View Full Version : Circuit training

7th Oct 2015, 22:42
Just requesting a bit of feedback.

I am working at a new school where ab initio students are going straight into the circuit on their first lesson and bashing away lesson after lesson without any other training. That is, no s&l, climbs, leveling off, descents, turns except in the circuit. No stalls, slow flight or any other stall/ spin awareness before first solo after x hours just purely in the circuit. Seems a bit odd to me. I have not seen a briefing or a debriefing so far either.

Any comments, or am I just being an old fashioned dog in the manger? Need to know. Woof.

7th Oct 2015, 22:57
sounds like complete madness to me. i would suggest that a student needs to fully appreciate, or at least be aware of, aircraft handling at low speed, stall recognition, even something as simple as general handling in the approach configuration at altitude would be a good place to start.

i wonder what the logic behind it is?

Chuck Ellsworth
7th Oct 2015, 23:38

That is incredible.

Maybe we will get an opinion from someone in a Government flight training position to give us his / her take on this...

8th Oct 2015, 06:27
Sounds like a post for April 1st!

8th Oct 2015, 08:03
Fraid it's true.

I mean the circuit is, of course, just composed of climbs, s&l, descents, various turns but I have always over the last 25 years taken the time and examined the basics closely at a safe altitude with the attendant demonstrations and taken around 6 hours on the "4 fundamentals". I was shocked when I saw students bashing the circuit on their first lesson.

I should add that this school is in Europe and that the CFI etc appear to think that because I'm doing briefings and debriefs and "messing around" in the practice area outside the circuit that I'm some sort of foreign clown.

Anyone know if this is the approved EASA way?

8th Oct 2015, 12:09
Yes, there are schools going right away for traffic circuit on lesson one, most I heard in connection to this was to speed up PPL stage for the future CPL & ATPL staff (original quote from a fellow instructor: "no need for stinkin' manual skills once they are push-button airline cockpit clowns").

EASA does not provide guides - as far as I know, but many countries introduced a "reasonable training syllabus" to be presented at ATO certification and reviewed against on frequent audits.

8th Oct 2015, 16:43
I would have thought AMC1 FCL.210.A provided perfectly adequate guidance. Indeed, it states at para (c)(1), "The numbering of exercises should be used primarily as an exercise reference list and as a broad instructional sequencing guide..."

Nobody with even the most tenuous understanding of instructional technique would suggest that Lesson 1 should be circuits. It is clear that the CFI concerned is either a complete moron or a total charlatan.

8th Oct 2015, 20:34
Thanks guys, starting to feel more sane. "Broad guidelines" is very sensible but it doesn't mean the total abdication of common sense and airmanship though. It's not a licence to rewrite a century of experience. There is a certain logic in the order in which we acquire the necessary skills when learning to fly. Cleverer blokes than me have thought long and hard about it. Manual skills not needed? What a frightening thought.

8th Oct 2015, 21:38
Might work.
I have had a few trial lessons that have been shown the basics in 20 minutes then gone back into the circuit, shown a circuit and have flown quite reasonable circuits after that.
Monkey see..monkey do.
Why waste time the local area. practise the basics in a circuit. Crack on with the high work load of a circuit.
Some even do half reasonable landings.
Some are just naturals.

Keep in mind we have inherited a syllabus from WWII mass pilot training.
Is it applicable today?
One of my club members who is 91, shows me his log book of 1943 Raf trg.
1st flight, EoC, S&l, C and D and spinning. And spinning on every flight!
Written in red ink.

Chuck Ellsworth
9th Oct 2015, 01:51
Interesting thoughts here, maybe we have been doing it wrong for many decades.

If you can teach the basic air exercises in twenty minutes why don't we quit wasting all that airplane time flying cross countries and just send them home to practice cross countries on flight sim?

There is another way to save time and expanse in training.

9th Oct 2015, 07:15
Keep in mind we have inherited a syllabus from WWII mass pilot training.I thought the European syllabus was based upon the 1916 Smith-Barry model where you exposed a pilot to the risks they had previously avoided and taught them to manage these risks along with common errors. Sounds like TEM in 1916!

Many WWII pilots were trained overseas using a variety of different methods.