Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Pilot Training: Finish What You Started
What can be done to help student pilots complete their training?
|A study conducted by AOPA concluded thatonly about 40% of those earning a student pilot certificate go on to earn a private pilot certificate.|
Other than the military (which today graduates a miniscule number of pilots), all avenues in aviation begin with the humble student pilot. As a result, our general aviation flight-training system is the most critical component in the aviation engine; one which isn't performing correctly. Without more student pilots to feed into the industry, it could all come to a grinding halt. With student pilot starts also at an historic low, the situation appears dire, and there's collective hand-wringing throughout aviation.
The reports reveal other issues plaguing general aviation, such as the fact that general aviation's safety record is getting worse instead of better, creeping up 10% in the decade of 1999-2009, and showing that 75%-90% of GA accidents are still caused directly by pilot error. But the loudest wake-up call is the state of dissatisfaction with flight training and the number of students who give up.
It becomes obvious that change is needed. SAFE has created a symposium addressing this very topic, and AOPA has launched their Student Retention Initiative. Both offer realistic proposals for training reform and improving the student's experience, though none are the "magic bullet" the industry is looking for. It seems the primary goal is starting at the beginning and increasing the number of student pilots who complete their training.
We decided to engage experienced flight instructors from around the nation to offer their own suggestions for turning that trend around. Rather than slinging mud only at instructors as the primary conduits to a positive student experience (because they're an easy target), we decided to listen to what they have to say about helping students finish what they started.
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Labels: Careers, Flight Schools, Flying Skills, Getting Your License, Learn To Fly, Pilot Resources, Staying Current