View Full Version : FI Briefings

28th Oct 2015, 21:22
I would love to hear opinions from any FICs on the use of technology in teaching FIs to present briefings.

Chalk n talk, OHPs, PowerPoint, Interactive whiteboards???

My feeling is to continue with basic chalk n talk techniques, backed up with other options later in the course. Just don't want to slip into dinosaur territory!

29th Oct 2015, 13:46
Technology is good to a point but the new research on teaching methodologies shows that active instruction is the only way to go. How you actively teach matters not as long as the student is involved in the process.

I'm more a fan now (having worked with many media types) of using technology to show things you cannot with a board and pen but only use it sparingly and as a launching point to teach from.

Get them involved and even get them to teach you!

29th Oct 2015, 15:49
Whiteboard and pens honest mate

The studes don't take it in from PC stuff I've found in my first times instructing PPLs

29th Oct 2015, 17:36
As an FIC instructor I encourage my students to use ALL presentation techniques as they should be competent in presenting, regardless of subject or media or the size of the audience.

I find the problem with whiteboards these days is students get

a) bored waiting for the instructor to finish the di Vinci masterpiece or
b) can't understand the 'toddler tracing' an instructor 'throws' on the whiteboard over the three previous scribbles that masquerade as diagrams
c) read ahead too far when the instructor has prepared well and don't hear what is being said at the relevant point.

Mine now tend to be PP led (prompts and diagrams) but with plenty of interaction through whiteboard/training aid discussion.

Alot depends also on what facilities are available at the school you teach on.


29th Oct 2015, 19:25
Thanks all for your comments. Of course the general principles of teaching and student involvement must not be hindered by whatever method we use.

Your comments so far seem to back up my preferences to use whiteboard for the early briefings where bullet points and simple diagrams are used. For more complicated diagrams, I agree that whiteboard is not so practical. I have used OHPs previously.

I have always given student FIs a free hand when it comes to preparing their own long briefings. Some can use technology well, but we do not have time on the course to experiment with technology. I am just concerned that the content and presentation is good.

No doubt there'll be some more opinions to come!

Big Pistons Forever
29th Oct 2015, 23:55
I like white board and marker because you can modify the content as you go based on student comprehension. I despise power point and when teaching the instructor course would not allow my students to use it.

However there are a ton of great short you tube clips illustrating many flying principals. Having a library of good ones that you can show at appropriate parts of your presentation can be very effective.

31st Oct 2015, 20:10

4 colour pens


No PowerPoint, OHP slides or any other tech-toys. As BPF has stated, you need to develop the brief in response to actual student understanding.

And make sure your students ENJOY their lessons!

31st Oct 2015, 20:57
Personally, for basic PPL teaching I like PP and have all my briefs on laptop, I find that just whiteboard I waste far to much time writing stuff that I can have pre prepared, having said that, you DO need to have a white board/paper and pen available and be ready to go off brief if needed.
Most of my instructing though tends to be with people that have already got a PPL and I am bringing out points that I cannot really pre prepare for so a white board or paper and pen are better.

Genghis the Engineer
1st Nov 2015, 08:39
I'm not an FIC, but I have done a great deal of lecturing / public speaking / as well as a few hundred hours of flying instructing. I even got to give a talk in the ICAO general assembly hall a few months ago.

What's the point of any particular briefing? If it is delivered by a human being, then it is to hear the human being - the special advantage of a small (1:1 / 1:2 ish) is the ability for the speaker and listener to interact, discuss and clarify things.

So, if I'm talking to several hundred people, powerpoint is a powerful tool, but I still need to remember that it's a backdrop - illustrations and key words only, because what really matters is what I as the speaker am saying and how I'm saying it.

A technical university lecture, I find powerpoint needs using pretty sparingly, because I need to open to regular questioning, and there is absolutely no point in putting huge amounts of verbage or equations onto the board or screen, just for students to copy down. That is frankly going back to an era before the invention of the photocopier. Let them buy the book, get or read the handouts, and then come to the lecture for the overview and discussion. Most of the time - there's always exceptions.

Giving a pre-flight briefing, the obvious question is what - as the instructor - am I giving that couldn't be obtained from reading a Jeremy Pratt book or watching a King video? The answer to me is that I provide interaction: the student is able to question the descriptions as we go through things, ask for clarification, or discuss something that they have trouble understanding.

Most times, I don't see that powerpoint does that very well. So, whilst a regular user of powerpoint, I seldom use it for pre-lesson briefings. I may have asked the student to do some prior reading or preparation - but the briefing is far more interactive with a whiteboard or equivalent (personally I carry a big kids art pad and multicoloured felt tip pens in my car - that works like a whiteboard, except that the student can take the pages home with them).

One other thing - anybody with huge amounts of text on their slides, what the hell was that there for? The Pooleys commercially sold pre-flight briefings for example, is just designed by somebody with no grasp of how people think and learn. Not about aviation, but in my opinion, here's a striking example of how NOT to do it.

?Presentation "Inconvenient Truths and Convenient Lies: the Global Climate Change Issue By Cynthia McMeans (and primarily from Al Gore s An Inconvenient Truth: A Global." (http://slideplayer.com/slide/276205/)


1st Nov 2015, 10:06
By the way,
I'm looking for a video that would explain how to find experimentally the aerodynamic centre.
I'm sure you can do that a very simple way with a light plane model and a desk fan.
It would be I think a good way to explain to a student what the aerodynamic centre is.

1st Nov 2015, 17:16
Thanks Ghengis,

Nicely put! The interaction between instructor and student is of course the no. 1 objective. I have done very little lecturing to larger audiences and the relative merits of the different types of presentation is a subject of discussion I use with student FIs.

I have often picked up student FIs for putting too much text in briefings, both pre-flight and long briefings, getting them to think about the reasons for having visual backup to their words.

The posts on this thread are convincing me that chalk n talk is the preferable way to teach student FIs to present most pre-flight briefings, with the use of some form of technology, which could be as simple as OHP where the complex graphics required are beyond the artistic abilities and time constraints.

12th Nov 2015, 06:39
Over 50 years in the instructing business military and civil, I think I've seen all the techniques come and go. In the end it is the personality of the instructor and his enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject which is the most important, regardless of which system is used. As instructors, we have to remember that of we are giving a performance just like an actor. It's easy to be enthusiastic for the first few efforts, after that it needs effort to sound as if it really matters.

The best combination I have found is to first have a good set of student exercise notes which the student should be encouraged to read before the exercise brief. During the brief, teach from the known (previous exercises) to the new unknown, questioning the student so that he doesn't nod off. Summarise each element and here the OHP or electronic technique has its place. Finally at the end of the brief, give the student a copy of the brief so that he can' t subsequently say "I wasn't told that".

Avoid writing lots of text on the board. It's time consuming and the student loses interest. This was the biggest advance in technique at the RAF CFS which used to have an obsession with it and started to use the OHP as a summary. Quick drawings are worth hundreds of words but need practice to do them well.

12th Nov 2015, 09:31
I like the whiteboard. I had people trying to learn from ipads and wondered what my secret to making (and remaking) notes on paper was...

Though I had a great preflight briefing from a CFI in Las Vegas last year - The aircraft had a GTS 750 and there was some complimentary PC software which made it a breeze to check weather, notams, W+B etc.


Pull what
16th Nov 2015, 11:49
Giving a pre-flight briefing, the obvious question is what - as the instructor - am I giving that couldn't be obtained from reading a Jeremy Pratt book or watching a King video? The answer to me is that I provide interaction: the student is able to question the descriptions as we go through things, ask for clarification, or discuss something that they have trouble understanding.

A pre flight briefing is a run through of what is going to happen during tbe air exercise( including the taxi and local area plan) not an aerodynamic theory lesson that can be found in a textbook. The student is supposed to turn up with the aerodynamic and theory side already pre studied. A preflight briefing needs to be tailored to the lesson, the instructor, the airfield, the aircraft and the school so it wont be found in the textbook.

Its a shame that so many older instructors are unable to grasp the benefits of Powerpoint or even that a picture is worth a 1000 words. You can spend all day describing the primary controls on the aircraft but showing a picture of tbe actual cockpit, the column and the control surfaces adds much more weight to tbe brief.

You can cover much more in less time with slide briefings as well as focusing attention on what is being taught at the point of verbal delivery. By the time you have got a part one and even a part two Ex 4 on the board youve lost visual attention with too much information being presented to tbe student to look at, with a slide briefing you can isolate that information to that part of the exercise only.

The owner of a group of flying schools once said to me" I can never understand why an instructor goes to the time and trouble to put a briefing on a board to then rub it off and then an hour later put the same briefing back on the board!

If you are in doubt to which method to use try pretending your student is a customer and ask them what method they prefer!

Ascend Charlie
16th Nov 2015, 21:28
Depends if you are giving a Long Brief (Mass brief) or a preflight brief.

A Long Brief needs to impart the theoretical knowledge and handling techniques to a student/s who may or may not have done any pre-reading. Using Powerpoint (or the far superior Mac Keynote!)with videos and whiteboard is the way to go. Remember the handouts at the end.

For a preflight brief, which happens a day or 2 after the long brief (gotta let the knowledge settle into their skulls) just a whiteboard sketch brief with lots of questions does the trick.

For the initial Effects of Controls brief, I found that just talking about it conjured up a mental image of what it would be like for the student. Then when he got into the machine, he expected to see his mental image happen, and when it didn't, it confused him and slowed down his learning. I then made (professionally) a video explaining everything he would see, and this made a huge difference to their rate of soaking up the knowledge.

Diesel Pilot
18th Nov 2015, 08:59
In my limited experience as a FI always liked to keep things simple.

The whiteboard, large enough to write clearly and separate your sections with a selection of markers is a great tool. Just don't overcrowd it with unnecessary information or complex diagrams - use a handout.

A simple model is good too for explaining attitude changes, manoeuvres etc (be sure to orientate it correctly so it shows things from the student's perspective). Ideally this is the same type of aircraft the student is learning in (high wing, low wing etc.). Also applies to using old instruments or engine parts when explaining functions.

A cockpit poster of the actually aircraft is also invaluable.

Try to keep it simple, but to the point, and always make sure the student is engaging in the brief by asking plenty of questions (eliminate yes or no answer type questions).

Be prepared to have a few different ways to explain a topic, sometimes people just don't get it. I found that by getting to know the student & their background it makes it easier to shape the delivery of your brief in a way that will work for them. They enjoy it a lot more and get more out of the flight when they understand what you're talking about!

Pull what
19th Nov 2015, 14:05
4 colour pens


No PowerPoint, OHP slides or any other tech-toys. As BPF has stated, you need to develop the brief in response to actual student understanding.

And make sure your students ENJOY their lessons! Ha Ha - Only thing missing, your Tiger Moth!

Have you ever stopped to think that students might actually ENJOY their lessons more (and learn more) if modern technology was used, especially as this technology is very much part of every young person’s lives these days. In fact have you, Beagle, ever stopped to think about what your students would like, rather than what you want? Although, as you are not a current instructor, you probably haven't.

I appreciate and respect that you prefer instruction from the era that you learned in and are familiar with but do you really think an Airtour model aircraft, which looks like a reject from the Wright Brothers era, lends to a better explanation of pitch, roll and yaw than the actual picture of tbe cockpit and controls of the aircraft they are actually going to fly in, coupled with a dynamic slide of an aircraft pitching, rolling and yawing? Do you really think whiteboard text and a diagram can describe how the rudder pedals should be used on the ground?

Can you describe how the PA28 door locks and opens on a whiteboard better than I can show it with my three slides (with text) showing the two locks from both the interior and exterior of the aircraft. Can you write the complete checklist on the board in the time I can show a slide of the checklist? Do you really think that a landing pre flight briefing is not enhanced by an embedded video of aircraft landing and also showing landing errors such as ballooning and bouncing?

KISS! - Briefing from a laptop or Ipad couldnt be simpler as well as being able to provide much more information in the same amount of time. A statement can immediately be backed up with a picture, you just cannot do that on a white board.

There are a number of other reasons that white board briefings can be problematic:

The number of times Ive seen instructors scratching around trying to find pens to write on a whiteboard and then when they get one it doesnt write properly.

Some white board briefings ive seen you can hardly read because the instructors writing is so poor.

Its easier for the CFI/HOT to control standardisation with laptop/Ipad briefings.

Sunlight in the wrong direction can cause whiteboard problems in some briefing room as can glare from lights.

Putting up on a complete briefing on a whiteboard takes more time

A completed whiteboard briefing is too busy, in other words you end up with too much information presented to the student in one go. Bite size information presented without distraction of other text around it is much more efficient way of teaching and learning. If your not understanding this you need some serious revision of how people learn. Although most instructor courses never go into sufficient detail about how people learn apart from Beagles classic ‘4 colored pens’. If you apply some common sense to why we use different colored pens you may be able to understand why good teachers have moved on to modern technology

Sometimes instructors forget to put up sections before or during the briefings (One of the last instructors I checked out put up a circuit brief but had got onto base leg before he realised he hadn't mentioned LOOKOUT once!)

Its easier for new instructors to have a pre loaded briefing to use as an aid memoire

It’s difficult for the student to get the whiteboard into the boot of his car but a laptop/Ipad briefing can be loaded straight onto his device!

I stopped writing my PPL briefings on whiteboards 31 years ago! However on the FI course I teach students to construct briefings on a whiteboard but they must all also construct their own laptop/pad briefings.

I suspect most of you posting on this thread have never really tried briefing via a laptop or Ipad and I dont mean just once. It takes some effort to get your briefing on the device but you only need to do it once-now that is KISS! try it.

22nd Nov 2015, 20:56
Lots of interesting points here. Usual formula seems to apply here

No. of opinions > no of people asked!

I agree that all student FIs should be able to give proper whiteboard briefings so that will remain.

I'm giving a PowerPoint briefing tomorrow that could be given (with the omission of one or two pictures) should the technology go t*^s up. I'm also revamping my pre-flight briefings to make them useable either on whiteboard or PowerPoint as required.

I will always supplement PowerPoints will other goodies such as real charts/plates, instruments, models etc. I will also ensure that there are plenty of questions to keep the interaction levels high.

I think the OHP might have had its day 😤

Thanks for your input guys.