Flying Instructors & ExaminersA place for instructors to communicate with one another because some of them get a bit tired of the attitude that instructing is the lowest form of aviation, as seems to prevail on some of the other forums!
Hi all, Have seen a monitoring system for evaluating a students solo navex which shows his/her progress, on/off track to debrief afterwards but am struggling to find it online. Has anyone any names of the product/ products.would prefer something that is not a permanent fixture in the aircraft. Can be plugged into a laptop or desktop and maybe iPad after flight.Looking for an inexpensive option as I will have to pay and not the flight school. Just to clarify would not be using just on solo navex but dual also,purely as a debrief tool but secondary to all other navigation skills that would be thought as part of the syllabus. Most students now turn up with smartphones and although they know not to use them, when they are unsure of position it's one of the things they use whether we like to admit it or not, modern times unfortunately.Sure they can't use them dual ,but when they have the comfort of an instructor on board and if they end up off track or temporarily unsure of position they turn and look at the instuctor for guidance. A track shown on a CAA chart would be ideal to debrief,but they wouldnt be going solo if they are deemed not suitable.
Purely rightly or wrongly a debrief tool, no James bond stuff intended!
Why would you want to "monitor" a student on a solo navex? The whole point of the exercise is to let the student gain confidence without anyone looking over their shoulder. Before you authorise the flight you make sure they are competent, then you let them go. Wherever they go, or whatever they do is largely irrelevant, they will learn from the process. If the students think they are are being monitored, they will perform for the monitor and the value is lost.
The best bit about sending a student solo nav is hearing how they recount it to you, what they thought was relevant, and what they learnt. If they bust airspace, I'm sure you'll get a call from someone when they're safely on the ground, and anything other than that is just good learning.
If they get completely lost, but manage to recover it, they've learnt even more. Tracking it with GPS isn't really going to assist that. If a student wanted to track a flight with their own GPS so they could see how it looks, fair enough, but I wouldn't want to be looking over their shoulder even when I'm not in the cockpit.
I see nothing wrong with an "alternate" method of monitoring a student. If it involves hiding a GPS, so be it. I lied to my instructors when I was a solo student, I see no reason why they wouldn't lie to me know. Somebody coming back with 8-10 gallons less fuel then planned is a clue........
If you use a GPS-log in your debriefing after every dual navex - which I think is a great way to debrief, especially if the track is displayed on a CAA chart - then I would also use it after a solo navex.
For the student, it will feel normal, and part of the general learning experience.
If you use it for a solo navex ONLY, the student might indeed feel uncomfortable or worry about it - not the kind of mindset that will give good performance... they worry enough as it is.
B2N2, the fact that you DID lie and your student MIGHT lie does not justify an instructor lying to their student.
would prefer something that is not a permanent fixture in the aircraft.
I had a student who was due for solo navex but really was not very good and needed decent weather conditions, this guy had his own aircraft (which will be relevant as the story goes on), after some time we finally got a day when many students were being sent on solo navs and of course this man wanted to do his, after some argument I finally told him that the only way I would agree was if he took a club Pa28 and I would be in his aircraft (Beechcraft with retracts - this way round so he could not leave me behind), but he would not even see I was there, to my surprise he agreed and we set off, with me having given him a discrete frequency to set if I pulled up alongside. All went well initially - the interesting thing was, tucked up under his tail in line astern, I could tell EXACTLY when he got lost! He was actually still on track at this point but started to fly erratically, I pulled up alongside just before he went into controlled airspace.
So you CAN monitor with something not in the aircraft - but not one I would use often!
The daft thing was (and he had been briefed to do this if unsure of position) all he needed to do was turn due West and he would have safely reached the coast and been able to follow the coast back to home.
If your students are anything like me, then they will have the ability to track their own progress using their phone. I haven't pressed go on it every time but it has let me confirm in de-brief when I had got off track and acted as a memory tool, so I could discuss parts of the flight with my instructor. I've also used it to confirm to myself how far away from the correct circuit I've been in earlier lessons...
To me these things come down to trust. I've really enjoyed the freedom the solo navexes have given me and wouldn't have welcomed "big brother" watching me, but the additional information that I've voluntarily recorded has helped with de-briefs.
To answer the question - you appear to be able to buy a data logger from Amazon for £40 upwards (search for "GPS Data Logger"). They all allow you to export in kml or gpx format, which you can then load into google maps / google earth or another piece of software to view the output.
I recorded a dual navex using gps with a view to using it as a debrief tool.. I was disappointed to see that the graphical representation of the flight failed to capture those aspects of the student's flying that gave me cause for concern, such as poor height and heading control, especially when attention was divided between tasks such as flying straight and level and conducting checks. With sufficient resolution those aspects might have been caught but it's all smeared (filtered) out in the picture displayed by whatever software is being used to display the data the picture and the sample rate is insufficient. Now, a student who comes back 20 mins late wih 2 gallons less than plog fuel...that's much more of a debrief tool.
Such devices are ideal for competitions but the aim of a solo nav is not to see how well they did, its to gain valuable decision making experience with nobody else to help them. We live in a society that is obsessed with monitoring everything yet achieves virtually nothing!
Frankly I'm appalled at such an admission of unacceptable integrity.
Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.
You're being a little sanctimonious here Beagle. I lied to my instructor about getting lost on my first solo nav, I told him everything went fine. I assume my students tell me the truth most of the time. the other times are the ones I'd like to know about.
In an ideal situation people do not make mistakes and they do not have the occasional brain freeze, on a solo nav ex or on a skill test. However in reality they will make mistakes, they are students. I think that we have the obligation as teachers, instructors or mentors to be aware of everything that occurs, seen or unseen. Told or untold. The student will still learn from their mistake, GPS monitored or not. Besides, the replacement value of the airplane is $250K, I think I have a right to know what is going on.
I have used a very simple GPS logger app for my android during school flights.
(free, called GPS location). All it does is store the data into a GPX file, that can be loaded into for example google maps. (in 3D. very cool 8)) I have only used it during dual training though. Partly just for the fun of it, but occasionally it proves its worth when debating various nav related issues. Of course if it's is to be used on solo nav I should either abandon my phone in the hands of a student (not going to happen) or the student should do the logging on his/hers smartphone. I see no moral issue here if you just ask the student in advance if he/she is willing to use the logging. It could proove a valid tool later on.