Spring is that wonderful time of year when humans and their airplanes emerge from winter hibernation and head out to enjoy the sunny warmth of a new flying season. It is also a time of renewal and discovery, as well as the showcasing of new gadgets at events such as the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In. It’s fitting to devote this issue to some of the advanced technologies that are renewing interest in general aviation aircraft, and changing the way we use them. As always, getting the most out of technology requires proper training. Several articles in this issue focus on how FAA is promoting the development and implementation of advanced technology. The article on advanced training devices (ATD) describes FAA support for the exciting advent of “hi-fi” simulation in GA flight training.
New Aviation Instructor’s Handbook. The FAA has been busy updating its handbooks to incorporate modern flight training theories and techniques. One of the biggest changes in the new Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9A) is the addition of information on scenario-based training (SBT). SBT is a training system that teaches concepts and maneuvers in a “real-world” context. For example, cross-country training can be structured as planning for a family vacation. The importance of comprehensive flight planning becomes very realistic when the pilot has to put it in terms of how many people and bags can be carried, and how they have to be loaded. The SBT approach creates many “teachable moments” (i.e., times when the pilot is completely primed to learn a particular lesson), and promotes development of judgment by including the kind of external pressures that a pilot will face in the real world. A chart in the back of the handbook (Appendix F) illustrates the relationship of SBT to various decision-making and risk-management models. The new Aviation Instructor’s Handbook also offers updated guidance on assessment. Instead of the traditional teacher-talks-student-listens model, the new handbook presents “collaborative critique” as a way to develop pilot judgment and self-assessment capability, while giving the instructor a clearer picture of the pilot’s aeronautical decision-making skills.
New Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Another book that merits a second look is the newly-updated Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A). Some topics, e.g., aerodynamics, haven’t changed a lot, but you will find an entirely new chapter on aeronautical decision-making. The chapter includes tips for maintaining situational awareness while making effective use of the new avionics and automation devices found in most current production aircraft.
More to Come. Stay tuned for a revised version of the Airplane Flying Handbook, and a brand-new Risk Management Handbook is almost ready for release. Whether you are a student pilot, an instructor, or an aspiring instructor, you’ll find a wealth of useful information to review, learn, and, most important, to use in your ongoing aviation education. (FAA Aviation News MarApr 2009)