New Age Flight Training...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Glass Cockpits Go Ab Initio

Old training methods may not match new equipment and as glass cockpits grow ever more common on new (and retrofitted) aircraft, learning to fly on the old round gauges is a task going the way of navigating with a map and compass and E6-B. At Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), a NASA-funded experiment is researching the effects of teaching students on glass cockpits from the start. The project is called SATS Aerospace Flight Education Research (SAFER) and is part of NASA's Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) initiative. The first class began last September, and a second class started in January. The students are learning on five new Diamond DA-40 single-engine trainers equipped with Garmin G1000 glass cockpits. The project is also using a methodology of "scenario-based training" (see AVweb columnist Linda Pendleton's recent discussion about that) and is integrating the use of a simulator right from the start. AOPA's Air Safety Foundation recently released a report on flying technically advanced aircraft. The old training methods need to be updated for the new equipment, the foundation says. "Training nontraditional avionics in the traditional in-flight way is not optimal," the report says. Instead, students should spend time learning the systems in simulators and with computer-based interactive study aids.