Injecting “Wisdom and Experience:” SAFE CFI-PRO™

In the current aviation training environment, a new pilot becomes a new CFI in a matter of months. This CFI then immediately teaches the next new pilot, which may result in a spiral of decreasing skill and knowledge.” This distortion and lack of new experience with each exchange resemble the old game of “telephone” with the quality diminishing continuously with each replication; a downward spiral.

Currently, 2/3rds of “active CFIs” have taught for less than a year and often only have 5 hours of real solo time. Consequently, there is no real experience or wisdom to impart to a new learner. Current flight training needs more of this “wisdom and experience” injected to increase the level of flight training safety and efficiency. This is exactly what SAFE CFI-PRO™ provides directly to flight programs. SAFE CFI-PRO™ travels to flight schools on request with a curriculum tailored to motivate and build professionalism in each flight program and in every new CFI.

At accelerated schools, there is no time to master and solidify the aviation skills learned at the private, instrument, and commercial levels. Once the required FAA test minimums are met, these hard-won skills and knowledge rapidly become stale and are often forgotten (never reinforced or improved). Ask an instrument applicant about the significance of E/G airspace and the implication for IFR safety on approach to a non-towered airport; crickets! “That is private-pilot-level knowledge,” and already gone. With accelerated training, each discrete skill set is abandoned as soon as it’s completed and it’s off to the new challenges. As a result, the instructional cadre demonstrates limited skill and real-world experience. Many essential skills are missed because of this repeating “cycle of beginners.” Crosswind landings are just one example of an alarmingly rare, neglected piloting skill. Since they are not required to be demonstrated in any ACS, they are not taught (ot mastered) at any level. A recent blog compared this to the Multi-Crew License Europe tried years ago that was intended to just train co-pilots with a new certification level.

The pedagogical skills of new CFIs are also severely limited to the methods they were taught to pass the FAA CFI practical test. Unfortunately, this test is an artificial construct and not how we actually teach flying. The typical new CFI, monopolizes the radio and micro-manages the flight controls out of fear and an attempt to create precision. SAFE CFI-PRO™ provides the “missing manual” of how real education happens in aviation and accelerates the effectiveness of the new eager CFIs. These tools are eagerly accepted in our classes; “good to great!”

By targeting new CFIs, SAFE CFI-PRO™ raises the level of safety in *ALL* pilots. Every CFI reaches 30-50 pilots a month, so improvement in CFIs leads to an exponential improvement in pilots. There is nothing wrong with building hours, but this must be done in a professional (not selfish) manner. Otherwise, the consequence for *ALL* of aviation is less skillful and safe pilots. And General Aviation flying requires a much broader range of skills, encounters a much more diverse set of challenges, and has a much greater risk profile than the narrowly focused world of more sterile airline operations.

Dream diminished?

Several other blogs in this series have pointed out the essential items usually skipped in the current pilot training environment. If a skill, like a crosswind landing, is not required on any piloting evaluation, it definitely will never be taught in an academy program. The professional educator is responsible to provide this more complete pilot training (mastery beyond the minimums). The CFIs are the primary “influencers” of aviation attitude and safety. New learners are entirely dependent upon the level of excellence of the CFI they get bonded with during flight training. Fly safely out there (and often).

See our newly launched SAFE website HERE

Join SAFE and get great benefits. You get 1/3 off ForeFlight and your membership supports our mission of increasing aviation safety by promoting excellence in education.  Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).  10 Tools for New CFIs Here

Author: David St. George

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

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