Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By Crash one
#1557841
I didn't really mean GPS should become differences training as such, that would be asking the impossible.
I should have used the words "further training" or some such.
All I was trying to say is the basic paper based sums/knowledge is more important than learning which button to press.
You say it's to teach pilots to take off and fly safely, fine, preferably without any electronic toys that might fail!
Teaching them to fly safely using their own brain, indestructible paper charts, simple reliable compass, clockwork stopwatch, wizzwheel.
What they do after that is not a case of lack of duty of care.
I'm suggesting that once GPS is included in the syllabus the student is, (perhaps, perhaps not), likely to take less interest in the sail powered version, knowing that the "real stuff" is what matters.
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By marioair
#1557845
Understand 100% the distractions of GPS when trying to teach paper nav. But I think the counter arguement with the PlayStation generation may have more power......get them to learn the basic nav skills and THEN also also how to use them in the context of real world flying eg:
1) oh look, you're iPad battery has died. Where are you
2) oh dear you have no reception and can't file a flight plan or do w&b how would you figure it out
3) your forgot to download the airfield chart for busy airport X and you've just been given a complicated taxi - here's a handy paper copy
4) you've turned up to airfield and left your iPad at home.

I personally would like to see both examined and taught nav solely using paper and then one with gps/radio nav aid for leg one followed by paper following simulated radio/gps failure.
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By Crash one
#1557872
Pretty much agreed. The sentence "get them to learn the basic nav skills and THEN-----", may be the difficult bit if they are expecting to use the electric toys soon.
Human nature and all that!
In my scenario I was not caught unaware of battery failure, I saw it coming and prepared for it.
Only once was I unprepared, several years ago when the power supply blew a fuse five mins into a flight over Scotland of one hour fifteen mins.
Fiddled with it for a couple of mins, then threw it in the back and reverted to the chart with the route drawn on it, "just in case!" Personally it is quite satisfying after using GPS as primary for long enough, when it does go pop, to see the waypoints come up on time.
I think it's down to how much genuine interest the student has, to learn the "old fashioned stuff". Like learning to drive a crash gearbox and wind up windows, non cancelling semaphore indicators etc.
By CapnM
#1558426
marioair wrote:So post PPL most fly with GPS.

However we still teach paper/visual nav and as a back up position fixes. With the demise of NDBs and VORs on the horizon, how is the PPL Nav syllabus going to adapt? Discuss......


I think it'll eventually adapt and allow the use of GPS aids as part of the syllabus / skills test, as per the recent changes in the driving tests from the DVLA. Students should be taught how to use all available equipment and technology on an aircraft which may include a GPS.

Aviation really can be quite backwards in some respects and not allowing or adapting for new, safer technologies just because 'it's always been this way' and/or 'that's how i was taught 30 years ago' really isn't the way to go.
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By T67M
#1558432
To be clear, use of GPS is already part of the PPL syllabus and has been for some years, but as it is not tested in the ground exams or the practical skills test, my experience suggests that it is also not taught as part of the course.
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By marioair
#1558434
Without the syllabus at hand I'd say the more important gap is teaching "GPS emergency procedures". Ok that sounds a bit OTT but you know what I mean eg dead battery, loss of GPS signal,
By Crash one
#1558472
I would be worried about the long term effect of using GPS as the primary nav method. As it becomes more advanced the pilot is less reliant on knowing where he is by reference to the terrain.
Taking this to the extreme, even today, it would be quite possible to have a chart of solely the airspace, danger areas, etc on a blank white screen and fly the route with no clue as to where you are until destination is reached followed by a visual landing onto a runway that you can only hope is the right one.
This may sound like rubbish but taking the total reliance on the nice lady on the Satnav telling you when to turn and when you have arrived is a good example.
It's happened to me once or twice when she gets it completely wrong!!
During nav training in the classroom once we were told to plot a route, Heathrow to Truro, what's the track? I said, a little flippantly, "about westish."
A guy sitting next to me playing with his new electronic device said, "no, we have to be a bit more accurate than that, it's actually 068 deg magnetic".
Ok, take a packed lunch and we'll see you in a while!
I think situational awareness will eventually be lost completely the more people rely on electronics rather than knowledge.
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By leiafee
#1558474
On the other hand I'm of the (extreme?) opinion that it's high time GPS was the primary nav method and the rest taught as fallback methods.

Assuming no one wants to make the course length longer then dropping whizzwheels would make more time available for real-world 'big picture' pragmatic dead-reckoning, rough guess mental maths, effective switching between GPS and chart when needed and integrating GPS into the cockpit workflow in a way which isn't a distraction or a detriment to look out.

In the same way as full panel is taught before partial panel on the IMC/IR and flying with an engine is taught before PFLs. (well glider pilots excepted obs!)

We can gnash as much as we want about lost skills, much as we gnash about kids with rubbish handwriting, but at the end of the day pragmatism should rule and the fact remains that 70% of airspace infringement are by non-GPS users.

Gotta deal with the elephant sooner or later!
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By lobstaboy
#1558516
leiafee wrote:. ...real-world 'big picture' pragmatic dead-reckoning, rough guess mental maths, effective switching between GPS and chart when needed and integrating GPS into the cockpit workflow in a way which isn't a distraction or a detriment to look out.

Yes. Practical real world navigation. It's very important that students are comfortable and reasonably proficient with this before they qualify.
But
1. Knowing the theory and being able to understand drift, ground speed, fuel usage and so on is vital to enable them to understand what is going on and to be able to spot gross errors. Too many plan using say Skydemon Light and don't see that the answer is gibberish because they input something wrong. Just being able to say "the wind is coming from my left on this leg, so my heading should be left of my intended track" would help.
If folk can't even do this they really do simply have to follow the magenta line.
2. There are lots of different GPS systems - it's a problem for the instructor to be sufficiently familiar with all the different sorts for meaningful training to be given in the actual operation of the device.
3. I think it is always going to be beneficial to plan first on paper and then enter the route into the GPS.
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By MercianMarcus
#1558540
lobstaboy wrote:...
1. Knowing the theory and being able to understand drift, ground speed, fuel usage and so on is vital to enable them to understand what is going on and to be able to spot gross errors. Too many plan using say Skydemon Light and don't see that the answer is gibberish because they input something wrong. Just being able to say "the wind is coming from my left on this leg, so my heading should be left of my intended track" would help.
If folk can't even do this they really do simply have to follow the magenta line.
...


I'm not convinced the whizz wheel adds clarity or is an aid to situational awareness becuase you can follow the instructions and get a result without fully understanding how you got there. It would, IMO, be better to start with some nav that uses no tools bar the chart. Draw a line and approximate the track. Make an adjustment based on observable wind to get a track. Have a go at flying it and use the chart to see what drift you get.

I like the whizz wheel and use mine for conversions still (20 years after my PPL) but I don't think it should be on the current PPL syllabus.

MM
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By T67M
#1558549
Crash one wrote:I would be worried about the long term effect of using GPS as the primary nav method. As it becomes more advanced the pilot is less reliant on knowing where he is by reference to the terrain.
Taking this to the extreme, even today, it would be quite possible to have a chart of solely the airspace, danger areas, etc on a blank white screen and fly the route with no clue as to where you are until destination is reached followed by a visual landing onto a runway that you can only hope is the right one.


Have you seen the charts used on commercial airliners? :shock:
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By leiafee
#1558563
lobstaboy wrote:
leiafee wrote:. ...real-world 'big picture' pragmatic dead-reckoning, rough guess mental maths, effective switching between GPS and chart when needed and integrating GPS into the cockpit workflow in a way which isn't a distraction or a detriment to look out.

Yes. Practical real world navigation. It's very important that students are comfortable and reasonably proficient with this before they qualify.
But
1. Knowing the theory and being able to understand drift, ground speed, fuel usage and so on is vital to enable them to understand what is going on and to be able to spot gross errors. Too many plan using say Skydemon Light and don't see that the answer is gibberish because they input something wrong. Just being able to say "the wind is coming from my left on this leg, so my heading should be left of my intended track" would help.


But that's exactly what I mean by "real-world 'big picture' pragmatic dead-reckoning, rough guess mental maths" in the above.


2. There are lots of different GPS systems - it's a problem for the instructor to be sufficiently familiar with all the different sorts for meaningful training to be given in the actual operation of the device.


Is it? Having played with at least a dozen over the past few years I reckon I could teach "How to get your head round any new GPS system to a functional and fault tolerant level" in under an afternoon.

3. I think it is always going to be beneficial to plan first on paper and then enter the route into the GPS


Well in parallel at least, depending on what how much detail we mean by "on paper".
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By malcolmfrost
#1558566
There's GPS and Tablet GPS! If you are programming an old fashioned panel one, then you should be doing a tracks and distance check, with a tablet it isn't necessary at all.
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By skydriller
#1558636
Crash one wrote:I would be worried about the long term effect of using GPS as the primary nav method. As it becomes more advanced the pilot is less reliant on knowing where he is by reference to the terrain..


I didnt used to think like this, but I know a couple of quite experienced pilots that have a certain difficulty in translating a moving map display to where they actually are looking out of the window, even when not far from home base. So I would say that traditional Nav does need to be taught, but it needs to integrate GPS because thats what pilots will most likely eventually be doing anyway.

Regards, SD..