Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do Something Magical: Learn To Fly

Innovation continues to change flight training, but it’s still about the fun

On The Horizon
One of the exciting developments in aviation is the innovation in flight simulators for primary training. Companies like Redbird and FlyIt have created stunning simulators that are so realistic they're revolutionizing flight training. Once strictly reserved for advanced flight training because of their exorbitant cost, mind-blowing simulators are coming to a flight school near you and will affect how new pilots train. Advances in technology are driving the development of these simulators, with their low operating and acquisition costs and total realism.

For pilots looking to move on to a professional career, the FAA created a new rule effective October 31, 2011, that allows student pilots to train for both the private certificate and instrument rating at the same time. This rule eliminates the lag pilots experience between earning their private and building time toward the instrument rating. The FAA discovered how important instrument training was in reducing accidents, and created the simultaneous training allowance.

A complete revamp of training methods, curricula and standards in flight training is being drafted by various groups in the aviation industry. It's an exciting time to be involved in flying, and the future promises even more changes. With an emerging pilot shortage, learning to fly can be more than just satisfying a goal, it could be a path to a new career or the fulfillment of a dream.

I've been fortunate to do many things in my life, including performing my music for thousands of people. In those incredible moments when you can feel the sheer energy of 8,000 people moving you like a wave, I still rely on flying for my ultimate mental release. It's the most rewarding thing I have ever done and anybody can learn. As my old instructor used to tell me, "You teach yourself to fly; I'm just here to keep you from breaking your neck while you do it."


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