King Schools officially launched a new program for flight instructors this week at the 2023 Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida. According to the school, the program is designed to let instructors track a student’s progress in their online King Schools courses. Once signed up for the King Schools Flight Instructor Program, which is free to join, the CFI will be able to link up with students and see “the topics students have covered, which ones gave them trouble, and how they performed on the quizzes at the end of each section.”
“With those insights, instructors can shape their own curriculum to best meet the students’ needs,” King Schools said. “There’s a double benefit: Instructors not only learn the strengths and weaknesses of individual students, but can also identify which areas in their own teaching are working well and which ones need more emphasis or a different approach.”
Instructors participating in the program will also receive several King Schools courses free including private pilot, instrument rating, commercial pilot and flight instructor offerings. In addition, instructors will have access to the school’s online aviation library, flash card app and “Your First Flying Lesson” course, which is aimed at showing potential students what it is like to learn to fly. Further information is available on the King Schools website at kingschools.com/cfi-program.
Between me bouncing around from airport to flight shools to instructors, I had to have gone through half a dozen or more teachers. Along with the instructors who either quit or got fired. I am not so sure that this program will work. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. But if instructors leave for greener pastures, they certainly couldn’t care less about their students. Mine didn’t.
This “system” sounds like a good “tool” to have in an Instructors kit. That said, I am somewhat concerned about where civil aviation training is headed. Folks are laying out money, getting their certs, filling the “IP” role to get their time built, then off to the great Oz ($$$) in the sky. Sure, it has been that way forever in the civil world but now the turnover rate is / will be higher than ever. Brand new IPs with only a couple of hundred hours have little to fall back on beyond the sort of monkey see-monkey do level of instruction. I certainly saw that un USAF UPT. The brand new Lt’s that only had UPT and PIT experience under their belts had no experience to fall back on beyond what they just learned when approaching training issues with students. The “old heads” that had flown some other plane operationally mostly (not all!) could figure out a different way to approach a problem when the student couldn’t quite grasp a concept. As most of them gained experience, they started to see that training wasn’t a one size fits all affair. But, in the interim, the students they had problems with got short changed to some degree.
I would be all in for a system where well experienced, volunteer line pilots were able to spend a finite period in the basic instruction arena. The airlines need pilots but they need good pilots. Figure out a way to use the talent they already have to better foster the talent they need to bring on board. Maybe a program where some of their folks go “TDY” for a year or so to the various schools the company fosters to deepen the experience level of the instructor force there. A non-quantifiable but certainly beneficial side benefit is the value of the “been there, done that” credit that those folks would bring to the table. Most “old heads” reading this should agree to the value of the “hanger flying” (lies, war stories, brags) that goes on when ever those old heads get together over coffee. Sure, most of it is BS to some level but there are often gold nuggets to be found in the that “pile”.
Just one “old head’s” opinion.