PILOT TRAINING ARTICLE



I’ve Had The Academics—Now What?



Altitude and Hypoxia Training
 
By: Paul W. Comtois, Colonel (RET.)
 
Any good pilot training program consists of a solid foundation of academics. Interaction with an instructor who truly understands the material creates a powerful learning environment. But as aviators, we need to be able to apply those lessons practically and in an environment far different than that chair we sit in during an academic session. The ability to apply piloting skills in the dynamic environment aviation presents is a far cry from that classroom setting that moves at the blazing speed of zero knots! So I ask the question, I’ve had the academics—now what?
 
I am sure you have heard at some time or another during your career that we retain very little of what we hear. We also seemingly recall less and less as time passes. In short, learned skills are perishable! Additionally, it can be difficult to fully grasp a concept with just academics alone, but hands on training where you can “operationalize” what you have learned is something I am sure you have experienced. This is where practical application via a simulator or the aircraft becomes valuable. A balance of academics and routine practice is sure to keep your skills sharp.
 
In the area of Human Performance, there are not many options to experience some of the critical factors that have been highlighted during recent aviation accidents—factors such as Loss of Control and Spatial Disorientation. It certainly isn’t very practical to take an aircraft up and purposely try to become spatial disoriented and it isn’t possible to experience continuous G forces in your everyday Level C or D simulator. Yet, pilot training in a dynamic flight environment is essential to successfully perform in an extreme environment during an in-flight emergency. So now what you ask? How can you go beyond just academics in the area of Loss of Control, Spatial Disorientation, Situational Awareness, and other topics? The answer is to come to the NASTAR Center and see and experience the unique simulation capabilities we have. Our unique devices, such as the GYROLAB 2000 and our altitude chamber, are simulators that will help you take valuable academic lessons and apply them in the simulator. This combination is sure to help you understand what it takes to successfully perform in an extreme environment during an emergency.



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