When it comes to pilot training, pass/fail isn’t a pilot’s favorite way to learn
I remember when the weight of the world was lifted off of my airline pilot shoulders. It was the day we learned that the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) was coming to our airline and I’m telling you, if we could have had a party in the crew room, we would have. Pilot training was about to undergo a remarkable transformation and, in my opinion, it was long overdue.
The AQP is a voluntary departure from traditional pilot training methods. It allows for innovative, non-traditional means of training pilots, as long as their proficiency level meets or exceeds traditional expectations. We were instantly able to relax and actually learn something rather than live with the dread and anxiety of our twice a year “pass or fail” checkride.
Our training sessions went from performing rote procedures that had career ending consequences to a relaxed 4-day training event. We still had to perform to ATP standards, but when you take away the fear of failing, most pilots are able to relax and think about what they’re doing.
Ask a pilot which training experience they prefer and you’ll have to look far and wide to get a vote for the traditional method. AQP pilots are able to ask questions, repeat maneuvers until they feel confident and generally leave the training center feeling good about their skills.
For me, I left the airline and entered the world of Part 135 flying and was instantly thrown right back into the pressure cooker – pass or fail, right or wrong. What a difference. Online pilot training helps. Being able to review and keep on top of Part 135 rules when I need them, fills the void left by not having the classroom experience. Take advantage of training when you can – whether in the classroom or online – especially when time between flights is high.