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Old 02-20-2009, 10:47 PM   #1  
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Default Tailored Flight Training? [very long]

I care about the details. Details matter to me. Structure, protocol, mode, strategic, procedure..., these are the words that define my professional life. This is how my brain works. This is how I learn best. I need some help here guys in figuring something out.

I'd like to ask a question about whether or not tailoring my flight training to match the way my brain works best, is the right thing to do, or a waste of time, energy and effort.

Here's what I mean:

Every flight (it seems to me) can be broken down into six (6) major segments:

1) Take-Off
2) Climb
3) Cruise
4) Descent
5) Approach
6) Landing

1,2,3,4,5,6. (not including ground ops - only flight ops).

Every student pilot has to demonstrate that they can manage the aircraft through these six segments (including ground ops, specific aircraft maneuvers, written and oral exams), according to the PTS outline.

Not every student learns every subject at optimal levels the exact same way. This is because as human beings, we don't perceive the world around us in exactly the same way. Some of us filter the world around us visually, some kinesthetically, some auditorially. Many filter the world around them through neurological filters comprised of visual, kinesthetic and auditory ratios to one magnitude or the other.

I just happen to be a visual/kinesthetic split with a fairly low threshold for auditory penetration. If you start "talking" to me, then I have to really work hard at "hearing" what you are "saying" to me. But, if you "show me" what you desire to communicate to me and allow me to "see" the "picture" you are "painting" for me and then allow me to "touch" and "feel" that "idea" or "concept" that you are attempting to communicate, then I catch on lightening quick. All because, I'm a V/K split. I need to see it FIRST and THEN touch it SECOND. That allows my brain to transform the communication into meaningful knowledge at a much faster rate and at a more optimal level of neurological saturation.

Ok, since that's how I learn things the best - here's my question:

Is it possible, to put ALL flight training into a Visual Matrix reminiscent of a Flow Chart, containing all questions that can be asked about the six (6) major segments of flight: What, Who, When, Where, Why, How?

What would this flow chart look like?


[Begin]
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What: Take-Off
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Who: Executes the take-off?
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When: Is the take-off executed?
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Where: Is the take-off executed?
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Why: Is the take-off executed?
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How: Is the take-off executed?
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Notes:
'
'
'
[End]


There are literally no more possible questions to ask about the Take-Off. Once you learn those six questions - you know everything that can possibly be known about the Take-Off.

Now, envision this for an entire flight:


[Begin]
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What: Mission/Flight Profile
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Who: Plans & Executes Mission/Flight Profile
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When: Is Mission/Flight Profile Planned & Executed
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Where: Is Mission/Flight Profile Planned & Executed
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Why: Is Mission/Flight Profile Planned & Executed
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How: Is Mission/Flight Profile Planned & Executed
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Notes: IFR cross-country from KOAK to KSEA with navaids and alternates.
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[End]


Once again, there are no more questions that can be asked about the Mission or the Flight Planning process, once all these questions have been dealt with.

So, I think you get the idea behind this. Inside of each question of every matrix, there could possibly be another six dimension matrix depending on what is required to answer the parent question. A visual, parent to child relationship answering all questions that could possibly be asked about everything relevant to anything having to do with flying the aircraft.

Now, putting it together - take the first matrix given [Take-Off] and map it into the Mission/Flight Profile matrix. Where would you place it? You would place it under the "How" of Mission/Flight Profile. Why? Because "how" is the act of doing a thing and the Take-Off segment is one of the acts required to fulfill the Mission/Flight Profile. In fact, all six matrix clusters for each segment of flight, would be placed under the "How" inside the larger Mission/Flight Profile matrix.

As a student, you could put me in a chair, spin me around a thousand times until I puked on the floor, shove me inside the aircraft blindfolded and launched me up to any altitude along this KOAK to KSEA flight, take the blindfolds off and then asked me any quesion you liked about my planned flight to Seattle and I'd have no problem in pinpointing exactly where I am in the trip, how I got there and what comes next.

Why? Because if I'm in the aircraft and the aircraft is airborne, then by definition I must be in the "How" section of the Mission/Flight Profile. And, if I'm in the "How" section, I simply look at which "navaid" was encountered. At that point, I know exactly where I am and what comes next. I may have nausea, but I won't be clueless about what I'm doing next.

Of course, this is not the way I would suggest flying - dragging around a bunch of paper into the cockpit and reading a matrix in-flight. The idea here is that as a STUDENT, I could learn the fundamental elements of everything involved with successful flying by training my brain to think about the entire process of flying, like a large [Visual] flow chart.

Some of the components will be redundant, like "Who." That will typically be the PIC. For the components of the matrix that are not redundant, those would be the areas that I would focus on and study the most. Again, this is ONLY from a "learning" standpoint - not something I'd need to do once I became a proficient pilot.

The matrix would be just a visual learning aid that integrates the entire universe of flying into one organized, hierarchical, visual structure, where as a student train my brain to understand what comes "next" and why.

Imagine, not having to repeat the same things to your student, over and over and over again, only to have your student fumble around with their notes, trying to "recall" something their brain never properly categorized in their memory.

From something as small as practicing stalls to executing a cross-country flight, if a matrix is composed first, then the student can train their brain to answer all the procedural questions in existence, giving them the freedom to focus on the physical skills development necessary to carry out the "How" component more fluently. For me, it would create a lot more space in my brain to work on those things with my instructor that I naturally struggle with.

This is different than merely following a syllabus [which I think is a great idea]. The syllabus would still remain - not taking that away. What I'm talking about here is neurological mapping of the entire flight training process, into a visual/mental matrix that ultimately removes the fear that comes from not knowing what should happen next.

Ok, so - CFI tells student: "Hey, we will work on stall recovery on Thursday." Instead of student getting into their car and driving away with chapter and verse in a Jeppesen manual to read, student sits down with CFI and fills out a "Stall Recovery Matrix" answering the six questions about Stall Recovery. Now, the student can go home, read the next lesson in the textbook and begin the process of training the brain on the Stall Recovery Matrix for Thursday. Student arrives on Thursday with everything properly categorized in the brain for Stall Recovery training with the instructor.

Student now has no fear of not knowing what comes next because there are no questions outside the only six questions that can be asked. Though the student may not be able to perform the Stall Recovery perfectly the first time, the student's brain knows exactly where to go for the theoretical answer and there are only six places the brain needs to go for the answer with some of them being redundant and easily rejected as the source of the answer.

It is like turning your brain into a heat seeking missile for answers to questions. After that, it should be just a matter of physical skills development - mucle reflex. And a monkey can do that part. The hard part is training the brain to properly categorize information so that the "look-up" process is expedited within the neural net(s). That's what the Matrix does.

Does any of this make any sense relative to flight training? And, would you be able to help your student build such a tool as their CFI?

I think of this as FMS for the STUDENT's brain. [my brain] Not for actual flying, but for learning.
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:32 AM   #2  
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Tailoring your flight training to match the way your brain works best, is the right thing to do, and is not a waste of time, energy and effort.

But... just as an instructor should have some flexibility in order to meet the student's needs, the student needs some degree of flexibility in understanding that his personal view of what the matrix should be may require adjustment.

There is a proviso to this: I'm sure others here with more practical knowledge than me will tell you that if you are aspiring to a career, dealing in a multi-pilot crew may mean more "when-where-why-how" structure imposed on both training and flying by others and less imposed by you.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:24 AM   #3  
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But... just as an instructor should have some flexibility in order to meet the student's needs, the student needs some degree of flexibility in understanding that his personal view of what the matrix should be may require adjustment.
Absolutely. I'm wide open. The instructor knows the mistakes I'm going to make before I make them. So, I'm wide open to change.


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Originally Posted by NoyGonnaDoIt View Post
There is a proviso to this: I'm sure others here with more practical knowledge than me will tell you that if you are aspiring to a career, dealing in a multi-pilot crew may mean more "when-where-why-how" structure imposed on both training and flying by others and less imposed by you.
I appreciate that. My goals are strictly related to non-commercial flying. All of it will be either personal or private business flying, but I will need to travel on a dimes worth of notice to just about anywhere around the world - mostly U.S. to Europe, U.S. to East Asia and U.S. to Middle Asia. The rest will be fun flying - well - not that the other flying won't be fun, too.

I appreciate the honest insight you give - thank you.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:02 AM   #4  
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There are literally no more possible questions to ask about the Take-Off. Once you learn those six questions - you know everything that can possibly be known about the Take-Off.
Some of the best students I've had are those who completely immerse themselves in the bookwork and preparation for flight training. Consequently, some of the most difficult students have been those who completely immerse themselves in the bookwork and preparation for flight training.

Flying airplanes is not linear, it's dynamic. What I mean is that there are SOPs for normal operation of a flight, but there are hundreds of opportunities to go off script during each phase of flight. If you train to rigidly regurgitate rote data points, matrix branches, or whatever you restrict the ability to react dynamically.

Sure, early on in flight training some rote is required to establish safe habit patterns. If your matrix helps to learn rote SOP during chair flying that's great, but be aware there is MUCH more to safely moving airplane than memorizing a script.
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:17 PM   #5  
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Consequently, some of the most difficult students have been those who completely immerse themselves in the bookwork and preparation for flight training.
Yes, indeed. Very well understood from a different profession and career perspective.


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Flying airplanes is not linear, it's dynamic...
...If you train to rigidly regurgitate rote data points, matrix branches, or whatever you restrict the ability to react dynamically.
The engineer in me wants to make the world make some sense. The creative software designer in me and the much older Saxophone player in me, wants to "let it all flow..." I can do both.

That's why I thought of just using such a matrix for the training aspect. That part of my flying career where I'm creating the basic/fundamental neurological building blocks for being an optimal pilot. Just to give some structure to the mechanics/fundamentals that work for my particular brain. Other brains will vary in how they "pick-up" on new concepts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSLD View Post
Sure, early on in flight training some rote is required to establish safe habit patterns. If your matrix helps to learn rote SOP during chair flying that's great, but be aware there is MUCH more to safely moving airplane than memorizing a script.
Yes, indeed. Safe habit patterns early on in training - that's how I visualized such a matrix. But, I would not fly around with reams of flow-charts in the cockpit with me. After the ratings, I would expect the matrix to be "formed" and set into my subconscious, which would free up my conscious mind to deal with all the non-linear variable structures that I suspect you are referring to during the course of abnormal flight operations. [emergencies, surprise weather, air traffic anomalies, etc.]

So, I was thinking to use this tool just to provide some "good habit" mental structure from private through multi. The good thing about the matrix, is that it can also be flexible and amendable at any time with new and better information. It is only as rigid as the designer/user allows it to be.

The key to it, is the establishment of brand new neural nets in the brain and the reconfiguring of some that already exist with good, wholesome, appropriate and factually correct [error free] information [inputs] that gives a good mental baseline for interpreting events as they unfold [non-liner] during the course of flight operations. Sustaining the human intuition side of life, by providing a broad set of mental tools for interpretation and response to reality.

Nothing like merely memorizing a script. This works at the level of the subconscious as it is written into the brain during a period of "intensity" - that being, primary flight training. Ingraining, good habits - just like you said.

Thanks, for you insight and your help on this.
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:51 PM   #6  
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Good luck in your training, I think you've got the big picture in terms of using the left and right brain to learn and apply the required skills.

Before you re-invent the wheel, have a look at this document that describes the learning strategies that the FAA promotes:

http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/a...-H-8083-9A.pdf
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:25 PM   #7  
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Before you re-invent the wheel, have a look at this document that describes the learning strategies that the FAA promotes:
Thank you very much, HSLD for the encouragement and for calling out 8083 for me. That was an eye opener. Do you think that most [if not all] CFI's embed all of 8083 into their practice as instructors? There really does seem like a ton of teaching concepts and many teaching tools wrapped up in 8083. I notice that it covers some of the personality types, learning behavior(s) and the visual, auditory and kinesthetic concepts that I alluded to earlier.

There was so much there, I was expecting to see something on the six (6) fundamental questions, but nothing thus far seems to match that learning concept. I'll make sure to make 8083 part of my primary study process to learn as much as I can about the student/instructor relationship in an effort to optimize the learning process.

One thing I found very encouraging was this: (8083, Chapter 1-3)

Instructor and Student Relationship

How does personality type testing affect instructors and students?

Research has led many educational psychologists to feel that based on personality type, everyone also has an individual style of learning. In this theory, working with that style, rather than against it, benefits both instructor and student. Although controversy often swirls around the educational benefits of teaching students according to personality types, it has gained a large following and been implemented at many levels of education.


I like that fact that somebody has figured this out and has made a part of what every CFI should know about their student. 8083 also goes on to say that it is not preferable for an instructor with one type of teaching style, to be in a position of instructing a student with a different learning style. 8083 says, that learning is optimized when both the instructor and the "learner" both share the same teaching/learning styles.

Well, that just makes sense to me. I think I'm going to like this publication, thanks for pointing me to it. As a student, I know it is not required reading, but after reading some of it, it sure seems like it should be required for every student and every instructor.

Nice find, a real keeper for the library. Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:57 PM   #8  
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HSLD,

After reading even more of 8083, I like it so much that I think during my Instructor interview phase, I might ask whether or not the Instructors that I'm interviewing have actually read 8083, how much of it do they agree with, what areas do they have problems with [don't like personally] and how much of it do they attempt to implement into their own instruction practice with students.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:16 PM   #9  
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Nice find, a real keeper for the library. Thanks!
Yep, not bad for a freebie publication. It's been years since I've read it, but I remember it as good resource that reminded me that everyone has different cues that makes learning stick. An instructors job is to discover those cues with each student and adapt his style to meet the student's needs.

The end game is to get the student's knowledge and proficiency well above the criteria outlined in the FAA Practical Test Standards or qualification syllabus. When I worked as an instructor, I can't remember taking the exact same path with any of my students to reach that end.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:00 PM   #10  
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...I can't remember taking the exact same path with any of my students to reach that end.
Very good to know that it does not have to fit a "cookie cutter" delivery method. I appreciate the help, thank you!
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