Jan. 11, 2 p.m.: You might already know this: When people learn to fly, it changes who they are and how they feel about themselves forever.
That’s why we were so pleased recently to stop by Redbird Skyport in San Marcos to congratulate the students from Vaughn College for passing their ground school and starting flight training.
As Vaughn and Redbird Skyport work together to determine the most effective use of simulators in private pilot certification, the goal is to turn out a pilot who is not only physically proficient but a good risk manager truly ready to be in command.
The accelerated program at Skyport uses the latest computer-based software from Cessna, developed by King Schools. Instructors introduce flight maneuvers in a full-motion simulator, and then have students practice what they have learned in an actual airplane. The folks at Skyport aren’t worried about how much or little credit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will give for the simulator time; they’re just interested in providing the most thorough, cost-effective training. (Very few finish private pilot training in the FAA minimum time anyway. The average flight time is about 73 hours.)
Skyport also will be testing the Redbird Parrot program (interactive air traffic control) with the Vaughn students as well as its GIFT program (Guided Independent Flight Instruction, which provides video instruction from the simulator before and after practiced maneuvers) to see what changes should be made to provide maximum help to students. Skyport also will test the results from a fun, competitive cross-wind simulator.
Experimentation with these Vaughn students and others who follow will establish the best ratio and sequence of simulator time to airplane flight time. That’s why Redbird calls the Skyport a "flight training laboratory." More good news: Skyport will publish its results and conclusions so every flight school in the country can benefit from what Skyport learns.
You might be asking: Are these Vaughn College students handpicked and special? They’re special only in that everyone in love with aviation is special – they are excited, enthusiastic and motivated.
So congratulations to these groundbreaking, soon-to-be-pilots from Vaughn.
-- Martha King, co-chair and co-owner, King SchoolsClick here for more information about the Kings and King Schools.
Martha and John King visited Vaughn students in San Marcos earlier this week.