Flight Skills

Safer Flying Through Training and Technology

The Computer Revolution of the last 25 years has had a significant impact on the world of aviation. GPS, glass cockpits, NextGen, tablets and smartphones, drones, in-cockpit datalinks -- these and other advances made possible by the Computer Revolution are transforming the way we fly. But they are also creating big challenges for those of us in the flight training industry. We still must teach all the material we taught in the pre-glass cockpit era plus all the new material about using glass cockpit technology and the automation that it enables. We must do this while being asked to produce increasing numbers of new professional pilots, while flying in airspace that is increasingly complex and crowded. And we are expected to accomplish all these goals while maintaining high levels of safety and effectiveness.

In order to successfully meet these challenges, we in the flight training world must truly "up our game." We must take the best practices of the past and marry them to the technologies of the future.

I learned to fly, to instruct and to love aviation in the "round dial," analog era of general aviation aircraft. But I have little nostalgia for the past. In the hands of a properly trained pilot, glass cockpit airplanes (and) are as big an improvement over their predecessors as the P-51 Mustang was over the Red Baron′s Fokker triplane. As aviators, we respect and enjoy the machines and exploits of our predecessors. But aviation, more so than almost any other human activity, looks to and embraces the future. Glass cockpit airplanes and the high-tech environment in which they fly are aviation′s future.

Bob Littlefield, CFI, CFII, MEI, AIGI, A&P, GROL
Cirrus Standardized Instructor, Lancair/Columbia Factory Authorized Flight Instructor

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