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!
I did say it would be bad for business. If it produces better pilots with more knowledge it can only be a good thing. And I reiterate it will be bad for business, short term, but lets try and make the exams relevant, which will provide knowledge which will provide confidence which will provide longevity to the GA scene. Most PPLs chuck it in after the first few years, About 80% do not even complete the PPL. Give people more knowledge and it may just change the figures. I do not thankfully have to survive on insrtructing, I have non related aviation business. I have been instructing examining for 10 years and have seen enough to realise if the GA scene does not produce a better quality PPL who can actually do something with their licences its dead. One instructor mate of mine will not teach anybody who has not passed all of the exams first, harsh but having flown with his students they are much more up to speed than the students that bimble along hour to hour having to be pushed into taking each exam. My attitute probably would be as yours PP if I had not been instructing for 10 years, but things have to change Im afraid. I am one who has jumped through so many hoops to continue flying I do understand the feeling about exams. I do spend alot of time helping students pass the damn things, but mostly the reason they do not study is bad time management. The PPL IR thing is more hype than fact they are not hard, but just require a little application. I have taken lots of CAA exams and JAR ones at both PPL CPL ad ATPL level and am no brain box. I recently spent hours with a student at his home getting him through the damned exams so I know the problems believe me, but its mostly motivation because its hard to self study for some, get them in a classroom they may actually enjoy it and learn something.
The number of PPL s has been steadily declining for the past 20 years, no doubt due to increased costs and lets face it, less places to go. Approximately 4000 a year in the 90s down to 2500 a year in 2011.
We have to ask where this 100 hours has come from, it is not based upon any sort of analysis or ICAO requirement, but coincides with the 100 hour credit that was given to PPL holders when studying for the professional exams. EASA it seems does not trust a Flight Instructor to do their job and therefore has to encase them in an Organisation that can be monitored and by virtue of a plethora of meaningless paperwork is deemed to be safer. If you look at the Syllabus in the AMC it is all unmeasurable and therefore unverifiable and closely resembles the very material that we were throwing out in the RAF in the 70s because it was deemed to be meaningless!
Why the need for an "EASA" PPL when there are no EASA exams? However; having seen the garbage coming out of L-Plus for the professional exams, that is probably just as well. The CAA ground examiners traditionally wrote the UK PPL papers, but their background was teaching ATPL groundschool and in the main they had no idea what a PPL holder needed to know, consequently most of the exam material is inappropriate.
We must not forget that the PPL is a recreational licence; so why do we need another recreational licence the LAPL? Most PPL holders will never wish to exercise the privileges of International flight, they simply want to be able to fly an aeroplane in a safe manner. At the end of the day, the PPL Examiner uses experience to determine if a candidate has reached the required level of ability and knowledge to be granted the privilege. Adding 100 hours of mandatory groundschool will do nothing to improve safety especially if the questions continue to have little relevance. EASA legislation that reduces the minimum experience required to become an examiner, no doubt inline with European principles on equality, will have the opposite effect and ultimately reduce the overall safety standard.
We are now so far down the road of stupid rules made by stupid people and administered by even more stupid people, that reason and common sense have no place. Nothing that couldn't be sorted out with the Vulcan on a Sunday afternoon.
PP what would remove from the present syllabus and what would you add ? Having just completed a whole PPL GS for somebody I would welcome some input ?
I am also totally aware of time management issues as my other business is a Financial Adviser Practise and we have all had to complete exams again and then 13 yes 13 modules of further study to continue what we have been doing for 20 years. In this present world things are changing fast, you have to move with them, I dont agree with some of it, by try for my sanisty sake to see a postive in anthing that confronts me. GA is going to find things tough in the future, but I try to to produse the best PPLs I can with the most knowledge. Lots have gone to IRs Airlines instructing etc, in all cases knowledge has helped them all, Im trying to see it like that.
And if any of you think PPL GS is boring you can come to my office and ill sit you through 300 hundred pages of financial services legislation that the new regulator is bringing in, you will soon be beggng me to expalin how to do square root calculations on the whizz wheel I can assure you ! (Not needed now but you did need to know in the old CAA CPL 14 Exams yes 14, no calculator allowed, then went to 9 under JAR and now under EASA back to 13 - you couldnt really make it up if you wanted , but you can now at least use a calculator ).
For a syllabus to be meaningful there needs to be an analysis of what is essential knowledge and what is desirable knowledge; then one needs to determine the depth of that knowledge. In the entire history of aviation that has never been done. In the main, the current questions are purely theoretical and there is very little emphasis placed on teaching pilots how to do the various things their licence entitles them to do.
Have you noticed that the more regulations and qualifications we introduce, the less people we have who are actually capable of doing anything. Must match one of Murphy's laws!
is already a prime example of nonsense to drop; About half of the air law; The whole of aviation medicine, including the general psychology drivel; The part of Navigation that has become obsolete when a usable GPS can be acquired for the price of 3 flight hours; The RT exam.
Things I would emphasize more in the curriculum :
- weight and balance of an aircraft
- technical aspects of the aircraft (what depends on what; what is the use of what) [tested under the form of "Can you find stuff in a POH"]
but I don't think this thread is meant to discuss what should be in a curriculum.
As regards the FSA exams : the UK banking regulators got paranoid after being made ridiculous by Nick Leeson in 1995. Thats when the exam circus started. Since then, its a classical continuum gravy train riding by the 4 training firms and the standard phenomenon of a regulator always coming up with the most complicated and burdensome solution to cover their own ass.
Whilst I simpathise with your situation, it is not an excuse to impose similar stupid burdens on other aspects of our life.
Nothing that couldn't be sorted out with the Vulcan on a Sunday afternoon.
With fuel prices where they are and high explosives harder to come by nowadays, I think its more practical to grow castor beans, buy an umbrella and day tickets for the Cologne and Brussels underground .
Yes I agree with that. The world is now so full of unecessary administration , the authorities and states are so mad that the whole thing will change again in a few years, its so tough just to survive at the moment, peoples energy to challenge and change the uneccesary burden has diminished. I got into aviation because I thought all those clever people who fly aeroplanes wouldnt put up with nonsense, however its just as mad here as everywhere else. So where to go next is the question, to find common sense ?
PP - I ran PPL groundschool classes for 3 years so can speak with some experience here.
The PPL completion rate of those that did the classes was much higher than for those who did not, and it all ran swimmingly until the temporary closure of the airport threw a spanner in the works.
Many give up as Aware says, because they are not in the habit of reading a book, and even if they are the PPL textbooks are just far too long. Also many people have a horror of any form of written exam, and would rather avoid it than risk the shame / embarassment / humiliation of not passing.
As Aware also says, PPLs bumble around not knowing what they are doing and wasting flying hours because they have no theoretical background to what they are doing. I do a Navigation course on the basis that if you save yourself 2 hours flying, you have paid for the cost of the course. Easily done.
Most clubs and instructors just not interested in doing groundschool has always been the problem. Perhaps it is time they were forced to. I had many students passed my way by other instructors who were only too glad that I was prepared to (and yes, I am an FI).
A more simple series of books or manuals along the lines of what the RYA produces for yachtie people would make sense. AOPA - where are you in this respect ?
To cover all the subjects can take 60+ hours in the classroom, a rule of thumb being that you should be doing an hour on the ground for every hour in the air would be reasonable. So yes, 100 is over the top but "directed self study" with a tick in a box would make up the figures to whatever is required.
Exams could be simplified, indeed, but most saying this are ususally just too f**king lazy to study ANYTHING.
The ones who do get their PPL are the naturally curious types who get an achievement out of learning something about what they are doing and in my experience are willing to take advantage if classes are laid on. I stick to 1-2-1 for now because the school I approached wanted a rate for use of a room that otherwise was just empty in the evenings that made me to decide not to bother and do things from home.
If they HAVE to provide something it may be a different story. Certainly, the cost of it is the least of the problems facing GA.
The ability to self study, from a book, dvd or video seems to produce the qualities to be a good pilot. A curious mind will always be driven to absorb knowledge. Strangely i find time for those that take the effort. I have had a few students that just can't be bothered so long as the parents keep paying for the flying. Being able to self study seems to be a good selection filter.
Setting up and doing a ground school course would make a good retirement job and would probably pay more than flying instruction now!
Do people generally think the FAA system is better or worse than ours on the exam side of things ? I have flown in the States but not for a while. FAA books seem good. I use the Pratt books and my own notes and sometimes the Oxford CBTs, I then use my own experience to add real life to the content, actually the further you get into this game its surprising what you do use. I have added in Nav use of Skydemon and all aviation apps for android or apple. I also cover the replacement to the wizz wheel using apps, and use W+B apps which are great I also do a G1000 course and have become quite a qeek where tech is concerned, but I think thats gone too far, the crap people fly with is bewildering. I recently carried out a reval in a RV6 , ipad two iphones two gpss.
Bottom line is I put a lot of effort into keeping up to speed, it goes with the game we are all in. It takes effort. Its should be satisfying not a burden.
And I will continue to try to get pilots through the exams with enthusiasm and humour. Somebody told me today EASA is planning 9 PPL exams , now that will be fun. One of my students told me today he is going for an interview with Cathay Pacific, makes it all worth it when I did his PPL 8 years ago.
Most clubs and instructors just not interested in doing groundschool has always been the problem.
No it hasn't. Quite frankly, the materials to study are readily available.
The problems are
- the discord between the subject matter and the theoretical knowledge exams.
- the discord (particularly in JAA land) between real life flying and a major part of the subject matter.
Forcing people to attend 100 hours of ground school will not improve the pass rates on a population of lazy and unmotivated individuals. In fact, the additional cost and burden will chase away some of the motivated students, who would be perfectly capable of studying at home.
The exams needn't be simplified. It would suffice if they somehow related to the theoretical knowledge requirements of a private pilot. I hope you are not inferring that
- I am lazy
- I am not motivated to study anything
(If you do, I particularly take exception to it and we should have a little offline conversation).
A more simple series of books or manuals along the lines of what the RYA produces for yachtie people would make sense. AOPA - where are you in this respect ?
The ultimate goal of the PPL candidate is to pass the test and get a license. How this is achieved is really of secondary importance to him / her. As a result, any efforts by AOPA or any other group of well meaning individuals embarking on the composition of a useful and readable study book would be thwarted by the dross that the TK exams really are.
In France, for instance, the "yachtie people" have the complete question database and a summary explanation of all the necessary theoretical material (AND NOTHING MORE) available for the equivalent of £25 in two A5 booklets totalling about 300 pages (including the MCQs and a 20 page summary covering the materials that actually refer to the question database). You read the material easily in a week-end, no gravy train ground school (shore school ?) instructors needed thank you very much.
If the French government, with a spectactular own goal, where to impose a 25 hour ground school requirement, the candidate amount would DECIMATE and the boating schools (who give a required 3.5 hours of practical instruction) would go out of business.
In flying, I've read Rod Machado's book in a week-end (while having fun and a few good laughs). That put me in a position where I would have been able to pass the FAA written exam with about 50/60. Because there is also the oral, I then read other materials too (the ASA ground and flight school), which made a perfect preparation for each flying lesson and which resulted in a much higher score on the FAA written. No ground school, thank you very much. Sure enough, my instructor was readily available to discuss any point that came up, but the total amount we discussed TK matter will not have exceeded 3 hours.
100 hours of ground school ! Do you think 100 hours of 1 on 1 with you will make a difference as long as CAAs continue to ask questions like
"The fotoreceptors of the Human Eye Retina, that are not sensitive to color are a) rods b) cones c) fovea d) anvils"
Maybe you want to hold their hand while they move through the online databases that the ATOs sell for a bargain £600 ?
If you want to convince an audience that 100 of compulsory ground school is somehow a good idea, I suggest you address the PFIA. Other people, unless frontally lobotimized, will see through you.
@ Aware :
Do people generally think the FAA system is better or worse than ours on the exam side of things ? I have flown in the States but not for a while. FAA books seem good.
It's better. It's pertinent. It's also more thorough thanks to the oral. And it is better paced. (JAA PPL TK exams typically contain things that the FAA would ask on the Commercial Written).
But vhe kant ghav zis in Europe becos vhe ghate Amerika !
Last edited by proudprivate; 3rd Sep 2012 at 20:46.
Somebody told me today EASA is planning 9 PPL exams
EASA are not planning any PPL exams at all. They have produced legislation that requires all examinations to be passed in a maximum of 6 sittings and allows a maximum of 4 resits in any one subject. Realistically, that limits the number of exams to 2 with a recommended maximum of 120 questions.
PP - don't get too snotty and wound up about it, old chap. It's just a forum, so lighten up and get a life.
I stand by what I say, but if your experience of running groundschool is different ( done some ?), well then we would have to agree to disagree.
The answer is - rods (as in - your rod comes out at night). The point is that the fovea has poor night vision because it is mostly cones. It is the sensitive bit of the eye for colour and detail. And it is useful information about the human body, especially if night flying. Most people take little interest interest in the body (exceptions being their genitals and bowels).
I have got Machado's book. It's dross. Usual "folksy" American style with rubbish humour, written for the Hard-of-Thinking. Sort of thing that would appeal to a voter for the Republican Party.
You can never know to much, but in my experience those who don't know very much at all are quite vociferous in their defence of the Pleasure of Ignorance.
They have produced legislation that requires all examinations to be passed in a maximum of 6 sittings and allows a maximum of 4 resits in any one subject. Realistically, that limits the number of exams to 2
Not at all sure how you have come to that conclusion.
For the existing ATPL exams the requirement is to pass all 14 exams within 6 sittings with a maximum of 4 attempts at each subject.
Perhaps I should have said two blocks of exams as used for the professional exams. PPL exams tend to be drawn out over a much longer period than commercial exams, there is less control of them as they are not run by the Authority and it will be very easy to use up the 6 sittings simply by failing a couple of subjects. Each National Authority will produce its own exams in its own way ensuring a lack of standardisation. What was wrong with the ICAO requirement that all member States are advised to recognise? Of course EASA are not members!
100 hrs is ridiculous. It would be half excusable if it was based (ref Whopity) on an analysis of required competence, but it won't be (because most people involved in this business professionally/legislatively do not fly, or do not fly anywhere) just as the existing PPL ground school is only slightly less a total load of irrelevant crap than the JAA IR theory is.
The 100hrs requirement fails to recognise the potentially extensive knowledge of a keen youngster who has been flying with say his old man for years.
When is this due to arrive? I better tell my 16 year old son to get his fingers out! I am trying to motivate him to study for the exams.
We have the T/Thom (now Pooleys) books and as I thumb through the pages I struggle to find a gem of knowledge relevant to actual flying.
If this potential 100hrs ground instruction has to be 'classroom', rather than ticked off as remote home study, and the average PPL takes 60hrs or so flight time to get to the skills test stage - then the stude must have has ~50hrs ground briefing as part of the flying. Maybe this time could be formally recorded, as the classroom time must be, as part of the 100hrs and so reduce the sit on bum in classroom time significantly.
Perhaps I should have said two blocks of exams as used for the professional exams.
I still do not follow the logic. AFAIK the UK CAA has not determined the length of a 'sitting' (as they are required to do by AMC1 FCL.025). A sitting may be up to 10 days in which case, a candidate could attempt one exam per day per sitting with one day to spare. At the other end of the scale, if a sitting were defined as one day, it would not be particularly onerous to attempt two or more papers at each sitting and still allow plenty of time for re-takes.
There is no doubt that the arrangements for sitting PPL exams will have to change but arranging to take 9 papers over 6 sittings whilst allowing time to re-attempt failed papers is not exactly difficult.
arranging to take 9 papers over 6 sittings whilst allowing time to re-attempt failed papers is not exactly difficult.
On paper perhaps, but synchronising candidate and examiner for just one paper can be challenging enough. The logic depends upon whether "resit" constitutes a sitting; if you use up 4/6 sittings on one subject it only leaves 2 for the rest!