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What is the future of instructing?

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What is the future of instructing?

Old 14th Apr 2020, 14:00
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What is the future of instructing?

When restrictions are lifted a little, it would seem to be common sense that the 2 meter/6 foot apart restriction will remain, (amongst others) for quite some time, possibly until the end of the year or to when we get a vaccine.

If this is the case, given the limited separation in a cockpit, it will be impossible for flight instruction of any nature to resume. Iím thinking here of both GA and commercial instruction.

If you think differently, please share how it will be possible, because I for one am worried.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 18:17
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No multi-pilot commercial aviation either then. No taxi firms or the multitude of other situations where it is simply not possible to be 2m apart. I think there will be a degree of realism and suspect you are worrying too much. Whether, if the lockdown stays too much longer, there will be many training organisations that have survived the financial shock is another question.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 18:36
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Absolutely correct - cant really do single pilot in small cabs eg rotary either

However, the reality is that the Treasury will overrule the Departments of Health as otherwise there will be a massive hit to the economy. They are already trying not to use the word 'exit', fearful that the British public are not as stupid as they are assumed to be by politicians and may refuse to 'exit' lockdown and risk another 300,000 deaths.

So it is likely the 2M rule will go quite early. The question is how much risk the instructor and pilot wish to take.......in fairness in small aircraft the airflow minimises the risk of infection. Over on Rotorheads there is a thread running with advice for PPE in EMS work. So IMHO it is likely it will not be illegal to train. Whether you want to take the risk is going to be a personal matter heavily influenced by your financial situation
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 19:16
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Thanks for your reply, I hope you are correct. If so, that at least gives individuals some form of control on whether they wish to personally take that risk or not.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 11:19
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Whether you want to take the risk is going to be a personal matter heavily influenced by your financial situation
1). I don't think it's entirely a personal matter - unless you are a hermit you also have to consider the consequences for those you live with if you catch the lurgy.

2). Another factor is age and gender. Males aged over 70 are disproportionally at risk so unless recovered from the virus would be unwise to either instruct or be a pupil. (I’ve not seen any statistics for transgender people.) For younger female instructors and pupils their personal risk is somewhat lower – but point 1) still applies.

3). Hygiene: Should masks and gloves be worn by instructors and pupils. What safe (to the aeroplane) disinfectant measures would be appropriate after each flight.

4). Before the lockdown became total a gliding club was contemplating permitting solo flight in privately owned gliders (not shared club gliders), aerotow only, using gloved tug pilots under 70. The contemplating got overtaken by events.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 02:28
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Technology will likely play a huge part in our exit strategy, as it already apparent in China, with contact and health tracking apps. With appropriate tracking apps, basic ppe, disinfectant measures and hand hygenine, the risk in necessary "close contact" situations like small aircaft cockpits can minimised and managed. The vulnerable demographich sector might be staying home & self isolating (with their household occupants) for a while longer, which may well affect our older FI but economic necessity will mandate a risk managed exit strategy way, way before a vaccine is operational.

Slightly bigger picture here though...aviation, travel & leisure industries pretty much top of everybody's list when it comes to massive global fallout and shakeup post Covid19, so as somebody alread posted, nobody yet knows how much of this industry will still be a) standing b) needed in years to come. And I'm not a gloom monger...just a realist who can read, watch and listen.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 10:00
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From what I read from the expert reports, Corona is here to stay and it will be pretty much impossible to prevent infections 100%. Right now all countries efforts are towards squashing the pandemic, and this is done by trying to reduce R (the measure of infectiousness/transferability of the virus) to as near as zero as possible. Which seems to work: At least in the countries that have implemented an effective lockdown strategy, the virus is on the way back.

Once we've reached a level where the healthcare industry is able to deal with the number of infections in their normal course of operations, some measures can be relaxed a little. At a grand scale, we are going to have to accept that people will become infected, but we need to keep R below 1 to make sure it doesn't become another epidemic. So it will be a careful dance between anti-infection measures, and resuming normal human interactions. What measures to drop and what measures to keep will take quite some experimentation and different countries will try different experiments. And some countries will go too far in their relaxation and will have to go back to lockdown for a few weeks. (Just today I read an article about some researchers that found that we might need seven or eight two-to-three week lockdown periods from now until the end of 2021 to keep the virus under control, but in between these lockdown periods we can resume normal life.)

Like Richard said, technology will likely play a huge part in the exit strategy. The ultimate goal AFAIC should be some sort of personal risk tracking app, where an app continuously checks your activities and increases or decreases your personal risk score by a certain amount based on that activity. So if you interact closely with someone who has a high risk score, your risk score increases as well. Or if you go to a mass event with loads of people with low risk scores, your risk score increases as well. And maybe if your risk score gets above a certain number, you've got to take measures like personal quarantine until your risk score drops again. In fact, for certain types of activities the authorities may set a maximum risk score: You cannot participate if your risk score is higher than X.

So if you decide to sit in a confined cockpit with an instructor for a while, then you have to accept that your risk score increases a bit. For which you may have to compensate by not going to the pub in the evenings. Conversely, instructors may elect only to teach students with a risk score lower than a certain number.

But we're nowhere close to a system like that. There's all sorts of technical, ethical, statistical, legal and privacy issues to work out. Not to mention not knowing enough about the transferability of the virus to come up with an effective statistical model that would be the basis of such an app.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 16:13
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So much depends on the politicians, who struggle to produce an O level biology pass between them. I suspect the question will be whether the instructor is willing to take the risk. Currently between 3 and 15% of the population are shedding virus. Say it comes down to 5%. How long will it take an instructor to fly with 20 students which statistically gives him a probability of 1? And while these percentages and the ability of the NHS to cope are important epidemiologically, the individual is only interested in his individual risk. With a moderate to high viral load infection, the death rate could be 50%

I am lucky - I am locked down with my fellow pilot so we can fly, until November at least, with nobody else in the aircraft. But it will be interesting to see how much risk the public are willing to take....
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 19:18
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Some very interesting replies.

Radgirl, when you mention Ďviral loadí, you give a figure of an instructor flying with 20 students, (whether this is hypothetical or real, Iíd like to explore that a bit if I may..). I understand viral load in this way:

if you go to a pub & there are 20 people there who carry the virus, (unknowingly) & you spend a few hours there, you are at risk of a high viral load. If you stay in & one of your household is carrying, (or exhibiting), the virus, you will be subject to a low viral load. I assume this is correct...

Now, based on the figure of 20 students possibly infected, what sort of viral load would the instructor be subject to if he/she flew with 4 or 5 of these students daily? Also, what viral load would they be subjected to if they flew with the same people just once or twice weekly? Conversely, I assume that a student flying for one hour or so with an asymptomatic instructor would be subject to a low viral load from this source?
if that is the case, most of the risk would be taken by the instructor, but based on the scenarios above, how high would that risk be?

I am really interested in this & hopefully, you will reply, as it sounds like you know your stuff & that is what we need right now
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 23:38
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You could help move things a little in your favour by taking simple steps to improve your health. Such as healthy eating, exercise, fresh air and vitamin C and D. It seems by far healthy non smoking people with strong immune systems fair much better with this virus.

Personally I am not concerned about operating in a multi crew environment. I would happily fly tomorrow if my airline allowed me to. I would also like to fly privately too, so many perfect weather days during the lockdown!

At some point we need to get back to normal before there is no economy left. Then there will be no need for instructors as only a few people could afford to fly - the pensioners! And they’d all be isolation.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 23:54
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Radgirl - you are lucky, in conformance with a NOTAM issued at TDCF here in Dominica I went to fly a few circuits a week ago - no go said the airport manager.

So my aiplane which had been sitting for a month did not get flown.

In a week I will not be current.

Now here's the interesting bit - there are only two airplanes in this country - anticipating how bad this would get I had a fifty hour check done on the plane and decided to fly as little as possible - offered to fly any thing or anyone the government wanted, at my exp11ense I should add. Now because of an idiot, if they want it I'll not he current and there is a fair chance that in any case there is a fair chance that something will have seized or otherwise be in need of maintenance. I have therefore had to withdraw the offer, if for no other reason than to save the embarrasment of bring asked and then having to decline when a problem is found - it should go without saying that there is no maintenance in this country.

So consider yourself lucky that you can fly, with or without anyone else.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 00:17
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Ebbie 2003: sorry I wasnt precise enough - in the UK it is unlawful to leave your house except for specific purposes so recreational flying is banned. You can fly to get to work or for essential purposes...I meant that theoretically I will be able to fly without physical risk after lockdown

White light: risk of infection and viral load are quite separate. If you go into a pub with 20 people there is a high statistical risk one will be shedding virus so your risk of infection is high, but unless that person coughs over you or you are very close the load will be low. If you fly with just one student the risk of infection may only be 5% and it will be the same no matter how many times you fly with him but if the student is shedding and you spend an hour in the cockpit inches apart and then at a desk briefing and debriefing you will get a higher viral load.

The higher the viral load the sicker you will be. If you have a low viral load and you are under 40 the risk to you is low - we need you to isolate to stop infecting others. As you get older the risk of death increases. As the load increases the risk of death increases. Two separate but potentially accumulative factors.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 09:51
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The overwhelming reduction in burning hydrocarbon fuels for perhaps three to six months predicates
​​​​​​a wonderful reduction in carbon dioxide release as well as pollution.
With cleaner air, and a revised less frenetic rushed lifestyle aided by a step change in social behaviour could well be key in helping us live longer and in a nicer more comfortable environment.
Consequently the above exchanges are about as useful as calculating how many fairies can sit on the head of a pin !
The world as was will, with luck, not be restored in its old image.
Flying for fun is great but non essential habit. Most commercial flight is likewise, whilst business has already found alternative "face to face" methods of communication.
Covid upheaval will be seen by history to have been a curious boon to mankind. (IMHO).
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 13:46
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In the UK Construction industry, the advice right now is that the 2M rule is not sacrosanct. However it should be "broken" with care, caution and common sense. Advice handed down is to work side by side, not facing one another. Keep close proximity working to periods of 15 mins if possible. Keep gangs/travelling companions to the same people to reduce cross infection, Where passing in a narrow space, turn faces away, in a moving vehicle keep the windows and vents open. Above all wash hands and sanitise frequently and thoroughly and observe 2M where possible.

I am not saying if it's good or bad practise or how effective it will be at reducing transmissions; but as Radgirl says, the economics have to overtake the health measures at some point and HM Government has constantly made it clear that if you cannot work from home, you continue to work as near normally as possible.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 14:52
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So hard to say whatís going to happen when the majority of the European outbreaks are about half way through the first waves. Iím saying this because there is highly likely to be another wave once lock downs start to be uplifted a little. With very little, and also not fully understood, herd immunity then long range plans are simply a day dream now.

Flight training right now is not a necessity, nor is private flying. So whatís going to happen to these flights in the future is unknown, but I personally feel there will be intermittent lock downs throughout the next 12 months at least. Iím speak for the UK here where I am but canít see many other countries adopting other methods apart from some seem to have better testing schemes. Thatíll be the long term key to controlling this virus before any sort of herd immunity.

So I guess if we end up going back to normality in the near future then weíll all be thinking about distancing from one another where possible, so therefore sitting comfortably side-by-side in an SEP doesnít seem to fit into this very well. When thinking about necessities, people getting in a taxi or a train to work is necessary, whereas your SEP renewal or P1 flight for currency isnít. I think we all can agree with that.

I have a family member in the UK who has been advised that their integrated-ATPL course in Spain is a go ahead at the beginning of next month. This is from 0 hours to fATPL so Iím keen to see how this plans out as an example.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 21:57
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Originally Posted by squidie View Post
I have a family member in the UK who has been advised that their integrated-ATPL course in Spain is a go ahead at the beginning of next month. This is from 0 hours to fATPL so I’m keen to see how this plans out as an example.
Every bit of luck to them, in the best possible terms this is not the moment to be at any stage of commercial training, other parts of the forums saying it could be years before fresh new pilots are required. L3, CAE and FTE have all stopped training for now and the backlog that is building up is big, potentially many months of delays when they were struggling already to get people through.

However linking back to the original thread, there has been a shortage of instructors in recent years...so positions to fill there for whatever ATOs remain after this.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 17:16
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A couple of things occur to me.

If either (or both) instructor or student have had the virus (proof required?) then presumably the individuals could fly together?

It may be a year or two away but when things do get back to "normal" maybe there might be a resurgence in people learning to fly, especially if they can afford to buy their own aircraft, as travel by general aviation will be seen as more "virus free"?

Similarly will we see a rise in the corporate side of aviation?
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 15:28
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as travel by general aviation will be seen as more "virus free"?
'Sure will! Where, in past times, I would have bought a ticket for a short haul trip, now I'll be taking my time, and my plane. For my "few hundred miles" travel, the airline I would use has completely stopped flying. I wish them well, but I'll be defaulting now to solo travel where that's practical, for the time to come. I'm very lucky that I can make that choice....
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Old 23rd Apr 2020, 10:44
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I will be astounded if many FTOs and clubs, never mind airfields, survive this. The industry as a whole has had a sledgehammer taken to it and the pieces will take a long time to glue back together, if ever. Added to this, the wider economy has been utterly destroyed by this enforced "shutdown". So many businesses will go under and unemployment will reach catastrophic levels so not many will be able to engage in private aviation anyway, assuming we are even allowed to do so, which at the moment isn't the case.

Greta's Doom Disciples will be overjoyed no doubt watching the world burn, as I can tell from several gloating comments on both this site and on many others, however for those of us lucky enough to still be employed in the industry, or even employed at all, the future looks very uncertain; catching this virus is the least of my worries (I do know two people who have lost their life to this thing), feeding the kids and paying the mortgage is and always will be by No.1 priority. I'm downhearted that I can't fly - I was grounded due medical for a while then my SEP ran out, I was about to get back in the saddle when all this burach kicked off - however I'm more grateful that I have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboards than anything. Every day this "lockdown" carries on increases the threat to that. As I have suspected from the very beginning, the time will come when the Govt will be forced to remove the "lockdown" due to the sheer damage done that will be an existential threat to the country. At the moment, the cure is worse than the illness.

Sadly, in Britain Aviation will always be seen as a rich man's plaything/Earth Destroyer and not the key economic driver & enabler that it is and will not get the support it needs to survive. Meanwhile, China etc. will get back on with things and hoover everything up in the bargain basement fire sale... at our expense...
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Old 23rd Apr 2020, 16:04
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In the U.K. the ban on all non “essential” journeys is not quite accurate, you are allowed to go to work if you “need” to, initially the building industry did continue but then the lawyers stopped it for fear of being sued for illness, then the supply industries shut down also. This week there are quite a few companies gearing up a return, due to customer pressure needing goods. It’s the social distancing advice that is going to cause problems and the “furlough” -( time off work on 80% pay), many don’t want to return they are happy doing nothing on 80% pay.

In theory if social distancing can be maintained there is no reason why flying cannot resume along with outdoor sports like golf and cycling, wearing masks would reinforce this change, the problem in the UK is there are not enough masks for the hospitals, never mind the public
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