August 18, 2008

For the Record: Documenting Flight Training Helps Student Pilots

audio.jpgMore and more often I am coming across pilots who are making audio or video copies of their flight training lessons. When I was learning to fly, I would come home after every lesson and write a post about it. Doing so allowed me, rather, forced me to review that lesson while it was still fresh in my mind. Taking the time to translate my experiences from something retained internally to a written description sometimes required me to think through the lesson in greater depth then I would have had I not by documenting my experiences.

This process was extremely valuable for me as I believe it helped with my ability to retain and ingrain the information in my head. Additionally, it helped me to prepare for my next lesson. I would often review my blog post and my notes before heading out for my next lesson. I believe the combination of the benefits of blogging my experiences and dedicating enough time and funds to fly two to three times per week are some of the key reasons I was able to complete my flight training in just 47.2 hours.

More and more frequently I am coming across student pilots who are not just writing or podcasting about their experiences but actually recording and sharing their actual lesson through audio or video channels. This way they can go back and actually relive the specific advice their instructor gave about maneuvers or flight concepts. From a pilot's standpoint it seems to me this could only aid the learning process and help produce better pilots. However, I wanted to get the take of a flight instructor as well.

I reached out to Paul from to get his thoughts. I asked Paul how he would feel about a student recording a lesson, "As a CFI, I think it is great." He commented that John and Martha King found their success after taping one of their lessons. He went on to make a great point that, "the practice is really nothing new at all just in a different format for a different generation". The latest technology allows someone like me who did not tape my lessons to at least re-experience what it was like to learn about a specific maneuver by listening to someone like Bill at Student Pilot Cast when he publishes a podcast about a lesson including audio of him and his instructor discussing a flight maneuver.

When listening to Bill's excellent podcast I wondered how his instructors felt about being recorded. He told me that none of them have seemed to care. Oddly enough most of his instructors, although intrigued by the podcast, especially after he was mentioned in AOPA Flight Training Magazine, have still not listened. Paul said, "I could see where some 'old school' instructors have issue with that. I'm not one of those instructors. I have no problem with someone distributing my lesson". In fact he mentioned he recently purchased a mic and may start playing around with his lessons and possibly produce a podcast. I look forward to hearing more about an AsktheCFI Podcast.

Speaking of podcasts, Peter, my AOPA Project Pilot Mentee who will be kicking off his flight training this Tuesday, is planning on podcasting his flight training experiences so be sure to check out his website.

Posted by at August 18, 2008 8:40 PM

Enjoyed your entries. I like the format of your blog. I'll check back often to see how your progress is going. I am a captain for SkyWest airlines and fly into ORD often. Always challenging. Good luck with your Private Pilot certificate. - Jeff - Almost the Speed of Sound

Posted by: Jeffrey Synk at August 19, 2008 8:08 AM | Reply

I think if I were a CFI, I would be a bit itchy about not only recording it, but then posting it! *shudder* hence why I don't record any of mine.

I'll stick with the blogging method :D

Posted by: Sarahnaut at August 19, 2008 10:34 AM | Reply

I think this is an interesting topic that will continue to evolve as the aviation community starts to embrace blogging, podcasting and other forms of social media that can bring value to the flight training experience. It may not be for everyone but it may be everything for someone.

Thanks for the kind references and I'll let you know how the podcast thing goes.

Posted by: Paul at August 27, 2008 9:58 PM | Reply

How about flying without an aircraft. Check this out where the fusion man had performed a historical flight with jet wings:-

Posted by: Rita at September 28, 2008 5:14 AM | Reply

Hey, great post. I just got around to reading this and appreciate the take on the subject. I'm glad more and more people are embracing new media...or at least tolerating it. I believe this is only good for the whole community as we more easily share experiences, knowledge, and make connections with people we never would have otherwise. Keep up the great blog, and let's have more people in aviation blogging/podcasting!

Posted by: Bill Williams at October 4, 2008 5:56 AM | Reply

Pilot training schools provide good ground school and flying training to the students. It is a good idea to document the learning session. Videos and audios of the training classes help the students to understand the facts clearly.

Posted by: Commercial pilot training at February 13, 2009 2:53 AM | Reply

Great insight, Todd!

True, documentation always is an important part of everything not just aviation training. Documentation provides a student the material to which he can refer to if he is unsure about something and the instructor is not there to answer his questions. Documentation also helps a student pilot remember what mistakes he has made in the past and what he can do to avoid them.

Posted by: Mark at February 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Reply

I believe podcasts are better sources of information, and are great complements to written articles.

Posted by: Mark at March 8, 2010 11:10 AM | Reply


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