Redbird, Recreational Aviation Foundation Partner to Boost Backcountry Flight Training

The organizations are creating a catalog of resources covering practical flying skills, planning, basic survival, and gear recommendations.

As part of the partnership, training scenarios will be created for Redbird’s subscription-based personalized proficiency training app, Redbird Pro. [Courtesy: Redbird Flight Simulations]

Redbird Flight Simulations and the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) have launched a new initiative that will foster the creation of training materials supporting recreational flying, including backcountry trips.

“The pilot shortage has caused many flight training providers to focus their operations primarily on recruiting and training professional pilot candidates,” said Charlie Gregoire, Redbird's president and chief operations officer. “Consequently, pilots interested in pursuing recreational flying opportunities are left with little support beyond the typical $100 hamburger run. This new initiative with the RAF will broaden exposure to the many flying activities outside of training for a new certificate or rating, and arm pilots with information for how to approach them safely.”

Since 2006 Redbird has been building basic aviation training devices (BATDs) and advanced aviation training devices (AATDs) to supplement the educational process. The AATDs are used around the world by pilots, flight schools, colleges and universities, and K-12 programs.

The RAF was founded by a group of Montana pilots who realized that the threat of recreational airstrip closures was of national concern. The group is dedicated to preserving existing airstrips and creating new public-use recreational airstrips throughout the U.S.

The two entities are creating a catalog of resources covering topics such as practical flying skills and habits, planning and preparation, basic survival and first aid, and gear recommendations and usage.

Among the topics to be presented are: 

  • What to pack and avoid packing for recreational flying adventures
  • How to evaluate a potential landing zone
  • How to read the wind without ATIS (or even a windsock)
  • When to land (or not land) with a tailwind
  • Nonstandard traffic patterns
  • Basic first aid and triage
  • Leave-no-trace and good-neighbor flying

How It Will Work

Over the next 18 months, Redbird will be releasing the material in written and video formats at no cost to pilots or training providers. In addition the organizations are collaborating on the creation of training scenarios for Redbird’s subscription-based personalized proficiency training app, Redbird Pro.

“This partnership with Redbird is exciting and yet one more piece in the aviation puzzle," said John McKenna, RAF chairman. "We hope this excites a few more folks about aviation and perhaps the joy of recreational flying.”

For those lucky enough to be at this week’s Sun 'n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, Redbird has a special edition of its MX2 aviation training device with a custom RAF livery on display to raise awareness of the initiative. The organizations are showcasing it in the Redbird booth (NE-51, NE-52).

In July, the device will be on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Pilots and prospective pilots are welcome to demo the device and try their hand at a series of recreational flying scenarios.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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