The Learn to Fly Center in the center of the EAA AirVenture campus is hosting a new initiative offered by the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) called the Pilot Proficiency Program. The center offers instructional forums and simulator training sessions to help pilots evaluate and increase their level of proficiency.
A Redbird FMX simulator is used for the simulator sessions, which can be scheduled between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day of the show. SAFE instructors spend about one hour with each student, pre-briefing, flying and post-briefing scenarios designed by Redbird’s general manager of flight operations, Roger Sharp. Pilots can choose three out of 11 challenging flight scenarios ranging from a gradual engine failure, a high-density altitude canyon departure, a severe crosswind landing and a few different IFR scenarios.
Monday’s and Tuesday’s schedules were full and the program has been "very well received,” according to SAFE Chairman Mark Adams. The sessions qualify the attendees for FAA Wings credit.
Shy pilots may want to think twice before getting into the sim, however. A large TV monitor outside the simulator displays the flight, which means that anyone can evaluate the performance of the pilot inside the simulator. During times when simulator sessions are not scheduled, kids are welcome to try their hand at flying the Redbird FMX.
The forums are conducted adjacent to the simulator from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. SAFE and NAFI instructors offer educational presentations featuring a wide variety of topics such as how to deal with emergency situations, single pilot IFR considerations and how to properly prepare for a checkride.
Any pilot, regardless of his or her level of proficiency, is likely to learn something by stepping into the 2012 version of the Learn to Fly Center.