If you are a Roger Sharp fan I apologize in advance for my lack of love for his most recent rant about “stupid CFIs” at Migration.(Please click this link and watch a while…) His negative attitude toward all CFIs has progressed over the years from crappy to corrosive and my tolerance for his sarcasm reached a tipping point on this one. And the only solution offered (at this Redbird gathering) is, of course, GIFT – the clever, self-guided software training that will (presumably all by itself) teach you to be a safe pilot (I don’t think even Redbird would back that claim). Totally trashing CFIs and trying to remove them from the educational equation – technology will save us yet again – is not the answer. Creating and supporting high-quality aviation educators is the necessary answer to our aviation future. Encouraging DPE/CFI dialogue (not diatribe) would be an even bigger step in the right direction.
Clearly, the Redbird experience in San Marcos with flight training has been painful. Their flight school closed a few years ago, and their Skyport FBO closed last month “without making a dime in eight years.” The bitterness of these failures has obviously left its mark on Redbird and Roger. But that is no reason to go to war on CFIs. As DPEs there is already too much hate directed at our profession. A much more productive course would be fostering more CFI/DPE collaboration and teamwork.
Though Redbird GIFT may be wonderful and valuable (I confess I have not sampled the glory of this package), at most it is a standardized exposure to the maneuvers in the ACS and cannot teach the context, meaning, and judgment necessary to be safe. GIFT can only “teach to the test” and a Redbird is still very different from a real airplane. Even if you master a bobbing box run by software, at some point our potential pilot will have to learn to fly “the real thing.” Adapting to the real airplane with the stress and responsibility is a necessary transition for every pilot in command that requires a high-quality aviation educator.
I know from my recent experience with our SAFE CFI-PRO™, that there are many amazing, committed professionals out there doing a great job educating future pilots. Good examiners working closely with new CFIs to build their skills and enable excellence is the future of the flight training industry. Not every new CFI is the lost cause that Roger depicts. It might be hard to remember, but we were all a bit clueless when we started out as CFIs and good mentors and a helping hand make the essential difference.
I stand with the CFIs here and re-emphasize SAFE’s mission of building proficiency and enabling excellence in aviation education. Roger’s whining doesn’t help. Fly safe out there (and often) register for our next CFI SAFE CFI-PRO™ workshop June 10/11th at Sporty’s Academy in Ohio.
SAFE CFI-PRO™ workshop is open to every aviation educator at every level (even if you are working on your CFI?)
Join SAFE to support our safety mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits pay back your contribution (1/3 off your ForeFlight subscription)! Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).