Throughout my 50-year career as an Australian professional pilot (1965-2015), it was considered normal for civilian student pilots to attain the proficiency required to achieve their first solo flight after an average of 10-12 hours’ dual instruction.
More lately, reports indicate that many students haven’t reached solo standard by 30-35 hours! That number happens to be around the minimum required for a restricted Private Pilot Licence and frankly, is just ridiculous.
Are landings that difficult? … Or have conventional landing techniques passed their use-by date?
Do flight instructors really know HOW to teach landings? … Or have they just accepted the conventional wisdom that it takes time for students to ‘get the hang’ of learning how to land a plane. After all, the ‘watch what I do and copy it’ approach has served us well for over 100 years … hasn’t it?
Because the longer it takes a student to solo, the better for business, right?
Or is it?
Many flight training schools and colleges have been established to meet the initially-perceived-but-now-actual shortage of pilots, world-wide. And they are still teaching the old, tired methods, based on trial-and-error and developing judgment by repetition …why? Because we’ve always done it this way.
Well, this head-in-the-sand attitude is going to cost them dearly, because many enter into fixed-price contracts training cadet pilots for customer airlines and, with extended training times to first solo, the income will be quickly consumed. That’s a real cost which could be avoided.
Then, what about the wear and tear on instructors and students, each group with their own frustrations and lack/loss of confidence?
Next, how about the totally unnecessary wear and tear, and damage to airplanes … even loss through accidents? And possible injury and loss of life?
Even at schools where the student base is centred on discretionary spending on a new pastime, how long will they persist, if they are achieving little or slow progress?
Since 1987, a more efficient, simpler, safer and cost-effective universal technique has been available. And since 2014, this technique has been within easy reach. A training technique that employs sound mathematical principles, rather than guesswork, myths and legends will get student pilots solo in half the time …
How can that be bad for business?
Captain David M Jacobson FRAeS MAP