REDBIRD SKYPORT ADVANCES PILOT TRAINING BY CHALLENGING PAST ASSUMPTIONS

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ARTICLE: Redbird: Simulator training works

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The topic of pilot proficiency and the need for quality pilot training has received substantial attention lately. The innovative leader of Redbird Skyport, Roger Sharp, and the self described “privately funded, public-benefit” company’s Chairman Jerry Gregoire, shared insights into their efforts at advancing the science of pilot training. They made it clear that every aspect of the learning experience, including facility layout, simulator training and even the Federal Aviation Regulations is subject to careful reassessment and change.

The traditional pilot training syllabus was among the first attacked. The old books have been reorganized into 46 separate training tools. The best example is replacing the FAR/AIM single volume document with a Redbird teaching tool that is a set of individual binders which focuses on the regulations applicable to the pilot. “Not only can we reduce the amount of information the learner has to absorb, but we greatly increase their depth of understanding of important subjects at the same time,” Sharp said.

Redbird recognized that teachers, especially high skilled CFIs, do not enjoy (or more aptly stated “are not good at”) repetitive training that is inherent with simulators. Redbird created a Guided Independent Flight Training or GIFT, which is a self administered set of maneuvers flown in the simulator. The pilot trainee repeats the flight maneuvers and the computer provides the student pilot immediate feedback. GIFT allows the student to repeat the process until the requisite proficiency is attained. GIFT and the associated communications-training software Parrot lets the prospective pilot know when an instructor should observe the maneuver for final approval. As a result the instructor becomes a coach and mentor.

The articles recite many more examples of how Redbird’s innovation challenges standard thinking and redesigns every aspect of the pilot training experience. “We found that we needed to completely rethink the learner, the materials and delivery methods,” says Roger Sharp, Director of Flight Operations. “We identify better methods every week,” Sharp says of the simulator.

Hopefully this new venture will find more ways to improve the training, increase the throughput and reduce the cost, which will help meet the demand for new pilots.

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