Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Advanced Training

Leaving your aviation comfort zone will open new doors

Tailwheel Endorsement
Pilots tend to be creatures of habit, often flying the same type of mission every time. Part of the reason is that flying can be complex, expensive and even intimidating to pilots—especially those with low time. Therefore, once we get used to a given mission, we tend to fly it repeatedly because we're comfortable with it and can manage its complexities. The old adage comes to mind then, which questions whether a pilot with 500 hours really has 500 hours worth of experience or has flown the same hour 500 times. Next time you look in the mirror of aviation, challenge yourself with the same question.

One of the more perplexing things in aviation is figuring out what to do with your hard-won certificate once you've earned it. The traditional recreational pilot's mission is $100 hamburgers, but even those start to get routine after the first few hundred hours. After all, pilots thrive on challenge. A personality study of pilots done by NASA in 2004 showed that pilots have a high need to achieve and score very high on what NASA terms "achievement striving, self-discipline, deliberation, assertiveness and activity" among many other positive traits. This and another study by the U.S. Air Force indicate that some of us are "hardwired" to become pilots and to continually seek new challenges.

Our desire to achieve combined with the vast variety of avenues to pursue in aviation means we don't need to limit ourselves to hamburger runs and the same "ride loop" with passengers that we always make. The license to learn that's sitting in your wallet is a license to adventure, a license to achieve, and a license to see and experience things that nobody except pilots will. Aviation has only been widely available for the last 110 years or so, and out of billions of people who have come and gone on this planet, we're a minute percentage who have the ability, privilege, knowledge and opportunity to fly an aircraft. When you consider that, it seems a crime not to go as far as we can in aviation.

That's where advanced training comes in. Though most people only think of earning a new rating, advanced training is much more than that. You may not need or want an advanced rating, but you can improve your skills and have a blast while doing it simply by pursuing some of the training options available in our amazing world of aviation. You'll find that as your skills grow, your confidence will, too. And, you'll want to share your passion for flight and maybe give back to aviation in the form of Young Eagles, missionary aviation, Angel Flights or any number of useful pursuits. The best part is, you'll have more fun that you ever imagined.

Glass Cockpits
Simulators And Glass Cockpits
One of the greatest things to happen in general aviation in the last 20 years is the Redbird simulator. Their full-motion sim is an amazing device that serves up a level of realism that's simply unavailable in other training devices out there. If you've never tried one, you need to. FBOs across the country are buying them because they're affordable, and they're transforming primary training.

You can drive over to your neighborhood FBO on the rainiest, darkest, coldest, most awful day and not give weather a second thought. Also, the wraparound graphics and realistic motion these devices provide are as near an actual cockpit experience as is possible today. Whereas simulators of yore were weak and limited when compared to the actual aircraft (except for airliner sims costing millions), these are almost like the real thing.


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