What gets you out of bed in the morning? For me it’s the prospect of learning something new. I love it so much that I became a professor so I could share that love with others. However, in all of my years of helping others learn I learned something too.
What was it?
I learned that students need to DO what they read about. Not only do they need to do it, they need to do it in a stress free, structured learning environment that is fun.
This may sound simple, and you may be thinking: “Duh, everyone knows that”. However, as a professor in an established university you are often told to go with tradition: learning is done through lectures, book reading, writing and testing.
What’s the problem?
The problem with the way some schools are training pilots is that it can be extremely boring, one sided, and unmemorable (insert head nod).
When people think about being a pilot, they think fun. Right?
Flying at thousands of feet, seeing views you can’t see from the ground, and going places a heck of a lot faster than others is nothing if it isn’t fun.
Don’t get me wrong, books are valuable and reading and writing are critical skills. If that’s all you do for a student pilot before they are supposed to go fly a plane in our technologically driven culture, you have done them a disservice. What they really need is a hands-on experience where they can practice their book knowledge before they get in a plane.
Think of it like a driving manual and a learner’s permit. You read the information and then get to practice it before you are trusted to drive the car. The only difference here is that people consider flight lessons the learner’s permit. This may have been how it was in the past, but it doesn’t make sense anymore. Not when you have the internet, software, and pc-based flight simulations and controls.
I would argue that participating in a fully engaging flight simulation should be a crucial step to add to all flight training. The key here is that it needs to be the right simulation, implemented at the right time.
In this video, Bette Fetter, the founder of Young Rembrandts, which offers art education programs, argues the value of hands-on learning. If you are thinking that art doesn’t apply to being a pilot, you may want to adjust your thinking. There is most definitely an art to flying.
Here’s what she has to say…
Kinesthetic learning is a big deal. Not only is it many people’s main learning style, it also correlates to the type of activity being done. For example, flying a plane is an activity that involves your brain yes, but also your body. Creating muscle memory can take a while which means that the more practice you have engaged in the activity, the better at it you become. Which is why I whole-heartedly believe that students need more time to practice the “motions” of flying than what is the current status quo. I also believe that the most cost effective way to do so is to implement flight simulations.
If student pilots are actively involved in what they are learning, taking that book knowledge and applying it in an engaging simulation, they will definitely have more fun. They will also gain muscle memory, feel less stressed about flight lessons, and save a ton of money. Who doesn’t want to do that?
I don’t want you to finish reading this and think that I’m against the universities, books, lectures, or writing papers. Just the opposite! I think all of those things are great! I just think that there needs to be a shift in how pilots are trained and educated. I believe that more flight simulations should be implemented as a supplement to how we currently train pilots. I also think it is a great way to inspire more young people to become pilots.
If you want to experience an example of a simulation, take a look at our Private Pilot Course.
In the meantime I’d like you to do one thing…
Leave me a comment telling me what you struggle with the most in your pilot training, or what you struggled with when you did your pilot training if it’s something you’ve already completed.
Until next time,