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Training seems condensed in aviation

Old 19th Sep 2022, 21:25
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Training seems condensed in aviation

Based on observation, i have noticed a theme when it comes to training in aviation courses, that everything seems to be condensed into a very short time frame. I recall basic flying training and the ATPL theory ground school was packed into a short period especially for integrated schools. The same is true for the systems ground school in TR, having given only a week or two to learn an extremely complex system architecture for a jet. I've watched military documentaries on fighter jets and their ground school is also extremely condensed, almost like a crash course. Is there any particular reasoning behind this? is this purely a commercial benefit (i.e for cost savings)? or perhaps intentionally designed to test the individual's ability to grasp large volumes of information within a specified time frame? (i.e a quality/trait test necessary for the profession). Wouldn't it be logical, especially for the military, to learn the required knowledge thoroughly for ensured understanding and also safety reasons? i've wondered about this for a long time and would love to know your thoughts especially from the experienced instructors in the learning department.
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Old 20th Sep 2022, 12:00
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Old 20th Sep 2022, 12:07
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Originally Posted by twinotterifr View Post
Based on observation, i have noticed a theme when it comes to training in aviation courses, that everything seems to be condensed into a very short time frame. I recall basic flying training and the ATPL theory ground school was packed into a short period especially for integrated schools. The same is true for the systems ground school in TR, having given only a week or two to learn an extremely complex system architecture for a jet. I've watched military documentaries on fighter jets and their ground school is also extremely condensed, almost like a crash course. Is there any particular reasoning behind this? is this purely a commercial benefit (i.e for cost savings)? or perhaps intentionally designed to test the individual's ability to grasp large volumes of information within a specified time frame? (i.e a quality/trait test necessary for the profession). Wouldn't it be logical, especially for the military, to learn the required knowledge thoroughly for ensured understanding and also safety reasons? i've wondered about this for a long time and would love to know your thoughts especially from the experienced instructors in the learning department.
I woulda thought that the classes are to just give the student the Ďmind setí. All of the book learning is available in books or on the internet - suggest learning as much as you can before the class so yer gets more outa the class.


Disclaimer: Iím not an instructor.

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Old 20th Sep 2022, 16:45
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Originally Posted by Flying Binghi View Post
I woulda thought that the classes are to just give the student the Ďmind setí. All of the book learning is available in books or on the internet - suggest learning as much as you can before the class so yer gets more outa the class.


Disclaimer: Iím not an instructor.
That's fair, I do recall seeing some courses deliver training with the assumption that the candidate/student has 0 experience/knowledge for the given programme.

Edit: That being said, i can't imagine for military training that they are able to provide prerequisite learning materials or have classified training materials available online
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Old 20th Sep 2022, 21:03
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Originally Posted by twinotterifr View Post
Based on observation, i have noticed a theme when it comes to training in aviation courses, that everything seems to be condensed into a very short time frame. I recall basic flying training and the ATPL theory ground school was packed into a short period especially for integrated schools. The same is true for the systems ground school in TR, having given only a week or two to learn an extremely complex system architecture for a jet. I've watched military documentaries on fighter jets and their ground school is also extremely condensed, almost like a crash course. Is there any particular reasoning behind this? is this purely a commercial benefit (i.e for cost savings)? or perhaps intentionally designed to test the individual's ability to grasp large volumes of information within a specified time frame? (i.e a quality/trait test necessary for the profession). Wouldn't it be logical, especially for the military, to learn the required knowledge thoroughly for ensured understanding and also safety reasons? i've wondered about this for a long time and would love to know your thoughts especially from the experienced instructors in the learning department.
Having sat the ATPLs and talked with many professional pilots over the last few years, I'm of the opinion that a lot of this stuff is just to prove that you can jump through hoops. I'm not a flight instructor, but I was in academic research and then teaching for quite a while, so I can say with some confidence that every theory course I've been on and most that I have seen are useless from the standpoint of pedagogy. The only thing you can do with such a mass of information is memorize and grasp the most basic of broad outlines of a subject! To put another way, I boiled down all the important formulas, regulations, mnemonics, conversions and bullet points of information in the ATPL to roughly 80 pages. Of those 80 pages, in doing my CPL, ME/IR and MCC courses I probably referred again to half that...

And from the anecdotal points from practicing pilots, they're mostly useless from a professional practice standpoint as well. From my point of view of being a new CPL with fATPL, while I can see some use in some of the information I've been forced to learn, I fail to find practical applications for the vast amount of it. As a pilot, why do you need to intimately know details of aircraft engineering, electronics or systems that even the maintenance engineers or aircraft design leads don't? Of what practical, inflight, use is a great amount of the ATPL theory or type ratings mechanical systems knowledge? Will you be able to fix the aircraft by knowing it? In the heat of an emergency, will it be your recognition of the cockpit warnings, adherence to checklist procedures and perhaps a rudimentary knowledge of the system that has gone wrong that will get you out of trouble? Or will it be the in-depth knowledge of how a pump, servo-motor, or piece of electronics works? Everything I've been taught in practical training comes down to... when it goes wrong, land as quickly and safely as possible and let someone qualified fix it!
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 08:29
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Would disagree..whilst land as soon as possible would be nice there are times when it’s hours away as happened over the North Pole when our system gave two tracks 30 degrees apart.
Another in depth knowledge of engineering armed me for an argument with lazy engineers who didn’t want to examine the air conditioning turbine which had set off a engine vibration warning after take off..I elected to fly at fl250 and continue to base on one system (max altitude legally allowed).
The in-depth meteorology requirements certainly saved diversions and influenced safety when it was obvious (to me) that the locals had got it wrong. Whilst it was half a century ago I’m still learning micro meteorology as I paraglide..even yesterday after hiking to a take off and deciding that the gust factor wasn’t safe.
Then there is those who I’ve flown with who didn’t have the knowledge and held in a circuit breaker not understanding that it’s there to protect the wiring and not the device attached at the end.
After all it’s a confidence factor for the passengers as well..they don’t want uneducated thickos locked in up front.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 14:39
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Originally Posted by blind pew View Post
Would disagree..whilst land as soon as possible would be nice there are times when itís hours away as happened over the North Pole when our system gave two tracks 30 degrees apart.
Gen Nav and Polar Stereographic charts for the win... but had you remembered from ATPL theory knowledge or stuff from your specific training for polar ops?


Another in depth knowledge of engineering armed me for an argument with lazy engineers who didnít want to examine the air conditioning turbine which had set off a engine vibration warning after take off..I elected to fly at fl250 and continue to base on one system (max altitude legally allowed).
I assume you got the FL250 allowed on one system from the AFM or non-normal checklists? The argument with the engineers was on the ground after the flight? So good to be able to win the argument, but not an immediate flight safety factor? So knowing it was useful, but not critical?

The in-depth meteorology requirements certainly saved diversions and influenced safety when it was obvious (to me) that the locals had got it wrong. Whilst it was half a century ago Iím still learning micro meteorology as I paraglide..even yesterday after hiking to a take off and deciding that the gust factor wasnít safe.
I heartily agree that meteorology is one of the only sections of the ATPL theory exams where the whole course is bloody useful!

Then there is those who Iíve flown with who didnít have the knowledge and held in a circuit breaker not understanding that itís there to protect the wiring and not the device attached at the end.
Which kind of proves my point that it is in many ways a memorization and hoop jumping exercise. I taught the above fact to my elementary school students and its part of the elementary school basic electronics syllabus. The fact that a practicing commercial (I assume?) pilot didn't know it is frankly worrying and exposes the flaw of the ATPL exams, which is that you can get through them without learning very much at all.

After all itís a confidence factor for the passengers as well..they donít want uneducated thickos locked in up front.
We find ourselves in agreement! I think a large amount of the ATPL Theory is just "proving you're not thick" and "showing you can learn things" so that there is some confidence that pilots are competent. But as you pointed out, it seems that it's possible to get into the cockpit without knowing elementary electronics, so you have to start asking what value the ATPL theory exams are, if they are not just hoop jumping!
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 14:49
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Blind Pew has it about right. I am sick and tired of the wannabees who seem to know before they start flying what they need and don't need to study. Some of the questions are bizarre, yes, but that's a separate issue from the syllabus. None of us, schools or authorities, know where you are going to end up. Your licence covers you for all types of flying from airline to bush and those two by themselves are entirely different. Sure, you don't need too much detailed knowledge of convergency with an IRS or two in the front, but it's sure handy when you are flying around big open spaces like Alberta! In any case, you are still responsioble for what your IRS gets up to and you need to detect when it's not giving you the correct information, for which you need to know its limitations.

That kind of attitude shows a disrespect for the people who have gone before you and have learnt the hard way that you do need that knowledge.

Good judgement is based on experience. Experience is based on bad judgement.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 15:04
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Originally Posted by paco View Post
Blind Pew has it about right. I am sick and tired of the wannabees who seem to know before they start flying what they need and don't need to study. Some of the questions are bizarre, yes, but that's a separate issue from the syllabus. None of us, schools or authorities, know where you are going to end up. Your licence covers you for all types of flying from airline to bush and those two by themselves are entirely different. Sure, you don't need too much detailed knowledge of convergency with an IRS or two in the front, but it's sure handy when you are flying around big open spaces like Alberta! In any case, you are still responsioble for what your IRS gets up to and you need to detect when it's not giving you the correct information, for which you need to know its limitations.

That kind of attitude shows a disrespect for the people who have gone before you and have learnt the hard way that you do need that knowledge.

Good judgement is based on experience. Experience is based on bad judgement.
With all due respect, I've passed the EASA ATPL Theory exams, so I've learned it all (if you believe that theory courses and exams prove that you've "got the knowledge"). I've then sat with 10,000+ hour airline pilots who have remarked that they used only very select portions of the knowledge learned in those courses... I respect the people who've gone before and learned the hard way, I also respect the people who've gone before and remark that they think large sections (at least of the EASA and UK CAA) ATPL theory syllabus are not very useful at all.
I am also a person with a 16 year career in education, so when I say that the EASA/CAA method of teaching and examining this knowledge is not very good, it comes from a place of deep understanding of how people learn. It seems more like an exercise in showing you CAN learn something, that you will then later learn properly through experience, context specific courses, and the guidance of a captain. Given that, the idea of spending 6-9 months cramming all this ATPL knowledge into your head before you even get into an aircraft reeks of box ticking. I understand the American way is much different, and as such makes a whole lot more sense to me as you're building more advanced theoretical knowledge onto existing theory and practice.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 16:18
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In relation to my original post, do you think that the method the EASA/UK system uses is intentionally designed to be condensed into that 6-9 month time frame as a means to test an individual's learning capability specifically for aviation? almost like a gatekeeping mechanism or am i just overanalyzing it.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 16:33
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Originally Posted by twinotterifr View Post
In relation to my original post, do you think that the method the EASA/UK system uses is intentionally designed to be condensed into that 6-9 month time frame as a means to test an individual's learning capability specifically for aviation? almost like a gatekeeping mechanism or am i just overanalyzing it.
Personally, I think that's entirely likely.

To bring in what the other chaps posting are talking about... I don't think the information in the courses is useless (though I do question some of its relevance and modernity), but I question how learning such a vast bulk of pretty esoteric knowledge in such a compressed timeframe and outside of any practical application (which is how people actually learn, by doing) is of benefit to the student.

My suspicion (and it would be an interesting research paper, if it hasn't already been done), is that the examples they cite of when ATPL knowledge came in handy probably represent instances of knowledge acquired repeatedly and reinforced incidentally over time, rather than examples of skills learned during ATPL theory classes and then remembered verbatim when the need arose. Of course that is how most theory is applied in practice, but if we accept that it calls into question the need for an upfront bulk theory exam of the EASA/UKCAA ATPL Theory type.

I'm not sure that you could say its a gatekeeping mechanism that shows you have a learning capacity specific to aviation, perhaps that you are able to learn in a specific way that aviation likes (generously that way is the way it is because further type rating courses etc. have hard time restrictions, cynically because aviation is stuck in an outdated mode of theoretical knowledge acquisition) when it comes to theory. I say that because learning to actually fly, learning how to fly on instruments, learning how to be proactive and reactive in the cockpit are taught completely differently, in my (limited: that is CPL MEIR fATPL APS-MCC, with a few hundred hours/previous career as a teacher) experience.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 17:10
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I was once told, many years ago, by the then Head of UK CAA Licencing, that the whole purpose of making the exams difficult is to reduce the number of qualified pilots in the system, if it was easy, he quoted, supply would be far greater than demand.......clearly there have been times of pilot shortage when he was wrong, however, it might still be true today!

On the flip side, I recently engaged in a conversation with an experienced airline pilot (35 years on the job) who was funding 2 of his children through pilot training and his attitude was "just teach them the answers they don't need to learn all this crap". I was horrified to be honest but perhaps an indication of modern attitudes and what we now call the 'entitled' generation.

Who knows, I am not clever enough to understand many modern attitudes to the acquisition of aviation knowledge coming from a generation who had to write the answers long hand...no multiple choice in those days, but I still remember today a large percentage of what I learned almost 40 years ago!

SJ.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 17:20
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Originally Posted by spitfirejock View Post
I was once told, many years ago, by the then Head of UK CAA Licencing, that the whole purpose of making the exams difficult is to reduce the number of qualified pilots in the system, if it was easy, he quoted, supply would be far greater than demand.......clearly there have been times of pilot shortage when he was wrong, however, it might still be true today!

On the flip side, I recently engaged in a conversation with an experienced airline pilot (35 years on the job) who was funding 2 of his children through pilot training and his attitude was "just teach them the answers they don't need to learn all this crap". I was horrified to be honest but perhaps an indication of modern attitudes and what we now call the 'entitled' generation.

Who knows, I am not clever enough to understand many modern attitudes to the acquisition of aviation knowledge coming from a generation who had to write the answers long hand...no multiple choice in those days, but I still remember today a large percentage of what I learned almost 40 years ago!

SJ.
See.... I think it would be much more valuable if there were less questions, more quality. How did you work it out? Why did you choose this option? A paper with 20 questions in 1 hour that demanded you showed some mastery of the knowledge, rather than a paper with 60 questions in 1 hour where rote memorization of a few formulas and a few skim reads of the text book and a couple of days with memory cards will get you through. That would also require quite a revolution in how the subjects were taught as well.....

I think that attitude of your airline pilot friend speaks to the same kind of thing as some of the experienced pilots I've talked to are saying.... get through the theory tests and into the aircraft where you ACTUALLY learn what you're going to need to know! I don't think its entitlement, more a frustration with a lot of (what seems like) wasted time, effort, and money!
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 18:35
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While i do understand most of the comments regarding the ATPL theory aspect and the amount of information involved. However, regarding training delivery in condensed time frames, i would like to understand why, for example, type rating courses specifically their ground school/systems classes are also so condensed (1-2 weeks) max. For a modern turbofan aircraft with a high degree of sophistication and advanced technologies, why would providers/authorities intentionally squeeze all that knowledge into such a short time frame?
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 18:41
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Originally Posted by twinotterifr View Post
While i do understand most of the comments regarding the ATPL theory aspect and the amount of information involved. However, regarding training delivery in condensed time frames, i would like to understand why, for example, type rating courses specifically their ground school/systems classes are also so condensed (1-2 weeks) max. For a modern turbofan aircraft with a high degree of sophistication and advanced technologies, why would providers/authorities intentionally squeeze all that knowledge into such a short time frame?
I hope someone who actually knows can respond, but I can think of two reasons:
1) The information is not vital to your operation of the aircraft.
2) The information is vital to the operation of the aircraft, but your actual learning of that information will be in the sim, base/line training and whilst operating it as an F/O, so all they really want is a box ticked at the beginning to show that you looked at the manual before you got on with the real work of practically learning how to apply it.
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Old 21st Sep 2022, 21:12
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richpea - I didn't say that the system wasn't flawed - to be fair to EASA, they are working with a system that was instigated by the JAA, and who should hang their collective heads in shame (the only country that sent actual pilots to the committees was the UK), but we still have a system where even the schools don't know what to teach because they only have learning objectives to work with - they have to write their own syllabuses.

The way these twits have set it up, you can't blame students who hit the banks - although we all know it's wrong. Given that it was all started by non-pilots, it's no surprise to learn that they are non-teachers as well.
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