As a retired line pilot, Chief Pilot, and Check Airman I’ve witnessed and presented training in varying ways, from old schoolhouse training to online, we’ve tried them all. This is part 1 of a blog series dedicated to making a switch to online training. Once you’ve reaped the benefits, you won’t want to go back to the old way…
The old way
I could see their eyes starting to glaze over…. It was day 2 of 135 recurrent. There I was, trying my best to keep the material fresh and engaging, but the struggle was real. Looking at the blank expressions on their faces, the twitching fingers next to their ever present iphones and listening to the sound of my own voice drone on about alternate minimums, I realized that this wasn’t working anymore. It was time to find a better way.
At the time, I was completely naïve about the alternative training options available to companies like mine. We were a small 135 Air Medical Service with a handful of pilots who commuted in for their shift. Training hadn’t changed in over 20 years – the Chief Pilot would stand in front of the classroom and go over the same thing, day after day, year after year. Sometimes, we were even fortunate enough to welcome a local FAA representative to our class, just for some extra fun! Ahhhhh, good times…
But it quickly became apparent that our antiquated system was not effective anymore. When I was the student, I struggled to stay awake and take away a small amount of new knowledge that was actually relevant to my job. Then later, as the Chief Pilot/Instructor, I struggled to keep everyone else awake and pass along a small amount of knowledge that would be relevant to their jobs. It was a vicious cycle. Plus, it was next to impossible to get everyone in the same room at the same time because they all lived different places and had different flying schedules.
A new era
With traditional classroom training, I was severely limited with how I could present the information. Reviewing the regs, OpSpecs, and systems material was awful – not just for the student, but also for the instructor! Don’t even get me started on reading PowerPoint slides, they were just as bad. The whole training operation can be painfully boring and uninspiring.
While I wish I could take credit, it was actually our Helicopter Chief Pilot who came up with the brilliant idea of converting our training from classroom to computer-based. He did some research and discovered what a whole bunch of other Companies already knew! Computer-based or online training was available that addressed every single one of our training issues! It was such a perfect fit….we kicked ourselves for not switching years ago!
In Part II of our “Take the Leap” Blog Series, I will discuss the many amazing benefits of modernizing your training department with a computer-based program. Until then…Happy Flying!!
“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”
– Leonardo da Vinci