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What is REALLY being done to improve the industry?


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Found this article about training future pilots and instructors. See link. It brings up an interesting question as to why pilot ratings, except for specialized aviation universities, don't count towards academic credit.

 

http://iaftp.org/201...ch-to-teaching/

 

From the article...

 

"In the first case, I urge us all to consider a certified academic instructor program – perhaps from a newly developed Global Institute for Professional Aviation Instructors – where the curriculum would be based on the dual task of making the candidates both proficient in and hold a license in the profession of aviation instruction that will be recognized worldwide.

 

Such an institution might be fashioned on the model of leading graduate management schools such as INSEAD which has campuses all over the world, and like INSEAD, this institution could be responsive to different airlines and the different cultures that exist in different regions.

 

Upon completion, the graduates would be certified to teach at any participating airline or training organization and take over the current teaching responsibilities of pilots who would be better utilized flying revenue flights for their airlines.

 

At the same time, we need to make the profession of the pilot, the technician and the instructor, comparable to alternative jobs in the market place. Academically why shouldn’t candidates exploring a career in aviation be able to earn academic degrees as their counterparts in other industries do?

 

I am not talking about students who go to well regarded aviation universities like Embry Riddle in the United States to get a full 4 year degree and a pilot’s license. I am talking about the standard ab-initio, the type rating, the recurrent training, the MPL program. These are all intensive programs that teach both theory and practice and yet for the most part, provide the student no academic credit.

 

Not only does this reduce the perceived value of our education and training, it also limits the funding available to young people evaluating their career path. And these days as we all know, with limited funding comes limited attraction.

 

In universities in the United States, for example, 66 percent of all undergraduate students received some type of financial aid. This financial aid for the most part is approved only for academically accredited programs, which at this point, does not include aviation training. That in itself limits the potential students that will come into our industry and detracts from our industry’s attractiveness and reputation."

Edited by Little Red 22
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I don't think everything has to be rolled into a college degree to have value. You get a license and concrete numbers for experience in your resume. There is so much value put into the college degree these days, but for many of the programs I just don't see the applicable value. People get a degree just because "they should have it" but not to really learn or improve on professional skills.

 

That is one thing I really like about the IT career field. You can get certified in pretty much anything to demonstrate your abilities with specific hardware or software. And you can make great money just with certifications rather than a four year degree.

 

Just my 2 cents, but I think that more specialized and certified training outside of 4 year degrees is a good thing. Recognize a skill and experience rather than 4 years of going through the motions.

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Looks to me like another attempt to shortcut the historical industry accepted practice. The fact remains, you need cash to train. While financing is an option, it’s not the best choice given the long term end result. With that being said, to work hard for a few years to earn the cash to pay for flight training is priceless compared to simply filling out a loan doc. One road is hard and requires a depth of perseverance, will, and determination. The other requires a pen…..

 

After the debate the other day, the local news reporters interviewed a few university students asking what question they would ask Obama and Romney to be debated. One kid said he’d ask, “What are you going to do for me and my future?” While to a degree, this attitude has already infected aviation, it’s kept in check by a separation of academic philosophies. Or better said, as a person, academics make poor pilots by the virtue of the entitlement belief.....

 

With my current certificates and ratings, I can gain enough credits to obtain a Batchers Degree without the prerequisites which would be needed for any academic goal. Therefore, I question the validity of the OP and/or the motive of the post….

Edited by Spike
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Upon completion, the graduates would be certified to teach at any participating airline or training organization and take over the current teaching responsibilities of pilots who would be better utilized flying revenue flights for their airlines

.

 

This is basically what we already have! New pilots come in, teach for a while, then leave for more lucrative commercial work, while the next group of new pilots take their place teaching.

 

Does the author know anything about aviation?

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I was a little suprised by the authors statements regarding the future of flight training, and his proposed "new" globally recognized avation training institution. Mr. Ganzarski is an industry leader working for Boeing Training and Flight Service, so perhaps I give his comments more consideration than deserved. So far, all the pilots I've talked to think the current pilot training system works fine.

 

For myself, I took advantage of classes offered at my local college even though I did not have an aviation career objective. I completed ground school and passed the FAA PVT written exam in 15 weeks, and took 3 other aviation classes that same semester. The instructors were great, it was fun work, and my training stayed on schedule. It was also a state university, and inexpensive at the time.

 

The purpose of my post is to learn how flight training can be improved, and the opinions presented on VR usually come from real world experience. Should ground instruction be in big "chunks" like a class where the written is passed before the first flight, or seamlessly integrated into each flight?

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Generally when I read these articles, what I see is someone trying to figure out a way for the "industry" to take them under their wing and train them from the ground up. The underlying theme I read (or read into) these articles is "How can I get all this training for free and get a guaranteed career as long I swear Ill stay forever...."

 

Companies have no vested interest in helping create a pilot pool of students. Because students dont make money. Flight schools are churning out CFIs left and right who cant find jobs. If you want a free flight training education, a place to live and a pay check, copy down this number...

 

1-800-GO-GUARD

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Academically why shouldn’t candidates exploring a career in aviation be able to earn academic degrees as their counterparts in other industries do?

 

Currently numerous universities offer aviation degrees, with full academia behind the training, as well as completion of pilot certification through CFII and beyond. Some of these programs, such as University of North Dakota, have field programs (atmospheric research) that place students internationally as part of their internship.

 

Aviation degrees are largely worthless. Aviation degrees of their own accord confer nothing but a sheepskin, and don't lead to a professional qualification. Then again, neither does a law degree; one must still go pass the bar.

 

Pilot certification isn't really akin to academic accomplishment. It's more of a certification along the lines of being a swim coach or ski instructor. It's a commercial driver's license, in the air. It's blue collar work that we decorate with a white collar to make respectable. It's hands-on work that we make into a profession, and in many cases, it is. In some cases, usually owing to the people involved, it's not.

 

People exploring aviation are welcome to earn degrees in Airway Science, Aviation Management, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Science, Aviation Studies, and other degree particulars. This has long been the case. To ask why this isn't possible is to ask incorrectly. Not only is it possible, it's done every day. If one asks, one hasn't looked very far.

 

Conversely, as the aviation certification has long been recognized academically, one can also obtain academic credit for pilot and mechanic certification, and use that as part of the credit toward a degree. This is commonly done.

 

I am not talking about students who go to well regarded aviation universities like Embry Riddle in the United States to get a full 4 year degree and a pilot’s license. I am talking about the standard ab-initio, the type rating, the recurrent training, the MPL program.

 

Not sure what you're asking. First you ask why universities don't offer aviation programs, then say you're not talking about universities that do. Whether Embry Riddle is well regarded (it's not) is debatable. It's expensive. Embry Riddle, and all other 4-year schools that provide aviation degrees involving piloting, are ab initio.

 

Type ratings are generally something that comes much later in one's career, and aren't (and shouldn't be) part of one's elementary, primary training. It's advanced training. For the same reason that generally a four year school doesn't offer the ATP (students don't have enough experience to qualify), they generally don't offer type ratings.

 

Recurrent training is particular to what's being flown, but a student who is undergoing training doesn't need recurrent, as it's ongoing. Recurrent training is usually something one finds at a paid training facility, and is available to career aviators, and required by certain types of flight options. Why would one go to a college for that?

 

Presumably you're referring to Multi Crew PIlot Licenses, when you say "MPL." Otherwise, I'm not sure of your reference. That is a foreign concept used outside the United States, but has no use or bearing on training or flight operations inside the USA. Additionally, it has no function (nor existence) for US-certificated pilots operating outside the USA.

 

These are all intensive programs that teach both theory and practice and yet for the most part, provide the student no academic credit.

 

If you're talking about training received from Part 61 schools, Part 141 Schools, and Part 142 training centers (eg, Flight Safety International, CAE Simuflite, etc), then yes, college credit can usually be granted for the training, but it's irrelevant. One isn't attending those facilities to receive a degree. One may apply for credit via ACE at a number of unversities, and will receive credit for one's pilot and mechanic certification, toward a degree. One may not be able to apply all of it, however, and additional credits for type ratings and so forth may be of little use when considered against an academic degree achievement plan.

 

I have about 130 credits worth of experience and certification, for example toward a 4 year degree, based on my experience and certification. Universities are willing to grant between 40 and 88 credits to me, if I were to attend them, based on that experience. The FAA certification counts toward the degree, and is recognized as equal to some of the relevant curriculum. All the same, much of my experience is "wasted," in that it's not useful toward the degree, academically speaking. Certainly I could get more credit, but to what end? What good is it, academically, if it doesn't get me any closer to that degree? None. Therefore, getting credit for additional type ratings or qualifications, in an academic context, is meaningless and irrelevant.

 

In universities in the United States, for example, 66 percent of all undergraduate students received some type of financial aid. This financial aid for the most part is approved only for academically accredited programs, which at this point, does not include aviation training.

 

This is incorrect. Universities offering four degrees in flight operations are usually attended by persons receiving financial aid which covers their training. Flight training is part of the academic accreditation, and is covered as part of the financed process. If the student seeks training outside the academic arena, financing may not be available. This is why many students elect to do their training at a university, although it incurs much greater expenses: they can get money via loans to cover the training.

 

Upon completion, the graduates would be certified to teach at any participating airline or training organization and take over the current teaching responsibilities of pilots who would be better utilized flying revenue flights for their airlines.

 

The real world doesn't work like that. A company (re: airline) doesn't care about the school you attended, or whether that school states you can teach for that company. The company is usually very particular about who teaches for them, both in terms of experience and qualification, as well as temperament, and behavior. The company is looking for someone who trains strictly to a company standard, as standardization in the airline world is everything.

 

In the ground training environment, often instructors aren't pilots. My 747 courses were taught by flight engineers who had a wealth of experience, but none of it piloting. Some of the best instructors I've ever met were there, and they were good. They had no formal training as instructors, but they were hand picked, had taught for a long time, and they taught well.

 

My simulator instructors were often retired personnel who brought with them a wealth of experience, and who knew exactly what we faced on the line. The nature of our flying was well outside the typical cookie-cutter flight environment, as we operated into a number of hostile areas, as well as nearly every place on earth but Antarctica. We utilized instructors who knew that operating environment intimately, and who could relate to the students, as they'd been there, and done that.

 

We didn't need, and couldn't have used inexperienced pilots who were fresh out of instructor school somewhere. Perhaps at a regional airline where everything is entry-level anyway, but not at an established place that isn't staffed by kids.

 

I'm an instructor. I'm a check airman. I've done it in numerous aircraft, for numerous companies. I wouldn't have been remotely in the running for any of the instructor positions in the 747 operation, though I was a captain there. They were quite particular, and I wouldn't have had a chance of filling that slot, not even with a shiny graduation certificate from some training center.

 

In Iraq, when I first arrived in theater, I was given an evaluation ride by a "check airman" whose greatest achievement in life was that prior to arriving in country several years before, had served as an instructor at Embry Riddle. The guy couldn't fly his way out of a wet paper bag, and one night as we were descending near Mosul, he asked me what the practical test standards were for that type of descent. I asked him what he was talking about. He told me he wanted me to fly according to the PTS, and asked me about the standards for the private pilot.

 

I was more concerned with the descent, not getting shot, and other factors associated with our operation that night, and his concern with what an Embry student earning his private might need to do struck me as absurd and comical, and utterly out of place, as well as out of touch with his role in Iraq. He was an idiot. I told him as much, and he proved it with some of his subsequent actions (which won't be detailed here). This is the result of someone whose only practical experience extends as far as the reaches of the academic world. In Iraq, most definitely the rubber met the road, and he had never truly seen the road. His stupidity and recklessness eventually got him sent home, but there are many more like him all over the industry. One needn't look too far.

 

The system as it exists today serves largely as both check and balance. Pilots obtain basic certification, and then eventually embark into an open job market. Those who can swim do so, those who can't, sink. The hiring process serves as as a vetting machine, as does employment history. Pilots who can fit the mould of what's required of a professional aviator get hired, stay hired, and find subsequent work. Their stamp of approval is the long process of checkrides and evaluations they've been given throughout their career, with their judgement, skill, ability, knowledge, and attitude constantly in evaluation and under test. This isn't something that comes from a university.

 

A degree is a handy thing as a descriminator or qualifier on a resume; in certain arenas when one seeks work, it may be used to exclude one or retain one in a selection process. Beyond that, a degree offers nothing of use to an aviator. It doesn't make one a better pilot or give one additional insights, skills, or abilities, when it comes to piloting an aircraft, navigating, or exercising judgement. One need not have a degree to write, talk, or communicate well. One need not have a degree to be well read. One need not have a degree to be articulate, or to know how to behave professionally. These are things that one learns on the job, and that one should constantly seek and aspire to, independent of academia. These are natural, basic parts of being employed as a professional.

 

Having a degree is fine and dandy, and I don't discourage anyone from getting a degree if that's what they choose to do. Education isn't wasted, although it isn't particularly germane to becoming a professional pilot. It does give one extra credit on one's resume, and for that reason it's probably worth the time and effort, but don't mistake it for what it is, and for what it is not.

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