Educating Better Decisions; Pilot Proficiency!

Thanks to some very generous donors, the new Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA will be open during AirVenture this year. This facility has many potential applications, but the primary emphasis is on teaching better decision-making with pre-scripted scenarios flown on Redbird simulators. Pilots are guided through a series of “decision gates” that may lead to success or demonstrate the error chain that can lead to an accident. Over the past 10 years, thousands of pilots have benefitted from these scenarios (and the hard work of volunteer CFIs at Oshkosh).

This project started in 2010 – also at Oshkosh – when SAFE’s Doug Stewart and Rich Stowell decided to use the brand new Redbird simulator to train better decision-making using cleverly scripted scenarios. At the time, scenarios were not a commonly used tool in flight training,  and the SAFE Pilot Proficiency Project finally popularized this process. This scenario focus in flight training (with associated risk-management) and was embedded in FAA guidance with the new FAA ACS published in 2016 following the SAFE Pilot Training Reform Symposium in Atlanta in 2011.

The Pilot Proficiency Center began in 2009 when SAFE incorporated a Redbird FMX AATD—the full-motion model—into its exhibit tent during AirVenture. The Redbird was configured as a Cessna 172. With the help of the CFI, visitors were offered a variety of scenarios ranging from backcountry flying to VFR laps in the virtual pattern at Oshkosh-Wittman Field (KOSH) to landing on the deck of a virtual aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego.

SAFE, with the assistance of Redbird and a handful of CFIs, continued to offer this drop-in training not only at AirVenture, but also at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Women in Aviation conventions. Flying Magazine 2022

The bigger Pilot Proficiency Project was envisioned as a regional show traveling to pilots and premiered in San Marcos Sept 11, 2013. Starr Insurance was an early supporter, granting insurance discounts for pilots completing the program. The program repeated in San Marcos in 2013 generating even more industry buzz and media attention. The documented benefits were clear but the program never gained sufficient industry funding to support the necessary expenses.

The EAA took over the Pilot Proficiency Program and ran it annually at Oshkosh for hundreds of grateful pilots at show center under the leadership of Radek Wyrzykowski but it took a robust aviation community to finally achieve the beautiful brick building recently added to the EAA Museum. Billy Winburn, of Community Aviation, has been a major force in organizing and leveraging the power of these Redbirds on the ground and online. Enjoy an open house at the facility if you are at Oshkosh, Wednesday from 5:30-7:30. Fly safe out there (and often)

SAFE is everywhere at #OSH22. Our booth is in the Bravo Hangar #2092/3 and the SAFE dinner is on campus at the EAA Partner Resource Center. All readers of this blog are invited to dinner; tickets here!

All readers of this blog are also invited to enter the  SAFE sweepstakes! Prizes include a Lightspeed Zulu 3, Aerox O2 system), Sporty’s PJ2)

Author: David St. George

SAFE Director, Master CFI (12X), FAA DPE, ATP (ME/SE) Currently jet charter captain.

One thought on “Educating Better Decisions; Pilot Proficiency!”

Tell us what *you* think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: