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Old Nov 02, 2006, 08:57 AM
"In Thrust We Trust"
Lt Crunch's Avatar
USA, CO, Arvada
Joined Aug 2006
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Better Training Methods- "One Week to Solo" manual

Howdy, I'm an Intro Pilot Instructor with our local club (Arvada Associated Modelers) and coming from an Electric background I've been really disappointed over the last year about how LONG it takes to get folks solo'd on nitro planes. We train every Thursday night during daylight savings time and some of these guys only get 10 minutes a week actual buddy box time. Months to solo, where with electrics (in an admittedly more casual environment) we had newbees flying after a few Sundays instruction.

I've read about 1st U.S. Flight School and I know it's total immersion training,
i.e. a full work week of takeoffs and landings. Now I see they've got
a "One Week to Solo" manual out and I'm wondering if any one has read it and can comment on it.
http://www.rcflightschool.com/Manuals_Page.asp

We're a goal oriented club (AAM) and next year I'd like speed up the learning process during training night. Say like 10-20 weeks to Solo
I can arrange laptops and flight sims, which will help keep trainees "flying",
and maybe extra instructors although we're limited to 4+/- club trainers,
but any other input on making training "stick" would be appreciated.

cheers,

Frank D
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Last edited by Lt Crunch; Nov 18, 2006 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Removed reference to "force feedback" buddy boxes...no such thing exists darn it!
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Old Nov 02, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Banjul
Joined Jan 2001
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One night a week isn't enough time to thouroughly train. And, if you have many students, their stick time is lessened. Going out to fly for 10 minutes on Thursday, skip the rest of the week, and come back next Thursday, and their learning curved dropped to the bottom again. A student needs to get as much stick time as possible over a 3-4-5 day per week period.
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Old Nov 02, 2006, 02:04 PM
Stankromfols
Valley Springs, CA
Joined Jun 2006
797 Posts
Perhaps you need more instructors, or more than one day a week, which would allow more trainees to receive training at the same time. We have 4 or 5 instructors and each has at least once student in training. Most of the instructors try to get trainees out at least twice a week, and try to give them at least 2, and hopefully 3 flights each time. Any more than that and a students head is too crammed with information in too short a period. But one 10 minute flight per week is nowhere near enough. In my opinion.
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Old Nov 02, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Not much to add, but I do think it is strange that some of your students, just get one flight in. Then, 10 minutes in the air is only maybe 8 minutes of actual flying time. The rest is taken up by: "I've got it" & "You've got it".
How many instructors are available, and how many students are present ?
Even if there is just one instructor, then you can teach 5 people in an hour.
Since you are shanghayed into being the Chief Instructor for next year, maybe you should get the group organised, by having more people there to help. Some on the buddy box, others to get them flight ready.
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Old Nov 02, 2006, 02:49 PM
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It is a pretty intractable problem. The weather can be a real problem here, too. I started stick trg with two sessions each on the 7th and 8th of Oct then my next four sessions were on 1 Nov. The delay was because we have had some awful 'spring' weather.

The only saving grace was the many hours I have spent, and still spend, on my computer with FMS. Without this, it would have been a depressing experience. At least I can keep my enthusiasm up by knowing that I am improving my skills in spite of the unavoidable trg gaps.

So there certainly is a way to 'take up the slack' but not all will have sim capable computers or be able to get the interface going!
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Old Nov 02, 2006, 06:19 PM
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I dont know if this is normal but i thought it was awsome. when the instructors were flying and i was almost ready to solo i was asked to help the new comers. in this manner the instructor could be flying around with a student i would show them how to range check how the frequency system works how to start the engine saftly and preflight cheacks and general checks but dont be worried for the first couple times the instructor has to SEE the student prefore the checks it just goes faster when they knwow hat tey are doing and not everything has to be explained to them.. i though this was great. After about 2 weeks the standered thing is "everything good" "yep" "lets go flying" the instructor doesnt check anything at that point it is the students resposibility if they have questions or comments they bring them up. i though this system was awsome sorry for the long post im out.
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Old Nov 03, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far guys, and I concur with everything you're saying. 10 minutes (or even 20 or 30) a week definately isn't enough.

Weather is a problem, 15 MPH+ winds are common (our field is nestled right against the foothills with lots of downslope/upslope...there's a friggin wind farm 2 miles north of us). Also we're popular so some nights 20-30 guys are lined up and waiting for the 5pm start time.

Maybe I can get a mentoring program going where other club members pair off with a newb and give them one on one help beyond training night. Trying to stay within AMA training guidelines complicates the issue too.

Still curious for thoughts on the 1st U.S. RC Flight School Program.

cheers,

Frank D
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Old Nov 03, 2006, 02:51 PM
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The advantage of simulators is that they allow you to accumulate hours of flight time at your leisure. I can practice 50 touch-and-goes in the time that it takes me to put all my flight support equipment in the car.

Tom
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Old Nov 03, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Crunch
Also we're popular so some nights 20-30 guys are lined up and waiting for the 5pm start time.
Unbelievable number of people !!!!

Assuming that maybe 10 percent of your club are new, you have a huge number of members.
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Old Nov 03, 2006, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indoruwet
Unbelievable number of people !!!!

Assuming that maybe 10 percent of your club are new, you have a huge number of members.
those numbers sound about right... we had about 15 and we are only a club of about 50 peopel with those 15 included...
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Old Nov 04, 2006, 08:04 AM
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Banjul
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I haven't read the book, but I would bet it is based on a "several hour per day" week-long training period. "One Week to Solo" will not work with your current situation.
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Old Nov 04, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indoruwet
Unbelievable number of people !!!!
Assuming that maybe 10 percent of your club are new, you have a huge number of members.
We're a 400+/- member Gold Leader club, but 2/3rds don't fly much so that leaves 50-100 hard core members who fly regularly. Many of whom have zero interest in helping anyone. 17 instructors on the roster but we've been lucky to have 3-4 show up on training night, several times only 2 (boy does that keep you hopping!) http://www.arvadamodelers.com/

I'm trying to approach this on several levels but anyone with club experience knows how it works. 90% gripe and shirk, 10% do the work...if you're lucky <g>.

Conning available instructors into showing up, 2 or 3 operating flight sims, and some one on one mentoring are the fuzzy brain farts I'm coming up with so far. I'm also reaching back to to my all electric days (we were roving schoolyard pirates but we trained a PILE of people quickly) and thinking that a few buddyboxed baby foamies (Slow Sticks and E-Starters) would be a good place to start the brand new folks. Get them over control reversal and flying basic pattern, then move up to nitro for the takeoff and landing instruction...which to me is the only difference in electric vs fuel. Nitro carries more kinetic energy so ground handling becomes a primary skill rather than
an afterthought.

It's sort of sad/funny but we get a lot of spectators (club members) on training night who come for the crashes...that just ain't right
I'm thinking about shanghai'ing some of them for sim instruction.

Thanks for the thoughts gentlemen, still looking for magic bullets.

regards,

Frank D
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Old Nov 04, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper Pilot
I haven't read the book, but I would bet it is based on a "several hour per day" week-long training period. "One Week to Solo" will not work with your current situation.
I know VP, and I appreciate your input. One of our students has been at it all year (we're done with formal training now that DST is over) and couldn't even hold a pattern. As an experiment I've taken him on as a project and have him working Aerofly Pro on a PC down at my shop. 2 weeks of 2 days a week and he's taking off and landing on the sim....He's an older English fellow and I chide him on the crashes (lots) and he gets this sparkle in his eye and and says "Oh Piss Off!!"...you'd have to hear the accent

If I can get him solo'd yet this year then anything is possible. One thing we do have as a club is plenty of money, both our own and AMA grant. And as every flyer learns over time, "Got problems? Throw some money at it". If we can accelerate the learning process with manuals, sims, force-feedback buddy boxes, voodoo dolls, whatever...I'm for it.

Guess I better just buy the manual and see what it offers.

Thanks for the thoughts,

FD
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Old Nov 04, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Banjul
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It seems that you've got an instructor (or lack of instructor) problem. Our club has about 100 members, and we have 15 or so instructors available daily. They all show up on "Tuesday training" and are available at other times with "an appointment".

Your club might want to provide instructors with a reduced-rate membership if they show up "x number of hours" a year for instruction. Or maybe a "free membership" for the next year if they train to solo "x number of students".

Our club also have "training assistant's" that take care of all of the "non-flying" chores that take up so much time (such as ill-running engines, control throw set-up, and all the little stuff that wastes the instructor's "buddy-box time"). That leaves the instructor free to instruct.

With our system, it takes an average student 5-6 weeks from start to solo. Very proficient, all-in-all.
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Old Nov 05, 2006, 10:01 AM
Stankromfols
Valley Springs, CA
Joined Jun 2006
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Lt. Crunch. We have about 40 active flying members in our club, and many are retired. The retirees can fly during the week, so we have a good group on Tues and Thurs mornings. Others, including those who have to work during the week, come out on weekends. Out of the retiree group I'd say 4 are very experienced and willing to serve as instructor. We have a designated Head Instructor, but he can only do so much, so the other experienced flyers pitch in to help. Not all students have the right attitude or temperment as their instructor, so it's always good to have more than one instructor. I've seen new flyers try learning with one instructor and just not getting it, but then another instructor helps and everything comes together. Sometimes you click with someone, and sometimes you don't. If I were in your situation I would personally talk with some of the more experienced pilots and solicit their help. It's easy to decline a generic request for help, but if you let them know how much you respect their experience and how much you need their assistance it's much harder to say no. And once they start, they get a feeling of accomplishment when they take a beginner and finally see them solo. Good luck with your program, and I hope that your club appreciates your effort.
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