What’s New in Flight Training?

You’re about to go out on a recurrent flight training session with your instructor. Here’s the pre-flight briefing: “We will take off to the practice area, work a few stalls, some slow flight and steep turns, then we’ll come back and do a little pattern work and some landings.” Sound familiar? This is, really, “maneuver based training” and it is all well and good.

It isn’t bad to work on maneuvers that we seldom practice ourselves but it leaves out one important concept. That is; it’s not how you fly, it’s not how you use your airplane and not what you would do on a typical flight. There is a new concept for flight training that really isn’t so new. The military has used it for years and general aviation eased into it when the TAA (technically advanced airplanes) arrived. They call it “scenario” based flight training and the simple explanation is: “Train the way you fly and fly the way you train.” Within this model, the pre-flight briefing might sound like this: “We will depart on a simulated VFR cross-country to KABC airport (some place within about 30 miles,) make a planned descent and a pattern entry to a landing with the existing conditions. Somewhere on this flight I will give you a realistic abnormal procedure to solve on your way. Perhaps an alternator failure, high cylinder head temperature, something you might normally encounter.” This works very well with the TAA airplanes because there are so many little problems that might come up along the way in the normal course of the flight. I have found, however, this method works well with all aircraft. “Train the way you fly and fly the way you train.”

The FAA’s guidance on this training method can be found at: www.faa.gov/education_research/training/fits