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How to Integrate Technology into Your Flight Training

Technology has always been an integral part of every industry, something that applies even more to aviation training due to the growing number of innovations that continue to be introduced to air travel. Nowadays, pilot training is done using state-of-the-art technology—from simulators to virtual reality—to make the learning experience closely reflect actual flight operations. This also promises a more engaged instructional approach, where students are not restricted to books and lectures but can instead test out their knowledge using more interactive tools.

Here are some technologies that any pilot school should consider integrating into their courses to give their students an edge in the aviation field.

  1. Flight Simulators

One of the most commonly employed means to train student pilots are flight simulators, which can be something as simple as a computer app that simulates flight controls to a full-blown replica of an actual cockpit. Hands-on experience is an important part of pilot training but having to train using actual planes isn’t practical nor economical. In addition, safety precautions need to be taken first and foremost as inexperience during flight may lead to accidents. Hence, a flight simulator is typically used instead for training.

Flight simulators do not only replicate the controls that can be found on a plane cockpit. It can also be used to simulate flying conditions, such as the plane’s supposed reaction if it meets turbulence or various weather conditions, to allow the student to practice how they will react to such situations. Flight simulators offer students a safe way to practice flight procedures and then review their performance right after to see what they still need to improve upon.

  1. GPS Navigation Training

Thanks to the technological marvel that is the global positioning system (GPS), modern air navigation has become more precise and efficient than ever. Pilots rely on this technology during departure, while en route, and upon arrival to ensure that their plane is guided accordingly in all phases of the flight. More than just knowing where the plane’s current position is, a GPS-powered map can also display other information such as terrain or obstacles.

Given that GPS can provide a wealth of information, pilots in training are then challenged to quickly process this data to make informed decisions during the flight. Hence, integrating GPS training early on can help student pilots become more familiar and at ease with this navigation system.

  1. Virtual Reality

Integrating virtual reality (VR) during flight training promises an immersive learning experience at the fraction of a cost. It’s immersive in a sense that it allows the student to experience the view close to that of an actual flight, with more convincing visuals and depth perception as offered by the 360-degree vision. Meanwhile, it’s cost-efficient because the system itself is easily scalable, only requiring VR headsets and flight controls instead of a fully built physical cockpit. These qualities thus make VR an attractive addition to any flight training program.

VR flight training allows students to test their theoretical knowledge by putting them in a set-up that mimics a real flight, thus making the learning experience much more engaging. It can be customizable, depending on the needs of the program, such as displaying different locations, scenarios, or weather conditions. In addition, VR training can also be used to overcome fears and anxieties that may surface during flights such as flying during bad weather, landing, and facing emergency situations.

  1. Electronic Flight Bags

A traditional flight bag contains documents such as aircraft manuals, navigational charts, logbooks, weather reports, and checklists—essentially all the information that the pilot will be using during the flight. An electronic flight bag (EFB), on the other hand, is a paperless version of this with all the relevant documents and charts simply contained in a device that pilots can take with them during the flight. An EFB is more convenient, as it allows for quick navigation among the various tools at the pilot’s disposal compared to having to leaf through pages upon pages of documents.

Integrating EFBs during training allows student pilots to become more confident with using the device, eliminating instances of fumbling or confusion. Efficiency in using the EFB ensures that students can transition seamlessly toward using them during actual flights.

  1. Online Courses

Online courses are a great way to supplement classroom instruction, helping students sharpen their current skills and pick up new ones at their own pace. Students can take courses that are directly related to flight training such as navigation, aerodynamics, aviation safety, and airline regulations, among others. Likewise, they can also improve on their soft skills by taking courses such as communications, leadership, and conflict management. Some online courses are even accredited, making them count toward certification or rating requirements.

As the aviation industry continues to evolve, the training received by aspiring pilots should also be able to keep up. By integrating the technologies mentioned above during instruction and training, pilot schools can ensure that their students will be ready to make full use of any digital tool that they’ll encounter during flight.