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Suggestions for Flight Training Reform


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For those of you that are interested in upcoming changes and modernization in flight training and the various PTSs, go to this SAFE link.

 

http://www.pilottrainingreform.org/documents/Symposium_Prelim_Report_06Jun2011.pdf

 

Buzz words this year at Heli-Expo and the HAI/FAASTeam Helicopter Industry National Workshop were SBT (Scenario Based Training) and SMS (Safety Management Systems).

 

The IFR & CFII PTSs have already been changed to Scenario Based Testing. The Private, Commercial & CFI PTSs are being upgraded to include expanded areas in ADM (Aeronautical Decision Making), SRM (Single pilot Resource Management) & RM (Risk Management).

 

To date, 3 helicopter flight schools have gone to total FITS SBT Curriculums with more preparing to change and 32 FITS SBT Facilitators have been trained.

 

Accident reduction and better training are the goals, no matter what the curriculums.

 

Best wishes to All,

 

Mike

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For those of you that are interested in upcoming changes and modernization in flight training and the various PTSs, go to this SAFE link.

 

http://www.pilottrainingreform.org/documents/Symposium_Prelim_Report_06Jun2011.pdf

 

Buzz words this year at Heli-Expo and the HAI/FAASTeam Helicopter Industry National Workshop were SBT (Scenario Based Training) and SMS (Safety Management Systems).

 

The IFR & CFII PTSs have already been changed to Scenario Based Testing. The Private, Commercial & CFI PTSs are being upgraded to include expanded areas in ADM (Aeronautical Decision Making), SRM (Single pilot Resource Management) & RM (Risk Management).

 

To date, 3 helicopter flight schools have gone to total FITS SBT Curriculums with more preparing to change and 32 FITS SBT Facilitators have been trained.

 

Accident reduction and better training are the goals, no matter what the curriculums.

 

Best wishes to All,

 

Mike

 

Mike,

 

After reading the linked material I have some concerns. Overall there is a great deal of good material in these two reports. My concerns are with the possible problems that will come up during implementation of some of this material. For this to make any sort of appreciable change, the FAA will have to become more standardized. At present, they are far from that. I have dealt with 5 different regions with just helicopters and each seems to have their own ideas on how something simple like a quick-stop has to be done. About the only piece of standardization among the regions is the scenario involving the quick-stop. Which is an airplane taxiing or takeoff. Would not something like a wire be more likely? And if it is, why would you descend into the wire? Would that not be a judgement call involving ADM? So therefore would it not be better to mix the scenarios up some?

 

In the last few years, I have found that the FSDO's are pushing flight schools to teach only what is in the curriculum. While this does keep training totally standardized, I feel we are short changing our clients by not giving them additional skill, information and knowledge. It like the home builder that proudly proclaims he builds strictly to the local building codes. And all he is doing is building to the minimum requirement. It is the same way when strictly following the curriculum with no additions. The date of the raise in GA accident rate seems to roughly correspond with the time frame where the FSDO's stated their push to only listed maneuvers.

 

Especially in the commercial pilot programs, we need to spend more time discussing regulations, including 135, 133, 137, MEL's and haz-mat regulations. Over the years of doing Part 135 training, I still find it disturbing that a commercial pilot with enough time to hire on with a 135 operator and has trained under a PTS that requires some knowledge of Part 135 and MEL's has very little, if any knowledge of them. In my discussions with a couple of DPE's, they notice the same thing.

 

Another thing I have noted over the last few years is how few organized ground schools are being conducted. There are benefits to the organized ground school. Maybe we need to look at bring them back to a common practice. I realize the computer based training has taken the place of many ground training events, but sometimes we lose something besides the human contact.

 

As for SMS programs, I talked with the head of AFS 850 at HeliExpo. My concern was that the FSDO's are putting their own ideas and read on the SMS program requirement. The director of that office stated that 'Yes the SMS program needs to be realistic and be a usable document for the operator. Unfortunately, he is in DC and information and policy does not travel well from there. Recently, I helped an operator develop a SMS program. I had a SMS manual of 42 pages and a Quality Assurance program of 29 pages. It was totally usable by this operator that has 2 airplanes and 3 pilots. Their PIO seemed to think that this wasn't enough. He wanted a full safety committee, a Director of Safety and a Director of Quality Assurance. And the manual needed to cover more, to the tune of about 200+ pages. His reason? 'Well they might grow larger.' This company serves a niche market and the likelihood of them growing large is quite small. They have always been a 2 airplane operation for the last 10 years. Besides the SMS program like all programs and manuals are living documents, they can change as needs and requirements change. If the manual gets so big that it is as thick or thicker than their Ops Manual and it's basic use is as a door stop, what good is it?

 

For the commercial pilot programs, wouldn't it be of some benefit to have a 'Commercial pilot training' manual? Not a curriculum but an operations manual similar to a Part 135 operations manual. After all many of the pilots in that program will be moving on to Part 135 or other types of commercial operation.

 

A couple of notes on instrument training. I have found that prior to the checkride putting the student in actual IFR conditions has been a great deal of help to the student. Flying in actual IFR is much different that flying under the hood. Since at present there are no training helicopters that are IFR certified, doing it in an IFR certified airplane would be a logical step. And no they don't have to be airplane rated to get instruction in an airplane.

 

Mike you might want to take a look at this article in Flight International:

 

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2011/07/05/359132/flying-the-mpl-route.html

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Rich,

 

Thanks for your input. You and I communicate frequently on many matters and they are always oriented around safety and better training for pilots.

 

I posted the link to the SAFE to inform those that were not aware of the info. I do not necessarily agree with all of it and you made many good points about the intent of the changes and what may be formed by the FAA. Only time will tell.

 

The status quo does not work when it comes to the accident rate. There are many short comings in our training systems. Many entities are addressing training improvements and changes.

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

Mike

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I need to read it one more time. But, my only thought would be..I dont recall any real information regarding who the average student really is now. What does the data say?. I would suspect that although most people think the avg student is a 20 year old guy trying to start out ..that most GA students are in their 30's easy if not older and using disposable income and with a busy work schedule OR someone working on a second career --meaning that the instructors (or some of them) need to cater to the busy adult learner--male and female, not always the young student who can go to 'school' every day. I would say out of two schools that I have attended (one closed their school when I was almost done) the only young adults were the CFI's everyone else was 30-40+ and trying to fit all their training in the weekends.

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About the only piece of standardization among the regions is the scenario involving the quick-stop. Which is an airplane taxiing or takeoff. Would not something like a wire be more likely? And if it is, why would you descend into the wire?

 

I think birds might be a more likely "surprise" on takeoff than wires?

 

During my first rental checkout, I had to do quick-stops between 300' and 500'. There was no descent,...just a quick, "stop".

:D

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I think birds might be a more likely "surprise" on takeoff than wires?

 

During my first rental checkout, I had to do quick-stops between 300' and 500'. There was no descent,...just a quick, "stop".

:D

 

Where does it say the quick stop is done on takeoff only? Your checkout seems to point to other possible scenarios. Lets face it helicopters do all sorts of very low level work. Looking at wire strike accident reports, I see pilots doing ag, cattle herding, predator control, pipeline and power line patrol, survey work and so on. The FAA is so far behind the ball on wire strikes. When I talked with a couple of folks on airplane wire strikes, they said they had a FAAST team program starting up on that. It was for AG airplanes. Ag airplanes are less than 20% of the airplane wire strike accidents. FAA management complains about lack of resources, but they insist on putting resources in places that are not the major source of the problem.

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Where does it say the quick stop is done on takeoff only? Your checkout seems to point to other possible scenarios. Lets face it helicopters do all sorts of very low level work. Looking at wire strike accident reports, I see pilots doing ag, cattle herding, predator control, pipeline and power line patrol, survey work and so on. The FAA is so far behind the ball on wire strikes. When I talked with a couple of folks on airplane wire strikes, they said they had a FAAST team program starting up on that. It was for AG airplanes. Ag airplanes are less than 20% of the airplane wire strike accidents. FAA management complains about lack of resources, but they insist on putting resources in places that are not the major source of the problem.

 

Sure, you can do a quick-stop anywhere. I actually did one at about 1000' once when some dude in a 172 cut me off,...twice!

 

As for wire strikes, all of the "near miss" stories I've heard, involved suddenly jumping over, or diving under them. I've never heard of anyone just trying to 'stop' before hitting them. By the time you see them, its probably too late for a quick-stop?

:huh:

 

On my last trip to the Robinson Safety Course, we actually simulated a 'hop' over a wire while doing autos. It was pretty cool, and I'd like to do more stuff like that. However, outside of that course, I don't know where to find an instructor who does "advanced" stuff?

:(

 

My suggestion to "reform" flight training; Raise the experience requirements for instructors. That way guys like me don't have to look elsewhere for "advanced" training,...like I did last year, when I went up tp Oregon to do my first touchdown autos in an R22 (it would have been nice to have done those during my Private, or at least Commercial, training!).

:mellow:

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Maybe its time for a paradigm shift. While we struggle with making up acronyms to create a better process, but maybe it's now time to put experienced CFIs in the seats. And, Im not talking about the 1200-3000 hour CFI types neither. Im talking about guys whove spent years out in the world working as commercial pilots. Sure, the price of training will increase to offset the higher cost of the experienced instructor but, in the end; a higher level of learning could take place which may add to a safer industry. All kinds of curriculums can be written to simulate the real world and real events. However, no one can ignore the experience, skill and judgment level of an experienced operator who would impart that experience, skill and judgment onto the student. Basically, the scenario would be as close as you could get to the real world regardless of the methodology of the instruction given…..

 

Another positive step would be for the flight schools to stop being so hyperparanoid about litigation. If they do this, then instructors can explore the edges of the envelope without fear of loosing their jobs…

 

As far as the quick stop goes, all instructors should fully understand when, where and how to teach and perform this basic maneuver. This maneuver should be performed at any altitude under any circumstance such as climbing, descending, turning, looking left, looking in, etc, etc.

 

Just as an example of a different perspective; the JCAB (Japanese FAA equivalent) requires a quick stop maneuver to be performed as follows;

 

IAS 60kts

ALT 1000 ft AGL

 

Straight and level at 60 kts. The initial deceleration begins with a 20 degree nose pitch up. As the airspeed decreases, the angle of pitch can be slightly varied to stop over a predetermined ground reference (such as a set of straight railroad tracks). As the helicopter arrives over the spot, the pilot must level the machine and hover HOGE with the reference passing precisely through the seats.

 

The tolerances for this maneuver is +/- ZERO kts, +/- ZERO feet, and an over or undershoot of the target location means checkride failure.

 

Birds…. right…….

Edited by Spike
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...but maybe it's now time to put experienced CFIs in the seats. And, Im not talking about the 1200-3000 hour CFI types neither. Im talking about guys whove spent years out in the world working as commercial pilots. Sure, the price of training will increase to offset the higher cost of the experienced instructor...

 

That sounds great, but all of the "old guys" I've flown with have charged the same as the low-time guys, so would the price really go up? If you've been flying for 20yrs, are you really going to need a higher income, especially if you're just supplimenting your commercial job (if you still keep it), or you pension?

 

All kinds of curriculums can be written to simulate the real world and real events.

 

...but how do you "simulate" the real world, if you've never been in it? I don't think the problem is the PTS.

:mellow:

 

If I had 10,000hrs, I'd be more than happy to impart my knowledge and experience to the next generation, but as a low-time CFI,...I've got nothing but the basics,...which I just learned,...so who would really want me to train them?

:huh:

Edited by r22butters
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If you've been flying for 20yrs, are you really going to need a higher income, especially if you're just supplimenting your commercial job (if you still keep it), or you pension?

 

I don't think the problem is the PTS.

 

 

You are misunderstanding. Im talking about flight instruction as a viable career path and not simply a part-time gig to supplement an income or, to add to a pension. Im saying flight instruction as a career position where youd need the pay to be in line with other sectors of the industry. This way, you could attract experienced pilots away from those sectors.

 

Furthermore, I never said there was a problem with the PTS. And, the PTS is not a curriculum. The PTS is the minimum standard for which an applicant must reach in order to gain certification from the Feds. Curriculums are written to meet or exceed that standard. The missing element is what isnt written in the lines of text. Its what Ive learned to be actionable wisdom. Things one cant teach until the learning opportunity evolves and this only can come from experience…..

 

IMHO of course………

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Sure, you can do a quick-stop anywhere. I actually did one at about 1000' once when some dude in a 172 cut me off,...twice!

 

As for wire strikes, all of the "near miss" stories I've heard, involved suddenly jumping over, or diving under them. I've never heard of anyone just trying to 'stop' before hitting them. By the time you see them, its probably too late for a quick-stop?

:huh:

 

On my last trip to the Robinson Safety Course, we actually simulated a 'hop' over a wire while doing autos. It was pretty cool, and I'd like to do more stuff like that. However, outside of that course, I don't know where to find an instructor who does "advanced" stuff?

:(

 

My suggestion to "reform" flight training; Raise the experience requirements for instructors. That way guys like me don't have to look elsewhere for "advanced" training,...like I did last year, when I went up tp Oregon to do my first touchdown autos in an R22 (it would have been nice to have done those during my Private, or at least Commercial, training!).

:mellow:

 

Butters,

 

To change the CFI experience requirements, first you would have to change the whole helicopter industry in the US. Because of lack of low time pilot employment would make it basically impossible for new pilots to build the flight time required to meet those new requirements. Besides, these new instructors learn as much or more than the student does. They already know how to fly a helicopter, but how to deal with different people, how to deal with maintenance and weather, how to recover from some of the situations that students will get you into that also lead into other skill sets that will help him later in his career.

 

The problem I see currently with how we are teaching quick stops is the scenario that is used for this maneuver. Especially considering that the current training mantra is 'training like you fly and fly like you train'.

 

The Robinson Safety course is probably one of the better bargains out there in this industry. Where else can you get a SFAR 73 recurrent sign off, do your CFI renewal course and get at least an hour in an R44 for $500.00? Personally, the HV curve discussion was worth that alone. Tim does an excellent job presenting the material. I wish I could get some of the videos he shows for my students.

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Another positive step would be for the flight schools to stop being so hyperparanoid about litigation. If they do this, then instructors can explore the edges of the envelope without fear of loosing their jobs…

 

Just as an example of a different perspective; the JCAB (Japanese FAA equivalent) requires a quick stop maneuver to be performed as follows;

 

IAS – 60kts

ALT – 1000 ft AGL

 

Straight and level at 60 kts. The initial deceleration begins with a 20 degree nose pitch up. As the airspeed decreases, the angle of pitch can be slightly varied to stop over a predetermined ground reference (such as a set of straight railroad tracks). As the helicopter arrives over the spot, the pilot must level the machine and hover HOGE with the reference passing precisely through the seats.

 

The tolerances for this maneuver is +/- ZERO kts, +/- ZERO feet, and an over or undershoot of the target location means checkride failure.

 

Birds…. right…….

 

 

Spike,

 

The flight schools have good reason to be concerned about litigation. When someone can get a million dollars suing a restaurant for serving this person a hot cup of coffee that the person ordered and the person spilled on themselves, they have a right to be concerned. When Piper aircraft is sued and loses when a pilot crashes his J-3 and is killed, because the airplane that left the factory more than 40 years before, didn't have shoulder harnesses, even though they were not required when the aircraft was built, the pilot was soloing the airplane from the front seat which was had a placard stating that solo had to be from the rear seat only and the land owner had placed a van in the middle of the takeoff area because the land owner didn't want that aircraft taking off his property. Unfortunately, juries look at anyone who is in the aviation industry as very rich and with deep pockets and judges accordingly. We may not like it, but it is a part of the real world.

 

I would agree that we need to start doing quick stops and decelerations in many different flight configurations.

 

As for the Japanese system. It might sound good to some but they are really just being AR. While that system can make for overall good technical pilots, there is no valid safety of flight reason for doing this. I have dealt with the Japanese aviation system. When the checklist says move this switch at 18,000 feet the mean 18,000 feet. Not 17,999 or 18,001 feet, but 18,000. From what I have seen, they treat the checklist as god and the holy writ. While it does work, it can lead to problems. A good example is the United DC10 accident at Sioux City, IA. The crew had an engine failure that also caused a lose of primary flight controls. The crew used excellent CRM by getting a deadheading United DC10 instructor into the cockpit to help and talked with United maintenance and engineering. They kept pedaling away until everything came to a complete stop and the dust settled. What should have been a totally fatal accident had a large percentage of survivors.

 

On the other hand, JAL had a B747SR experience a complete lost of primary flight controls about 8 years prior to the United accident. They did not have an engine failure and had 2 operating engines on each wing. The 747SR is a special aircraft as it was designed and built only for JAL for their domestic high density routes. There is no center tank on this aircraft and it is single class seating holding around 600 passengers. What happened was that this aircraft had a landing event that damaged what is called frame 41 a few years before. Boeing repaired the frame and returned the aircraft to service. On this particular flight the repair failed and caused the lose of flight controls. The crew get to the end of the appropriate checklist and STOPPED. According to the CVR, when the crew got to the end of the checklist and they stilled had the problem, they gave up and started praying. There are times when it is necessary to think outside the box. However, to do it successfully, the pilot must have something in his bag of tricks and have the necessary experiences and mental agility to work it though.

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You are misunderstanding. I’m talking about flight instruction as a viable career path and not simply a part-time gig to supplement an income or, to add to a pension. I’m saying flight instruction as a career position where you’d need the pay to be in line with other sectors of the industry. This way, you could attract experienced pilots away from those sectors.

 

That sounds good too, but then how do entry-level pilots build enough time to get in?

:huh:

 

My comment on the PTS was just a general response to this need some people have to change the training curriculum, and not to anything you said.

 

 

To change the CFI experience requirements, first you would have to change the whole helicopter industry in the US. Because of lack of low time pilot employment would make it basically impossible for new pilots to build the flight time required to meet those new requirements

 

Trust me Dude, I am fully aware of the lack of low-time, non-CFI, jobs!!!

:(

 

 

Besides, these new instructors learn as much or more than the student does. They already know how to fly a helicopter, but how to deal with different people, how to deal with maintenance and weather...

 

That can be said of any first job, not just teaching. Even I (an unemployed pilot) have continued to learn and grow as a pilot over the years.

;)

 

As for the Robinson Safety Course, I agree, its great. I've been there four times in the past eight and a half years.

:)

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Spike,

 

The flight schools have good reason to be concerned about litigation.

 

As for the Japanese system. It might sound good to some but they are really just being AR. While that system can make for overall good technical pilots, there is no valid safety of flight reason for doing this. There are times when it is necessary to think outside the box. However, to do it successfully, the pilot must have something in his bag of tricks and have the necessary experiences and mental agility to work it though.

 

 

Litigation in the US is certainly out of control. This goes without saying. But, in the not so distant past there have been very successful flight schools (one for which I once worked for) that accumulated thousands of hours of instruction given with very few accidents and even fewer lawsuits. Why is that?? Nowadays, the trend seems to lean toward keeping the aircraft in the hangar as much as possible in order to achieve a zero accident rate. For a helicopter business, especially a flight school, this is very silly. In short, don’t get into the game unless you want to play with the big boys. And, if your in the game and don’t have the business model which is based on experience and can accept the usual risks associated with flying helicopters, then maybe a fast-food franchise would better business venture for you.

 

My comments about the JCAB were not a comparison. Rather it was meant to show another point of view. That point of view is an “outside-of-the-box” method for anyone operating in the FAA box… Or, simply put in this case, an example of “another tool in the toolbox”….

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Litigation in the US is certainly out of control. This goes without saying. But, in the not so distant past there have been very successful flight schools (one for which I once worked for) that accumulated thousands of hours of instruction given with very few accidents and even fewer lawsuits. Why is that?? Nowadays, the trend seems to lean toward keeping the aircraft in the hangar as much as possible in order to achieve a zero accident rate. For a helicopter business, especially a flight school, this is very silly. In short, don’t get into the game unless you want to play with the big boys. And, if your in the game and don’t have the business model which is based on experience and can accept the usual risks associated with flying helicopters, then maybe a fast-food franchise would better business venture for you.

 

Spike, yes it is certainly out of control. I am not sure how we can fix it. I am leaning toward making all law school grads spend at least 5 years prosecuting illegal aliens. But burning down half the law schools might be a better option.

 

Part of the issue when dealing with the risks is that insurance costs can be quite excessive. When the cost of your hull insurance runs 10 to 15% for a private owner and goes up from there it can become quite difficult to compete with operators that are not insuring the hull. I know of some utility operators where their hull insurance run 30% or more of the helicopter value. And if the machine is financed, you will have to have hull insurance. It is not an option. And if you say the words 'flight school' to your insurance agent, the cost of your insurance just doubled. And if you start having claims the rates go up even more and it becomes hard to get other quotes.

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