and helping to hold an interest in aviation. I just want to do the same with homebuilding.
 

Nilsen

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May 12, 2006
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Craig,

I got "mentee" from doing a little bit of reading on the subject before my last post. So I can't take the credit for the word.

As far as the other stuff in my post that pretty much says "why would you want to be an aircraft construction mentor AND have to deal with another persons life's problems", thats just a reflection of my personal baggage at the moment. While I really try to keep that stuff private perhaps it's good that it leaked out. Your response showed a particular depth of compassion and understanding that is the sort of quality that a mentor would need, and a mentee be ready for.
 

Craig

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Jan 30, 2003
Messages
543
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Emptied

James, I did empty the PM. Have fun.

Nilsen, I've been trying for many years to get people interested in aviation in general, and homebuilding in particular. AOPA recently highlighted their efforts at providing mentors for student/new pilots, and I thought we might be able to carry it over here a bit, and perhaps eventually with EAA itself.

I originally joined EAA in 1966, while I was in VietNam - I wanted to get more mail, and enjoyed what Paul Poberezny was doing. Even my interest has wained from time to time over that 40-year period.

But if I can inspire even one young person to take up the reins and ride the horse, I will be happy. I have all or part of 6 airplanes under my belt, and am working on #7 - got to inspire the newer guys so they can someday say the same thing.
 
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