Flight Training - March 2011 - 27
AOPA will introduce three new
initiatives this year aimed at supporting students, flight instructors, and flight schools. MyFlightTraining is one of the most ambitious, and will appeal directly to students still in flight training. Two $5,000 scholarships also will be offered, and applicants don’t have to be a college or university student. Finally, AOPA is relaunching Flight School Business, a newsletter for flight schools and the businesses that support them. The association spent many months and consulted with the flight training industry before launching each of the programs. Each is a specific and direct response to what was learned in the process—a process that was aimed squarely at attempting to turn around the student dropout rate. The association commissioned research to study the reasons people quit flight training, and the possible solutions to those problems (see “Research Methods,” page 26). In November 2010 AOPA held a major summit with the flight training community to discuss the research and ways to move forward. What are the problems with flight training, and why is it that so many students don’t finish? Above all else, the flight instructor is key to a successful course of training. He or she can make you or break you, according to the research. Included in that training relationship is the flight school. How well a school manages and supports its flight instructors is, not surprisingly, important.
But there are other factors. Aviation is a community, and while those who have finished training know and experience this, those who are still in training often aren’t exposed to the beneficial aspects of interacting with other pilots. Value is important as well, and it’s important to differentiate that from cost. Finally, how flight schools and flight instructors share and disseminate information matters greatly. This relates most directly to setting realistic expectations and delivering on promises.
THE CFI. The relationship between the instructor and the student is key. According to the research results, qualities such as a professional demeanor, effective teaching skills, availability for consultations, and proper experience all are important factors related to the student/ flight instructor relationship. On those factors, respondents rated the industry a 6.49 out of 10. In fact, issues relating to flight instructors, the quality of instruction, and the flight school were the top five attributes respondents said were most critical to the process—and only one scored above 6.5. When the results include only those who quit training, nothing scored above 6.35. As proof the CFI can have a positive impact on training, two-thirds of respondents said their instructor was effective and organized, and almost as many said he or she was a good teacher. And those who had a good flight-training experience
are highly likely to think their instructor was a “very effective teacher.” A good instructor gets a student through the process, and he or she walks away with a certificate and a smile—while those who quit don’t think as highly of the instructional experience. Good flight instruction is a driving factor of a positive experience, and presumably a good predictor of training completion. Finding a good flight instructor is more than just picking someone who can teach. The relationship and the chemistry behind the interactions are just as important. Check out “You Might Need a New Instructor,” page 29, for more. Other important factors were the proper organization of lessons, support for test preparation, and additional resources— such as lists of aviation medical examiners and online resources. Although the survey results don’t rank these attributes as important as others, schools and instructors scored quite low, meaning there’s considerable room for improvement.
INFORMATION SHARING. People value honesty and transparency. We want it in our personal relationships, and we expect it in our business dealings. Flight instructors and flight schools are ultimately trying to sell us on training, so it makes sense that the study results bear this out. Respondents said providing student success rates, instructor qualifications and performance, and a realistic estimate of time and cost were the fourth most impor-
CURRENT VERSUS LAPSED STUDENTS
IMPACT SCORE ( PERCENT OF 100) 15.1% 13.9% 11.3% 12.6%
current students lapsed students
PERFORMANCE SCORE (0-10 POINTS) VALUE TRANSPARENCY 6.74 6.15% 7.24 6.32 6.87 6.07 6.69 6.39
5.5% 6.9% 4.0% 8.0%
SCHEDULING AIRCRAFT 0
THIS GRAPH SHOWS the relationship between perceived importance (left side of line) and performance (right side of line). Each factor lists the score of current versus lapsed students.
MARCH 2011 FLIGHT TRAINING / 27
Flight Training - March 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011
Air Safety Institute
Since You Asked
Legal Q & A
The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Where Do You Stand?
Is This Flightopia?
The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Who Will Fly?
Career Pilot News
Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Instructor Burnout
By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2011 - 2
Flight Training - March 2011 - 3
Flight Training - March 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2011 - 5
Flight Training - March 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2011 - 7
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - March 2011 - 9
Flight Training - March 2011 - Going Places?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 11
Flight Training - March 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - March 2011 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - March 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - March 2011 - Air Safety Institute
Flight Training - March 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2011 - 17
Flight Training - March 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2011 - Legal Q & A
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2011 - 21
Flight Training - March 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - March 2011 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2011 - The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Flight Training - March 2011 - 25
Flight Training - March 2011 - 26
Flight Training - March 2011 - 27
Flight Training - March 2011 - 28
Flight Training - March 2011 - 29
Flight Training - March 2011 - Where Do You Stand?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 31
Flight Training - March 2011 - Is This Flightopia?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 33
Flight Training - March 2011 - 34
Flight Training - March 2011 - 35
Flight Training - March 2011 - The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Flight Training - March 2011 - 37
Flight Training - March 2011 - 38
Flight Training - March 2011 - 39
Flight Training - March 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2011 - 41
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2011 - Who Will Fly?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2011 - 45
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - March 2011 - Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Instructor Burnout
Flight Training - March 2011 - By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - 50
Flight Training - March 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2011 - 52
Flight Training - March 2011 - 53
Flight Training - March 2011 - 54
Flight Training - March 2011 - 55
Flight Training - March 2011 - 56
Flight Training - March 2011 - 57
Flight Training - March 2011 - 58
Flight Training - March 2011 - 59
Flight Training - March 2011 - 60
Flight Training - March 2011 - 61
Flight Training - March 2011 - 62
Flight Training - March 2011 - 63
Flight Training - March 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover4