the Dirkmaat Flu

If you have worked at or attended as a student at FlightSafety, perhaps you've heard of the Dirkmaat Flu.

It hasn't been quite an epidemic as of late, but for a while there it was a real killer. A modern day polio. Maybe even black plague. Some weeks it struck multitudes of the population, seemingly spreading like fire. Other weeks it was tame, possibly in remission. Just when you would think it was all but extinguished it would come right back out of remission and rear its ugly metaphorical head.

Nobody wants to do a stage check with Dirkmaat.

How did we get to this place? What happened along the way to create this symposium of hatred? Who did I offend? Who did I fail that thought it to be unfair? Oh that's it, everyone. Everyone wants to pass. I get it. Nobody really wants to fail. It's not human nature to desire failure. Nobody wants someone else to fail. Nobody really does. If I pass everyone what does that make me? Better? Worse?

I have never wanted anyone to fail. OK. I lied there. But most people I don't want to fail. Honestly.

When I became a check instructor I thought it would be an excellent learning experience for me. Let me tell you what. You think you're nervous going on that commercial check ride? Imagine being responsible for GIVING the check ride! It's now your responsibility to ensure this guy knows what he's talking about, and can fly an airplane without making you feel like you're about to die. You could quite possibly be the last person he flies with before moving onto some job. You could be the last person to say 'He's good' before he rams that Lear jet into a mountain with 5 of his boss' closest friends. You think you got pressure?

I think the mantra of my father to me growing up was "If you're going to do anything, don't do it half-assed." I'm pretty sure growing up I had no idea what "half-assed" meant. I've tried to take that advice to heart. I saw it as a big responsibility accepting the position, and I didn't want to let anyone down(including dear old dad). Now that sounds pretty pathetic I know, but lets be honest. I'm a high school dropout that never went to college and here I am in charge of giving people a license?! This is about as big as I've been yet. This is my only shot at doing it right. I have to do this right, otherwise I have nothing else.

I've really tried to be the best evaluator I could be.

I will admit that I had a rocky start. I took it a little too seriously, or more appropriately too literally. I feel truly sorry for the guys and gals that took those first stage checks. Unfortunately it was a learning process and I had to learn. Just like I had to learn to become a flight instructor, I had to learn to become a successful evaluator. That takes time just like anything else.

I feel like I've hit my groove now.