Ab initio pilot training in the USA is still based on Second World War methodology and concepts, a major training symposium in Atlanta has just heard. As a result the US GA accident rate has remained static, the GA industry is suffering, and it is the responsibility of the industry itself - not the Federal Aviation Administration - to sort out its problems, says the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).
SAFE called the 4-5 May General Aviation Pilot Training Reform Symposium with the aim that industry stakeholders should use its workshops to identify training problems and take on the task of coming up with reform proposals within 60 days.
This programme to determine basic training reform and delivery is backed by the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association which has conducted its own study on why there is an 80% student dropout rate from pilot training courses before gaining even basic qualifications. The results showed that instructor quality is the single most important factor among several aspects of training delivery.
SAFE member Robert Wright, head of Wright Aviation Solutions, says existing training concentrates on almost exclusively on manoeuvring skills, whereas the reason for most accidents is poor decision-making. He says the purpose of the symposium is to find ways the industry can increase the numbers choosing to train, improve student retention, and reduce the accident rate.