Flight Training Stewardship and Hard Core Experience

9 May

As part of my research for my past post, I came across the following blog entry, Good Stewardship in L and D Space… and while I happen to agree with the author within the confines of most business/corporate training, such a mindset can be a literal killer in the aviation world.

Lets take a look at some of the points he makes….

Most people, not all, in that space work for organizations where some person or group of people put THEIR MONEY into the venture – and most likely want their money protected and then grown-improved at levels commensurate with the level of risk they are taking.

Indeed… folks, whether it be a student at a FBO with their own money, a student at ERAU, with their own/parents/loan money, or a corporate flight department, they do want their value for their money. The problem in a nutshell, is that much of aviation safety comes with well rounded experience over a long period of time. This is not to discredit the amazing things coming out of FBO’s, ERAU and related, corporate flight departments, or the airlines… by all means, they do great work, and much of it is very additive to real world experience and wisdom. However, academic training has massive gaps, which when the chips are down, which only years of hard core experience can fill, if such is even possible.

I happen to really like the authors statement, because it is at the heart of the problem.

But we can guide the learner when needed/when appropriate (was that my investment money we are talking about?) – or we can let them freewheel at “the big learning console of life in the moment with resources galore” (was that my investment money we are talking about?).

And freewheeling, albeit very loosely guided, over an extended time period, is where true wisdom really occurs. Such development of wisdom cannot be very effectively guided in a training environment because it cannot be clearly defined…. which is a problem the regulators are currently struggling with.

Ie, if they require x number of hours… well then pilot mills will make that happen… but x number of hours in a sterile training environment, is a lot different than x hours of uber high stress single pilot ops over a period of years in all types of weather, where equipment fails with great regularity, and where loss of life is a real possibility. The later is politically incorrect even if it were quantifiable and legal, but is indeed, at least for the survivors, where wisdom truly develops, and when the chips are down, is the type of pilot one must have.

Also, there is an economic aspect to this as well… no one could afford to train under said real world conditions over a period of years, especially not the pilot themselves, and the shareholders would have a bird if they had to pay… but then where can the requisite wisdom come from? Just as in decades past, the dues paying of single pilot freight ops, or the military are still options, bearing in mind the supply of such pilots is on the low side of things… Thus a compromise might be an academic trained first officer, combined with a captain with hard core experience to fill in the blanks, at least until the first officer had been wrung through the wringer a few times over the years.

Ultimately, the airline shareholders demand a free ride… so someone else has to pay, make the call, and live with the consequences. The last panel of the authors cartoon is right on the money.??

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One Response to “Flight Training Stewardship and Hard Core Experience”

  1. Geoffrey Knauth May 11, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    When I read "academic trained first officer … wrung through the wringer", I thought of the Colgan Air Buffalo crash in 2009. I suppose what was lacking there was a captain with hard core experience.

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