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Flight Training In The 21st Century

by John M. White |

With the new training aircraft come new challenges for bot the Student Pilot and the Flight Instructor. Today's aircraft are equipped with glass panels and are called TAAs, or Technically Advanced Aircraft. Gone are the days of navigating by the "iron airway" (railroad tracks) and IFR (I follow roads). Nah... instead you flip a switch, enter some co-ordinates, engage the autopilot and away you go. Technically Advanced Aircraft - TAA Of course nothing ever happens to the electrical system, does it? And, even if it does, so what? Why what if the static air vents freeze over and the autopilot decides to "save" you? Or the battery dies, the wind vane freezes up and there you are - all alone in the dark cockpit with all of that beautiful glass around you. Add to that the additional training that is necessary for a Private Pilot to get their license because of all of the additional material they need to know. Far more complicated than the ol metal E6B, the flight computers on these aircraft demand a lot more sophisticated knowledge than simply wind, barometric pressure and airspeed. But most pilots would rather not rely on these 21st century gadgets. One airline captain I know gets home, opens his hangar, pulls out his Stearman and spends an hour or so each day boring holes in the sky and perfecting his aerobatic skills. The truth is even today's pilots need yesterday's skills, and all new pilots and flight instructors should remember that. When all else fails even the best pilot's need a fall back position. If you don't believe me, just ask Sully. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Rather routine. — Frank Collbohm, Douglas Aircraft Company flight engineer, notation in the flight log during the first ever flight of the DC-3 Clover Field in Santa Monica, California, 17 December 1935

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