What induces a young CFII to invest the massive amounts of energy, time and investment dollars needed to go up against online ground school titans like the Kings, Gleim or Sporty’s?
Have a chat with Maryland-based flight instructor Dan George and discover a man who takes flight instruction to a higher level. He comes at the task as an educator, not a time builder. He’s amassed 4,000 hours in the right seat of GA aircraft, mostly workhorse Cessna 172s, not with an eye on an airline career, but with a passion for imparting the skills and knowledge it takes to be a pilot. George is also the creator of FlightInsight, a groundbreaking online ground school for student, instrument, and soon, commercial pilots. FlightInsight also offers ground school courses on landing, VFR communications and mastering the Garmin G1000. FlightInsight is a lead advertiser on the AVweb classified system under the “Services” category.
“We are working on that ‘ah-ha’ moment,” George says, “when we can really connect with a student and drive a concept home.” In the instrument ground school course, George and his team have crafted a remarkable experience that translates the intricacies of IFR flight using voiceovers, captions, videos, powerful graphics and flight simulators to create a rich learning experience.
George has an undergraduate degree from George Washington University and is a CPA (so you know he’s a quick study). He’s also a lecturer in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Maryland.
“I like teaching and figuring out how to explain tough concepts in a way that sticks,” George says. “The tools available today allow you to create an online experience that connects on every level—visually, aurally, and intellectually.”
His lessons on pressure and density altitude offer a case in point, with solid examples of “Whiz Wheel” E6-B operation, and how to plumb the secrets of graphs and tables. FlightInsight’s graphics on airspace offer a quick, clean comprehensive look at not just airspace structure, but include sectional overlays that highlight special use airspace and veils. The course uses exquisite cockpit simulation to teach the instrument scan, with an emphasis on pitch and power, turn and bank. George has mastered solid animation talents to move us around sectionals, enroute charts and hold entries. FlightInsight’s blend of text, stills, videos and animation are nothing short of masterful.
“The system presents concepts in multiple different ways,” George says. “It’s like advanced use of a whiteboard. Where we used to throw a book at student pilots for ground school, we can now use advanced visuals to really drive points home.” Giving students a chance to immerse themselves in the cockpit using simulation replaces the old method of parking on the ramp with the master on, and trying to soak up as much cockpit time as possible. FlightInsight’s primer on the Garmin GTN 650 is worth the price of admission.
Just as George evinces a passion for teaching, he also has a good handle on the responsibility of any CFII to build both flying skills and a safety culture. He nods to the great CFIs who have preceded him: “When you are a CFI, you are a copy of the CFI that trained you. Your students are a copy of that copy in a long chain.” Dan George believes creating an immersive experience gives students the best chance of internalizing key concepts and transferring them to the cockpit. He believes his highly visual learning methods will carry forward into a new generation of pilots.
FlightInsight has offered its ground schools to more than two thousand users, and George sees a steady rise in his customers’ technical savvy. “Fifteen years ago, you might see students skew toward those more comfortable with the technology,” he says. “But now I am seeing older students come to the system and getting a lot out of it.”
Quizzes and exams keep students marching toward the goal of passing the written. Year to date, more than 200 new students have completed the various ground schools, been endorsed to take the knowledge test and have passed their FAA exams.
Checking those boxes is what Dan George and FlightInsight are all about. Learn more at www.flight-insight.com.