At some point, almost everybody has dreamed of flying. And thanks to the Wright brothers’ unlocking of the secrets of flight, this is something that all of us can now do. But, of course, some significant safeguards prevent just anyone from piloting an aircraft.
The biggest safeguard is, of course, flight training. Training for a private pilot license is essentially analogous to the training for a driver’s license. It’s what demonstrates that a person is capable of being in command of an aircraft safely. Thus, it’s critical to get it right.
At the moment, however, we see the rise of so-called two-week or 10-day courses. These are targeted at people who are in a rush to get their license. They’re sold as a way to get people flying their own aircraft as fast as possible. And the courses usually consist of eight or more hours of training each day over the specified period. Many of these courses appear to offer budding pilots everything that they could possibly want. They cover all the relevant training material, how planes work and flight controls. And they sell the courses as demanding, accelerated training, almost like it’s a rite of passage.
What’s more, the law isn’t against these sorts of practices. The International Civil Aviation Authority says that pilots need at least 40 hours of training outside of Europe and 45 hours inside. And so many fast-track license trainers manage to scrape this quota by packing more hours into the day.
However, these types of fast-track courses are a bad idea for many reasons. For a start, it takes a long time for any pilot to become confident with the complexities of aviation. Flying an aircraft isn’t like driving a car. It’s an order of magnitude harder to do. And so cramming all the training into just two weeks is too intense. There are too many different controls, flight checks and protocols to learn. People don’t learn well when all their training is pushed into just a few days. They need time for what they’ve learnt to sink in.
But accelerated training also means that it’s more likely that pilots will make mistakes. People learn things best by repetition, repetition, repetition. Under normal circumstances, a pilot would get their license after repeating moves hundreds of times over a course of months. But under an accelerated course, they will only get to try different manoeuvres perhaps on one or two days. Sure, that might be good enough to shoehorn them through the license exam. But there are serious doubts as to whether such an approach is actually safe.
At Aeros, we take safety and training very seriously. That’s why we do training for 45 hours at a minimum. The safety of the pilot, their passengers and the public should be the top priority of any flight training school.
There might be other forms of training out there. But they are never going to be as safe as training from a bonafide flight school, built on principles stretching back decades.