...Training Priorities Would Change...

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Klapmeier said the whole training system needs to be revamped and new pilots should be trained to fly the aircraft they intend to fly in the real world. "I think the SR22 should be a training aircraft," he said. "I think we should stop talking about getting your license and start talking about learning how to operate the airplane safely. Why not have [new pilots] start in the aircraft that [they're] going to fly?" He said an ab initio student on a Cirrus might need 50 hours of dual before soloing but he said that makes more sense than training on another type of aircraft and then switching to the Cirrus or other higher performance, more complex aircraft that they really want. Klapmeier said insurance is the biggest obstacle -- premiums for inexperienced pilots on the Cirrus are triple those of high-time owners. "Insurance does become the de facto regulator," he said. But he noted that's often an artificial barrier because the new owners generally have the money to cover the extra $10,000 for first-year premiums and essentially waste a year learning to fly aircraft they'll probably never get in again.