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    « $5 million X PRIZE Needed for a Low Cost Electric Airplane | Main | Max Trescott AirVenture Videos 2011 »


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    Hello Max!

    As someone who's had quite a few different instructors (including yourself!) in multiple countries, I'd like to see more standardization in what's considered best practice between instructors and countries. This is particularly important at the PPL training level, when a student pilot doesn't know what advice is good or bad. It's less important for more advanced training, because by that time the student can decide for themselves.

    As an example, I was taught in the USA to keep tight traffic patterns so that if I had an engine failure on downwind I'd be able to make the runway. In the UK I was criticized for this, and was told to keep the traffic pattern wide to allow enough time on base to be sure that no aircraft making a straight-in approach was conflicting. In the USA I was told to leave pattern altitude abeam the threshold, the UK I was told to leave pattern altiude as soon as I had turned base!


    I'd also recommend that every pilot get a glider rating. It does wonders for stick-and-rudder skills, weather awareness, and greatly increases skill and confidence at forced landings off-airport.


    As a follow-up to my first comment, every instructor teaches different "flows" for each procedure, and tends to get annoyed when the student faithfully uses the flow pattern taught by their previous instructor!

    Steven Siepser, MD, FACS

    Dear Max,

    As a father of 5, airmen's medical examiner, Commercial, IFR pilot with 3000 hours, some metal bent over the years and experience with operations for business, with extensive western hemisphere airplane use, training pilots to make the right decisions and getting more pilots to enter and complete training has been of major interest. When I see the enthusiasm for Flitesoft users that wanes as they begin training I wonder what microsoft is doing right and what are we doing wrong. The issue comes down to how each CFI approaches each candidate for flight. It is a "customer" who is about to spend untold amounts of money over their lifetime on aviation or walk away. Getting into the "customer's" head is the prime problem. Sometimes I think aspiring pilots should take a Myers Briggs personality screen or be interviwed by a psychologist who then selects the proper instructor for that temperament and learning style. None of this very important emotional learning need and style is addressed in aviation training, not even a second is spent on the most important transition in an aspiring pilot's dreams. Moving them from dreaming to reality is a delicate and important transition that the present system of pilot training consistently blows.

    Syed Mohammad Husain

    Introduce basic instrument flying in syllabus for initial license issue (PPL), so that the pupil pilot on a solo can stay alive and return in case of inadvertent IMC encounter.
    As one reader has commented here, glider flying really helps. This is borne out in the Gimli landing in Manitoba, Canada of a B767 which ran out of fuel. The captain flew gliders for pleasure. I think Capt Sullenberger got some help in his water landing from previous gliding experience, I'm not sure though.
    There has to be a clear outline in stall recovery techniques regarding T tailed aircraft and this has to be drilled if different from the regular elevator/stabilizer (empennage) ones.

    Pete Grass

    Dear Max:

    While focusing on the teaching environment is critical, we can't forget that the prospective student must first walk in the door.

    Our sensitivity to security has erected barriers to the general public at our airports - it isn't a place where the welcome mat seems to be out. We've got to change this or our future will stay away.

    There are a lot of things we can do - the airport open house coordinated so we can show off our planes, show off the facility, and show off the businesses can help. Airshows are great too, but every airport can hold an open house and get the public to come see what this is all about.



    I am no expert. However, I am a pilot and aviation enthusiast. I am 32 years old. In my experience i have, like many, over come many obstacles and put up with the old ways of aviation, to get to be a pilot.
    Aviation, as a whole is not a cohesive industry in the way it reaches out to the general public. Many, many business are seemingly in business with an airplane, a sign and a phone number. No real marketing or sales experience or thought on how the customer views the whole experience. While other recreational industry's ( Golf, RV, Boat, ATV, Auto)have successfully invested time, money and effort into building a customer friendly, inviting path to satisfaction. Aviation has done everything but.
    Try and call your local FBO flight school, and you will get an earful of pilot jargon, price overview and most will not even bother to take your name or schedule a tour or intro. Websites are bland and not engaging.
    If you want to see who has it right..look at ICON. They are engaging the masses with enthusiasm and have yet to even ship the first plane!



    A while back I saw a post about folks in England placing an aircraft simulator in malls, and at the time I thought that might be a way to reach kids and interest them in learning to fly. A simple, inexpensive flight simulator(s) that could move from mall to mall - after all, this is where the kids hang out!


    Great post Max! I couldn't agree more with the gentlemen who first responded to this article. Standardization in aviation training should be at the forefront of your efforts. A case in point is his dilemna with the traffic pattern departure procedure. The AIM and other FAA pub's clearly state: "If departing the traffic pattern, continue straight-out, or exit with a 45 degree turn (to the left when in a left-hand traffic pattern; to the right when in a right-hand traffic pattern) and beyond the departure end of the runway, after reaching traffic pattern altitude. If you've been taught differntly, Let me know.

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