“We all recognize the difference between a brand new CFI and a veteran CFI Master Instructor in skill, knowledge and confidence,” said St George. “FAA certification ensures only a minimum acceptable level of skill and knowledge.”
“If you are a veteran CFI you shake your head and wonder how you survived those early years. The CFI PROficiency Program is designed fill this gap with targeted flight and ground instruction delivered by the best aviation educators in the business. We’ll take you from good to GREAT!”
The program is open to ALL aviation educators, even prospective CFIs, and specifically addresses LOC-I. SAFE’s Envelope Expansion Maneuvers are flown in non-aerobatic aircraft and build skill and confidence. (SAFE encourages continued training in all areas of aviation, but notes that upset training isn’t within everyone’s reach.)
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Saltzman said the concept helps smaller flight schools integrate a simulator into their training regimen, which lowers students’ costs while building their confidence and familiarity to better tackle an airplane cockpit.
The more hours a facility logs, the cheaper the AATD becomes, Saltzman explained. After 21 hours of usage the hourly rate drops to $49 and is discounted $3 per 10-hour block thereafter down to $41 per hour. “The more a school uses it the better it is for them. It’s truly a win-win situation.” He added that once a new pricing threshold is reached, all hours for that billing period are billed at the lower rate.
One-G’s program integrates PilotEdge radio training into the flight training scenario, which adds realism to radio work, he added. Retired air traffic controllers and other airspace specialists operate a virtual air traffic control tower and can actually “see the Foundation [simulator] on radar, along with other traffic in the area. It’s like real-time air traffic control. I swear I can’t tell the difference between the virtual ATC and the real thing, and it’s a lot of fun, too,” Saltzman added.
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The curriculum is meant to be a stand-alone aviation course, but some schools use it as part of a STEM program or as part of a career and technical education program.
In the program’s first year, the 2017-2018 school year, more than 2,000 students in 80 high schools learned from AOPA’s curriculum as part of a STEM program or as part of a career and technical education program. Over half of the students are from underrepresented groups and a quarter were female.
SAFE has supported aviation education in schools since its founding in 2009, and this year will again give four small grants to elementary and secondary teachers who submit the best proposal for a classroom activity involving aviation.
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Both AOPA and in a much smaller way, SAFE, have long promoted aviation education in the classroom. Less than a year after its founding in 2009, SAFE awarded its first $250 grant to an elementary teacher for a class project involving aviation. It was a major grant for such an embryonic organization, but SAFE’s committment to aviation’s future has grown through the years.
This year, there will be four such grants, two for elementary and two for secondary teachers for class projects involving aviation. The grants in recent years have been funded by generous individual SAFE members concerned about the future of GA.
Several years ago, AOPA funded a massive effort to develop an entire STEM-based curriculum incorporating aviation for regular four-year high schools, and it’s success is just starting to be realized (see story in this issue, High Schools Add Aviation.)